An Act to amend the Criminal Code (hate propaganda)

This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in May 2004.

This bill was previously introduced in the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session.

Sponsor

Svend Robinson  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2003 / 3:20 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions. Like Canadians from coast to coast to coast, these people are petitioning the government.

In the first one, the petitioners do not want the passing of Bill C-250 because of their fear of infringement of their own private rights.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 8th, 2003 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the third petition refers to Bill C-250 and it calls on Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures to preserve and protect the criminal code.

Assisted Human Reproduction ActGovernment Orders

October 3rd, 2003 / 10:45 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a very controversial subject across our land. It is probably third only to the recent bills that we have seen go through this place, one on the question of marriage and the other being Bill C-250. There are hundreds of people who have written who are concerned about Bill C-13. They are concerned about the view that this Parliament would reflect on humanity itself, the value of life and the dignity of life if we embark upon some of the measures provided for in this legislation.

Someone has said that this is not an issue of religion or conscience. I would suggest it really is an issue of conscience whether one is religious or not. I was reminded of that remark recently in the United States when we heard of someone who was fined something like $25,000 for destroying an eagle's egg. I am remembering the burrowing owls that we have in Canada and the endangered species legislation that we are looking at where people could be fined for even destroying the habitat or the nesting grounds of species in this country.

Would we punish them for destroying an egg of a bird or the burrow of an owl? Would we punish them for that and say it was sacrilegious to destroy them, or are we being religious for passing laws to protect endangered species? No one accuses us of being religious for doing that. Why would they want to accuse us of being overly religious for passing laws to protect the dignity and the safety of the human race?

Our party supports a number of aspects of the bill. We support the bans on reproductive and therapeutic cloning, the bans on animal and human hybrids, the bans on sex selection and the bans on buying and selling embryos. We recognize that these are the good aspects of the bill. As so often is the case, we get caught between a rock and a hard place when we deal with legislation. So often, there are parts of a bill that are good, as are these points that I have mentioned in this bill, and then there are parts that are weak or bad and cause us to have to violate our conscience to support that part of the legislation.

With regard to cloning, the Canadian Alliance opposes human cloning as we believe it is an affront to human dignity, individuality and rights. We have spoken often and for a long time against human cloning. We have been urging the federal government to take a stand and bring in legislation. It has been over 10 years since the report first came out that we should deal with these kinds of things. The Liberals have put it off and waited. It is my understanding that some companies in Canada announced recently that they were tired of waiting and that they were going to go ahead with some of this research. It is a shame that we have waited this long to deal with these kinds of issues.

The practices that are still allowed in this bill are not acceptable to some of us. The bill does say that the health and well-being of children born through assisted human reproduction must be given a priority. We believe in that and we believe in it very strongly. In fact, the health committee itself in its meetings came up with a ranking of the interests that should be made around this bill.

First of all, it said children born through assisted human reproduction should have priority in the decision making; second, adults participating in that procedure; and third, the researchers and physicians who conduct AHR research. They did not mention it, but I guess fourth would be the society in general that would benefit from anything that came out of this kind of research.

Even though children are mentioned as the ones who are to be considered first when we talk about these procedures, we have a way of saying something and then quickly forgetting what it really means. In the bill, children born through donor insemination or from donor eggs are not given the right to know the identity of their biological parents. How can we say that we are considering the needs of the children first when we refuse to even allow them to find out the identify of their biological parents?

In this day and age we know there are many cases where it is very valuable information medically to have a knowledge of who one's parents really are, where they came from, what were the diseases they had, what were their traits and characteristics. We do not allow for that in the bill.

The bill does not provide an acknowledgement of human dignity or respect for human life. The government makes some statements that are sort of related but it refuses to make a statement about the dignity or the sanctity of human life. The bill is intimately connected with the creation of human life, human life that will in its end be used strictly for research.

The minority report recommended that the final legislation would recognize the human embryo as human life and that the statutory declaration include the phrase “respect for human life”. I heard already this morning in this debate that the human embryo is not human life. Is it life at all? I think it can be proven scientifically that it is life. The cells are already beginning divide. It is growing and only living things grow. Certainly we must know that it is human. It is not another kind of animal. It is not a plant. It is not a vegetable. It is in fact a human life.

The bill also allows for experiments using human embryos under four conditions. Only in vitro embryos left over can be used. Written permission must be given by the donor. It does not say donors, it just says donor. We believe that every human embryo by scientific evidence would have to have two donors and not just one. There should be the recognition of both donors in this case and that both donors should give permission and not just one. The bill also allows for research on human embryos if the use is necessary. Necessary is undefined. In vitro fertilization requires the creation of human embryos and the bill says it is only as many as are necessary, but when the end comes, when the implantation is made I think we will find that many embryos have been destroyed that were not necessary and unused only to speed up the process. We are in such a hurry to see things happen. We cannot wait to see one or two eggs fertilized at a time so that a couple can bear children.

Sometimes we forget that Bill C-13 would allow the creation of embryos for reproductive research. Canadian law will now legitimize the view that human life can be created solely for the benefit of others and sacrificed in the name of research.

