Banning Symbols of Hate Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (banning symbols of hate)

Sponsor

Peter Julian  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Feb. 3, 2022

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-229.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to broaden the provisions relating to hate propaganda by making it an offence to publicly display visual representations that promote or incite hatred or violence against an identifiable group.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Hindu Heritage MonthPrivate Members' Business

September 22nd, 2022 / 6:35 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise to support Motion No. 42 and follow in the footsteps of my colleague, the member for Edmonton Griesbach, who spoke in the first hour of debate very eloquently.

I want to remind members that Motion No. 42 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should recognize the contributions that Hindu Canadians have made to the socio-economic development of Canada, and their services to the Canadian society, the richness of Hindu Heritage and its vast contribution to the world of arts and science, astronomy to medicine, and its culture and traditions and the importance of educating and reflecting upon it for our future generations in Canada by declaring November, every year, Hindu Heritage Month.

I want to start off by addressing my constituents in New Westminster—Burnaby and the important Hindu temples that are found in Burnaby, which has one of the largest Hindu temples in all of Canada.

The Hindu Cultural Society and Community Centre of B.C. is a remarkable temple that is found on Marine Drive. It has many celebrations and invites the entire community. It is very much a foundation stone in our community.

The Arul Migu Thurkadevi Hindu Society is a Tamil-speaking Hindu temple on Edmonds Street in Burnaby. I can tell members that for those who participate in its annual chariot festival, which goes along Edmonds Street and through the Edmonds area of Burnaby, it is a truly extraordinary manifestation of the strength of the Hindu faith in Canada.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the ISKCON in Burnaby, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I attended its Krishna Janmashtami just a few weeks ago, and it was quite extraordinary. There were over 30,000 people there, many of them my constituents and many of them constituents of the NDP leader, the member for Burnaby South. It was a warm summer evening, and the celebration for the commemoration of Janmashtami went late into the night and even into the early morning hours. Every one of the 30,000 present had the opportunity to eat a vegetarian meal. There was entertainment and, of course, worship in the ISKCON temple. It was quite an extraordinary event, and I think among both the Hindus and non-Hindus who attended there was a sense of solidarity and peace that was truly exceptional. It is an incredible addition to our community.

I mention this because in those of the Hindu faith across the country, half a million Canadians, we see that type of contribution to communities, provinces and indeed to the entire country, which is why this motion to put in place a Hindu heritage month is so important. I congratulate the member for Nepean for bringing it forward.

When we have half a million Canadians make that type of contribution each and every day right across the country, it is important for this Parliament to acknowledge it and underscore it. I am delighted, along with my NDP colleagues, to support this very important motion, and we hope that it will pass with the backing of all members of Parliament.

I thank the member for Nepean for bringing this motion forward, and I also want to thank him for the discussions we have had, which do touch on the Hindu faith, regarding my bill, Bill C-229, on the banning of Nazi symbols in this country. I want to briefly touch on this, because just as it is important that we highlight the important contributions of Canadians of the Hindu faith right across the length and breadth of this country, we cannot ignore the fact that there is an increase in hate, racism and things that we thought we had gotten beyond in Canada. A lot of this is provoked from outside of the country, as we have seen far-right organizations in the United States and Europe that are trying to ignite hatred, and it is important to curtail that. We also saw it in the recent convoy with the expressions of hate that we need to push back against.

My bill to ban Nazi emblems and Nazi symbols was put forward in the House, as we know, a few months ago. The member for Nepean and many members of the Hindu community stepped forward to say that it is important that we not talk about the swastika as anything more than an important symbol of Hindu faith. This is an important point to make, that the swastika is a profoundly reverent symbol of the Hindu faith and should be treated as such.

I have undertaken to amend my bill to eliminate that reference so that we speak only about Nazi symbols when we talk about the banning of these symbols of hate. That is perhaps why it is more important than ever that we underscore the important contribution of Canadians of the Hindu faith in putting forward and adopting this motion to adopt a Hindu heritage month.

Because we are seeing this increased manifestation of hate, we need to counter it. This is one very effective way that we can do that. We, as members of Parliament, hopefully, all joining our voices together, can move to adopt this motion to put in place a Hindu heritage month for the month of November. This is an important way of pushing back against the signs we have all seen, which are profoundly disturbing, of a rise in hate often triggered from outside our country.

