Legislation known as Bill C-36 is something for Americans to keep a close eye on.
Here’s how it would work: Canadians are encouraged to report their fellow citizens to the authorities, and people could then be taken to court and penalized before they even post something online – assuming their motive to be hateful. That’s right. A person can get in trouble for something they are suspected of intending to post (what government defines as) “hate speech” online.
‘So,’ you might ask, ‘someone could be punished for something they haven’t even done yet?’ Yup.
One Canadian citizen, VP of Communications for Substack, Lulu Cheng Meservey called attention to what she referred to as “Alarming aspects” of this new law including:
1) Fuzzy and circular definition of “hateful” speech (“involves detestation…stronger than dislike”) 2) Encouraging citizens to report on one another — creepy 3) The ability to punish people for something they haven’t actually done yet (!)
So in the year 2022, according to this legislation, this crime is defined as “a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
If a Canadian citizen “fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit” hate speech online, or “an offence motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor,” they can turn in their neighbor by giving the information to a Canadian court.