Mr. Brian Storseth (Westlock—St. Paul, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country are increasingly concerned that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act infringes upon our most important human right, namely the freedom of expression.
This is the reason why I was pleased to introduce Bill C-304, which will repeal section 13.
My bill has the wide-ranging support of journalists, civil libertarians and the Muslim Canadian Congress. People from all points of the political spectrum agree that this part of Canada’s Human Rights Act needs to be repealed.
Can the Minister of Justice please inform this House of the government’s position on Bill C-304, protecting freedom?
Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Westlock—St. Paul for introducing this legislation, and for his commitment to the promotion and protection of free speech among all Canadians.
Our government believes that section 13 is not an appropriate or effective means for combatting hate propaganda. We believe the Criminal Code is the best vehicle to prosecute these crimes.
Therefore, I urge all members to support Bill C-304 and our government’s forthcoming amendments to strengthen the hate provisions of the Criminal Code. I say to the opposition, get on side with the media. Maclean’s magazine, the National Post and even the Toronto Star say this section should go.