Bill C-63 (Online Harms Act): Who’s Really Pushing This Agenda?

Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, has been introduced in Parliament by Arif Virani, the Justice Minister. First Reading happened on February 26th, 2024. There’s a lot of it to go through

To begin with, there are actually some worthwhile provisions in the Bill, such as the mandatory reporting of child pornography. No sensible reason would reject that. And there are instances where being able to quickly remove certain content would be in the best interests of society.

Ottawa gives its own summary of the Bill.

However, Bill C-63 seems to blend together straightforward and legitimate issues with ones that are much more vague and impractical. Consequently, it’s harder to simply accept or reject.

There’s also the question of who has been influencing the drafting of this content. That will be addressed a bit later.

The Bill would create a Digital Safety Office of Canada, and an Ombudsman to oversee it. In essence, it would add a new layer of bureaucracy to specifically monitor “digital safety”.

Content that foments hatred is “defined” in this Bill, but is still vague. Additionally, it seeks to be able to attribute specific motivations to expression. What may be valid discourse to some will be considered hate speech to others.

There is a disclaimer that this wouldn’t apply to content solely because it expresses “disdain or dislike or it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends”. Sounds great, but that also is subjective as well, depending on the views of whoever is interpreting it.

Harmful content in fact lists 7 different categories, and all of them at least somewhat open to interpretation. What can easily happen is that these new laws will be selectively applied, depending on the politics of the people involved.

The Bill would create a new section of the Criminal Code. This is one which a person could lay an information on another, and with the Attorney General’s consent, it could be brought before a Judge. If ordered by that Judge a person may be forced to enter into a recognizance, if a Judge is convinced that hate crime may be committed.

Fear of hate propaganda offence or hate crime
.
810.‍012 (1) A person may, with the Attorney General’s consent, lay an information before a provincial court judge if the person fears on reasonable grounds that another person will commit
(a) an offence under section 318 or any of subsections 319(1) to (2.‍1); or
(b) an offence under section 320.‍1001.

A person could be forced into this recognizance for up to 2 years, or would face 12 months in prison if they refuse. This is similar to being out on bail or on a peace bond, but with no actual crime committed.

Terms of the “recognizance” could include:

(a) Wearing an electronic monitoring device
(b) Return to and remain at their place of residence at specified times, a.k.a. a curfew
(c) Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
(d) Submitting to drug and alcohol testing
(e) No contact orders
(f) Weapons prohibitions

The topper on this one is that a Judge isn’t required to give reasons for this, but is supposed to say why written reasons aren’t included. Again, this is for when some is suspected that they may commit a crime. No actual charges are necessary.

Other changes to the Criminal Code involve Section 318 and 319, which raise the potential imprisonment for incitement to hatred from 2 years to 5 years.

Advocating genocide will also expose a person to a potential life sentence.

The Canadian Human Rights Act would also be amended to include “communication of hate speech”, which is defined as: to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech 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.

But it also is poorly defined, which will likely lead to it being applied in an uneven manner, depending on the politics of those involved.

Section 140 of the Online Harms Act is the “Regulations” part. This is where unnamed and unelected bureaucrats are able to change or interpret provisions of the legislation without any real oversight. Nearly all Acts have such a backdoor, which allows changes to be done behind the scenes.

There is more to Bill C-63, but those are some of the major points.

Now, where did this come from?

Lobbying is a reality in politics. Special interests groups lobby money to get certain agendas pushed, and to get money for their causes. This is hardly news. Searching the Federal Lobbyist Registry, the following names come up:

  • Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
  • National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM)
  • Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF)
  • YWCA Canada
  • Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

Are there others involved in this? Probably, but these are the names that come up, which appear to be relevant to regulating speech and expression.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, CIJA, has been prolific in lobbying Ottawa for changes to the Human Rights Act, and to the Criminal Code. This group has pushed for stricter definitions around so-called hate crimes and antisemitism. Their recent efforts include making Holocaust denial punishable by prison time, and removing religious protections. See here and here.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims, NCCM, specifically lists Section 13 of the Canadian Rights Act. They want laws against Islamophobia, and condemn “white supremacy”. Other efforts include anti-racism initiatives, such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund, LEAF, had pressured Ottawa to take action against online harassment and gendered violence. The recent lobbying specifically relates to new technologies used to do this.

YWCA Canada supports regulations against online hate, which is taken from a feminist and “gendered violence” perspective.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a bit of an outlier. It wants more financial support for smaller, independent media, while opposing the funding of the CBC. It also pushes for regulations around online hate. Presumably, this would lead to many (much smaller) anti-racist outlets.

And to search online hate more generally, click on this link.

