Hate speech law on the chopping block
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson makes an announcement in Montreal on November 1, 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)
Canada's human rights commissions could soon be de-fanged.
New legislation would repeal Section 13, the hate speech portion of Human Rights Act.
"Our government believes Section 13 is not an appropriate or effective means for combating hate propaganda. We believe the Criminal Code is the best vehicle to prosecute these crimes," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told the House of Commons during question period.
"I say to the opposition: get onside with the media, MacLean's magazine, National Post, and even the Toronto Star says this section should go."
Quebecor and its media properties, including Sun News Network and QMI Agency, also want the section scrapped.
Tory backbencher Brian Storseth drafted the private member's bill, C-304.
"This is a great first step," Storseth told The Source host Ezra Levant on Sun News Network. "Free speech is something we all hold very dear to our hearts and something we all have a necessity for."
Levant, a lawyer, put the boots to the Alberta Human Rights Commission after they accused him of spreading hate speech in 2006 for reprinting a cartoon of Mohammed wearing a turban bomb in his Western Standard magazine.
The same Danish cartoon had sparked Islamist riots that killed more than 200 people in one month. The artist lives under constant threat.
"The entire Canadian Human Rights Act ought to be repealed. It's worse than just useless," said Levant. "You don't even have to cause hurt feelings - just to have published something likely to cause hurt feelings. What an insane law, so un-Canadian, so contrary to our traditions of liberty that go back centuries, inherited from the United Kingdom,."
With a Conservative majority in the House and the Senate, the bill will likely become law quickly, after 32 years accusations and convictions over allegations of hate speech.
"No more witch hunts by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, no more persecuting their political enemies, said Levant.