On the Use of "Hate" and "Extremism" to Control the Political Space

Parliament's Self-Serving Amendments to Electoral Law

Bill C-65, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act, tabled by the ruling Liberal Party in the House of Commons on March 20, raises serious concerns for Canadians and Quebeckers alike about how the rulers are using a spurious self-serving definition of "hate" to control the political space. Proposed changes affect, among other things, how political parties are registered and how they can be deregistered.

"Hate" Promotion and Party Registration

Bill C-65 sets out to create some sort of party registration/deregistration mechanism process if a party is deemed to have the promotion of hatred as one of its "primary aims." It does not actually introduce an amendment as to how this will be done but instead shifts the onus onto Elections Canada to file a report with the House of Commons. This report is to set out "a proposed process to determine whether a registered party or an eligible party has as one of its fundamental purposes the promotion of hatred against an identifiable group of persons." It is also to set out "the proposed consequences of such a determination."

The Chief Electoral Officer must file his report no later than 120 days before the next fixed election date, so by the end of June 2025. He is to consult with both the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the Advisory Committee of Political Parties on the matter.

This approach shifts responsibility for a political decision to the body that is supposed to be impartial and free from political interference. This matter came up before when the Nationalist Party was registered in the 2019 Federal Election. It was deregistered not because of its beliefs or program but because it did not meet the statutory requirement during the triennial membership confirmation.

At that time, Elections Canada was confronted by the media and others with the question of how a party that openly espouses Nazism could be registered? Elections Canada pointed out that its responsibility is to follow the law and its requirements. Party registration requirements are content free, so to speak, they explained.

When the Liberals first introduced their online harms bill and there was a lot of controversy about who would define "hate," the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC) suggested it was a dangerous move. The Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault himself said that the "bar would have to be set very high."

The online harms bill attempts to enshrine in law a definition of hate which is, essentially, seen to violate the right to conscience and raise the significance of who decides and with what aim. Nothing illustrates this better than the state's official use of definitions of hate and anti-Semitism when people criticize and condemn the state of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians. To enshrine such definitions in law is an effort to have a legal reference point of what constitutes hate and criminalize people on that basis so as to suppress opposition. Canadians will never agree to that. It is similar to attempts to institutionalize racism as a quality of the people and a matter of insensitive behaviour and perhaps even criminal behaviour to cover up that it is the state which is racist and incites divisions to split the polity and keep it in a subservient position and people enslaved. Such attempts today to blame the people, not the state, for racism, hatred, extremism and the like will not fly but this is nonetheless what cartel party governments are trying to do so as to act with impunity "legally."

Racism and hatred are not qualities of individuals per se, but tools of those privileged few who have usurped power by various means and the state going back to the British colonialists. Without the state inciting hate and groups promoting hate, including the cartel political parties, there would be no promotion of hate. The hate-promoting groups would not exist without the backing of the state. This is what the history of the resistance movement of the peoples of the entire world shows.

The state was founded on the basis of dividing the polity by promoting cultural genocide of the Indigenous Peoples, and thus genocide, along with the British imposing an undesirable category they created called Orientals, and so on, -- against Black Canadians and peoples of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. To this day, Eurocentric values are pushed as the acceptable and recognized standard of morality and behaviour of the Anglo-Canadian state to which everyone must adhere on pain of being punished, banished, expelled, etc.

We could certainly make a good case that the cartel parties have universally embarked on a bellicose campaign to generate hatred and animosity towards Russia, China, Iran etc. It could be argued that they are promoting hatred in a manner that truly harms and risks the well-being and safety of the people and that this should be brought under legislated control. The conclusions reached post-World War II viewed the incitement of hate for war as a crime.

But these are not the experiences the cartel parties are guided by. The issue is who decides and, in the case of amendments to the Electoral Law, how electors can exercise control over matters such as who should be the candidates put forward for election, the agenda the electors put forward for the rulers to implement, and how to make sure they take up that agenda, not the one set by ruling elites which conflates their narrow private interests and the general interests of the polity.

From the standpoint of hate promotion and who will decide what it is, along with all the measures to police the body politic, the definitions being imposed on the people are part of the U.S.-led Five Eyes (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) international espionage network that also includes the social media giants and so on. While railing against foreign interference, the ruling circles happily support anti-national international conglomerates that are dictating everything. For instance, when it comes to the Foreign Agents Registry, Australia has been made a model to follow. As concerns online harms and the concept of social media responsibility to take down harmful content, the UK is said to be the best. It is clearly a concerted and coordinated effort.

Unacceptable British Definition of "Extremism"

The British government on March 14 introduced a new definition of "extremism" which is:

"The promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to: 1. negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or 2. undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or 3. intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2)."

This definition is said to be a more "precise enforcement tool" over the previous 2011 definition which was described as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and belief."

As is now the norm, the announcement of this new definition of "extremism" was followed by a promise that there will be a "high bar" so that civil rights are not targeted and there is no danger that it will target those with "private, peaceful beliefs."

A new "Counter-Extremism Centre of Excellence" is being set up to gather intelligence and identify which groups will be in this new definition-based category. Government funding will be cut off to those categorized as such and they will be "barred from contact with government," whatever that means.

All of this is being carried out in the context of worldwide and UK-wide opposition to the genocide of the Palestinians. Many are also calling for the renewal or replacement of the UK and Canada's system of liberal parliamentary democracy, including the requirement to pledge loyalty to the monarch. There are also calls to abolish the monarchy altogether and its system of enshrining sovereignty in the head of state who is seen to incarnate the supreme power.

Bill C-65 with the amendments to the Canada Elections Act is making its way through Parliament at the same time as the online harms legislation, Bill C-63, which is currently at second reading. The definition of hate that is adopted in that bill is expected to feed into amendments to the Electoral Law, Bill C-65.

This article was published in
Volume 54 Number 4 - May 2024

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