While it’s always important to read upcoming legislation, this piece often gets left out. The groups pushing for changes need to be considered as well. This is especially true if our interests don’t align.

(1) https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/services/online-harms.html
(2) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-63
(3) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/arif-virani(88910)
(4) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-63/first-reading
(5) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/advSrch?searchCommand=navigate&time=1709098767406
(6) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=584229
(7) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=111&regId=937469
(8) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=594289
(9) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=358918&regId=946132
(10) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=362688&regId=941750
(11) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=377298&regId=947241
(12) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=375749&regId=944913

Private Member Bills In Current Session:
(A) Bill C-206: Decriminalizing Self Maiming To Avoid Military Service
(B) Bill C-207: Creating The “Right” To Affordable Housing
(C) Bill C-219: Creating Environmental Bill Of Rights
(D) Bill C-226: Creating A Strategy For Environmental Racism/Justice
(E) Bill C-229: Banning Symbols Of Hate, Without Defining Them
(F) Bill C-235: Building Of A Green Economy In The Prairies
(G) Bill C-245: Entrenching Climate Change Into Canada Infrastructure Bank
(H) Bill C-250: Imposing Prison Time For Holocaust Denial
(I) Bill C-261: Red Flag Laws For “Hate Speech”
(J) Bill C-293: Domestic Implementation Of Int’l Pandemic Treaty
(K) Bill C-312: Development Of National Renewable Energy Strategy
(L) Bill C-315: Amending CPPIB Act Over “Human, Labour, Environmental Rights”
(M) Bill C-367: Removing Religious Exemptions Protecting Against Antisemitism
(N) Bill S-215: Protecting Financial Stability Of Post-Secondary Institutions
(O) Bill S-243: Climate Related Finance Act, Banking Acts
(P) Bill S-248: Removing Final Consent For Euthanasia
(Q) Bill S-257: Protecting Political Belief Or Activity As Human Rights

Private Member’s Bill C-367: Removing Religious Protections For Antisemitic Expression

A Private Member’s Bill is getting renewed expression for the potential impact it may have. Bill C-367 would remove “belief based on a religious text” as a defence to certain criminal charges.

The text of the Bill would remove both sections 319(3)‍(b) and 319(3.‍1)‍(b) from the Criminal Code of Canada. Those provisions provide legal defences to people charged with the willful promotion of antisemitism, if it’s done in the context of religious expression. Truth is still allowed, for now.

Of course, the vagueness of these hate speech laws is already an issue. Nothing is properly defined, which makes it very subjective. But remove a potential justification? That’s worth a closer look.

Defences
.
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)
(a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

Defences — subsection (2.1)
.
(3.1) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2.1)
(a) if they establish that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, they expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds they believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, they intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of antisemitism toward Jews.

This came from Yves-François Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc Québécois.

Blanchet is also on a large number of international associations in Parliament. This is rather strange, considering his stated goal of breaking up Canada. These people larp as if Quebec were an independent country, and it’s taken seriously.

  • (CAAF) Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association
  • (CACN) Canada-China Legislative Association
  • (CADE) Canada-Germany Interparliamentary Group
  • (CAEU) Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association
  • (CAFR) Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association
  • (CAIE) Canada-Ireland Interparliamentary Group
  • (CAIL) Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group
  • (CAIT) Canada-Italy Interparliamentary Group
  • (CAJP) Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group
  • (CANA) Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association
  • (CAPF) Canadian Branch of the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie
  • (CCOM) Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
  • (CEUS) Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group
  • (CPAM) Canadian Section of ParlAmericas
  • (RUUK) Canada-United Kingdom Inter-Parliamentary Association
  • (SECO) Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly
  • (UIPU) Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union

Considering Blanchet’s position, it’s not really that surprising who paid him a visit recently.

October 20th, 2023, Blanchet gets lobbied by CIJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. November 28th, he introduces Bill C-367 in Parliament. That’s less than 6 weeks later.

Quebec is largely a Catholic province — although immigration is replacing that — so it’s really odd that Blanchet would introduce this Bill. His own constituents could be impacted by this, depending on how it’s interpreted and enforced.

Interestingly, even those who cover the Bill omit the CIJA angle. The Christian Heritage Party, CHP, has commented on Bill C-367 being introduced in late 2023, but no mention of the lobbying behind the scenes. Lifesite ignores it as well. So does at least one pastor.

CIJA is very prolific in Canadian politics.

