OTTAWA – The Trudeau government tabled Bill C-36 last week that proposes house arrest and $70,000 fines for social media comments the government deems to be unacceptable.
The Liberals claim Bill C-36 is aimed at countering “online hate” but leave the definition of “hate” vague.
In the bill, hate is broadly defined as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than dislike or disdain,” but hatred is not incited solely because it “discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.”
Bill C-36 also amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to make it discriminatory to communicate hate speech through the Internet.
Independent MP Derek Sloan slammed Bill C-36.
“Those who came to Canada fleeing totalitarian regimes where freedom of expression is outlawed recognize C-36 for what it is: a descent into the kind of dictatorship that Justin Trudeau warned us he admired,” said Sloan on social media.
Last week U.S. Senator Josh Hawley asked that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom put Canada on its special watch list following the arrests of Alberta pastors accused of breaking COVID-19 restrictions.
“I am troubled that our Canadian neighbours are effectively being forced to gather in secret, undisclosed locations to exercise their basic freedom to worship,” Hawley wrote in a letter. “Frankly, I would expect this sort of religious crackdown in Communist China, not in a prominent western nation like Canada.”
Earlier this month, in a rare show of bipartisan solidarity the US Senate came together to pass legislation aimed at strengthening Washington’s hand against China. The U.S. Senate passed the Bill in a 68 to 32 vote, which forces the Biden administration to outline its plans for working with allies on China-related issues.
The portion of the Bill that deals with Canada is called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
The bill focuses on issues surrounding the Trudeau government’s relationship with China including the spread of China’s authoritarian government trade, cyber-security, Huawei, 5G networks, mineral resources, defence, and organized crime.
In May Alberta ordered four universities to suspend pursuing partnerships with individuals or organizations linked to the Chinese government, citing national security concerns and the risk that the research could be used to facilitate human-rights abuses, reported The Globe and Mail.
The order affects the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge and Athabasca University.
Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, has also requested that the boards of governors at these universities prepare reports within 90 days detailing all agreements, research relationships, institutional relationships and joint ventures with anything connected to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Nicolaides has also asked for details on the “scope and scale” of all university ties to Chinese companies, government agencies or institutions.