Does Canada’s Online Harms Bill protect kids or outlaw Trudeau’s political opponents?

Age verification laws and other measures to keep children safe from internet predators are long overdue in Canada. For this reason, Bill C-63, also known as the Online Harms Act, should be a welcome piece of legislation.

Believe me when I say it is not.

If passed, Bill C-63 will amend the nation’s Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) “to create a new standalone hate crime offence that would allow penalties up to life imprisonment to deter hateful conduct,” according to the National Post.

Those found guilty of using “the Internet or any other means of telecommunication” to foment hatred — which is defined in the Act as “the emotion that involves detestation or vilification and that is stronger than disdain or dislike” — will face tens of thousands of dollars in fines and time in prison.

Worse, channelling the dystopian Tom Cruise thriller The Minority Report, the bill essentially creates a thought crime or pre-crime it calls “fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime”. Under this provision, defendants could be put under house arrest, shackled with an ankle monitor or forced to give blood samples if their accuser fears they may post hate propaganda or commit a hate crime.

To reiterate, under C-63, the Canadian government will be empowered to arrest citizens who have committed no crimes.

Open slather

As though it could get any worse, any member of the public, including non-citizens, are empowered to file a complaint against an individual with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal — which is a quasi-judicial tribunal staffed by non-judges who are appointed by the government in power.

To illustrate how this could play out, Rebel News CEO and journalist Ezra Levant explained to Jordan Peterson on X:

If someone watches one of your YouTube videos or reads one of your tweets about, say, transgender athletes changing in the girls' change room, and as a result is likely” to have hard feelings towards trans people, thats hate speech.

He continued:

They can get up to $20,000 per complaint from you — and they dont have to be the “victim”. (There doesnt have to be a victim at all — remember its a future crime. They only have to show that your tweet or video is likely to” (i.e might) cause one person to have hard feelings about another person. $20,000 that youd pay the complainant — plus $50,000 in fines to the government.

Per complaint.

So there could be a new complaint for every tweet you make. Every video. And the complainants can be professional busybodies and activists — they dont have to be a “victim”.

Why wouldnt woke activists literally file a CHRA complaint after every single thing you do or say on social media? Its free. Theres no limit. Even if you win”, you lose — the process is the punishment. And of course, theyre going to win. This will become an industry — to enrich woke grifters and destroy you financially.

The process is the punishment

But heres the truly amazing part: the complainants can keep their identity a secret from you. Secret testimony from secret witnesses — who get paid up to $20,000 to take a run at you.

In a follow-up post, Levant called it “the Trump treatment”:

Overwhelm the target with endless nuisance suits that take time and money to fight. Even if the complaints are dismissed, you’re still at a loss. And if literally hundreds of complaints are filed against someone like Prof. Peterson, even if only 5% are upheld, that’s economically devastating.


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Levant explained that he used Jordan Peterson as an example only “because he’s high profile, he’s already been attacked by the College of Psychologists, and he absolutely will be swarmed” — but he clarified that C-63 will certainly be used against everyday Canadians for whom a single complaint could prove financially devastating.


Criticism of Bill C-63 has been swift and resounding. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association endorsed “the declared purposes of upholding public safety, protecting children, and supporting marginalised communities” but warned that the bill risks “stifling public discourse and criminalizing political activism”. They wrote:

The bill imposes draconian penalties for certain types of expression, including life imprisonment for a very broad and vaguely defined offence of “incitement to genocide”, and 5 years of jail time for other broadly defined speech acts. This not only chills free speech but also undermines the principles of proportionality and fairness in our legal system.

Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre likewise denounced the proposed bill as Trudeaus latest attack on freedom of expression”.

After prior attempts at protecting children from internet predators failed, the Trudeau Liberals won the 2021 election, buoyed by promises of introducing online harms legislation within 100 days of taking office.

Instead of meeting that deadline, they waited until March of 2022 to announce the creation of an advisory group as a first step towards an Online Harms Act. It took until late last month for the Trudeau government to finally table the long-awaited legislation.

Why did they wait so long?

Why did the country that produced Pornhub do nothing about that criminal enterprise until long after it was on the front page of The New York Times?

Why have they poisoned a bill of such importance with nonsense about thought crimes, pre-crimes and prison sentences for hate speech?

The Trudeau government needs to decide which is more important: protecting Canada’s children or arresting their political opponents.

Because with Bill C-63 unlikely to pass, it is doubtful they can do both.  

Why is Justin Trudeau's government trying to implement repressive hate speech legislation? Have you any provocative answers? Share them in the comments box below. 

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate architect, a primary school teacher, a missionary, and a young adult pastor.

Image: Pexels  


Showing 5 reactions

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  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-10 07:31:05 +1100
    Paul, your comment on my article could be labelled “stochastic terrorism” given how loosely this concept is applied. But I won’t report you this time :)
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    commented 2024-03-10 07:26:55 +1100
    Hi David, thanks for your comment. It’s a big bill and there’s lots I didn’t cover about it but that doesn’t mean I represented it inaccurately. Indeed, advocating for genocide deserves its own article. Simple support for Israel could be construed as genocide by partisan judicial figures or political leaders, in which case the bill’s supposed high bar of advocating for genocide isn’t much of a safeguard.
  • David Page
    commented 2024-03-10 06:31:13 +1100
    I am opposed to hate speech laws, as opposed to personal harrassment. But I did a Quick Look-up. The life in prison applies only for advocating genocide. I stopped there. But how many other inaccuracies might I have found had I kept looking? Does the truth matter? I think it should.
  • Paul Bunyan
    commented 2024-03-07 09:49:51 +1100
    Sounds like the bill will go a long way toward fighting stochastic terrorism. Good for Canada.

    When people are murdered just for being open about being different, things need to change.
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    published this page in The Latest 2024-03-07 09:02:54 +1100