Their profile lists the following:

  • Digital Citizen Contribution Program (DCCP): The objective of the project is to combat online disinformation and hate, specifically, antisemitism and antisemitic conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 where it is spreading: online via social media. Antisemitism cannot be allowed to permeate civil discourse and become mainstream
  • A civil remedy based in human rights law, included in the Canadian Human Rights Act, with respect to combating hate speech, including antisemitism. Training for provincial attorneys general, prosecutors, and police to enforce Criminal Code hate speech provisions. Training and parameters should cite the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.
  • Civil remedy included in the Canadian Human Rights Act with respect to combating antisemitism.
  • Equip police departments to counter hate crimes and support targeted communities by providing additional resources to bolster existing police hate crime and community liaison units. Where such units do not exist, funding should be provided to establish them.
  • Update the Criminal Code of Canada with respect to combating antisemitism and online hate. Create a national strategy to tackle online hate and radicalization using the 2019 Justice Committee report, “Taking Action to End Online Hate”, as a foundation. A strategy should draw upon the Christchurch Call, and use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.
  • Hate speech and internet-based hate: For Canada to adopt policies – either/and through legislation or policies adjustments that will provide measurable standards for internet-based dissemination of hate speech, including explicit provisions within the Crimical Code and/or the Human Rights Act.

There are, of course, many other areas CIJA advocates for, such as ending the blood ban for gays. However, a large portion of the focus seems to be around speech and expression.

Don’t expect so-called “Conservatives” to come to the aid of principled free speech. They quite enthusiastically introduced Bill C-250, to jail people for questioning the official version of WWII.

Bill C-250 became moot when the equivalent provisions passed, slipped into Bill C-19, a budget Bill. Nonetheless, there was no pushback or resistance from the political right in Canada. And this highlights the hypocrisy they engage in.

Conservatives were outraged — or at least they pretended to be — over M-103, which was Iqra Khalid’s Motion to “study Islamophobia”. They railed that it was a waste of money, and an attack on free speech. And it was. That being said, they’re supportive of other attempts to imprison Canadians for having incorrect views on history.

News of Bill C-250 was announced on the CPC website, but has since been taken down. However, it has been archived and saved.

This new Bill aims to remove a protection that had previously been embedded in the last one. Incrementalism seems to be the way in politics.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-367
(2) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/yves-francois-blanchet(104669)
(3) https://www.parl.ca/diplomacy/en/groups/cail
(4) https://www.parl.ca/documentviewer/en/IIA/constitution/8385503
(5) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-367/first-reading
(6) https://twitter.com/CHPCanada/status/1760773690902401300/
(7) https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/proposed-canadian-law-could-see-christians-jailed-for-quoting-the-bible/
(8) https://twitter.com/aylmerpastor/status/1760787350496395632
(9) https://www.conservative.ca/mp-waugh-introduces-legislation-to-prohibit-holocaust-denial/
(10) https://archive.ph/fCnNn
(11) MP Waugh introduces legislation to prohibit Holocaust denial – Conservative Party of Canada
(12) Wayback Machine On Bill C-250

Private Member Bills In Current Session:
(A) Bill C-206: Decriminalizing Self Maiming To Avoid Military Service
(B) Bill C-207: Creating The “Right” To Affordable Housing
(C) Bill C-219: Creating Environmental Bill Of Rights
(D) Bill C-226: Creating A Strategy For Environmental Racism/Justice
(E) Bill C-229: Banning Symbols Of Hate, Without Defining Them
(F) Bill C-235: Building Of A Green Economy In The Prairies
(G) Bill C-245: Entrenching Climate Change Into Canada Infrastructure Bank
(H) Bill C-250: Imposing Prison Time For Holocaust Denial
(I) Bill C-261: Red Flag Laws For “Hate Speech”
(J) Bill C-293: Domestic Implementation Of Int’l Pandemic Treaty
(K) Bill C-312: Development Of National Renewable Energy Strategy
(L) Bill C-315: Amending CPPIB Act Over “Human, Labour, Environmental Rights”
(M) Bill S-215: Protecting Financial Stability Of Post-Secondary Institutions
(N) Bill S-243: Climate Related Finance Act, Banking Acts
(O) Bill S-248: Removing Final Consent For Euthanasia
(P) Bill S-257: Protecting Political Belief Or Activity As Human Rights

UNESCO Guidelines For The Governance Of Digital Platforms

Recently, UNESCO released their action plan to regulate social media platforms. The guideline is a 59 page document outlining a series of goals and steps that should be taken by Member States.

On the surface, the paper seems harmless enough. But as with most things, the devil is in the details.

Going through this, the thoughts that comes to mind are the CRTC, and Bills C-11 and C-18. There’s a strong reluctance to accept any sort of Government interference with media access.

The paper talks about the importance of having an independent media, with a diversity of perspectives. Nothing wrong with that. However, there are a few places where the idea is raised of subsidizing “independent” media, presumably with Government funds. While a viable media is important, this creates an obvious conflict of interest.

