Although we are guaranteed freedom of speech in our fundamental freedoms under section two of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and freedom of expression under section two (b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Anti Terrorism Act infringes this right. Much of “political activity, including expression and activism that challenges government policy is and always has been a target of high policing in Canada.” (Larsen, M., 2015) Perhaps the government feels threatened by new ideas and does not want to be challenged. This forces the government to target groups of people who question the current system and spread new ideas freely.
Bill C-51 “will lead to a massive chill on free expression.” (Fine, 2015) This worries many Canadians. One group of individuals particularly affected and concerned with this are academics; This is because they are publishing and should be free to say as they please without the fear of punishment or consequence. Freedom of expression is what allows our society to build, create, and share new ideas while progressing and advancing in both society and thought.
The Consequence of this Act for Academics
The Anti Terrorism Act greatly affects academics as they continuously practice their freedom of expression and present new ideas and point of views to the public. “The possibility of broad and unaccountable information sharing will have a chilling effect on academic freedom and other forms of expression, advocacy, and protest. The circumstances captured by the Act are unprecedented and are so broad that academics and others will have reason to avoid saying and doing things that could fall within the scope of the law.” (What does C-51 Mean for Academic Freedom & Camp...
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...challenge appeared to be promising and many believed it would be ruled in their favour, there is no further information on this issue. This leads many to believe that the case was either dropped or not dealt with yet, meaning it is still unknown how the courts will rule when a charter challenge is brought forward.
Since it has not been tested in courts yet, it is unknown how the courts will rule if a charter challenge arises. Seeing as much of the public is against this Anti Terrorism Act, it will be interesting to see how to judge(s) will rule in this case. It is also interesting to think about how the results may vary if judges were elected instead of appointed, or if they were appointed by a different political party. Currently, seven of the nine judges in the Supreme Court were elected by the Harper government, who is the same government that created this bill.
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