No. 23

March 28, 2024

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

Canadians and Quebeckers Must Rely on Their Own Strength to Defeat Spurious Definitions of "Hate" and "Online Harms"

Seriously Problematic Online Harms Bill

– Barbara Biley –

Increasing State Control of Political Space in Quebec

– Christine Dandenault –

From the Party Press

On the Issue of Hate Propaganda

– TML Weekly, June 27, 1998 –

In the Name of Opposing Hate

Criminalization and Persecution of Palestinian Struggle Targets People's Basic Human Right to Resist

– Pierre Soubliere –

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

Canadians and Quebeckers Must Rely on Their Own Strength to Defeat Spurious Definitions of "Hate"
and "Online Harms"

Protest on Parliament Hill, March 14, 2015, against attacks on freedom of speech and conscience in the Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, which became law on June 18, 2015.

The federal authorities are facing problems in getting proposed legislation to counter "online harms" passed. This is the case too as concerns proposed "anti-hate" laws. The basic problem lies in how "violent extremism" and "hate" are defined and by whom and the fact that definitions tend to be self-serving, suited to some immediate need of narrow private interests to silence a section of the population.

The rulers are themselves ideologically motivated to maintain and defend the existing system and its institutions of governance. This and repeated experience makes them not credible when they say they are not presenting ideologically motivated criteria, or that their criteria does not condemn people because of their ideological views and opinions or that it does not deprive them of their civil liberties.

A current example is that the deliberate massacres the Israel Defense Forces are carrying out in Gaza are not considered by the Canadian state to constitute violent extremism or hate crimes. Canada refuses to make sure the perpetrators of these acts are brought to justice as war criminals but it does persecute Canadians who oppose Zionism, the apartheid state of Israel and the crimes it is committing. The U.S., Britain, Canada and others give Israel a green light, as well as arms and money, and provide disinforming propaganda despite the fact that what it is doing is already declared to come under the category of war crimes and crimes against humanity as defined since World War II. The attempt to silence those who oppose these war crimes is also clearly understood to violate civil liberties recognized by the constitutions of European nation-states.

Hence the difficulty facing the ruling class to justify the suppression of views with which they do not agree and have the suppression be seen as necessary to defend the public good, national security and the like.

While the U.S. is in the throes of one legal battle after the other at both the federal and state levels to determine what is and what is not democratic in that country, Britain has also come up with what it calls a new definition of extremism. There is nothing new about the "new definition," which updates the definition Britain set out in its 2011 Prevent Strategy. It more specifically makes it a crime to "undermine, overturn or replace the UK's system of liberal parliamentary democracy" and then says the crime can simply involve "threatening, inciting, justifying, glorifying or excusing violence towards a group." This is something governments regularly claim is occurring with actions in support of Palestine, anti-war actions, during strikes and more. Laws concerning "extremism" and "hate" in Britain, Canada and the U.S. bring to the fore “extremism” and "hate" as the problem, in another attempt to justify what cannot be justified. Britain also says "new" definitions are required to "reflect the evolution of extremist ideologies and the social harms they create." This is more or less -- word for word -- what Canada also says, as transmitted to it by the political police which comprise what are called the "Five Eyes," the intelligence services of five so-called English-speaking countries -- the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Defenders of civil liberties point out that current Canadian laws, including provisions of the Criminal Code, already permit the prosecution of those who commit crimes and no further laws are required. They also point to Canada's history of forgiving certain people it considers its friends, such as the Nazis and collaborators it permitted into the country after World War II to whom it gave citizenship on the grounds that being members of the Waffen-SS is not proof that they committed the Nazi atrocities associated with the Waffen-SS. But those accused of "violent extremism" and of being purveyors of "hate" can be defamed and targeted in the most heinous ways using all kinds of arbitrary means, such as getting them fired from their jobs, or deported, criminalized in various ways and even locked up for life. In other words, it is enough for a minister to declare a view or an action a matter of national security, based on secret information, for people to be silenced, criminalized and penalized.

