Essay about The Canadian Human Rights Act: Controversial or Not?

Essay about The Canadian Human Rights Act: Controversial or Not?

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Thanks to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and passionate advocates of unsanctioned freedom of speech, Internet blogger Marc Lemire now stands at the apex of a remarkably heated controversy in human rights law. Anti-Racist Canada (2012) recalled that five months after the launch of his Freedom-Site on the Internet in January 1996, Lemire used his website to promote his CD-ROM, via a Stormfront mailing list, that was, “filled to the brim with Pro-White files, including sound files, movies, pictures, and text files.” This CD-ROM caught the attention of Richard Warman, a human rights lawyer and former employee of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). He then wasted no time in accusing Lemire of a violation of Section 13 of the CHRA. As it stands today, Section 13 explicitly states that it is discriminatory to communicate via the phone or the Internet any material “that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” This effectively placed the monitoring of communication over these electronic media under the jurisdiction of the CHRC. At this point, many Canadians felt that this infringed unreasonably upon their fundamental freedom of speech. They have continued to allege that this law is unconstitutional and a blatant form of censorship. Steyn (2009) reported that Judge Hadjis of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, who tried Lemire’s case, proceeded to dismiss the charge as he too shared the public’s view. The CHRC appealed the decision made by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Warman v. Lemire to the Federal Court of Canada, a ruling from which may or may not establish a precedent that will effectively negate Section 13. However, the assertion, made by members of the public and Judge Hadj...

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...-Hate Laws and Freedom of Expression (Publication No. 2010-31E). Retrieved from
ResearchPublications/2010-31-e.htm. Accessed on Mar. 17, 2012.

Steyn, M. (2009, September 17). It took a while but Section 13 is dead. Macleans.
Retrieved from Accessed on Mar. 17, 2012.
Slane, A. (2011). Hate Speech, Public Communication and Emerging Communications
Technologies. Retrieved from Accessed on Mar. 18, 2012.
University of Ontario Institute of Technology. (2006). Notable Canadian Hate Crime
Cases. In Reading Hate: Hate Crime Research and Scholarship in Canada. Retrieved from Accessed on Mar. 17, 2012.

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