I mentioned earlier Janmashtami and the 30,000 people coming out at ISKCON to celebrate this important Hindu festival. I mentioned the chariot festival at the Arul Migu Thurkadevi Hindu Society on Edmonds Street.

I think it is important to note that, in New Westminster—Burnaby, we have a profound contributions from those of the Hindu faith right across the length and breadth of our riding, and that, in all of those circumstances, these incredible festivities of peace, serenity and celebration of the Hindu faith, there have never been any incidents. There is a profound support in the community for these very significant festivals.

This is something that I appreciate enormously about New Westminster—Burnaby. I know that I have talked before about New Westminster—Burnaby. It is the most diverse riding in the entire country. Over 150 languages are spoken there. People come from all of the four corners of this planet to join on the traditional territory of the Qayqayt first nation and the Halkomelem- and Squamish-speaking Coast Salish peoples.

There they have found a home in which everyone gets along together. One hundred and fifty different languages support components of every major faith around the world and all of these people get together in harmony. It is something that we treasure in our community.

When we talk about the Hindu community, there, as well, we know of many dozens of languages that come from those of the Hindu faith themselves. I had, in my younger years, the chance to travel from New Delhi down to Kanyakumari in a third-class train across India. I spent a couple of months travelling throughout India and saw, first-hand, the importance and relevance of the Hindu faith there in its birth place, and its remarkable contribution right across the length and breadth of India, the incredible diversity of so many different languages.

Well, that is replicated in New Westminster—Burnaby. That is why it is so important to underscore the important contributions of half a million Canadians of the Hindu faith, and to do that, hopefully, as soon as possible.

I sincerely hope, as well, that this initiative from the member for Nepean will be adopted unanimously in the House. I hope that will happen soon.

April 27th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair; and thanks to all our witnesses.

This is some of the most important testimony we've heard in this Parliament, and we deeply appreciate your coming forward today to speak.

I'm the sponsor of Bill C-229, the banning symbols of hate act. There has been some discussion around the legality or not of putting forward a Nazi-hooked cross, a Nazi flag, a Confederate flag or KKK symbols.

The genesis of the bill, in reaction to the rise in hate that we are seeing, is also the fact that one block from my constituency office, a store was openly selling Nazi paraphernalia—openly selling Nazi flags, Nazi emblems. When the City of New Westminster looked at how it could shut down this open sale and display of this appalling symbol of genocidal hate, the city was told that there are no laws against it.

In terms of other communities in Canada, in Summerland, British Columbia, the mayor was forced to go into a store selling Nazi paraphernalia, this appalling symbol of genocidal hate. The mayor bought the entire stock and burned it, and then the store owner went out and bought more.

To my mind, there is obviously a vacuum that needs to be filled. We have these appalling symbols that are openly displayed, even on Parliament Hill, a few steps away from the Hall of Honour where 40,000 Canadians are commemorated after having given their lives fighting Nazism, including my Uncle Patrick.

I believe this cannot continue.

My question is to Mr. Farber, Mr. Marceau, Ms. Kirzner-Roberts, Mr. Sharma and Mr. Brereton. Do you believe it is time now for Canada to act and follow the lead of other countries where there's a best practice banning these symbols of genocidal hate, of violent racism, of white supremacy, so that we very clearly say that this is illegal in this country, as it is in other countries?

I'll start with Mr. Farber.

April 27th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Roopnauth Sharma President, Hindu Federation

Madam Chair and members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity.

I confess that I've never found throughout history that there was a solution that was presented by anyone and that was accepted totally as to how to eradicate hate. I certainly know that it cannot be removed by words, nor can it be removed by bullets and bombs. It will certainly be addressed by good education, good wisdom. In the world that we live in, we need political will with wisdom, laws to be followed, and I think, most importantly, we need education for our general society.

I'm here today because we Hindus support any laws that will make it clear that people who go against the law of mankind and promote hate of any form must be addressed by the law of the land. Every effort must be made to refine the law to address these issues however they may be concealed, or be attempted to be concealed, under different emblems.