There are also several mentions of online media being used in ways to help advance the U.N. Sustainable Development Agenda, a.k.a. Agenda 2030. It’s unclear what would happen if online platforms were used in ways to undermine its implementation.

There are repeated calls to use digital platforms to respect and protect human rights. This is fine in principle, but it’s undefined, and presumably arbitrary, what those rights are.

Paragraph 38 talks about the need for there to be an ongoing relationship with digital platforms and “credible” news sources. Of course, the term credible is left undefined. It’s also unclear what, if any, voices that media who aren’t considered credible would have.

Paragraph 45 gets into the topic of “compliance mechanisms”. It’s rather chilling, as it mentions the possibility of regulators making final decisions with respect to the rules on platforms.

Paragraph 49 addresses the idea of having checks and balances. This sounds fine, until one asks what structures would have to be put in place to begin with.

Paragraph 52 covers “investing” in so-called independent media, in order to make it more sustainable. If the only way that independents can survive is by getting bailout money, then that would convert them into Government employees. No need to ban critics when they can simply be bought off.

Paragraph 54 talks about having: (a) national; (b) regional; and (c) global governance systems put in place, to safeguard freedom of expression, access to information, and other human rights. There’s also a brief mention about limiting expression to protect human rights.

Perhaps the most interesting sections are paragraphs 68-73, which outline how an “independent regulator” would work. Of course, how independent can it be when it reports to the very people it’s supposed to keep an eye on.

68. In statutory regulation, official regulatory authorities, though constituting part of the executive state apparatus, should be wholly independent of the government and be primarily accountable to legislatures for fulfilment of their mandates. This applies to existing regulatory bodies that have a legitimate interest in content on platforms (such as electoral management bodies, advertising authorities, child protection entities, data and privacy commissions, competition bodies, etc.), as well as any new dedicated or coordinating regulatory instances that may be established.

69. With regard to all statutory bodies engaging in platform regulation, either solely or jointly, periodic review should be performed by an independent body reporting directly to the legislature. Statutory interventions should also be subject to review in the courts if authorities are believed to have exceeded their powers, acted unreasonably, or acted in a biased or disproportionate manner.

70. Official regulatory authorities need to be independent and free from economic, political, or other pressures. Their power and mandate should be set out in law. They should also comply with international human rights and promote gender equality standards.

71. Official regulatory institutions must have sufficient funding and expertise to carry out their responsibilities effectively. The sources of funding must also be clear, transparent, and accessible to all, and not subject to the governmental discretion.

72. Governing officials or members of the official regulatory institutions working on the issue of content on platforms should:
a. Be appointed through a participatory, transparent, non-discriminatory, and independent merit-based process.
b. Be accountable to an independent body (which could be the legislature, judiciary, an external council, or an independent board/boards).
c. Include relevant expertise in international human rights law and the digital ecosystem.
d. Deliver an annual public report to an independent body—ideally the legislature—and be held accountable to it, including by informing the body about their reasoned opinion.
e. Make public any possible conflicts of interest and declare any gifts or incentives.
f. After completing the mandate, for a reasonable period, not be hired or provide paid services to those who have been subject to their regulation, in order to avoid the risk known as “revolving doors”.

73. The official regulatory authorities should be able to request that digital platforms provide periodic reports on the application of their terms of services, and take enforcement action against digital platforms deemed non-compliant with their own policies or failing to fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information and diverse cultural content. They should be able to establish a complaints process and issue public recommendations that may be binding or non-binding and be empowered to issue transparent and appropriate directives to the platforms for the promotion and respect of human rights, based on international human rights standards

In fairness, there are portions that are noble, such as 72(e) and (f) which aim to limit conflicts of interest in the forms of gifts or lobbying. Lest this be viewed as a hatchet job, there are portions of the paper that are quite good.

Paragraph 115, and its many subparagraphs, detail how due process information and human rights data should be integrated at all stages of moderation. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with this, but who will be setting the standards?

Paragraphs 116 to 118 offer suggestions for collecting user demographic data for research purposes. While it’s supposed to be anonymized, there’s not enough specifics included as to it use.

Paragraph 143 gives brief guidelines about how platforms should conduct themselves during emergencies and armed conflicts. It suggests . Developing cooperation with trusted partners, independent media organizations, and other reliable flaggers.

These are just some of the issues that are raised. This UNESCO paper seems so harmless on the surface, but it’s really vague at times when clarity is needed.

Note: While UNESCO claims to want to prevent misinformation from spreading, it has hardly been neutral or objective. Only recently, it was telling people to only trust official sources for information on the “pandemic”.

