(QUEBEC) Hoping to allay criticism, the Justice Minister, Stéphanie Vallée, filed on Thursday a series of amendments to the bill to counter “hate speech”. It clarifies the concept and removes the idea of creating a “blacklist” of offenders.
Lawyers and several other witnesses heard during public consultations deplored the vagueness of the concept of “hate speech”. They fear that freedom of expression is bullied.
“To remove any ambiguity as to what constitutes or does not constitute hate speech, and despite the fact that the concept is well known to the authorities, I will propose that the concept is defined,” Ms. Vallée said in committee where one begins the detailed study of the bill. “Thus, it could be anticipated that hate speech is a speech that, in the eyes of a reasonable person, is of extreme virulence or as likely to expose this group to marginalization or rejection, detestation, denigration or dislike for this particular group is perceived as illegitimate, dangerous and despicable. ”
To “clarify the circumstances in which the project falls,” the Minister added under its legislative piece that it aims to “fight against radicalization in particular.” In the preamble it states that it is “considering that it is necessary to prevent and fight against radicalization, intimidation and marginalization based on a pattern of discrimination”.
The bill gives a survey to the Human Rights Commission power and Youth Rights (CDPDJ) to detect “hate speech” or “inciting violence” against human groups. The Commission “must seize the Human Rights Tribunal if it considers that there is sufficient evidence to determine whether a person held or broadcast hate speech.” But an amendment proposes that even if the evidence is sufficient, the Commission can refer the person to a “resource most appropriate to their situation” that the Tribunal, as the Directorate of Youth Protection, the Public Curator or direction ‘school.
The bill provided that the Court of Human Rights routinely imposes a fine to a qualified individual guilty of keeping such speech. An amendment provides that the Tribunal may impose further “corrective measures” in addition to paying a fine, “the admission of the commission of the act complained of, the termination of the act or the fulfillment of a act “.
The first version of the bill meant that the name of a person convicted on a list on the Internet. This measurement is called a “black list” or “list of shame” during public consultations. Stéphanie Vallée decided to remove that provision because it would have resulted in several “more favorable elements of inconvenience.” She recalled that judgments are anyway available in data banks.
The minister spent several minutes of his opening remarks to the defense of the merits of his bill. “It is part of a desire to defend and promote fundamental freedoms while ensuring the safety of Quebecers,” she pleaded. The bill “is not intended to punish members of a particular religious community, but anyone, male or female, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish or atheist who disseminates hate speech that incites violence.” The minister added that the Supreme Court recognized that “the prohibition of hate speech is justified in a free and democratic society”. It is not contrary to the charters of rights, she insisted.