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Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2001 02:51:22 -0500
From: Marc Lemire 
Subject: PRESS CONFERENCE: Dissent & A Free Press Are Targets of
  Anti-Terrorist Bill
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Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc.
Box 332, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Ph: 905-897-7221; FAX 905-277-3914

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

For Immediate Release

Dissent & A Free Press Are Targets of Anti-Terrorist Bill

Press Conference

How Bill C-36 Will Gag the Internet

* Truth will be no defence against charges of "hate"
* A judge can order "hate" content removed from websites on a mere sworn
* Newspapers or magazines on-line will be vulnerable to "hate" charges
under new anti-terrorism act

Charles Lynch Room - House of Commons Press Gallery
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

12:30 p.m.

	"The federal government has handed the terrorists a cheap victory,"
Canadian Association for Free Expression Director Paul Fromm told a press
conference in Ottawa today. "A number of provisions sneaked into C-36, the
government's omnibus anti-terrorism bill now before Parliament, are aimed
at gagging political dissent and subjecting the Internet to the vice of
political correctness," Fromm charged.

	The government proposes to let a judge, on the basis of a sworn
information, order the deletion of material from any Internet site in
Canada that, "on the balance of probabilities", constitutes "hate
propaganda" -- that is, wilful promotion of  hatred against an identifiable
group (colour, race, religion or ethnic origin). A hearing would be held
within a "reasonable" period of time where the person who posted the
material could advance arguments as to why the material was not "hate
propaganda". If the judge  ruled against the writer, the order would be
permanent. If he ruled the material was not hate propaganda, it could not
be restored "until the time for final appeal has expired."

	"This is carte blanche for censorship of websites that criticize the
government's failed immigration policy," said Fromm. "Material can be
ordered removed from websites. There is no definition of a 'reasonable'
time within which a hearing must be held. The judge can order the permanent
removal of offensive opinion on mere probability that it constitutes 'hate'
against privileged groups, not that it does so 'beyond a reasonable
doubt,'" Fromm said.

	Timely material can be ordered gagged and might not be restored to a
website until many months or years later, after all appeals have been
exhausted. "Ironically, this is not a war on terrorism, but a war on free
speech," Fromm charged.

	If anything, the government's attack on the Internet becomes even more
insidious as it has amended Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Section 13.1 makes it a discriminatory practice to publish anything that is
"likely to expose to hatred or contempt" members of a long list of
privileged groups  (race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age,
 sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, or
conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted). "Under
Section 13.1, truth is no defence, nor does intention matter," says Fromm. 

	The Canadian Association for Free Expression has been an intervenor in the
two attempts thus far to extend Section 13.1, which originally was aimed at
telephone  messages, to the Internet.

	"The Canadian press will be under the gun," Fromm warned. Almost all
newspapers and magazines are now "on-line." Presently, newspapers and
magazines only have to worry about Section 319 ("hate propaganda") of the
Criminal Code when writing on controversial matters about ethnic groups or
religions -- say, the role of Islam in the recent terror bombings. Under
Section 319, truth and intention are defences. "However," warns Fromm, "a
large number of media may soon find themselves hauled before human rights
tribunals for statements they made that offended an ethnic or religious
group. Truth will be no defence. A sincere intention to discuss a problem
will be no defence."

	The government's justification for its assault on dissent and a free press
is mendacious," says Fromm. The Justice Department asserts: "Following the
attack on September 11, Canadians have called for a renewed commitment to
Canadian values of respect, equality, diversity and fairness and a strong
condemnation of hate-motivated violence that has occurred in Canada and
elsewhere against innocent people." "There has been virtually no 'hate
motivated violence' in Canada against  innocent people since September 11,"
said Fromm. This is a complete red herring. People are calling for
protection from terrorists not from diversity of opinion."

	"On September 11 nobody died because of the Internet. Over 5,000 people,
including several dozen Canadians, died because of the lax
immigration/refugee policies of both the American and Canadian
governments," Fromm charged. "These anti-free speech measures don't even
mention terrorism, defence of terrorism, or promotion of terrorism. They
are aimed  simply at the critics of the Canadian government's disastrous
immigration policy," Fromm explained to a press conference in the
Parliamentary Press Gallery.


Founded in 1983, the Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc. is
Canada's leading advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
We seek to maximize the Charter rights of freedom of speech and freedom of
the press. We have been granted intervenor status in a number of free
speech cases in Ontario and British Columbia, including the two
prosecutions thus far under Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act
dealing with "hate" communications on the Internet.

Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc.
Box 332, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Ph: 905-897-7221; FAX 905-277-3914

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