New Canadian Law Allows Judges to Hand Down Life Sentences For Speech Crimes

Canada’s newly proposed Online Harms Act, also known as Bill C-63, has sparked intense debate and criticism from conservatives who view it as a blatant infringement on individual liberty and free speech. Introduced by Justice Minister Arif Virani in late June, the bill has raised alarming concerns about the government’s overreach into the lives of its citizens.

One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is its provision that would allow judges to impose life imprisonment on adults who advocate for genocide. Conservative author Stephen Moore lambasted the bill in his article for Public, calling it “the most shocking of all the totalitarian, illiberal, and anti-Enlightenment pieces of legislation that have been introduced in the Western world in decades.”

The bill’s Orwellian nature has not gone unnoticed by renowned author Margaret Atwood, best known for her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Taking to Twitter, Atwood criticized the bill, stating, “If this account of the bill is true, it’s Lettres de Cachet all over again. The possibilities for revenge false accusations + thoughtcrime stuff are sooo inviting! Trudeau’s Orwellian online harms bill.”

Perhaps even more disturbing is the bill’s provision that would allow a provincial judge to impose house arrest and fines on individuals based on mere suspicion that they “will commit” an offense. Wall Street Journal columnist Michael Taube drew a chilling comparison to the 2002 film The Minority Report, in which people are arrested and punished for crimes they have yet to commit.

While Justice Minister Virani justifies the bill as a means to protect children from the dangers lurking on the internet, conservatives argue that this is a thinly veiled attempt to control and censor online speech. The government’s spokesperson confirmed that the bill would significantly increase the maximum penalties for advocating genocide and the willful promotion of hatred.

As conservatives grapple with the implications of Bill C-63, it becomes increasingly clear that this proposed legislation poses a grave threat to the fundamental principles of liberty and free speech that form the bedrock of a democratic society. The bill’s Orwellian undertones and the government’s apparent eagerness to police online content should serve as a stark warning to all Canadians who value their individual freedoms and the right to express themselves without fear of persecution.