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Posted Thursday, November 26, 1998

Truth will no longer be allowed as a defence for Canadian "holocaust deniers"
Ottawa, Canada, November 25, 1998

Crackdown on hate materials planned

Criminal code reforms: Tougher laws would include penalties, hard drive seizures

Reporter Jim Bronskill

OTTAWA--Possession of hate propaganda for the purpose of distributing it to others could soon be a crime.

The measure is among several planned Criminal Code reforms aimed at toughening laws against the spread of hatred. The package will include specific new penalties Reports for the desecration of churches, cemeteries, and other institutions -- a response to such crimes as the spray-painting of swastikas on gravestones and synagogues.

It would also include a Criminal Code revision allowing police to seize computer hard drives containing hate propaganda.

Another move would prevent those charged with promoting hatred from using the defence of truth based on a denial of the Holocaust or any other historically recognized act of genocide.

Federal and provincial justice ministers quietly agreed to the changes recently during a meeting in Regina.

"There was unanimous support for the principles here, that hate-motivated violence is something that we condemn," said Pierre Gratton, press secretary to Justice Minister Anne McLellan.

Federal justice officials are studying the planned revisions with the aim of bringing in legislation next year, Mr. Gratton said yesterday.

Current Criminal Code provisions prohibit anyone from inciting hatred against members of an identifiable group distinguished by colour, race, religion, or ethnic origin.

Under the changes, the list of characteristics would be expanded to include sex, sexual orientation, age, and mental or physical disability.

The new offence concerning possession would apply to those who have hate propaganda for the purpose of distributing it with the intention of promoting hate.

The provision will make it easier to crack down on hatemongers while protecting the right of people to openly discuss controversial issues, said Ujjal Dosanjh, British Columbia's attorney-general, who has been pushing for adoption of the new measures.

"It would preserve academic freedom, freedom of expression and all of those values that we cherish," Mr. Dosanjh said yesterday in an interview.

Canada's flag"Promotion of hatred isn't a value that we cherish as Canadians, and that's where it would stop."

Copyright © Southam Inc.
Our opinion
So the Introduction of a law that specifically strikes out truth as an absolute defence to any charge of defamation is not an abrogation of the Human Rights of Canadian citizens. Time moves on. As we once said of British historian Dr Cesarani, who announced that a similar law would "actually enhance" Freedom of Speech in England, we rather suspect that we and BC's Mr Ujjal Dosanjh must have learned our English at different schools.

Wired News- November 30, 1998

 Crimes Canada Loves to Hate

The article originally posted here has been remove\d at the request of author Matt Friedman, who e-mailed this website on 11.6.99:

Please be informed that you have reproduced an article that I wrote for Wired Digital on your page at
As I hold the copyright on this material, and as you have neither requested nor licensed reproduction rights, you are in violation of my copyright.

Please remove this article from your site immediately.

Matthew Friedman

The article was similar to the above, quoting with approval remarks by Ujjal Dosanjh, Elissa Leiff, senior counsel in the Department of Justice's Criminal Law Policy Section, and Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) all of whom praised the reforms. "The law isn't final, but with the wide-ranging approval we've gotten, it's pretty close," said Farber, the CJC's national director of community relations. "We have a concern that the Net needs some manner of legislation to ensure that it's not used by hatemongers to promote hate."

The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
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