(1) https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/online-disinformation-unesco-unveils-action-plan-regulate-social-media-platforms
(2) https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000387339
(3) UNESCO Guidelines To Govern Digital Platforms
(4) https://www.youtube.com/@UNESCO
(5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90cIg4lv-3M

Association of Doctors of B.C. Wants All Drugs Decriminalized, Previously Backed Vaccine Passport

Doctors of BC (British Columbia) describes itself as “a voluntary association of 14,000 physicians, residents and medical students in British Columbia.” It’s interesting that they refer to it as voluntary, as the group promotes policies that are anything but.

As an aside, lobbying efforts also include having obesity declared a chronic disease. This is because… reasons. There’s also calls for “health equity”, whatever that means.

Advocacy regarding decriminalization and safe supply of opioids with policy paper was published in June 2021. The policy paper contains a statement that calls on the provincial government to dedicate resources to health and social interventions that will have a positive impact on the life trajectories of people who use drugs, including reducing drug toxicity injuries and deaths.

This organization calls for: improving access to substance use prevention, harm reduction, and treatment programs and services, all while making it easier to access those same drugs.

Yes, an association which claims to speak for 14,000 physicians, residents and medical students wants to see all hard drugs in the Province decriminalized. Absurd as it sounds, it gets even worse when looking at other policies they recently advocated for.

The lobbying records also listed: “Advocacy regarding secondary use of EMR data with the outcome of a creation of a governance structure for secondary use of data generated from physician EMRs”, as one of the purposes meeting with M.L.A.s. While this is vague, it’s plausible that this could mean selling patient data (possibly with identifying markers removed) for research.

Another topic was: “Advocacy regarding the development of the legislative framework to expand the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) with the goal of ensuring physicians are covered by the protections of PIDA.” This would make it easier and less risky to divulge confidential information, although the specifics are not clear.

This was less than 2 years ago, so it’s not ancient. It’s also very revealing into the ideologies of how such institutions are really run.

Doctors of BC applauds the provincial government for its announcement of progressive measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the province, including the reinstatement of the indoor mask mandate, and the introduction of the BC Vaccine Card requiring mandatory vaccinations in order to access discretionary indoor events. In taking these steps, government is recognizing the threat posed by highly transmissible COVID-19 variants and the mounting pressure on our health care system and to those who work in it.

The Association of Doctors of BC supported (in Summer 2021) the vaccine passport being introduced, as well as mask mandates being reinstated. Matthew Chow, President of the group, wrote glowingly about it.

The Association of Doctors of B.C. says it takes people’s health (including mental health) seriously, but openly supported excluding them from society in order to coerce them into taking mRNA shots.

This also helps explain why no doctors were willing to hand out mask or vaccine exemption letters in this Province. They were all controlled.

For an organization that claims to want to create a healthier Province, it ignores the obvious cause of drug use and overdoses in the last few years: medical lockdown measures. In other words, they supposedly want to fix a problem, but support actions that lead to it getting worse.

Even today, they’re still hyping the vaccines.

Just the previous month, the group released a paper calling for the decriminalization of all illicit drugs in B.C. in the name of health and safety. Specifically, there were goals to:

  • Decriminalization of simple possession of all controlled substances for personal use.
  • Enhanced coordination of and improved access to a range of community-based, culturally appropriate, evidence-informed substance use prevention, harm reduction, and treatment programs and services.
  • Increased access to health and social programs and services to address the social determinants of health.
  • Efforts to separate people from the toxic, illicit drug supply, and prevent unintentional toxic drug poisoning or overdose, including improved access to safer pharmaceutical alternatives.

This isn’t really designed to get people to stop doing drugs altogether, but to have them doing it “safely”. And yes, this is a doctor’s group.

The state of health care in B.C….

(1) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=193&regId=56567406
(2) https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/about-us
(3) https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/news/doctors-bc-supports-provincial-government-actions-calls-mandatory-vaccination-health-care
(4) https://archive.is/YrAle
(5) https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/presidents-blog/government-makes-good-moves-we-need-more-curb-covid-19
(6) https://archive.is/FguBF
(7) https://www.doctorsofbc.ca/presidents-blog/government-makes-good-moves-we-need-more-curb-covid-19
(8) https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/18022
(9) https://twitter.com/VCHhealthcare/status/1643026387425714176

Chief Justice Hinkson, The Vancouver Foundation, And Many Unanswered Questions

It was recently revealed that the Justice who presided over several anti-lockdown cases in British Columbia runs a group called the Vancouver Foundation. Looking into the details of this charity a bit more, this creates — at a minimum — the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. (See archive.)

