Sun News reports on some good news up north.
An Alberta MP has succeeded in his bid to repeal a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act long seen by free-speech advocates as a tool to squelch dissenting opinions.
Conservative MP Brian Storseth saw the Senate give third and final reading late Wednesday to his Bill C-304 which repeals Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, an act that had been used to, among other things, attack the writings of Sun News Network’s Ezra Levant and Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn.
Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as “hate speech.” But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those accused had to prove their innocence.
With elimination of Section 13, producing and disseminating hate speech continues to be a Criminal Code violation but police and the courts will adjudicate rather than human rights tribunals.
Storseth drafted his bill in 2011 and enjoyed support from the highest levels in cabinet.
“Our government believes Section 13 is not an appropriate or effective means for combating hate propaganda,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in late 2011. “We believe the Criminal Code is the best vehicle to prosecute these crimes.”
Last summer, Storseth’s bill cleared the House of Commons in a free vote and, now that it’s through the Senate, it will get royal assent and Section 13 should soon disappear.
To put it bluntly, the means you can’t take someone through the federal human rights apparatus over hurt feelings via a blog post or a Facebook comment.
Now the bill is passed and will become law but like many acts of Parliament it will not come into force for a year.
Still after a long hard battle to restore free speech in Canada, this is a victory.
Canada just became a little more free. Congratulations to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada for undoing a harmful policy enacted by the radical left.