July 16, 2021
They may be legal, but people who post offensive Twitter messages are undermining Canada’s democracy, Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department says in a briefing note.
Blacklock’s Reporter said the Liberals claim censorship of those comments is needed for “a truly democratic debate.”
“This content steals and damages lives,” wrote staff.
“It intimidates and obscures valuable voices, preventing a truly democratic debate.”
Cabinet on June 23 introduced Bill C-36 that threatens Facebook, Twitter and YouTube users suspected of posting content that promotes “detestation or vilification” with house arrest or $70,000 fines. The heritage department promised public consultation on the bill.
“Our objective is to ensure more accountability and transparency from online platforms while respecting the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms,” said the June 16 briefing note.
“The mandate of the Department of Canadian Heritage includes the promotion of a greater understanding of human rights.”
Parliament in 1970 banned hate speech under the Criminal Code, but Bill C-36 would expand the law to prohibit hurtful remarks without evidence any crime was committed.
“Social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter are increasingly central to participation in democratic, cultural and public life,” said the briefing note.
“However, social media platforms can also be used to threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people or used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist and homophobic views that target communities, put people’s safety at risk and undermine Canada’s social cohesion or democracy.”
The briefing note provided no examples.
The Department of Justice in a June 23 Backgrounder to Bill C-36 said it “would apply to public communications by individual users on the Internet, including on social media, on personal websites and in mass e-mails,” blog posts, online news sites, “operators of websites that primarily publish their own content” and user comment sections.