Since 9/11, the crimes the U.S. and Britain have committed in the name of eliminating extremists, including torture, inhuman treatment of prisoners, brutal targeted assassinations and revenge killings, are well known. Every effort is made to link "hate," and "hate crimes" with extremism, something to be feared and punished. This current exercise has the Canadian ruling class once again being deceitful, duplicitous, and destructive, all in the name of keeping up with evolving realities, "balancing security and rights," the public good and national security. While everything it is doing reveals it is not worthy of trust or public office, the consciousness that its aim is to mislead and cover up an appearance of double-dealing is increasingly widespread.

Picket in Ottawa, June 25, 2018, against security certificates and secret trials in Canada.

Canada was founded as a dominion of the British Empire and promotes the liberal institutions that came into being in Victorian times which claimed to champion peace, order and good government. The juridical outlook which replaced the medieval theological outlook would have us believe that if things are done according to a law, then they are okay. But of course, this is not okay. Today parliamentary majorities are used to pass all kinds of laws which are not okay. Canada has no dearth of lawyers, defenders of civil liberties and champions of rights who speak out against violations of civil liberties to make sure that what is lawful is reasonable, not self-serving or arbitrary or against what they deem to be in the public interest. And this is important. It is necessary. It helps to make sure the ruling class cannot get away with some of the most egregious things they do. But it is not enough. The decisive force is that of the people speaking out in their own name. The working class harbours no illusions about the aims of the ruling class but it speaks out because it must. It cannot permit the ruling class to do all kind of terrible things in the name of the people, as it is doing regarding Israel today, amongst other things.

The bottom line is that today the ruling class is quick to accuse other countries of being authoritarian and autocratic and forgive everything the United States, Britain, Canada and those who share their arbitrary "rules-based order" do. According to this "rules-based order," they make up the rules as they go along and anyone who refuses to succumb is out of order. All they achieve is to show that they are the ones who are autocratic and authoritarian, undemocratic to the core. Unfolding events reveal that it is the striving of the peoples led by the working class which is crucial to open a path to progress.

While in the case of the U.S., Britain and Canada as well as France and other countries, champions of civil liberties are very insightful in making cogent arguments which put the self-serving and boorish arguments of the government spokespersons to shame, believing that the liberal democratic institutions are the final form of governance is limiting at best. How to eliminate the usurpation of power by narrow supranational private interests by creating mass democratic transitional forms of discussion, deliberation and decision-making is the problem the working class and people need to take up for solution by doing it.

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Seriously Problematic Online Harms Act

– Barbara Biley –

The Trudeau government has once again presented so-called "anti-hate speech" legislation, Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, which it says will "make online platforms responsible for addressing harmful content and for creating a safer online space that protects all people in Canada, especially children."

The previous proposed legislation, Bill C-36, was widely opposed and died on the order paper when the 2021 federal election was called. In the summer and early fall of 2021 the government conducted what it called public consultations on its plans to regulate "online harms" but then refused to make public the briefs and submissions that it had received. When the documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information request it was revealed that the vast majority were critical of the legislation.

The purpose of the legislation, according to the summary posted on the parliamentary website, is to "promote the online safety of persons in Canada, reduce harms caused to persons in Canada as a result of harmful content online and ensure that the operators of social media services in respect of which that Act applies are transparent and accountable with respect to their duties under that Act."

Part One establishes a body called the Digital Safety Commission of Canada to administer and enforce the Act on operators of social media and creates the position of Digital Safety Ombudsperson of Canada and the Digital Safety Office of Canada to support the Commission and the Ombudsperson. It sets out what is required of operators of social media and provides a complaint mechanism.

Part Two amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) create a hate crime offence of committing an offence under that Act or any other Act of Parliament that is motivated by hatred based on certain factors;

(b) create a recognizance to keep the peace relating to hate propaganda and hate crime offences;

(c) define "hatred" for the purposes of the new offence and the hate propaganda offences; and

(d) increase the maximum sentences for the hate propaganda offences.

