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Is it a crime not to be nice in Canada? (Essay Sample)


watch (Ezra Levant on CTV) on youtube https://www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ctDgw_UhbsA watch (Chris Schafer: Freedom MIA in Whatcott Decision) https://www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WvVNzamSKdU John Leo discusses the rise of legislative and bureaucratic moves to civilly litigate or criminally prosecute "Offensive Speech" in Canada. Canada, along with Germany, Great Britain, France, and other nations, has sought to ban extremist rhetoric that incites racial, religious, ethnic, or linguistic discrimination or violence. Such efforts in the United States do not criminalize the mere expression of an offensive idea nor do they involve prior restraint (censorship) of offensive ideas. Rather, if printed, spoken or broadcast words actually incite violence or result in substantial harm or injury to others, the person responsible for the harmful utterance can be held civilly liable and, in some cases, criminally responsible. What counts as a "Hate Crime?" In the United States? There must be a criminal act of violence that is either incited by or motivated by a hate motivation or bias. However in Canada the mere expression of ideas or speech that might expose somebody to ridicule - WHETHER INTENTIONAL OR NOT and WHETHER THE EXPRESSION IS TRUE OR NOT - can be construed as a civil rights violation in itself. This is the language of the Canadian Human Rights Act "Section 13.1" and related Canadian Criminal Code. Here is Ezra Levant, the publisher of the (now defunct) "Western Standard," discussing his own experince with one of the Canadian . Ultimately due to the attention drawn to the inequities of the actions taken by the HRC staffers the Human Rights Commissions temporarily lost the ability to enforce Section 13.1 as it was written. While the Canadian Parliament seemed disposed at one point to rewrite Section 13.1 to restrain the HRCs' powers another case involving an appeal by the Saskatchewan HRC against an anti-gay activist, Bill Whatcott, resulted in a animous decision holding the power of the HRCs to censor alleged Hate Speech. and see also Bill Whatcott Loses Free Speech Case. Questions: Read through these questions and answer them 1. What traditional legal protections commonly afforded the accused under Anglo-Saxon systems of law were manifestly not present in the proceedings against Levant and others? 2. What limits should be set in place against "hate speech" that actually is intended to incite violence or harm against others? 3. Why were the abuses by the various Human Rights Commissions possible in Canada? Explain why these abuses could occur in Canada based on your knowledge of Canada that you learned in class lecture and from your notes on Moodle? 4.Could such a situation arise here in the United States? Why or why not?


Most western countries agree that it is necessary to use laws to prevent and punish hate speech so as to prevent the occurrence of hate crimes, protect human rights, support vulnerable groups, provide redress to victims but most importantly upheld respect and equality. Words have power therefore hate speech can influence to act. Laws against hate speech are necessary and important in any democracy. Without these laws words may be used to promote intolerance, division, violence or marginalization. Unlike the rest of the world United States hold a different view of what hate speech is. Words are considered hate speech only if they can be directly linked to an act of violence or crime.
In the case of William Whatcott of Saskatchewan the judges ruled that hate speech should include words that may expose a certain group of people to hatred. According to Justice Marshall Rothstein there should be a balance between freedom of expression with other values and rights essential to a democratic society. "Speech resulting from moral conviction or within a public policy debate does not cleanse it from its harmful effects" ruled the judges. According to the judges the focus should not be on the intent of the speaker but the effects of the hate speech.
While courts are important in the fight against hate speech, these courts should be used against genuine cases. Tribunals and courts should review and weigh evidence to ensure it is truly hate not offensive speech. The main problem with hate speech laws in Canada is that it is highly subjective. What constitutes the speech is not well defined; it lacks consistency, clarity and certainty. There seems to be a fine line between hateful and hurtful speech. In order to control or prevent hate speech there should be a clear definition of what hate speech is and then ensure that laws are enacted to severely punish anyone guilty of hate spe...
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