NewsThu Apr 29, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST
Homosexual Hate Crime Signed into Law; Chilling Effect on Free Speech, Religion and Importing Materi
OTTAWA, April 29, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - LifeSiteNews.com was informed by the Governor General’s office today that homosexual hate crime Bill C-250 was given Royal Assent this morning, putting the law into effect.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) said it was deeply disturbed at the passage of the bill and the possible impact on religious freedom in Canada. Bill C-250, a private members bill, includes the phrase “sexual orientation” in the groups protected against the spread of hate propaganda in the Criminal Code. The Senate passed the bill yesterday despite an outpouring of concern from hundreds of thousands of Canadians. Dr. Janet Epp Buckingham, director of Law and Public Policy of the EFC, said, “This legislation comes at a time when issues of sexual morality and marriage are at the forefront of public debate. Without a clear definition of what is criminal hatred, it is ambiguous what public statements will be considered criminal.” The president of Canada Christian College and the Canada Family Action Coalition, Dr. Charles McVety concurred saying in a release, “Paul Martin and his Liberal team adopted Private Member’s Bill C-250 and pushed it through the Senate to become law just in time to pave the way for a new election. Now criticism of the redefinition of marriage may be a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in prison.” Bruce Clemenger, president of the EFC said, “While opposing the promotion of hatred against anyone, we are deeply concerned about the chilling effect this legislation may have on the legitimate expression of religious belief. We as a religious community want to ensure that the purpose of prohibiting hate speech does not criminalize the legitimate expression of religious belief, the resulting views of morality nor religious texts.” Legislators in both the House and Senate expressed concern over the bill’s passage as well. Conservative Justice Critic Vic Toews said, “most Liberals in both the Senate and the House of Commons chose to support an NDP-sponsored law that could put fundamental Canadian freedoms in jeopardy.” Liberal Senator Anne Cools said the law exposes “millions of Canadians to criminal prosecution who hold moral opinions about sexuality.” LifeSiteNews.com has learned that the legislation could be used to further wall off Canadians from influence from other nations. That is, even importing of printed or electronic material may be affected by the legislation.
The hate crime provisions of the Criminal Code are used by the federal postal agency to prohibit importation of materials deemed under the legislation to constitute hate propaganda. With groups like Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and other pro-family groups shipping pro-family materials into Canada the new law also creates concern that the materials may be subject to interception, seizure and forfeiture as ‘hate’ materials by Canada Post.
On the radio and television media front, Canadians have for some time already been denied Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and Dr. Laura because they offend the politically correct sensibilities of powerful Canadian media controllers.