Part Three amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to provide that it is a discriminatory practice to communicate hate speech or cause hate speech to be communicated by means of the Internet or any other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. It authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Commission to deal with complaints alleging that discriminatory practice and authorizes the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to inquire into such complaints and order remedies.

Part Four amends An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of internet child pornography.

Part Five is a coordinating amendment.

The Conservative Party has announced its opposition, accusing the government of "banning opinions that contradict the prime minister's radical ideology" and the NDP is supporting the bill but seeking amendments "to enhance algorithm transparency."

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has called for amendments, saying the bill's "draconian penalties" could put a chill on free speech. For example, someone found guilty of advocating genocide, could face life imprisonment, up from five years in prison. Already there are those in government saying the slogan in support of Palestine, "From the River to the Sea," represents genocide.

CCLA Executive Director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv said, "Bill C-63 risks censoring a range of expression from journalistic reporting to healthy conversations among youth under 18 about their own sexuality and relationships." She added, "The broad criminal prohibitions on speech in the bill risk stifling public discourse and criminalizing political activism."

Academic Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, said the definitions provided for inciting violence, hatred, and bullying could be used in an "overbroad" manner. He also writes "The poorly conceived Digital Safety Commission lacks even basic rules of evidence, can conduct secret hearings, and has been granted an astonishing array of powers with limited oversight. This isn't a fabrication. For example, Section 87 of the bill literally says 'the Commission is not bound by any legal or technical rules of evidence.'

"The Criminal Code provisions are indefensible: they really do include penalties that run as high as life in prison for committing a crime if motivated by hatred (Section 320.1001 on Offence Motivated By Hatred) and feature rules that introduce peace bonds for the possibility of a future hate offence with requirements to wear a monitoring device among the available conditions (Section 810.012 on Fear of Hate Propaganda Offence or Hate Crime).

"The Human Rights Act changes absolutely open the door to the weaponization of complaints for communication of hate speech online that 'is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination' (Section 13.1). The penalties are indeed up to $20,000 for the complainant and up to $50,000 to the government (Section 53.1)." It is also the case that those making the complaints can remain anonymous and thus the person being accused is not able to confront or question their accuser.

Who decides what constitutes a hate crime and based on what criteria has become a very controversial and immediate matter for Canadians. Thousands of Canadians have taken action since the Israeli Zionist regime announced its aggression against Gaza on October 8 last year, in support of the Palestinian resistance and right to be. Government officials from Prime Minister Trudeau to provincial premiers, mayors and others have labeled such actions as promoting hate. Some have gone so far as to accuse individuals and organizations which oppose Israel's war crimes of supporting genocide, i.e. the events of October 7 when the Palestinian resistance carried out the Al Aqsa flood operation in Israel. Since the first mass action in Toronto on October 9, condemned by Ontario Premier Ford and Mayor Chow of Toronto of promoting "hate," policing of all actions supporting the Palestinian people is handled by the Toronto Police Services Hate Crimes Unit.

The government's intention in this legislation is to give itself the means to regulate and censor web pages and social media accounts, and those who run them, in the name of protecting against "harm." Canadians already have experience with the state targeting the views and activities of individuals and organizations, such as those supporting Palestine, Indigenous resistance protecting water and land, opposing the racism of the state, abuse against women and girls, LGBTQIA2S+ and calling for fundamental change. False claims and charges of terrorism, "extremism" and "hate" by the state are also known.

This legislation is to increase the ability of the state to potentially shut down web pages and social media accounts they decide are "hateful," and penalize the people involved, including jailing them. It is also to suppress discussion amongst Canadians about what the criteria to determine a hate crime would be so that it is not used to criminalize the human right to speak. Discussion is eliminated on why use of "hate" for a crime is needed, given that it is invariably defined in an arbitrary manner harmful to the people and given that laws already exist concerning discrimination. Experience also makes clear that these laws do not block racist and pro-Nazi propaganda, by the state or others, while they do attack the people's rights to speech and conscience.

