July 20, 2024
What has ever gone wrong when well-intentioned busybodies arms themselves to keep us “safe” from “harm”?

Trudeau’s attempt to institutionalize debatable ideas of harm

The left has worked for years to expand the definition of what constitutes harm. Bill C-63 will codify these ideas into law

Remember the people who decided it was a good idea to ban tobogganing? Now they are coming for your internet.

That, sadly, is a realistic assessment of the Trudeau government’s new so-called online harms act. I say “so-called” because anyone who thinks the definition of harm is transparent and uncontroversial in 2024 hasn’t been online since the social media site was called “The Facebook.”

The Trudeau government’s bill could be read as well-intentioned. It targets a number of issues that a majority of Canadians would probably agree need to be tackled: child pornography, revenge porn and incitement to violence and terrorism. There is space here for sober legislation and enforcement mechanisms to update our laws for the age of social media and Pornhub.

But despite what the majority of the government’s rhetoric wants you to believe, that’s not all the bill does. Snuck in alongside these laudable aims are illiberal measures meant to fight highly contestable partisan culture wars.

The Liberals (and the New Democrats, who will support the bill) want to censor or make it illegal to state a whole host of opinions with which they disagree. And this legislation will let them do it — all the while pretending it’s simply about combating “hate” and “harm.”

The bill would force online providers to implement “measures that are adequate to mitigate the risk that users will be exposed to harmful content.” And what is harmful content? Well, there’s the rub. It’s going to be up to the online providers, under the steely gaze of a new digital safety commissioner, to decide what to ban.

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