I Hate Hate But I Love Freedom of Speech

This is the challenge facing many Canadians. It involves getting our priorities right. But it is not as difficult a challenge as it seems. Once one realizes that the best way to fight hate is with free speech the choice becomes obvious.

Freedom of thought is the freedom to be who you are, and freedom of thought is meaningless if you cannot express your thoughts, Freedom of expression is the freedom to be yourself. And if you are a bigot or a racist, all the better that others know it. Hate is most effective and at its evilest when it is underground.

This issue was recently addressed by University of Windsor professor Richard Moon in his report on Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The CBC reports:

"My principal recommendation, in the end, has been for the repeal of Section 13," Moon told CBC News on Monday. "That does not mean that we no longer have hate speech regulation. What it means is that the Criminal Code of Canada, which has a ban on the wilful promotion of hatred, would be the recourse."

In his report, which was made public Monday, Moon also suggests that the application of the Criminal Code provision should also be limited. He says it should only be applied in cases where the speech "explicitly or implicitly threatens, justifies or advocates violence against the members of an identifiable group."
The report, indeed, recommends that only “speech” that advocates harm would be illegal and it would have to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a court of law.

This is a Canadian compromise that may not go as far as United States First Amendment Rights but balances the rights of those who want to exercise their free speech with the rights of those that may be harmed by it.

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