The legislation and all the disinformation of "hate" as the problem, not only affects Canadians' civil rights -- which governments already limit using what they call "reasonable limits" -- but their human rights as well. Without the conditions for people to speak and discuss freely, communication is impeded which means people cannot work out a way forward for themselves and the society they are part of in all their relations.

Bill C-63 will put into law and regulation the most egregious attacks on rights that the state and the interests it serves considers necessary to suppress the people's movements, against the ongoing colonial repression against the Indigenous Peoples, for an anti-war government and for peoples' empowerment. The past five months have seen a huge increase in the medieval practice of defaming people by launching personal attacks on them, sowing doubt publicly about their character and using the power of an office to fire people for their views.

The legislation portrays the Canadian people as racist, as the promoters of hate, when it is clear that the state is the one that organizes and inspires racist attacks against various collectives of the people. Use of disinformation and legislation like the Online Harms Act enforces a taboo on any discussion while those in power who commit crimes against the people are protected. The aim is to increase the police powers of the government to suppress and criminalize the human right to speak and organize while striving to split the polity, all while claiming to protect them. It must not pass!

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Increasing State Control of Political Space
in Quebec

– Christine Dandenault –

The use of a spurious definition of what constitutes "hate" as an instrument of state control in the public and political space in Quebec is a matter of great concern. This is not a new issue. An infamous case took place in 2015, when the Couillard Liberal government at that time drew up a plan of action to combat radicalization leading to violence in justifying increasing police powers. Entitled Radicalizaton in Quebec: Act, Prevent, Detect and Live Together, the measures, among other things, resulted in heavy police presence in certain CEGEPs with large Arab populations. They called for "whistleblowers" to report members of the polity to the police if they considered them to be non-moderate or suspicious. They legitimated unfounded allegations of hate speech and incitement to violence.  One day, four Muslim students who the state declared were "radicalized youth going to join ISIS" were arrested when they tried to leave the country on holiday. It later turned out that the youth, Shia and Sunni alike, were trying to leave against the wishes of those who did not want Shia and Sunni to mix. Nothing to do with ISIS.  Nothing to do with violent extremism.

Muslims were caught under the umbrella of unfounded declarations that they were going to fight alongside the jihad in Syria. There was media hype about the dangers of young people becoming radicalized, accompanied by an intervention by the Liberal Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal at the time, who had worked with the federal government, police forces and the RCMP to set up the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, directly targeting the youth.

In November 2023, the Chief Electoral Officer of Quebec (DGEQ) launched a consultation on the modernization of Quebec's Election Act, based on a document entitled For a New Vision of the Quebec Election Act. The document takes up the proposals of Canada's Liberal government, and the governments of the U.S., UK, France and other European countries, concerning the banning of "entities that incite hatred or violence." It seeks to take up these proposals from the angle of "ensuring that the Elections Act reflects the values of our society."

The document notes that while "misinformation, intimidation, harassment and threats have increased" in Canada and Quebec, "reports of hate speech and hate crimes have increased in significant ways since 2017." It warns that "the more these kinds of comments and acts take shape in the public space, the more likely they are to be reflected in the political environment." "Hate," reads the consultation document, "marginalizes, excludes and dehumanizes."

The DGEQ goes on to say that the privileges that come with the authorization of a political party "should not be used to amplify hate speech." He proposes the addition of criteria related to a party's name, objectives, speech and activities that could lead to the withdrawal of their authorization. He cites examples of laws in Europe that allow the banning and dissolution of a political party on this basis.

Banning a political party on the grounds of incitement to hatred or violence, or because it is considered extremist, is a big deal in a society that calls itself democratic. Once this door is opened, freedom of expression, the right of association and the right to conscience come under attack. This is all the more serious when we recognize the importance of the exercise of these rights in the expression of the popular will and creation of public opinion, especially when those who currently have access to power and privilege are prepared to do anything to repel whatever they think threatens their positions.

The problem with all these bans -- applied to individuals and organizations and enforced by police powers – is precisely that they do not look into what is the source of such act, nor take into account who has the power to decide on these matters. Who decides what is hateful, violent and extremist when it comes down to it, and by what definition? Especially when it is done in the name of the "values of Quebec society" that are simply proclaimed as readily defined.

