Scotland’s Crazy Anti-hate Law May Be Sign Of Things To Come Here

Some argue that Scotland’s new hate speech law is more draconian than Canada’s yet-to-be-enacted equivalent, Bill C-63. Others say this is not so — that portions of ’63’ are even […]
Published on April 20, 2024

Some argue that Scotland’s new hate speech law is more draconian than Canada’s yet-to-be-enacted equivalent, Bill C-63. Others say this is not so — that portions of ’63’ are even greater threats to free speech than Scotland’s extreme new law.

Regardless of who wins in this radical experiment in mass censorship, one thing we can predict with certainty: Both laws will be a goldmine for the legal profession and a nightmare for anyone who has ever dared to write, say or broadcast anything controversial.

How? Well, in the first week that Scotland’s new hate legislation has been in force there has been an avalanche of new claims launched — 8,000, and counting. Every one of those claims will have to be defended by a person who believed that they were exercising their right of free speech.

Now, 8,000 of those people will be caught up in expensive, time consuming, and emotionally draining litigation. Their cases will mostly be heard by officials and judges who were appointed specifically because they shared the same views as the government that appointed them — the same government that felt the need to prosecute these 8,000 people.

That 8,000 surpassed the total number of hate crime allegations in Scotland for all of 2023. A projection is that there will be an estimated 416,000 cases for 2024 if this rate keeps up. The complaints have completely overwhelmed Scotland’s police.

The Scottish Police Federation’s David Threadgold said this about how the new law was being used by angry citizens with an axe to grind: “…the law was being “weaponised” by the public in order to settle personal grudges against fellow citizens or to wage political feuds, while suggesting that the government encouraging the public to report instances of ‘hate’ has clearly blown up in their face.”

We have already seen this Scottish law in action when J.K. Rowling, who is famous not only for her wonderful Harry Potter books, but more recently for stating what we knew as fact for the first few hundred thousand years or so of human history — namely that men are men, and women are women — famously reposted that claim and dared the Scottish police to charge her.

The police announced that she wouldn’t be charged — at least that particular police officer wouldn’t charge her at this particular time.

The other person who has been the subject of many of those 8,000 complaints is First Minister Humza Yousaf — the very man responsible for this monstrosity of a law. Yousaf is himself quite famous for complaining that Scotland has too many white people. Who knew?

That odd observation resulted in a world famous spat with none other than Elon Musk. The online slugfest basically took the form of each man accusing the other of being a racist. At times it looked more like a schoolyard fight.

That a national leader seriously feels that the sledgehammer of the criminal law must be used to sort out such cat fights between citizens is rather alarming.

But, in this regard, Yousaf and Trudeau are birds of a feather. Both are convinced that only “acceptable views” — namely the views they agree with — will be allowed, while “unacceptable views,” namely, those they don’t like, must be disappeared by the machinery of the state.

It should be explained at this point that Scotland’s new law, unlike our C-63, requires police to determine whether or not the person under complaint has “stirred up hatred.”

Bill C-63 has those “hate” complaints heard by the Human Rights Tribunal.

In both cases however, one person’s opinion will judge another person’s opinion. However, one person will be paid to perform this function, while the other person might become a criminal if their opinion fails a completely subjective test.

Scotland had 8,000 complaints in the first week. Is it likely that a similar avalanche of claims will result in Canada if C-63 becomes law?

Actually, there will probably be a lot more here.

For one thing, our population is many times the size of Scotland’s.

For another, C-63 allows people to make complaints anonymously if the tribunal says so. It also promises up to $50,000 per complaint. That’s a powerful motivator. That $50,000 doesn’t come from some magic bank, by the way. If you are the person complained about, it comes from you. And you might be required to fork over an additional $20,000 to the tribunal for their troubles.

I’m not sure if they will expect a tip.. 

Much has been written about C-63. Many knowledgeable Canadians have discussed in detail the hundreds of objections they can see with this Bill. Senior Canadian voices, such former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and world famous author Margaret Atwood, have warned Canadians about this seriously flawed legislation.

But what no one has done — except for Trudeau apparatchiks — is to give any good reasons why Canada needs this legislation.

If Scotland’s projected number of complaints for 2024 is 416,000 and they have a population of less than six million, the projection for Canada would be into the millions of complaints. Even setting aside the obvious impossibility of paying for thousands of new tribunal adjudicators, staff, and the thousands of new lawyers required to help the million-plus people who are thrust into this hate complaint boondoggle, why would any serious government even wish such a thing on their citizens?

Do we not have a rather large bag of serious problems we must contend with?

We have a generation of young people, for example, who might never in their lives be able to afford a home of their own. How do we expect these young people to raise a future generation of Canadians without a home in which to raise them? Isn’t that a bigger problem than someone’s hurt feelings?

Another example… Trudeau has just noticed that we don’t seem to have an army anymore. Isn’t that a bigger problem than whether or not someone feels that they have been misgendered, or called nasty names?

There is a list, as long as the longest arm, of very real problems that need urgent attention. Why are we wasting time and money on the brainchild (yes, I use that term loosely) of a desperate prime minister and his few remaining fellow ideologues?

This legislation is totally unnecessary, and an appallingly disrespectful way to treat Canadians. We already have hate laws. We already have laws to protect children. C-63 is as useless as the tired apparatchiks pushing it.

We should definitely pay attention to what is happening in Scotland. It will be our fate if this perfectly awful Bill C-63 is not defeated.

 

Brian Giesbrecht, retired judge, is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

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