Bill C-16 has been talked about on this blog before. It’s the bill which limits your ability to talk about Islam and Muslims under the provision that they have been recognised as a discriminated-against group under the hate-speech acts in the criminal code.
Well, remember how I also mentioned that Maxime Bernier, an up-and-coming potential leader of the Conservative Party of Canada—with an eye toward their leadership elections this year—was made in the mould of a Donald Trump, or a Marine Le Pen or a Frank Petry?
This is a man who is going to, win or lose, #MakeCanadaFun in ways that Canadians haven’t seen since the original Trudeau was elected. In that piece he wrote on FaceBook, Maxime Bernier expressed his initial support for the bill for the understandable reason that he seeks protection for all Canadians, but upon coming into contact with Jordan Peterson (whom you can find in a long, thought-provoking conversation with Stefan Molyneux here) he realised the impact it would have on freedom of speech and expression in Canada.
Mr. Bernier references the Oakes test, which is the typical test which Supreme Court judges use to try to figure out if the damage a particular law does to the rights of the average Canadian fairly and proportionally addresses whatever damage the law is meant to address.
Mr. Bernier correctly interprets the result of such a test as an extreme failure—not only is Bill C-16 directly in conflict with Section 2b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it is an extremely disproportionate and unreasonable response to non-aggressive tactics.
Listen, hate speech might be bad. It might be. Maybe. The thing about it, when you put it into context, is that you still need people to agree with you. Do I agree with keeping it out of, for example, the educational system? There’s a famous precedent-setting case (R v Keegstra) which found that a teacher in the system was teaching pro-Nazi hate speech.
Obviously, that sort of thing can’t be tolerated—particularly under the auspices of the government, and even more particularly to children who are extremely vulnerable to indoctrination—as we saw with Hitler Youth. If Bill C-16 could be repurposed for anything, it should be to prevent instances of captive-audience abuse toward certain opinions in schools or religious organisations.
Hitler Youth wasn’t fake. Child soldiers all over the globe are similarly indoctrinated and unleashed on their enemies the world over. There is a case to be made for some types of speech being banned, but the problem with them is that speech from either side remains non-free so long as the counter-arguments are not also included.
In other words, my contention (and it looks like, Mr. Bernier’s contention as well) is that free speech emerges from discourse. You can’t call one thing or the other thing hate speech so long as all speech is present—this avoids the captive audience phenomenon, like you saw in Germany during the Weimar Republic, like you saw in the Soviet Union, like you see in various wartorn African countries where the price of dissent is usually the death penalty.
Like you’re starting to see in Canada where you don’t get the death penalty, but you get a “bigot” brand which can easily prevent you from having a livelihood—a soft form of murder.
Get Bernier in there. Let’s get Bill C-16 repealed or repurposed so it stops hurting us, and thereby #MakeCanadaFun