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IPFS News Link • Canada

Oh Canada: The Parliament Moves to Impose Potential Life Imprisonment for Speech Crimes

• https://ronpaulinstitute.org, by Jonathan Turley

Now, the Canadian parliament is moving toward a new change that would allow the imposition of life imprisonment on those who post views deemed supportive of genocide. With a growing movement calling Israel's war in Gaza "genocide," the potential scope of such a law is readily apparent. That appears to be its very draw for anti-free speech advocates in the country.

The Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63 increases the potential penalties from five years to life imprisonment. It also increases the penalty for the willful promotion of hatred (a dangerously ill-defined crime) from two years to five years. The proposed changes constitute a doubling down on Canada's commitment to reducing free speech for citizens despite criticism from many in the civil liberties community.

There is also a chilling option for house arrest if a judge believes a defendant "will commit" an offense. In other words, if a judge thinks that a citizen will be undeterred and try to speak freely again.

Justice Minister Arif Virani employed the same hysteria to convince citizens to surrender their freedoms to the government. He expressed how terrified he was with the potential of free speech, stating that he is "terrified of the dangers that lurk on the internet for our children."

It is not likely to end there. Today the rationale is genocide. However, once the new penalties are in place, a host of other groups will demand similar treatment for those with opposing views on their own causes.  This law already increased the penalties for anything deemed hateful speech.

The law comes after Canada blocked a Russian dissident from becoming a citizen because of her violation of Russian anti-free speech laws. In a telling act, the government said that the same conduct (i.e., free speech) could be a crime in Canada.  Indeed, it may now be punished even more harshly.


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