The group describes itself in this way:

“Vancouver Foundation grants to hundreds of charities and non-profits in BC every year. Our vision is to create healthy, vibrant, and livable communities, and we focus on supporting projects that address the root causes of important issues. Our funding comes from generous gifts from the community, as well as from managing endowment funds for people, charities, and businesses.”

The Vancouver Foundation is involved in many different areas, and has undoubtedly has done a lot of good work. However, some things need to be questioned.

Anyhow, this is quite the rabbit hole, so let’s jump in.

The Vancouver Foundation Act is what governs the organization. This isn’t a traditional group, but one that was created in 1943 by an Act of Parliament.

Board of directors
5 (1) The board of directors of the foundation is to consist of at least 10 and not more than 18 persons, with the directors determining the number of directors from time to time in the bylaws of the foundation.
(1.1) If the number of directors is below the minimum number set out in subsection (1) or in the bylaws, as applicable, the board continues to have the authority to carry out its duties and exercise its powers until all vacancies are filled.
(1.2) Subject to section 6, the board consists of the following members:
(a) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia or, if applicable, the judge appointed by the Chief Justice under that section;
(b) a member of the Law Society of British Columbia who has been nominated by the Law Society of British Columbia in accordance with the bylaws of the foundation and whose nomination has been accepted by the board;

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson is a Director at the Vancouver Foundation, by virtue of his position on the Court. Far from being just a name on paper, he’s prominently listed as a Director (see margin on page 3). He also made the following rulings:

COURT CASES PRESIDED OVER BY CHIEF JUSTICE HINKSON

(A) Kassian v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1603
(Refusal for exemption to vaccine passport)
https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2022/2022bcsc1603/2022bcsc1603.html

(B) Eliason v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2022 BCSC 1604
(Refusal for charter rights to travel, s.6 of Charter)
https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2022/2022bcsc1604/2022bcsc1604.html

(C) Maddock v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1605
(Refusal for compensation due to injury)
https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2022/2022bcsc1605/2022bcsc1605.html

(D) CSASPP v. British Columbia, 2022 BCSC 1606
(Refusal to allow health care workers to opt out)
https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2022/2022bcsc1606/2022bcsc1606.html

(E) Beaudoin v. British Columbia, 2021 BCSC 248, BCSC 248
(Refusal to allow a church to remain open)
https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2021/2021bcsc512/2021bcsc512.html

True, one might get the impression that he simply called these cases as he saw fit. But there is more to things than meet the eye.

Kate Hammer is the Vice President for Engagement, was previously a Senior Policy Advisor for the Minister of Education (Ontario), and also worked in the Office of the Premier under Kathleen Wynne. Sure, that’s Ontario, but people in political circles have very deep networks of connections, and it’s rarely limited to a region. (See archive.)

She’s also now lobbying the B.C Government on behalf of the Vancouver Foundation. Things get even more convoluted. Why? Because the B.C. Lobbying Registry shows exactly what subject matters are being discussed.

The Vancouver Foundation is trying to get more access and influence from the B.C. Government. This can cause a problem.

  • Activities to support an amendment to Vancouver Foundation Act related to definition of “reserve amount”
  • Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options and opportunities for ensuring legislation and regulations related to lobbyists transparency do not limit charities and non-profits from participating in vital conversations about government policies and priorities.
  • Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options and opportunities for the charitable sector to play a key role in pandemic recovery
  • Vancouver Foundation seeks to discuss with the BC Government options for expanding the Unclaimed Property Act’s ability to use dormant assets to boost investment in community initiatives and organizations.

Let’s think about this one. Chief Justice Hinkson, a Director at the Vancouver Foundation, is making key Court rulings relating to “pandemic measures”. Meanwhile, his organization is lobbying the B.C. Government for greater influence in exactly those areas.

And what taxpayer sources is the Vancouver Foundation getting money from?

SOURCE DATE AMOUNT
Provincial Employees Community Services Fund 2022-09-08 $68.00
City of Surrey 2022-08-26 $3,000.00
City of Surrey 2022-06-22 $48.13
Advanced Education and Skills Training 2022-04-07 $250,000.00
Children and Family Development 2022-04-05 $2,760,000.00
Social Development and Poverty Reduction 2022-04-01 $1,350,000.00
Social Development and Poverty Reduction 2022-04-01 $30,000,000.00
Canada Cultural Investment Fund 2022-03-21 $1,005,258.00
City of Vancouver 2022-03-11 $45,000.00
Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development 2022-02-24 $5,000,000.00
City of Surrey 2020-10-08 $45.00
BC Arts Council 2020-04-02 $200,000.00
Social Development and Poverty Reduction 2020-04-02 $590,000.00
Advanced Education, Skills and Training 2020-03-31 $250,000.00
Canada Cultural Investment Fund 2020-03-16 $955,718.00
Provincial Employees Community Services Fund 2020-03-13 to 2020-09-10 $59.80
City of Vancouver 2020-03-13 $22,500.00

The Vancouver Foundation has received several millions of taxpayer money in the last few years.

