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Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop Trudeau’s ‘Online Harms Act’

(LifeSiteNews) –– A top constitutional lawyer has told LifeSiteNews that the most “shocking” part of the Trudeau government’s proposed “Online Harms Act” is that it could allow provincial courts to impose house arrest on Canadians over a “fear” that they may commit a “hate crime” in the future. 

“Possibly the most shocking part of this Bill is the addition of section 810.012 to the Criminal Code,” Marty Moore, who serves as the Litigation Director for Charter Advocates Canada, which is fully funded by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), told LifeSiteNews. 

“Under this new provision, a person can assert to a provincial court that they ‘fear’ someone will promote genocide or antisemitism, and that provincial court is empowered to jail a person for one year (two years if they have previously been convicted of such an offense) if they refuse to agree to court-imposed conditions.” 

Moore noted that the “court-imposed conditions” could be the mandated wearing of an ankle monitor, having a curfew, or not communicating with certain people.    

Similar pre-crime punitive tactics may also be carried out against Canadians for other so-called “hate” offenses unrelated to antisemitism or genocide, something Justice Minister Arif Virani, who introduced Bill C-63 into Parliament Monday, continues to defend. 

“[If] there’s a genuine fear of an escalation, then an individual or group could come forward and seek a peace bond against them and to prevent them from doing certain things,” Virani said Wednesday, arguing that such tactics “would help to de-radicalize people who are learning things online and acting out in the real world violently – sometimes fatally.”

If passed, Bill C-63 will create the “Online Harms Act” and modify existing laws, including the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, in what the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claim will target certain already illegal internet content such as child sexual abuse and pornography. 

However, the proposed law also seeks to target broadly defined “hate speech,” leading many Canadians to worry the bill is a trojan horse being used to usher in political censorship.

Most worryingly, the new bill will allow it so that anyone can file a complaint against another person with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for “posting hate speech online” that is deemed “discriminatory” against a wide range of so-called protected categories. The bill even includes a provision that allows the Commission to withhold the identity of the accuser from the accused, effectively paving the way for Canadians to have to defend themselves against anonymous complaints.

Moore, as reported by LifeSiteNews on February 27, previously said that the “Online Harms Act” will allow a new “Digital Safety Commission” to conduct “secret Commission hearings” against those found to have violated the new law, which raises “serious concerns for the freedom of expression” of Canadians online.  

According to the bill’s text, Canadians could soon face life imprisonment for certain “hate crimes,” in addition to other years-long prison terms and hefty fines for online posts the government deems as “hate speech” on the basis of gender, race and other categories.

Bill gives overly ‘broad definition’ to the term ‘hateful content’ 

In additional comments to LifeSiteNews about Bill C-63, Moore warned that the bill gives a broad definition to the term “harmful content.” 

“The definition of ‘content that incites violence’ could capture someone encouraging minor property damage in a context where it ‘could cause’ a person to do something that ‘could’ interfere with an ‘essential service, facility or system,’” Moore told LifeSiteNews. 

“Similarly, the definition of ‘content that incites violent extremism or terrorism’ could capture expression that encourages minor property damage in the course of political protest designed to pressure government on a particular issue, if the expression ‘could cause’ a person to do something that ‘could cause’ a ‘serious risk to the health or safety of the public,’” he added.

Moore observed that given Canadians recent experience in dealing with COVID mandates and lockdowns, which “literally banned protests on the basis that they could cause a risk to the health or safety of the public,” it is not hard to see how “these provisions” in Bill C-63 could be used to “censor expression advocating for civil disobedience and, other than minor property damage, peaceful protest.” 

To enforce the proposed law, the bill calls for the creation of a Digital Safety Commission, a digital safety ombudsperson, and the Digital Safety Office. 

The ombudsperson along with the other offices will be charged with dealing with public complaints regarding online content. It will also put forth a regulatory function in a five-person panel “appointed by the government,” whose task will be monitoring internet platform behaviors to hold people “accountable.” 

Moore told LifeSiteNews that Canadians have already seen government “grossly abuse Canadians’ rights and freedoms in the name of preventing harm and ensuring safety (COVID mandates).” He noted that this bill could give a commission of unelected officials a “concerning” amount of “reach” into “Canadians’ lives.”

In addition to Moore, Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre has also indicated the proposed law may be dangerous, saying earlier this week that the federal government is merely looking for clever ways to enact internet censorship laws.  

On Tuesday in the House of Commons, Poilievre came out in opposition to the Online Harms Act, saying that if the Trudeau government’s goal is to protect children, he should be enforcing criminal laws rather than censoring opinions online. 

Send an urgent message to Canadian legislators urging them to stop Trudeau’s ‘Online Harms Act’