Archive/File: orgs/canadian/canadian-jewish-congress/marches-to-modems/mtm-005-02 Last-Modified: 1997/03/30 5.3 The Canadian Human Rights Act Section 13 ofthe Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) makes it a violation of the CHRA to communicate telephonically or to cause to be communicated 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 of discrimination (see Appendix I). The prohibited grounds of discrimination are religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, age, sex and marital status, disability, and sexual orientation. Essentially, section 13 has been used to combat what are popularly termed telephone hate lines which involve a prerecorded hate message, prepared by a group or individual, to which any member of the public could dial by telephone. In many instances, these telephone hate lines have been used by hate groups as a way to expand membership. Among the sanctions available in response to a violation of the section is a cease and desist order in relation to messages which cause hatred or contempt against identifiable groups. In the event that such orders are not complied with, criminal contempt of court proceedings are available and have been used.. Other differences between section 13 and the Criminal Code provisions are that the CHRA provision applies to messages of hatred or contempt transmitted only by telephone lines. Given that section 13 is not a criminal provision, the standard of proof required is less than that necessary for a conviction pursuant to section 319 (2) of the Criminal Code. Under section 319 (sub 2) the violation must be proved at the criminal standard, beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast the less stringent civil standard of proof on the balance of probabilities is the bench mark to show a violation of section 13. In addition, section 13 deals not just with promotion of hatred but with "hatred or contempt". It is clear that the promotion of contempt under section 13 requires the promotion of less severe dislike than that necessary for "promotion of hatred", as contemplated in the Keegstra decision. Section 13 of the CHRA has played an important role in limiting the dissemination of hatred and contempt against identifiable groups in the Metropolitan Toronto area. Between 1991 and 1994 there were at least 7 taped telephone "hotlines" spreading hate messages, with many of those operating at the same time. Complaints pursuant to section 13 were filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in relation to hate lines in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario. The most notable was a complaint to be considered by the Commission against the Heritage Front, operators of the most notorious hate line in this city. In 1994, before a Human Rights Tribunal, Wolfgang Droege and the Heritage Front accepted a consent order admitting that its messages were likely to expose persons to hatred or contempt and agreed to cease and desist from transrnitting the messages. Soon after the consent order, the Federal Court Trial Division found Wolfgang Droege (leader of the Heritage Front), Gary Schipper (i.e. the voice of the hate line), Kenneth Barker and the Heritage Front guilty of contempt of court for continuing to play hate messages on a newly established Equal Rights For Whites hate line. All of the individuals involved served time in prison and the Heritage Front was fined $5,OOO.
Within a short time following the contempt of court conviction only one hate line remained in the Toronto area. It is clear that the use of the legislation available to combat hate lines was effective, not only moderating the message of the hate line which continued, but also serving as a deterrent against the continued operation of other such lines in Toronto. Indeed, Kevin Lew, who ran a Ku KIux Klan hate line in 1992, admitted that the threat of criminal contempt of court proceedings was enough to make him hang up his hate line. Beside hate telephone lines, section 13 has the potential of being employed against hate messages on the Internet. The reason for section 1 3's applicability is that Internet messages are transmitted via telephone lines. While no case has yet been completed, applying section 13 to the Internet, one highly publicized case is in its early stages. The Toronto Mayor's Committee on Race Relations and a Toronto Holocaust survivor, Sabina Citron, have commenced companion complaints against Ernst Zundel in relation to material posted on his website. The case is currently at a preliminary stage. Certainly, there are potential problems in the application of section 13 to the Internet. In some cases, demonstrating Canadian Human Rights Commission jurisdiction may be difficult given that many hate messages, via the Internet, that find their way into Canada originate from beyond this country's borders. In addition, there are many difficult evidentiary issues including the responsibility of individuals who may not physically post hate messages on the lnternet but have their work posted by another person or group. Despite the hurdles, section 13 certainly holds promise.
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