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Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Lemire's Right to Free Speech--and Ours
By Avi Benlolo in the Huffington Post
The question of Section 13 of Canada's Human Rights Act (CHRA) dealing with hate speech has come to a head over the case of Marc Lemire, who was the last president of the neo-Nazi white supremacist group, Heritage Front, and is now a webmaster of a controversial site created in the name of free speech. Lemire is currently challenging the constitutionality of Section 13 after he was vindicated on an earlier Section 13 complaint regarding his website. Undoubtedly, Lemire wants to free cyberspace from restrictions posed by Section 13 to allow him to post freely any and all information.
Clearly there are problems with the operation of Section 13 that deals with intolerable expressions and protects against specific forms of hate speech. In its own words, Section 13 empowers the Canadian Human Rights Commission "to deal with complaints regarding the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet."