All posts tagged: internet culture

Words, Violence and Hate Speech

In 2001, Canada expanded section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to include “telecommunications over the internet”. This section of the CHRA dealt with “hate messages”. The expansion allowed the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) to go after anyone on the internet “that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” based on group identity. Investigations were prompted by complaints, which allowed serial complainants like Richard Warman to effectively use the CHRC for personal vendettas. The cases prosecuted under 13(1) were done so outside of the Canadian judicial system, which resulted in a number of controversies concerning the CHRC’s handling of these cases. To provide a sense of how the CHRC was operating, the lead investigator gave the following quote when being interviewed about the Marc Lemire case in 2006. “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value… it is not my job to give value to an American concept.”   This is the type of person leading the commission, so it is …