A Private Member’s Bill, Bill C-250, is circulating in the House of Commons. If passed, it would make Holocaust denial (or downplaying the Holocaust), punishable by up to 2 years in prison. There is also a provision included that would allow for the forfeiture of assets if they were used in the commission.
This appears to apply to public forums, and not in private conversations.
1 (1) Section 319 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
Willful promotion of antisemitism
(2.1) Everyone who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, willfully promotes antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust is
(a) guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
(2) The portion of subsection 319(3) of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:
(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2) or (2.1)
(3) Subsections 319(4) to (6) of the Act are replaced by the following:
(4) If a person is convicted of an offence under section 318 or subsection (1), (2) or (2.1) of this section, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on conviction, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.
Exemption from seizure of communication facilities
(5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply with any modifications that end the circumstances require to section 318 or subsection (1), (2) or (2.1) of this section.
(6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) or (2.1) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.
(4) Subsection 319(7) of the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
Holocaust means the planned and deliberate state-sponsored persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators from 1933 to 1945; (Holocauste)
The Bill was introduced by Saskatchewan Conservative MP Kevin Waugh. It will be interesting to see what happens. Historically, Private Member’s Bills typically don’t go anywhere. It’s quite rare to see one that actually receives Royal Assent.
There is also the procedural issue that any prosecution (under the Bill’s current form), would need approval from the Attorney General.
It seems that Waugh has been contacted recently by CIJA. Clamping down on “hate speech” is very high up on their national agenda. They also focus on internet regulation more broadly.
We’ll have to see how things progress in the near future.