For western nations like the United States and Canada, free speech has always been one of our fundamental founding principles and one that has time and time again set us apart as a place where true freedom is valued and appreciated. But, as you know, the political left has increasingly pushed the limits of this, moving towards near authoritarian ways in the US.
Thankfully, here in the US, we have been able to keep that move at bay for the most part.
Canada, on the other hand, has not been so lucky as of late.
Recently the ever-liberal-leaning government has introduced Bill C-36 to Parliament. It is titled “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act and to make related amendments to another Act (hate propaganda, hate crimes, and hate speech).”
In other words, they are moving to give the federal government rights to censoring speech it may or may not agree with.
Proposed by Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti, the bill would actually allow citizens to be fined and/or receive other punishments for violating what the government determines to be “hate speech.”
It is believed that while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s name is not on the bill directly, he may be behind it.
In the past, he has put forward several initiatives to increase restrictions to social media and online platforms, including an insistence in a 2019 mandate letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault demanding “regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech within 24 hours or face significant penalties.”
Now, to be clear, removing hate speech from social media should be a rather common-sense move for social media giants, especially if they include “radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda,” as Trudeau says.
Additionally, any right-minded government should want these types of things removed and post-haste. However, the problem is that the term’ hate speech’ is somewhat ambiguous, relying on differing interpretations of definitions depending on who you might be talking to.
As we’ve already seen in America, social media platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Google, Facebook, and more have already begun to censor users’ posts based on what they believe to be correct and wrong.
When Trump posted about letting your voice be heard in Congress, the political left and several social media groups took that to mean that he was inciting violence and insurrection, regardless of what he actually meant.
And when posts or tweets by users incriminating now-President Biden were made, the same outlets deleted them and banned users, sometimes permanently for spreading lies and disinformation.
If these platforms are already censoring what they deem to be hate speech, how much easier will it be for them to do so with the federal government behind them, offering additional penalties?
But that’s really not the only recent or possible change to freedom of speech in Canada.
Bill C-10, passed in June, amends the Broadcasting Act, which focuses on the regulation of radio and TV networks, to add online platforms such as social media to be government regulated as well. According to the Toronto Sun, the government can now change algorithms and such for tech services like Facebook to align with the government’s wishes and messages in the nation.
Anything starting to remind you of how speech is handled in Communist China or Cuba?
Yeah, I thought so too.
And, apparently, we aren’t the only ones. Plenty of Canadians and online social media users are taking note of the possible coming changes and aren’t the least bit happy.
One even mentions that Trudeau is pretty much an “authoritarian dictator.”
And I have to say that I’m in total agreement. I mean, since when does a democracy, a western nation built on the freedoms of the individual people, restrain those individuals from saying what’s on their minds or in their hearts?
As I said before, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with not wanting hate speech in your nation. However, it is walking a fine line when you begin to regulate and censor that speech according to your own outlooks. And Canadian leaders like Trudeau would be wise to recognize that.