I come back to the fact that the human embryo is life. Whether it is a senior adult, a young adult, a child, a baby, a fetus or an embryo, I must conclude that it is human life.

I will close by quoting Suzanne Scorsone, a former member of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, who said “The human embryo is a human individual with a complete personal genome, and should be a subject of research only for its own benefit”. She also said that many people hold to the idea that to destroy the embryo or utilize it as industrial raw material is damaging and dehumanizing not only to that embryo but to all of human society.

I maintain that that is the right position.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 25th, 2003 / 10:20 a.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of some constituents of mine in Nanaimo—Cowichan who are still very concerned about Bill C-250 in that it suppresses the freedoms of religion and free speech in our society. The petitioners are hopeful that the Senate will appreciate their point of view.

I therefore present this petition on their behalf.

Democratic RightsStatements By Members

September 24th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend a sincere thanks to all those people across Canada who have contacted their members of Parliament over the past several months in respect of the important issues of marriage, religious freedom and freedom of speech.

There has been an unprecedented volume of correspondence stating concerns with same sex marriage and with Bill C-250, and with the process by which the Liberal government has abdicated its responsibility and broken its promises to Canadians.

I congratulate the thousands of Canadians who have not given up on the concept of democracy and the institution of Parliament despite the betrayal by the Liberal cabinet of their trust.

This debate is not over; in fact it has just begun.

The Canadian Alliance will continue to hold the Liberal government accountable to the people who elected it and for the promises it made to Canadian voters.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 19th, 2003 / 12:10 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present to the House this afternoon.

The first petition is from the constituents of Chetwynd, Rose Prairie, North Pine, Charlie Lake and Fort St. John. The petitioners call to the attention of the House of Commons that in their opinion the addition of sexual orientation as an explicitly protected category under sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada could lead to individuals being unable to exercise their religious freedom as protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The petitioners also note that the Criminal Code of Canada can be effective in preventing true threats against individuals or groups without changes to sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code.

Even with the passage of Bill C-250, the petitioners call upon Parliament, and I assume they call upon the Senate of Canada, to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of prosecution.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

September 18th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.
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NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to do something that I have never done before in the House, and that is to congratulate the Canadian Alliance on a remarkable new power that we discovered that it had yesterday. At four o'clock yesterday afternoon, the Canadian Alliance website announced that my private member's bill, Bill C-250, had passed and their amendments had been defeated. This was two hours before the vote actually took place.

Now we know that the Leader of the Opposition has remarkable powers. He has discovered a secret conspiracy between the Prime Minister, the judiciary and Martians to ram through same sex marriage. Now we know that the Canadian Alliance can also predict the results of future votes in this House.

I look forward to the next federal election two weeks beforehand, Canadian Alliance website “Stunning upset; Prime Minister Jack Layton; Canadian Alliance wiped out in the election due to its narrow intolerant agenda”.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 18th, 2003 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions I would like to present. The first one is from the constituents of Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey opposing Bill C-250.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

September 17th, 2003 / 6:05 p.m.
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The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions on the report stage of Bill C-250.

The question is on Motion No. 2.

After the taking of the vote:

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 17th, 2003 / 3:20 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition calls upon Parliament not to pass Bill C-250 into law.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 17th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my pleasure to present a petition from a number of my constituents requesting that Parliament take all measures to halt the passage of Bill C-250.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

September 17th, 2003 / 3:15 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the second petition I have is on amending section 318 of the Criminal Code in regard to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. The petitioners point out that it is Parliament's duty to protect the full extent of freedom of expression, thought and conscience. Therefore, they ask that Parliament take all measures necessary to protect the rights of Canadians to freely share their religious and moral beliefs without fear of prosecution, and they point out that the vote that we are having tonight on Bill C-250 is a very significant vote in that respect.

JusticeOral Question Period

September 17th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.
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Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. It is a very important topic in Bill C-250.

I would like to tell the House that indeed we support the bill as amended. Of course when it is looked at, it is consistent with the government's position and policy. That bill will include sexual orientation in the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code while protecting at the same time religious beliefs, that is to say, opinions and texts as well.

JusticeOral Question Period

September 17th, 2003 / 2:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

Violent hate crimes targeting gays and lesbians are all too common in Canada. Today the House will vote on the inclusion of sexual orientation and hate propaganda laws along with existing grounds of race, colour, religion and ethnic origin.

Will the minister confirm his support for Bill C-250 and confirm as well that particularly with the Liberal amendment passed in the House earlier this year, the bill fully protects religious freedoms and religious texts such as the Bible, the Koran or the Torah?

SupplyGovernment Orders

September 16th, 2003 / 5 p.m.
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Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central to participate in the debate on the Canadian Alliance motion reaffirming the traditional definition of marriage. I will try to be very brief so that my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan can share the time with me.

In June 1999, I rose in this very chamber to debate the same motion, quite aware of the future court challenges to the definition of marriage. On that day, parliamentarians sent a powerful message to the judiciary, making it clear where we stood on this issue. An overwhelming majority of members, 216 to 55, on both sides of the House rose to support our motion reaffirming the definition of marriage. By the way, only 11 Liberal members opposed the motion that day.