I have a particular concern that the term “swastika” has been used very, very grossly across the meeting today. This country must be educated to understand that when we use that term “swastika”, we are talking about Sanskrit terminology. It was not something that belonged to Germany. The hakenkreuz is the term that Hitler intended for Nazism, and we would like to see that terminology used when referring to that emblem at all times. When you refer to it as a Nazi symbol and use “swastika”, you're offending the Hindu community and you're creating a form of Hinduphobia. We Hindus are affected by this tremendously.

We agree with new laws, but we want you to be very cautious. We want to caution lawmakers that when they come to set laws in place, that implementation is a key factor.

I want to use a reference with respect to all and with no disrespect to anyone. When the same-sex law was made, Parliament agreed on it and on the implementation. Those who perform marriage ceremonies, as I do, came to the sad recognition that the marriage certificate no longer refers to bride and groom; it says applicant and applicant. We implemented a law to give someone a benefit and took away a value that others consider very valuable, one whereby bride and groom are considered.

My caution to this committee and to the lawmakers is that when you decide on this law, be conscious.

I have a statement I would like to read. Hopefully the time will permit it.

As Parliament considers Mr. Julian's bill, Bill C-229, an act to amend the Criminal Code banning symbols of hate, it must make sure that the context of the use of the Nazi swastika is carefully considered. We cannot allow a Hindu emblem of goodness to be erased as we take steps together to stamp out hate.

The bill, which we support, should be amended to ensure that a proper use of swastika for religious purposes by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians is protected, celebrated and remains completely legal in Canada. It should be amended to clarify that the evidence demonstrates that Nazi hakenkreuz is a weapon of hate, not a matter of free expression. Whatever the political events of the day, it is absolutely possible—indeed, essential—to combat Jew hatred while ensuring the rights of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Zoroastrian Canadians and respecting their benevolent and sacred symbols. Let us together take the steps to celebrate our religious freedom and unity in confronting Nazism, or any form of hate that is projected by any group in any form.

Today the statistics tell us that hate crimes are growing, while violent crimes or other crimes are diminishing. It tells us what our society is facing. With the demographic change, and as Canada opens its doors to more immigrants, we the lawmakers, we the politicians, we the people need to be conscious that the terms we use and the banners we stand under have an impact on the people who may be newcomers or residents of this country, and we need to protect all equally at all times.

Thank you.

Emergencies ActOrders of the Day

February 20th, 2022 / 10:25 p.m.
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NDP

Bonita Zarrillo NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Madam Speaker, this reality is threatening the safety of citizens and institutions, and the very sovereignty of this country. We know that this threat is real, and that the online environment is amplifying it. The power of online disinformation can be exemplified by the varied reports of a protester being trampled by a police horse this weekend. A phone call to my office that I picked up on Friday from a distraught constituent, as well as emails, reported that one victim was a woman, or it was a senior woman, or it was a senior woman with a walker, or it was an indigenous elder; that they suffered a shoulder injury; or maybe a horse stepped on their face and throat; or maybe they lost a limb or died. The only consistencies were inconsistencies in those stories.

It is time to get serious about the very dangerous consequences of the spread of disinformation, which gave rise to the length and size of the unlawful occupation in Ottawa, along with occupations and blockades across Canada. Again, I will say that it should not have come to this, but it did.

Let us stop looking backwards in this House and start looking forward and acknowledging the facts we are dealing with. When Ottawa called a state of emergency, it did not stop the lawlessness on our streets. When Ontario called a state of emergency, it did not stop the lawlessness. When indigenous leaders called for the occupiers to go home, they did not. It was only when the Emergencies Act was invoked that finally there was some initial resolution to this unlawful attack on the rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ottawa. The interim chief of the Ottawa police has been clear that without these additional powers, they would not have been able to achieve the outcomes so far.

Many members have spoken about how the threats are now over, but I want to share with this House what is happening in B.C. Protests are building here, and the agitators are increasingly aggressive. The RCMP had to pre-emptively close down the border yesterday and 16 were arrested. Other unlawful activity could not be addressed on the spot, due to a lack of resources.