Quebec Premier François Legault regularly indulges in speech that could be described as inciting hatred and violence against immigrants, migrants and refugees. And he does so precisely in the name of what he calls Quebec values. Here is an example, but anyone who follows current events in Quebec knows that this is not an isolated case:

Speaking about the challenges of integrating immigrants, Premier François Legault said: "Quebeckers are peaceful, they don't like bickering, they don't like extremists, they don't like violence, so we have to make sure we keep it the way it is right now," "We do have values, though, and we've talked a lot about laicity in recent years; that's one of the values, as well as respect. There's a way of life here and we want to keep it." (Reported by Radio-Canada on September 7, 2022. TML translation). All of it suggests that Quebec values are civilized and unless measures are taken to protect them, they are threatened by new arrivals.

Codes of good conduct have been established at the National Assembly where a list of words to be avoided there has also been created. The Ethics and Professional Conduct Commissioner has been empowered to oversee the good conduct of members of the legislature, all aimed at protecting "Quebec values." Yet Legault's CAQ government has time and again refused to condemn the government of Israel for the genocide it is committing against the Palestinian people with impunity, and to demand a ceasefire. This is not considered a condoning of the promotion of hate under the current circumstances, nor is his refusal to close the Quebec mission in Israel despite closing the Quebec office in Cuba under the hoax of a lack of funds to maintain it. Nor are the Legault government's constant accusations that public sector workers are causing the crisis in the health care system – which aim to incite the population's opposition to them – considered a form of hate-mongering and incitement for the division of the polity.

By themselves promoting divisions of the polity on every conceivable basis and accusing others of "hate" and "extremism," the government and its fellow travellers seek to divert attention from the fact that they represent a political fringe which takes extremist stands by paying the rich, gutting social programs, privatizing social programs, the civil service, police forces and the like. The ruling elite works tirelessly to divert attention from the population's deepening discontent, distrust and opposition to the party-dominated system called a representative democracy.

Another way of approaching the issue of combating speech that incites hatred and violence is that some say the Internet and social media are "incubators" for this kind of discourse. This comes at a time when it can be demonstrated that the "incubation" process is inseminated by the state, its intelligence agencies and its hired private interests. The DGEQ says that the advent of digital platforms has brought "complex challenges, particularly in terms of the reliability, quality and equality of the information" the electorate receives. He calls for measures to circumscribe freedom of expression on social media but, again, has nothing to say about the private interests behind the problems.

On social media, there is very little accountability. You can use a false name, you can write things you wouldn't say in person and what you say can be construed many different ways because the context and references are not always obvious. This is what happens when governments and cartel parties are permitted to lower the level of political discourse to gutter politics which include the promotion of hate speech and incitement to violence with which they get away with impunity. This is part of the reality that comes with this new technology, this new communication tool that we need to master, and cannot be left out of the equation when discussing measures to be taken against hate speech and violent extremism. The ruling class has created an environment based on anarchy and violence that spews hatred against those it cannot control.

The younger generations are taking concerted action to humanize the natural and social environment to make them fit for human beings and all species of flora, fauna and life itself. Those who have an aim in life are quite capable of separating the wheat from the chaff, educating one another, supporting one another and setting rules which favour the kind of world they are striving to bring into being.

The illusion created is that the problem in the political space is the behaviour of malicious, corrupt individuals in our midst, not the corrupt, self-serving rulers themselves who endorse a political system which preserves their positions of power and privilege. These elites apply the same self-serving logic when it comes to weeding out corruption. During the Charbonneau Commission in Quebec, launched into corruption in the construction industry, it was not the mega corruption companies which were accused of corruption, but some lowly individuals they induced to take bribes on their behalf. The Marxist-Leninist Party wrote at the time: "Today, the problem is that the dominant elite is corrupting all organs of state power by attacking the public authority, leaving only police powers. All this serves private monopoly interests, not the interests of citizens."

This shows that what is required is the politicization of the polity, which makes it possible to resolve these problems in a way that affirms everyone's right of speak and organize. The multiplication of censorship measures is very costly and ultimately leads to the creation of a police state. It is the official discourse which remains the primary source of the incitement of hate speech and violence, not random individuals or their organizations.

So long as the citizens are not at the centre of the solution to the problems that concern them, on the basis of their own experience and that of their collectives and the society as a whole, the problems will increase and the dangers along with them.

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From the Party Press

On the Issue of Hate Propaganda

– TML Weekly, June 27, 1998 –

The demand to strengthen laws against hate propaganda is to divert the people from uniting against state-organized racist attacks. It seeks to divert them from waging the struggle against the anti-social offensive and for a pro-social program. It is not a new demand.

In March 1984, the Attorney General of Ontario, Roy McMurtry, issued a "Group Defamation" Report on hate propaganda. The Report was prepared by Patrick Lawlor, a former Member of the Ontario Legislature and a Queen's Council. It presented a pseudo-scientific psychological theory that racism comes from the "repressed hatred against the self" which "is projected out upon others," especially those who "are most vulnerable socially to assault, verbal or otherwise..."

TML Daily pointed out at that time: "As a Queen's Counsel, the author of this report should know that the British colonialists did not engage in the Irish and African slave trade because of a 'repressed-hatred against the self.' Similarly, they did not engage in racist violence against the Native peoples of North and South America for that reason. They engaged in such pursuits in order to plunder the land and labour of the peoples in these colonies. It is not without reason that they referred to India as their 'jewel.' Not only did the British colonialists engage in racist violence but they justified the subjugation of these peoples with racist theories such as the theory of 'white man's burden.' They also used racism to 'divide and conquer' various peoples so as to preserve their colonial rule. How the British colonialists incited communal strife in India between Hindus and Muslims is well documented.

"Racism is the preferred policy of the bourgeoisie to maintain its profits and preserve its rule. The bourgeoisie uses this policy at all times to single out certain sections of the people for the most vicious exploitation and to increase the exploitation of all the people. It uses this policy to incite division amongst the exploited and oppressed based on race, nationality, language and religion to liquidate their struggles against the exploiters and their system.

"This report, like the 'Green Paper on Immigration' issued in 1975, describes the people coming from Asia, Africa and Latin America in racist terms and divides the people of Canada on a racist basis, on the basis of skin colour, just as the South African apartheid regime does.

"Thus, according to this report, there are l.7 million 'non-whites' in Canada, described by the racist term 'visible minorities.' The Native people are also considered to be foreigners in their own land. Everyone else is called 'white.' This racist outlook does not originate from a 'repressed hatred against the self' but from the class interests of the bourgeoisie."[1]

The Report claimed to address hate propaganda coming from the anti-Semitic and white supremacist groups like the Western Guard and Ku Klux Klan. TML Daily pointed out at that time: "These groups, of course, are one source of the racist propaganda, but they are far from the only source and they are not the origin of hate propaganda.

"What about the bourgeois mass media? The czars of the mass media are the main promoters of racist and fascist groups like the Western Guard and the Ku Klux Klan. When the white supremacist KKK came to Canada in 1980, its entire 'organizing drive' consisted of massive publicity from the newspapers, radio and television stations owned by the millionaires and the state.

"And what about the various levels of government? The 1975 federal government 'Green Paper on Immigration' and the 1979 Metro Toronto Council-sponsored Pitman Report were all racist in their content, as is the recently released report from the parliamentary 'Special Committee on Visible Minorities in Canadian Society.' They all describe the people coming from India, the Caribbean countries, and other places in racist terms. They all divide the people of Canada on a racist basis, on the basis of skin colour.

CPC(M-L) organizes demonstrations, pickets and meetings across Canada during 1975, to mobilize opposition to the federal government's Green Paper on Immigration that aims to divide the Canadian people on a racist basis. Photos (top to bottom) from Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo.

"And what about the bourgeois educational system? Racist theories are taught which falsely relate colour of skin with intelligence, poverty, and crime. Such racist views are promoted in the subjects of anthropology, history, psychology, sociology and other fields too. But the provincial study on hate propaganda makes no mention of these things.

"Any study which ignores whose policy racism is and its aim, which is verifiable by past history and the present, is not dealing with the problem of hate propaganda. It is merely a study to make the people believe that the government is concerned about the problem while diverting attention from the real origin of racism and racist attacks, including the racism of the KKK and Western Guard, which is the bourgeoisie and its state."[2]

The People Must Rely on Their Own Strength to Defeat Racist Attacks

In 1965, twenty years before the "Group Defamation" Report on hate propaganda was issued, the Canadian Minister of Justice established a "Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada." It was known as the Cohen Commission, named after its chairman. Based on its recommendations, the Criminal Code of Canada was revised in 1970 to include sections dealing with the advocacy of genocide and the incitement and promotion of hatred.

These laws have never had any effect in controlling the hate propaganda of racist and fascist groups. TML Daily in an article in 1984 pointed out: "It is very interesting to note that the Cohen Commission Report even refers to the hate propaganda of the current leader of the 'Western Guard.' In other words, for twenty years this individual has carried on his hate propaganda despite the revisions to the law and the commissions of investigation.

"The same situation exists in British Columbia. In 1982 John McAlpine headed a commission for the BC government to make recommendations to the government regarding the hate propaganda of the Ku Klux Klan. In the same year, based on his report, the BC government passed its 'Civil Rights Protection Act,' but this has not stopped the racist and fascist propaganda and attacks of the KKK in that province.

"Is the problem just one of formulating a law which has no loopholes for the racist and fascist groups to escape through? This is not the problem. The bourgeoisie and its governments do not want to stop the hate propaganda of these racist and fascist groups. At the same time they must give the appearance of trying to do something to stop the hate propaganda because of the outrage of the people against this activity.

"The bourgeoisie and its governments defend the right of the racists and fascists to speak and organize and they are behind these gangs. The author of the Ontario government report on 'Group Defamation' even states that he does 'not advocate the banning of hate-mongering groups as such, as the United Nations calls for...'

"This shows that the people cannot rely on the governments and its commissions to defend their rights and freedoms from attack by these racist and fascist groups. Instead, they must rely on their own strength and wage revolutionary mass struggles to defend and extend their rights."[3]


1. TML Daily Vol. 14 No. 94, April 3, 1984.
2. TML Daily Vol. 14 No. 93, April 2, 1984.
3. TML Daily Vol. 14 No. 95, April 4, 1984.

(TML Weekly, Vol. 3, No. 21, June 27, 1998)

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In the Name of Opposing Hate

Criminalization and Persecution of Palestinian Struggle Targets People's Basic Human
Right to Resist

– Pierre Soubliere –

Since the onset of the ongoing mass movement of the peoples in Canada, Quebec and worldwide for a ceasefire, to end the genocide and for a free Palestine, protestors have been branded by government officials and the monopolized media as "celebrating terrorism." Calls for a free Palestine, from the river to the sea, were labelled anti-Semitic. This was accompanied by a wave of political persecution whereby employees and students faced firings, suspensions or calls to not be hired because of their publicly stated political stance against the genocide waged by Israel against the Palestinian people. On November 23, 2023, a group of UN special rapporteurs expressed concern with regards to "misleadingly equating critique of Israel with support for terrorism or anti-Semitism."

Their statement pointed out that artists, journalists, academics, athletes and protesters have all been censored, suspended, blacklisted or otherwise threatened with workplace consequences for expressing their views. It has also been pointed out by lawyers that their harassment is more often than not the result of anonymous sources reaching out to their employers or to their institutions, raising concerns about either their behaviour or something they have said or are alleged to have said.

There have also been cases of individual attacks on organizers of the weekly demonstrations taking place across Canada and Quebec, such as the arrest of a Calgary organizer and the fining of demonstrators in Ottawa on the basis of infringing a municipal bylaw on noise. The police have gone to people's homes after demonstrations to harass them. As one example, a young woman organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, was followed into an underground parking by a group of municipal law enforcers and physically surrounded and questioned with regards to these bylaws.

The response of the pro-Palestinian demonstrators and their allies has been: We will not be pushed aside! The last Ottawa demonstration was March 23, another very successful weekly protest. Every time participants have affirmed that they will not be intimidated and that people are carrying out their social and moral responsibility towards the people of Gaza. Nothing will stop them from having their voices heard -- the Palestinian resistance is sacred and unstoppable, as expressed in the slogan: Our Existence Is Resistance! Always disciplined, the deliberate practice at every demonstration is to not respond to Zionist provocations. Those responsible for demonstrators' security have become most successful in warding off potential provocateurs so that the fundamental messages of the demonstrations are not diminished or diverted.

The predicament of liberal democracy and its democratic institutions was well illustrated in the March 18 debate in the House of Commons on the NDP motion on Palestine. It showed many facets of its crisis: how it is paralyzed and cannot resolve such pressing issues as the ongoing genocide in Gaza, how all sense of immediacy, in spite of the best intentions in the world, is forsaken, and how the predominant discourse within the ruling circles is imbued with colonialist fervour.

It was striking how most interventions, whether from the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP or Bloc had several common threads running through them. The most common was the denial of the Palestinian people's right to resist Israel as an occupying force, and to resist all foreign intervention and all attacks on their right to self-determination.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was particularly outspoken and warmongering in this respect. He spluttered about "a decades-long cycle of violence" and that Israelis continue to live with the worry of being "at risk of terrorist attacks, including Iran-backed groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah" and how "both these terrorist groups want the destruction of Israel." The main thread was expressed by this so-called leader in this way: "With an extreme right-wing government in Israel, a lack of real democratic Palestinian leadership and the dangerous influence of extremist states like Iran, it is hard to see the path to peace."

His remarks were complemented by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly who stated that "terrorist and extremist voices are being heard from all sides."

Very noticeable is how, right on cue to match what the political police are saying, the question of "extremist voices" is being raised with regards to Israel. Talk about a presumably legitimate right-wing versus an extremist right-wing in Israel reflects the U.S. imperialists' attempts to maintain their control over the situation while espousing the Zionist project without fail. It is disinformation to deflect attention from their own refusal to implement the rulings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in terms of ending the genocide and letting humanitarian aid into Gaza. Claiming that the problem is "extremist groups on both sides" is the stock-in-trade of liberal Cold War ideology but it falls on deaf ears as far as the peoples of the world are concerned. In spite of the facts, the problem the ruling elite in Canada are raising is "extremists" who are anti-Semitic, and those who are "Islamophobic," with the state called upon to deal with such "extremisms." This was illustrated during the debate in Parliament with calls from one of the Conservative MPs to further criminalize the struggle of Palestinians in Canada and Quebec, calls he has been giving since the very first demonstration against Israel's slaughter in Palestine in October.

This also shows how the main concern of Canada's ruling elite at this time, as an extension of the U.S. administration, is how to control everything in their favour by eliminating any contenders. If the current resistance struggle shows them anything at all, it is that their aim of suppressing the Palestinian resistance are just dreams while attempts to once again impose a government which accepts Israeli occupation are also bound to fail. Several of the speakers in the debate in Parliament referred to Canada's bygone peacekeeping days and how it should once again play a "negotiating role" if it hopes to destroy the Palestinian resistance in the name of bringing "peace and security to the Middle East."

The Palestinian struggle is affirming in no uncertain terms the right of the peoples to speak, organize, resist and to self-determination and non-interference in their internal affairs. This is the what the peoples throughout the world are calling for on an ongoing basis, as we are witnessing, for instance, in Cuba and Haiti. This is well expressed by young Palestinians, Canadians and Quebeckers when they state that the struggle of the Palestinian people is part and parcel of the overall anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle of the world's people. It is a whole other level than what this hapless elite has in mind, and it is a living affirmation that our security lies in the fight for the rights of all.

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