Question Period: Online Harms Bill

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

Share this post:

Red River, Winnipeg

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate and regards Bill C-63, the online harms act.

I had a meeting recently with members of the Canadian Jewish community, and one of their top concerns was online hate, which has grown exponentially in recent months. Indeed, hate, threats and bullying online have been off the charts, and they are faced by many groups. Yet, there are others who say that freedom of speech must be paramount.

Senator Gold, can you tell us how this bill will strike a balance between dealing with this scourge of hate and bullying, on the one hand, and ensuring freedom of speech on the other?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question.

The bill, which was just introduced, will be studied seriously in the other place and here. These will be questions at the heart of some of that study.

Our laws have always made an effort to balance protection from harm, such as hate speech and actions, with freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Those balances have been litigated and reviewed by our courts. I have confidence in this Parliament to strike the right balance between those competing social values, and I have every confidence that our study of Bill C-63 will explore those issues. Any improvements, if necessary, will be addressed in our study, I’m sure.

Senator Cardozo: Senator Gold, Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd, said yesterday that if legislation like this had been in place when her daughter was alive, it could have saved her daughter’s life.

What are the main aspects of the bill that deal with the dreadful problem of “sextortion”?

Senator Gold: Thank you for your question.

I’m really not in a position to comment on the details of the bill. I know no more about it than you do, frankly, or that most of us do from reading it. We will have opportunities over the course of the days, weeks and months ahead to dive in more deeply. I look forward to that, as I’m sure we all do.

Share this post: