Tories Who Voted Against Free Speech

February 13th, 2017 | R. Rados
free speech

Bill C-16 was a bill passed in the House Of Commons in October. Despite what left-leaning bloggers and journalists tell you, the bill criminalizes a wider range of speech. Canadian hate speech laws have always covered race, religion and various other identities, but as a result of Bill C-16, the laws will cover gender identity. Essentially, the bill criminalizes individuals and groups for discriminating against men and women who don't identify with their scientific and biologically assigned identities. Under Canada's vaguely written hate speech laws, discrimination can be as simple as saying the wrong thing. Conservative and libertarian principles automatically reject the idea that individuals should be punished for speaking, but according to some Conservative leadership candidates, criminalizing the spoken and written word is totally legitimate.

The intention of Bill C-16 was to update the Human Rights Act to include gender identity, which sounds innocent enough. However, because of Canada's hate speech laws, the bill expands the government's ability to prosecute speech. If Canada is going to have a Human Rights Act that protects individuals from legitimate forms of discrimination, it might make sense to include gender identity. But it's because of Canada's hate speech laws and clauses that Bill C-16 and other bills like it are dangerous. To this day, few Conservatives have come out against Canada's oppressive hate speech laws or offered to repeal them. Worse yet, there are Conservatives who have voted in favour of bills like Bill-16 and helped enhance the government's ability to criminalize speech. The one time free speech was expanded in Canada was in 2013, when section 13(1) of the Human Rights Act was repealed.

The number of Conservatives who voted in favour of Bill C-16 is staggering. After I list the leadership candidates who supported Bill C-16, I'll do a rundown of other anti-speech Conservatives who supported it.

First, here is the summary of Bill C-16:

This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

The enactment also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.”

The Human Rights Commission is the body that enforces much of the Canadian Human Rights Act. There have been a disturbing number of cases in Canada where individuals have been prosecuted for making hateful comments that did not advocate genocide, as stated in sections 318, 319 and 320 of the Criminal Code as a reasonable cause for punishment. Numerous Canadians have been charged simply for “circulating extreme feelings” against people or groups perceived as minorities. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that hate propaganda is anything that is “intended to or likely to circulate extreme feelings of opprobrium and enmity against a racial or religious group”. Thanks to Bill C-16, that now includes gender identity.

Opprobrium is a fancy word for harsh criticism. This means that harsh public criticism can be subjectively deemed damaging and, thus, prosecuted under the law as “hate propaganda”. Under the law, hate propaganda can be either spoken or written. There's no telling where future Supreme Court decisions will take hate speech in Canada, since they have made such rulings in the past.

So, who are the clowns in the Conservative leadership race who supported this nonsense?

Michael Chong – Voted Yes

This shouldn't surprise anyone. Michael Chong has been feigning outrage over everything his Conservative opponents say and do at a break-neck pace. It's hard to keep up with Chong's pandering to SJWs and Canada's millennial snowflakes.

Chong even voted for Bill C-279 in 2013, which is the predecessor to Bill C-16.

Maxime Bernier – Voted Yes

Bernier has done things that contradict his so-called libertarianism before, but this one takes the cake. As he has done an unsettling number of times in the past, Bernier backtracked. He published his opposition to the bill in a statement that also included a position on M-103, the motion to punish even more speech. Unfortunately, it's too late. Bernier voted for Bill C-16. Bernier made his libertarianism even more difficult to believe when he said he would support M-103 if the word islamophobia was removed. The problem is that M-103 is an anti-speech motion with or without islamophobia. It's a shame Bernier doesn't understand that.

To be fair, it should be noted that Bernier voted against Bill C-16's predecessor, Bill C-279 in 2013. But a vast majority of the Conservative caucus under Stephen Harper did the same.

Lisa Raitt – Voted Yes

Surprised? Raitt has tried hard to make her feminism known to voters, but she has also gone out of her way to virtue signal as often as possible. Raitt always wants everyone to know how centrist and unconservative she can be.

Deepak Obhrai – Voted Yes

Because of course he did.

Steven Blaney – Voted Yes

Steven who?

Kellie Leitch – Did Not Vote

Leitch has vowed to vote against M-103, but she didn't bother voting on Bill C-16. However, according to the National Post, a spokesman for her campaign said she intended to support the bill.

Erin O'Toole – Did Not Vote

O'Toole voted for a similar bill, Bill C-279, in 2013.

Who understood the implications Bill C-16 would have on free speech and voted against it?

Andrew Scheer – Voted No

If there is one thing Andrew Scheer has been, it's consistent. Unlike his peers, Scheer has often stood up against any kind of bill or motion that aims to suppress speech or religious freedom. Bill C-16 and M-103 are no-brainers for Scheer. While Maxime Bernier busted his brain over whether or not to support Bill C-16, Andrew Scheer had his mind made up. A true conservative never needs to think about protecting free speech and religious liberty.

Brad Trost – Voted No

Because of course he did.

The Rest

The rest of the leadership candidates are either outsiders or former MPs who lost their seats but still think they have a chance of winning. Rick Peterson is the only unelected leadership candidate who has repeatedly denounced M-103 on social media. Kevin O'Leary has not yet stated his position. In 2013, Chris Alexander voted for Bill C-279.

Some honourable mentions are in order for other Conservative MPs who voted against Bill C-16 in October: Blake Richards (Banff-Airdrie), Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park-Fort Sask), Candice Bergen (Portage-Lisgar), Tom Kmiec (Calgary Shepard) and Alice Wong (Richmond Centre). Of course, there are more, but their records haven't always been as consistent.

These are the Conservative MPs who voted for Bill C-16 and may also support M-103:

Rona Ambrose

Maxime Bernier (will not support M-103)

Steve Blaney

Deepak Obhrai

Michael Chong

Michelle Rempel

Mel Arnold

John Brassard

Tony Clement

Kerry Diotte

Jim Eglinski

Jacques Gourde

Matt Jeneroux

Ron Liepert

Jon Nater

Scott Reid

Jamie Schmale

Luc Berthold

Gord Brown

Michael Cooper

Marilyn Gladu

Pat Kelly

Denis Lebel

Larry Macguire

Cathy McLeod

Rob Nicholson

Martin Shields

Karen Vecchio

Kevin Waugh

David Yurdiga

Sylvie Boucher

Gerard Deltell

Bernard Genereaux

Joel Godin

Alain Rayes

Bruce Stanton

Len Webber

These Conservatives joined the entire NDP and Liberal caucuses to further expand the government's ability to prosecute people for saying things that could be subjectively deemed hateful or discriminatory. If the Conservative Party isn't the one party that always stands up for free speech, Canadians have few places left to turn.

The vote on M-103 is scheduled for this week. Stay tuned to the Poletical Twitter feed and Facebook page for a full list of Conservatives who supported it. A plan of action against the Conservatives who supported the motion will follow.

Here is the text of M-103, which was introduced by Liberal MP, Iqra Khalid:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making, (ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”