Glenn Wald gets an honourable mention. He was the Director of Communications at Vancouver Foundation from November 2017 until October 2022. He has also been involved with both the Federal and British Columbia Governments. (See archive.)

Joe Gallagher, Vice President Indigenous Health & Cultural Safety at Provincial Health Services Authority, is also worth listing. He was a Board Member at the Vancouver Foundation until July 2022, so very recent. (See archive.)

Dara Parker is formerly a Program Manager for the United Nations Association in Canada, and an advisor for the U.N. Human Resettlements Programme. (See archive.)

As covered previously, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) Foundation is in fact a registered charity that contributes substantial amounts annually to up to 4 “qualified donees”. These are:

  • B.C. Centre for Disease Control
  • Community-Based Research Centre Society (also a charity)
  • Provincial Health Services Authority (also a charity)
  • University of British Columbia (also a charity)

The BCCDC Foundation used to have a scroller to cycle through their major donor list. It’s since been removed, but thankfully saved in an earlier article:

The BCCDC Foundation proudly lists the Vancouver Foundation as a donor, as well as companies like Pfizer. The BCCDC-F also admits that a significant portion of its funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. Is it any wonder why the B.C. Government is so pro-pharma?

In terms of following the money, the next sections are from CSASPP’s March 12, 2023 summary for the Vancouver Foundation’s financials. As a registered charity, it’s required to disclose a fair amount of information publicly. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are the highlights:

Based on the T3010 Registered Charity Information Return filed with the Canada Revenue Agency, several years of reporting periods are available. The records are copious with thousands of donees. We will save you the trouble of sifting through them. The following is a summary of our provisional material findings.

In fiscal year 2021 the Vancouver Foundation donated to the Public Health Association of British Columbia $193,072 and to Fraser Health Authority $93,434. The year prior of 2020 Vancouver Coastal Health Authority received $100,000 from the Foundation. A charity setup by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control to receive donations, the BCCDC Foundation for Population and Public Health, received $13,000.

During the onset to the alleged pandemic in 2019, many of you will recall the traditional intellectual safeguards were largely mute. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association received $151,718.

Other recipients during that fiscal year include the BCCDC’s Foundation at $57,667, Fraser Health Authority at $41,055, the Registered Nurses Foundation of BC at $4,276, and a charity setup by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at a $1,000.

The previous fiscal year of 2018 the BCCDC Foundation again received $57,667, Fraser Health Authority $41,472, the BC Civil Liberties Association $36,104, and the CBC’s charity $1,000.

From the voluminous records we were able to analyze in the time invested, this is where money directly went. The question of where money went after the Vancouver Foundation donated it to the BCCDC Foundation is also worth commenting on.

Unlike the Vancouver Foundation, the BCCDC’s Foundation does not donate to thousands of donees. Based on its own T3010 filing, from fiscal years 2017 to 2021, it donates to only one to four donees a year. A sophisticated organization, such as the Vancouver Foundation, cannot reasonably be said to not know where the aforementioned benefactor receiving a donation would subsequently direct it to.

In every filing we uncovered problematic benefactors. In fiscal year 2021 the BCCDC Foundation donated to the Provincial Health Services Authority $140,247. The year prior of 2020 an amount of $487,689 was donated to the PHSA. In 2019 they received $588,553. In 2018 they received $290,267. In 2017 they received $426,016. The BCCDC Foundation then in 2017 donated to the BCCDC itself $15,300.

Recall that the PHSA is Dr. Henry’s employer, a defendant named in all of our litigation – including the petition in which the Chief Justice presided over. It is impossible for any reasonable person to characterize the movement of substantial sums of money in this manner under the direction of the Chief Justice as, at the very least, not carrying the perception of a conflict of interest.

What is the result of all of this? We get a situation where there really is no separation between the judiciary, the legislature, and N.G.O.s with financial interests. Everything seems to blend together.

Was there anything to those anti-lockdown rulings in B.C.? Impossible to say for sure, but the connections of the Vancouver Foundation do raise a lot of questions.

