Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
August 24, 2009
CWL calls for end to anti-free speech provision
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
ST. JOHN'S, NL - The Catholic Women's League will ask Parliament to cut the controversial censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).
At its national convention Aug. 8-12 in St. John's, CWL delegates voted to urge the government to rescind the CHRA's Section 13 and restrict hate speech proceedings to the Criminal Code.
The CWL also passed a resolution to urge all levels of government to provide sustained funding to help people trying to exit prostitution. Another resolution calls for legislation to protect and support foreign human trafficking victims.
The three resolutions, which came from the grassroots initiatives, become the focus of CWL lobbying efforts for the next year.
Section 13 allows the Canadian Human Rights Commission to investigate and prosecute expression that is deemed "likely to expose" enumerated vulnerable groups to "hatred or contempt." Under this section, truth is no defence, nor is one's motive or intent.
The complainant's costs are government-funded, but the respondent must pay their own legal expenses. Provincial human rights commissions have similar rules.
The CWL's brief on the resolution argued that the words "likely to" and "contempt" are too broad, allowing for "frivolous and harassing complaints."