Here is another really sad security threat. Private citizens are now feeling compelled to stand up against these aggressors. In Vancouver yesterday, convoy supporters and counter-protesters were facing off in the streets. In B.C., at YVR, police presence has been increased, and the cost of maintaining public safety at our borders in these times is mounting. I have to share that in the riding next to mine, the home of the provincial minister of public safety was affronted yesterday by protesters. In B.C., this is far from over.

The NDP takes the invocation of the Emergencies Act under public disorder very seriously. We have said over and over again that we will not give a blank cheque to the government. The government will have to stay within the established powers or we will withdraw any support. We will continue to protect peaceful protesters, including land defenders, and will protect the Charter of Rights for all Canadians.

Going forward, the federal government and all levels of government need to take responsibility for their failures, for not taking seriously the very real safety threats and infringements on rights and freedoms that the majority of Canadians have endured these past weeks. Going forward, they must accept and address the very real threats of intolerance, hate, discrimination and disinformation happening online and manifesting physically in our communities across Canada. These are real threats to the safety and security of every person and the institutions in this country, as well as our democracy and sovereignty.

The NDP has consistently shown leadership during these occupations and has used the tools available as the progressive opposition to act. We have moved motions to investigate and expose weaknesses in crowdfunding platforms, brought forward an emergency debate on the occupation of Ottawa, and tabled bills in this House to address hate and hate symbols. The NDP has shown leadership in standing up for health care workers, frontline and essential workers, and all workers who have gotten us through these two years of difficult, difficult times. We continue to stand up for them.

While the NDP has been focused on solutions, there has been a lack of forward thinking and leadership by the government.

The Liberals have failed in so many ways. They have failed to take seriously the declining standard of living for Canadians. They are no longer in touch with what is really happening in our communities. The years of neglect for the need for affordable housing, of not addressing the climate crisis with urgency, of declining to introduce pharmacare, of not addressing Canadians' high cellphone bills are just a few examples. I could go on.

The government has created an environment in which too many Canadians are hurting, and when people are hurting, when things are desperate, people can easily find themselves being taken advantage of by sinister actors who exploit those vulnerabilities for their personal gain. It is the job of all parliamentarians to protect Canadians from that.

It is late, and in this eleventh hour there is still work to be done to protect Canadians from the very real threat of hate and disinformation that fed off the vulnerabilities of exhausted, scared and anxious Canadians who live in every riding of this country. What manifested in Ottawa, in Coutts, in Windsor, in Surrey and in Winnipeg is no accident. It is well funded and well organized. It is an exploitation of the weaknesses in our government and our government systems that has led to the spread of hate and disinformation, and it is not over yet.

In closing, I must look to the future too, so I call on all my colleagues to support the NDP's private member's bill, Bill C-229, which would prevent anyone from selling and displaying symbols that promote hatred and violence in this country in the future.

Emergencies ActOrders of the Day

February 20th, 2022 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to address a bit of a local issue. The people of London have experienced first-hand the dangers caused by the right-wing extreme hatred. Unfortunately, in the last few days we have seen the raising of Confederate flags in London as well.

I want to ask the hon. member what he has heard from his constituents about that and how the government plans to address it. I would also ask him if he would be willing to support the NDP's private member's bill, Bill C-229, on the banning of those hate symbols.

Banning Symbols of Hate ActRoutine Proceedings

February 3rd, 2022 / 10:05 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (banning symbols of hate).

Mr. Speaker, last weekend we all saw the appalling images of Nazi flags being waved on Parliament Hill, just steps away from the sacred Hall of Honour where we commemorate the 45,000 Canadians who gave their lives fighting Nazism. Today I am tabling an act to amend the Criminal Code to ban symbols of hate.

All parliamentarians must support this bill and speak with one voice to ensure that swastikas can no longer be legally displayed in the very seat of our democracy.

These despicable Nazi and vile racist symbols of hate signify the worst depravity in human history: the Holocaust, with millions of victims of the most unspeakable acts of racism and hate.

Other countries have banned these symbols to preserve their democracy. It is time for Canada to do the same. I hope all MPs will come together for the speedy passage of the bill, so that never again will Nazi flags fly legally on Parliament Hill or anywhere else in Canada.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)