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.

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.

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.
See context

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)