SOURCES:
(1) https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/detail/chief-justice-christopher-hinkson/
(2) https://archive.is/wPjZm
(3) https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/lc/psl/00032_01
(4) https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/about-us/our-people/our-team/
(5) http://2007.vancouverfoundationvitalsigns.ca/sites/default/files/publications/VF_Magazine_2020_web.pdf
(6) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=3770&regId=56555677
(7) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/reports/funding/received?cocId=3770&regId=56555677&extnl=true
(8) https://www.lobbyistsregistrar.bc.ca/app/secure/orl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=3770&regId=56567332
(9) https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-hammer-5226a6a6
(10) https://archive.is/9RHmI
(11) https://www.linkedin.com/in/daraparker/details/experience/
(12) https://archive.is/cNFEY
(13) https://www.linkedin.com/in/glennewald/details/experience/
(14) https://archive.is/QFi7M
(15) https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gallagher-1730a0b3/
(16) https://archive.is/SL24p
(17) https://www.covidconstitutionalchallengebc.ca/status-updates

(A) BCCDC Foundation Charity Page
(B) University Of British Columbia Charity Page
(C) Provincial Health Services Authority Charity Page
(D) Community-Based Research Centre Society Charity Page
(E) Vancouver Foundation Charity Page

Private Member’s Bill C-245 DEFEATED: Would Entrench Climate Change Into Canadian Infrastructure Bank

Last year a Private Member’s Bill was defeated, and it wasn’t widely reported. This is interesting because of the subject matter, namely, embedding climate change into the agenda of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. This would have allowed the C.I.B. to become even more of a giant slush fund, doling out money for eco causes.

It was introduced February 8th, 2022, by N.D.P. M.P. Niki Ashton of Manitoba. It was soon defeated in Parliament, on June 22nd.

Of course, the usual disclaimer must be added in: just because this particular Bill was defeated, that doesn’t mean it won’t be reintroduced. Nor does it mean that it won’t be embedded into some larger legislation at some point in the future.

1 Section 6 of the Canada Infrastructure Bank Act is replaced by the following:
.
Purpose of Bank
6 The purpose of the Bank is to invest in infrastructure projects in Canada or partly in Canada that are end in the public interest by, for example, supporting conditions that foster climate change mitigation or adaptation, or by contributing to the sustainability of infrastructure in Canada.

3 Section 7 is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):
Priority
(1.‍1) In carrying out the functions set out in subsection (1), the Bank must give priority to:
(a) investments from public institutions, all levels of governments and Northern and Indigenous communities;
(b) infrastructure projects that propose measures aimed at mitigating or adapting to climate change; and
(c) infrastructure projects that are not harmful to the environment.

4 Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):
Membership
(1.‍1) The membership of the Board must include at least
(a) one person recommended by an Indigenous organization that represents the interests of First Nations;
(b) one person recommended by an Indigenous organization that represents the interests of the Inuit; and
(c) one person recommended by an Indigenous organization that represents the interests of the Métis.

Worth noting as well: had this Bill passed in its original form, it would have put racial quotas into the Board of the C.I.B.

  • Canadian Climate Institute
  • Environmental Defence Canada
  • ONE Global (Canada)

Environmental Defence Canada is an interesting group to lobby Parliament. Why? Because Nathaniel Wallace, one of their lobbyists, was a Parliamentary Assistant (part Time) for Niki Ashton. No conflict of interest here.

Again, just because this specific Bill was voted down, that doesn’t mean that it won’t come back in some form. Stay vigilant.

Sources:
(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bills?page=3
(2) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-245
(3) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-245/first-reading
(4) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/niki-ashton(36037)
(5) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=536746
(6) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=358871&regId=922011&blnk=1
(7) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=13022&regId=931577

Private Member Bills In Current Session:
(A) Bill C-206: Decriminalizing Self Maiming To Avoid Military Service
(B) Bill C-207: Creating The “Right” To Affordable Housing
(C) Bill C-219: Creating Environmental Bill Of Rights
(D) Bill C-226: Creating A Strategy For Environmental Racism/Justice
(E) Bill C-229: Banning Symbols Of Hate, Without Defining Them
(F) Bill C-235: Building Of A Green Economy In The Prairies
(G) Bill C-250: Imposing Prison Time For Holocaust Denial
(H) Bill C-261: Red Flag Laws For “Hate Speech”
(I) Bill C-293: Domestic Implementation Of Int’l Pandemic Treaty
(J) Bill C-312: Development Of National Renewable Energy Strategy
(K) Bill C-315: Amending CPPIB Act Over “Human, Labour, Environmental Rights”
(L) Bill S-215: Protecting Financial Stability Of Post-Secondary Institutions
(M) Bill S-243: Climate Related Finance Act, Banking Acts
(N) Bill S-248: Removing Final Consent For Euthanasia
(O) Bill S-257: Protecting Political Belief Or Activity As Human Rights