The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Responds to the Supreme Court of Canada's Decision on the Whatcott Case

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - In response to the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding hate speech in the case of William Whatcott, David Koschitzky, Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, made the following statement: 

"The Jewish community of Canada understands all too well the corrosive impact of hate speech on vulnerable minorities, such as the LGBT community, who are fully entitled to protection. We hope that today's decision will help to clarify Canada's hate speech provisions which, due to their inherent ambiguity, have been prone to abuse.

Canada's hate speech protections need significant overhaul in terms of both content and process to ensure a proper balance between freedom of speech and protection from hate. This can be accomplished either through reform of the relevant civil procedures or through their repeal coupled with a more robust application of the Criminal Code provisions covering hate speech.

If the Criminal Code is to be relied upon, federal and provincial justice ministers should determine uniform guidelines and training programs for prosecutors and police to ensure that combating hate speech is made a priority. Furthermore, each province should establish its own Hate Crime Team, as has been done in British Columbia, and embark on an education campaign to ensure that Canadians understand what constitutes hate speech. 

In the coming weeks, The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs will be communicating this position to the RCMP and Attorneys General across the country to ensure that police and prosecutors are afforded all the necessary tools and training to effectively offer protection to those groups targeted by hate speech in Canada."

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is a non-partisan organization that serves as the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations of Canada.

SOURCE: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

For further information:

Jordan Kerbel
Deputy Director, Communications
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs/Centre consultative des relations juives et israeliénnes
jkerbel@cija.ca
cell:  416 317-9517