As it turns out, however, the courts did not care what legislators had to say on the issue. When the Ontario Court of Appeal challenged Parliament by arbitrarily redefining marriage, the Liberals' true agenda came out. The government refused to appeal the Ontario ruling, deliberately undermining Parliament's clear position. After campaigning on their promise, one by one the member for LaSalle—Émard and others are abandoning the public vote they cast in 1999 in favour of marriage and in favour of Parliament's democratic authority on this issue.

The justice minister has referred an amended definition of marriage to the Supreme Court of Canada as a result of three provincial court decisions striking down the definition of marriage as unconstitutional. Once these judges, most appointed by the Prime Minister, have ruled on the issue, the Liberals will demand that a democratically elected Parliament simply rubber stamp the bill.

It is bad enough in this era of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that the judiciary has not only assumed the power to strike down laws but also to read into laws things that are simply not there. It is a wrong precedent and absolutely a slap in the face of democracy.

The government's actions will draw the Supreme Court even further into politics and take away even more power from Parliament. The anointed Liberal leader and next prime minister will have a larger democratic deficit on his hands.

I have attended about 20 wedding ceremonies during the break where people have asked me to keep the traditional definition of marriage. Canadians, irrespective of religion or ethnic background, are disappointed by the Liberal government for their flip flopping in the last four years and for being proactive in changing the definition of marriage, which is the core of family values.

During the summer break, I held very successful town hall meetings on family values in Cloverdale, Fleetwood, and Newton in Surrey Central. My constituents have had a free and fair opportunity to express their views. My office has received a tremendous amount of correspondence on this issue and on religious freedom and family values.

The issue of marriage is at the core of family values. My constituents have told me that family values are important because they value our families. Families are the building blocks and foundation of society. The stronger the families the stronger the communities, and the stronger the communities the stronger our nation will be.

The family is a fact of life. It is not an option but a need of our society. The family is the reason that society exists. The family provides the loving, caring and supportive relationships. Because of families, we are able to nurture, develop and protect our children.

Therefore, federal laws should uphold our family and social values. The Liberals have offered a bundle of anti-family values since 1993. The Liberals have refused to protect the institution of family by not standing up to the challenges to marriage, spouses, family status and structure. Issues like divorce, shared parenting, custody and access and adoption are issues where they have shown weakness, and they refuse to protect children from sexual predators and child pornography, prostitution and abuse.

We know about the sex books for the kindergarten students in Surrey and the films and Internet to which children are being exposed.

The Liberals have refused to raise the age of consent from 14 to at least 16 for an adult to have sex with a child.

The Liberals have refused to crack down on sexual abusers and to put in place an effective sex offender registry. They have also failed to make tougher laws against violent crime and to put in place minimum sentences or other deterrents and prevention. We know the criminal justice system works for criminals, not for the victims.

The Liberals have failed to respect life in assisted human reproductive technology.

We all know about religious freedom in this place. We know about Bill C-250, which is the other side of the coin that is causing serious disturbance in society for religious freedom.

The Liberals have failed to offer equal opportunities to all citizens. They have failed to uphold social safety nets and benefit programs for families: security, CPP, retirement savings and medicare. They have failed to produce a family friendly income tax system that would not discriminate against stay at home parents. Two families in the same circumstances with the same total family income should not have different tax structures or tax bills.

I believe that Canadian law should be pro-family. Families are constituted by marriage, blood relation or by adoption. Marriage is a social institution. Marriage is not an option. It is a precondition for social survival. Threats to marriage and family poses counterfeit moral standards. Redefining marriage will no longer be a carrier of the message that children need mothers and fathers.

Where would the line be drawn on what would constitute a marriage. How about polygamy, age, blood relations? There would be no end to the litigation if this were opened.

Marriage is not only under attack by the courts but also by the ruling Liberal government. The federal government is making a grave error in judgment by not appealing the lower court decision to the Supreme Court of Canada and correcting the lower courts for overstepping their jurisdictions and then leave the decision to Parliament.

It is the role of Parliament, not the courts, to debate balancing conflicting rights in developing public policy and the laws of the land. Judges have the responsibility of finding the law as it exists, as it is made in this place.

Parliament has already given homosexual couples the same social and tax benefits as heterosexual couples in common law relationships. The definition of marriage and spouse were untouched but the definition of common law relationship was expanded to include same sex couples.

Some people say that this is an issue of equality. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman. How can it be equal to a union of two men or two women? I see something wrong with this equation. Moreover, some people say that it is an issue of human rights. I believe that it is an issue of moral values. I believe that the unique character and institution of marriage should be strongly respected and legally recognized.

I will therefore be voting to retain the traditional definition of marriage because it is what I believe in, what my constituents have told me, it is our party policy and I believe it is the right thing to do.

We will continue to defend democracy and the traditional definition of marriage, and the overall package of family values which the Liberals have polluted and not offered in a real sense to the Canadian people.