Politics

Free Speech in Canada

   An opinionated Essay.

    Canada doesn’t have any documentation in the constitution regarding free speech. We do however have The right of “Freedom of expression.” As a Canadian, we can express any: thought, belief, or opinion we please without being harassed. However recent documents have been passed to protect minority groups from “Hate speech.”Hate speech, defined by Merriam Webster is “speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people. To understand this definition we must first understand what hatred actually means. Defined, hatred is the “intense dislike or ill will.” So, If anyone were to express any opinion that is not positive, or that is “bitter”  about the groups listed in Bill C-16, they would be committing hate speech. This is why we do not have free speech in our constitution, can we really express any view we want in Canada?

     Protesting, in the charter of rights is a very crucial part of the Canadian belief, though if you were to protest against an identifiable group: “colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability.” You would be committing a hate crime. (up to 2 years in prison.) I believe that we should still be able to debate/protest these topics such as Gender expression and identity. There is evidence on both sides, but one side often shuts the other down, and now with this bill passed it is virtually impossible to have a protest/public debate against these topics.

     The left also proposed a bill (89) in which if your child believes they are not the sex they were born, you must give them treatment as needed, or the government can intervene within the child to parent relationship. This seems completely insane, though it was passed. If somebody were to try to oppose this bill, they are instantly shut down because gender expression is protected under hate speech laws, and will be perceived as “Transphobic, Sexist”, and whatever else they can come up with.

     As I write this, just because I have a different opinion then what is taught in schools, there will be people either confused or offended. It’s not about being able to insult black people because they are black, doing so is just wrong to the mass majority of people, however, everyone is an equal individual. Anyone is allowed to have an opinion, as long as they don’t physically harm people or say they are about to. This is however about how somebody who is just as much an individual as you are, has protection over the law if they are insulted. They can use identity politics more, and more. I Have the right as an individual to criticize and have opinions (Positive, or Negative) about anyone I please. To have that simple right taken away is such a big problem. If everyone is truly equal, then the idea of using identity in politics and law is morally unjust.

     The opposition, however, believes that these groups are in need of some sort of help from years of oppression and aggression against them, that this bill shows that the liberal government cares more about everyone, and is as inclusive as possible. They create “Safe Spaces”(In Schools) for people who don’t want to hear other opinions that aren’t their own.  This is absolutely terrible. We need to hear other perspectives to form our own. That’s what being inclusive should mean! Inclusiveness is a great thing that I fully support. However, when the liberal government singles out these minorities, uses them to gain votes and then shuts down the right, that is a problem.

     Next, free speech is a critical thing if we want to learn from one another. As long as a group of protesters is being peaceful, please protest anything you would like. The idea of the left, however, is that if somebody wants to protest against any of the identifiable groups listed, is instantly going to be an aggressor, because somebody will be offended. If I have an opinion on something, and somebody is offended, that is not my problem at all. You do not have to listen. Aggression towards me, will not change my opinion. Though if you would like to have a proper discussion respectfully, we are both on even ground.

     Finally, I would like to cover “Microaggressions.” These are usually small comments such as “So, you’re Chinese, right?” or asking an Asian person if they can read a Japanese character on their phone. These things are just simple questions to most people. We assume that a person of Asian descent might be able to read some form of Asian literacy, but this is a profoundly offensive question to some people. Another violation of free speech. I have the right to ask any question I would like to ask. How am I supposed to know that this would offend you? Not every Asian person thinks the same. Typically, to be offended by a comment, they would have to intentionally insult you. When a person just asks a question because they are slightly ignorant to a topic, is no incentive to be offended and disregard their comment/insult them back. This is not productive at all.

     Overall where I believe that free speech doesn’t belong is when somebody says they are going to commit a crime to an individual. Though if I have a belief that a specific group of people is bad, and I want to prove to/warn people, I should be entitled to do this, not restricted. In my opinion, the government needs to stay out of our heads and out of Canadian rights.

2 thoughts on “Free Speech in Canada”

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