TORONTO, Nov. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - PEN Canada today announced its support
for Conservative MP Brian Storseth's private member's bill calling for
the repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) which
deals with hate speech.
"The best defense against so-called 'hate speech' is not government
enforcement of vague prohibitions, but an educated and alert citizenry
and vigilant and responsible media," said Charles Foran, President of
This is not the first call for the repeal of Section 13, which makes it
a discriminatory practice to communicate by telecommunication,
including the internet, "any matter that is likely to expose a person
or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person
or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground
In 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission hired constitutional law
expert Professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor to examine
section 13. He recommended that it be repealed, a recommendation that
was never acted on. In his report, Professor Moon wrote: "We must
develop ways other than censorship to respond to expression that
stereotypes and defames the members of an identifiable group and to
hold institutions such as the media accountable when they engage in
these forms of discriminatory expression."
"The right of free expression is guaranteed as a "fundamental freedom"
by subsection 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms" said Philip Slayton, Chair of PEN Canada's National Affairs Committee, "section 13 of the CHRA is inconsistent with the right of free expression
in Canada and is wrong in principle."
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, established by the CHRA, has wide
powers if it substantiates a discriminatory practice, including
ordering the person responsible for the practice to compensate the
victim and pay a penalty of up to $10,000.
PEN Canada is an organization of writers and others that defends freedom
of expression both at home and abroad.
SOURCE PEN Canada
For further information:
Brendan de Caires: 416 703 8448 ext 21 | firstname.lastname@example.org