The Liberal government’s new online hate speech legislation, Bill C-36, will likely lead to “many unfair witch hunts” according to Independent MP Derek Sloan. 

Shortly before the parliamentary session ended for the summer, Liberal Justice Minister David Lametti tabled Bill C-36 in the House of Commons. 

The bill seeks to expand powers to prosecute individuals involved in “hate propaganda” or so-called “online hate” by amending the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

The law will revive section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which was struck down by the Harper government in 2014 for infringing on the free speech rights of Canadians. The bill would give the Canadian Human Rights Commission the power to compel citizens to cease online communication or pay a monetary fine.

In an emailed statement to True North, Sloan said that he opposes the bill on several grounds.

“I do not trust the Canadian Human Rights Commission to adjudicate these claims, they are often activist leaning/left leaning,” said Sloan. 

“The Supreme Court has been generally fairly conservative in their approach to classifying hate speech, but not conservative enough in my view. Tribunals on the other hand are more prone to activist adjudicators, and the way in which activists use the term hate speech, it can mean almost anything offensive to them. That thinking has been and will continue to permeate into the judiciary over time, and is very troubling for a free and open society.” 

Violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act are subject to complaints which can then be taken to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and eventually make their way into a tribunal hearing. Unlike ordinary courts, Canadians do not have the same protections such as knowing the identity of their accuser at a tribunal. 

According to Sloan, Bill C-36 is part of a worrying trend by the Liberal government to stack the rules in favour of their progressive political ideology. 

“It’s not so much that the Liberals want to strip everyone of their rights, although that is a consequence of what they are doing, but they want to stack the rules of the game in their favour such that any political ideology that is opposed to their plans to create a “Liberal Utopia” in Canada is challenged by either the law, or the mainstream media, or public opinion,” said Sloan. 

“I do not at all expect that this Bill will prevent people from expressing hateful views towards Christians and those of European ancestry, given the bias of many Human Rights Tribunals, but those expressing concern about radical Islam, or other such things probably will get hauled before these courts unfairly, and fined, and potentially jailed if they do not follow the conditions of a recognizance.” 

Sloan stated that he intends on speaking out on Bill C-36 and will be encouraging his fellow MPs to do so.