freedom of speech Tag

23 Feb 2017 M-103: A threat to free speech or much ado about nothing?

By John Sikkema Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga, tabled her Private Member’s Motion, M-103, in December, 2016. The motion calls on the House of Commons to: (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...

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24 Jul 2015 Highs and Lows of the 41st Canadian Parliament

On June 18th, the House of Commons adjourned, setting the stage for an election campaign that will end the 41st session of Parliament. This is an appropriate time to look back on the past four years and see what was accomplished, especially through the lens of ARPA Canada and the issues that we focus on. Pre-born Human Rights: When the Conservatives were handed a majority in the last federal election, many Christians hoped that pre-born human rights would finally be addressed. These hopes were in vain. Although some courageous MPs stood up for the pre-born, the leadership of all the political parties in the House of Commons did their utmost to suppress these efforts.   Motion 312, championed by MP Stephen Woodworth, was the first motion that held promise. It asked that “a special committee of the House of Commons be appointed and directed to review the declaration in Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth.” Local ARPA chapters hosted presentations by Mr. Woodworth on this motion and many ARPA supporters encouraged MPs to support it. But with the party leaders all vocally opposed, the motion died in the House by a vote of 203 to 91. Yet Motion 312 reignited a discussion that was quiet for too long. Momentum for addressing this injustice was building.
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21 Jul 2014 Without autonomous families, freedom falters

It’s frightening that a provision protecting a parent’s authority over their child’s education would cause so much controversy in Alberta, the land of the free. And it’s ironic that when the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly parental rights are all the rage. Last month, PC leadership contenders landed in hot water over their support of section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. This 2009 amendment requires educators to inform parents with a written letter when their children will be taught about controversial issues including religion and sexual ethics. This section simply affirms the common law right and the constitutional freedom of parents to raise their children according to their own worldview. This freedom and right is also protected under the Charter’s section 2(a) and 2(b) provisions (freedom of religion and freedom of expression) and under section 7 (right to liberty).
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02 Jul 2014 Report Card: Assessing Canada’s Conservative Government

The following article, "Report Card: Assessing Canada's Conservative Government on 10 Key Issues" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been updated and included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy. By Mark Penninga (Updated July, 2014) In a June 2011 article for Reformed Perspective I detailed 10 realistic goals that could be accomplished for our nation under this Conservative government if our leaders have the courage to lead and if citizens give them the encouragement and accountability to do so. Now that we are about halfway through this government’s mandate, how are we faring on these issues? 1. Give Aboriginals the responsibility and hope that belongs to all Canadians Grade: B+ Not long after ARPA published a policy report on this issue in 2012, we were very encouraged to see the federal government announce a number of bills and policies to increase accountability, equality, and opportunity for Canada's Aboriginal peoples. In June 2013, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act became law. Aboriginal MP Rob Clarke has also introduced a private member's bill C-428 entitled the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act. And the government has also taken steps towards allowing private property ownership on reserves and increasing parental responsibility in education. As encouraging as these changes are, they are small steps in light of the enormity of the problem. And given that the issue crosses into provincial responsibility, much more can also be done in having the provinces and federal government work towards a common vision. 2. Reform the Canadian Human Rights Commission Grade: C- In light of all the opposition from all sides of the political spectrum to problematic sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is striking that it took a private member's bill (Brian Storseth's C-304) to finally abolish Section 13 in the summer of 2013. This was a huge victory, but the current government can't take much credit for it, apart from not actively opposing it. Much more can be done to reform or even abolish the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
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11 Feb 2014 Devaluing Rights

On In a decision decision that came out on January 31st, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which makes it a crime to communicate something which "may" result in someone feeling hated, is both constitutional and in accord with freedom of expression.
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07 Jan 2014 Reminder: Petition for Free Expression

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has provided a petition (click here) petition (click here) calling on the Legislature of BC, AB, and SK to amend their respective human rights codes and acts to protect free expression. We encourage our readers to print it off, get some signatures, and follow the instructions on the petition:
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23 Jul 2013 Threats of violence aren’t a free speech issue. They’re a crime

Recently, a lesbian couple in Kingston received threatening letters in their mailbox, stating that they would be shot with BB guns if they didn't move out of the city. In case anyone is wondering, these kinds of threats of violence are NOT hate speech. Threats are worse than hate speech. ARPA Canada regularly advocates for the removal of hate speech laws (and we saw success at the federal level just recently on that front - see here). But threats of violence are a totally different ball game and should not...

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