Freedom of expression is protected by s. 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but we take a less absolutist position on some aspects of it than in the U.S.
For example, courts can issue a temporary ban on the publication of evidence, as happened in the Homolka trial, dealing with the kidnapping-rape-murder of two teenage girls. The reason for such bans is not to hide the information from the public, but to balance the public’s right to know against the right of an accused to a fair jury trial. In the Homolka case, she ratted on her husband, Paul Bernardo, and pled out. His trial was set to go later.
The judge was concerned that the atrocious details of the crime, if released in advance, would poison the jury pool, making a fair trial impossible. The right to a fair, impartial jury trial is equally guaranteed, by sections 7 and 11 of the Charter. So, the court decided that a temporary ban, until the Bernardo trial began, was a reasonable way to balance the two rights.
On the issue of hate crimes, the courts have similarly said that freedom of expression is not an absolute, and have upheld both criminal and civil sanctions for hate crimes and hate literature. Again, the courts have relied on other provisions of the Constitution, notably the principle of the inherent worth and equality of each individual in our society. Hate literature and hate marches, beyond a certain point, undermines the basic principle of individual equality and respect in our society. As well, in much hate activities, there is an implicit threat of violence. So, the burning of crosses and spewing venom about deporting the “mud people” (their nasty phrase, not mine), can be the object of both criminal and civil sanctions, depending on the facts of the case.