It's taken a little longer than we expected...

… but Auf Wiedersehen! Ernie!

Don’t let the cell door hit you on the way in! ;j :wally

We’ll always have your poison to remember you buy. :rolleyes:



I am a jew. I think what Canda has done is wrong. What Canadian law did this man violate? How was he a threat to security?

The right to free speech must include speech which unpopular. Otherwise it means nothing.

Denying the holocaust is a crime in Germany?

Criminy. Why can’t they prosecute him on real crimes? Having a hateful website and denying the Holocaust, while reprehensible, are not crimes. Did he assault or kill anyone?

And this

scares the bejesus out of me.

I believe hate speech is a crime. Also, speech that may incite violence against a particular group(s).

OTTOMH the following are crimes in Germany

giving the Heil Hitler salute.

Saying Heil Hitler.

Selling a copy of Mein Kampf (it’s legal to own a copy though)

The depiction of unaltered Nazi uniforms or symbols (I believe these are legal only in a historical/educational context).

I’m unfamiliar with Canadian law. However, here any speech which incites illegal action is not protected. NeoNazis can say ‘The Jews are evil.’ all they want, but saying ‘Kill the Jews!’ is illegal.

There have been various hate crime laws passed. But these penalize based on motivation for something that is already a crime IE It’s found that John Smith assualted somebody with a baseball bat, because the victim was black. These laws have spawned GD threads.

AFAIK, hate speech remains essentially legal and protected. IMHO this is how it should be. Hate speech may be hateful. But, it’s also speech which should be free.

Did I read somewhere you’re not allowed to name your child Adolf in Germany? Or am I imagining things?

Is there no freedom of speech in Canada, as protected by their Constitution?

Plenty. But you have the debate on what exactly constitutes a hate crime, and whether you can prosecute for hateful statements, and whether the defence can argue for free speech–like you have done. :slight_smile:

Quick google of Canadian Criminal Code on Hate Speech yielded:

Did I read that right? A guy was held for 2 years in solitary without being charged?

And it was in Canada??

I’m sure I don’t have all the facts on the case, this surely couldn’t happen in Canada.

IIRC he was claiming refugee status on the basis that he was liable to persecution for his political beliefs in his home country of Germany. Immigration was contending that he didn’t qualify as a refugee, had given up his landed immigrant status by moving to the US, and should be deported as an illegal immigrant and security risk.

The legal issue was whether he was entitled to stay in Canada, not whether he had committed a crime under Canadian law, hence no charge, but detention until his immigration status was resolved (2 years only because he dragged out every last avenue of appeal to the limits). I suspect the solitary bit was exaggeration.

Yes, there is. And sorry, I could be briefer on the subject, I suppose, but here is the long answer. If you want the short answer, take a look at the Government of Canada website, here is a “fact sheet” on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

So, the longer answer. In Canada we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is a schedule to our constitution, first called the British North America Act, then renamed the *Constitution Act, 1867 * when we patriated the constitution in the 1980s.

Section 2 of the Charter defines fundamental freedoms in Canada to include:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
**b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; **
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association. the freedom of speech,

But there is also an explicit choice made that these rights may be limited to the extent that such limitations can be demonstrably justified as laid out in section 1 of the Charter:

  1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
    Where such limits are introduced the burden lies upon the enacting party to demonstrate the justification for that limit. Canadian case law at all judicial levels including at the Supreme Court of Canada in the just over twenty years since enactment of the Charter of Rights has worked to set the balance.

In fact, in a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on section 319, the section cited by **Quick Silver ** below in another hate speech situation, R. v. Keegstra thirteen years ago. In that case, the court held that although section 319 infringes upon the right to freedom of expression, that infringement could be justified as a reasonable limit. A number of tests established in an earlier case, R. v. Oakes are applied to determine whether a limit has been demonstrated to be reasonable.

The net result, quoting from one portion of the view of the majority in the Keegstra judgment is:
“Parliament has recognized the substantial harm that can flow from hate propaganda, and in trying to prevent the pain suffered by target group members and to reduce racial, ethnic and religious tension in Canada has decided to suppress the wilful promotion of hatred against identifiable groups. The nature of Parliament’s objective is supported not only by the work of numerous study groups, but also by our collective historical knowledge of the potentially catastrophic effects of the promotion of hatred (Jones, supra, per La Forest J., at pp. 299-300). Additionally, the international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and the stress placed upon equality and multiculturalism in the Charter strongly buttress the importance of this objective. I consequently find that the first part of the test under s. 1 of the Charter is easily satisfied and that a powerfully convincing legislative objective exists such as to justify some limit on freedom of expression.”

The decision goes on to measure the section of the Criminal Code against the other elements of the section 1 test for justifiability.

It’s also worth noting, perhaps, that in another decision of the Supreme Court involving Ernst Zundel himself, R. v. Zundel two years after the Keegstra case, the Supreme Court held that another section of the Criminal Code, section 181 prohibiting wilful publication of false statement or news that person knows is false and that is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest could not withstand the scrutiny of a Charter challenge.

So, coming back to the shorter answer, Canadians do have the right to freedom of expression, however, it is not an absolute right. However, from my understanding of the American right to freedom of speech neither it is absolute, per the classic law school example, the right does not extend to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

In the end, if there is a spectrum to freedom of speech/expression Canadians have chosen to draw the line to this freedom in a different place along that spectrum than our American neighbours. And to me, this is unsurprising, given our differing histories and cultures.