The Demise of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act: Reappraising the 'Battle for Free Speech'

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  • In 2013, Bill C-304 repealed Section 13 (s. 13) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Although the law used broad language, it had not garnered much attention until a concerted campaign sought repeal. This thesis argues that the key to understanding its demise is the way in which the hate speech backlash exploited the growing ideological belief that Islam is antagonistic to, if not incompatible with, democracy. This is evidenced by the fringe bloggers that coalesced around a conspiratorial theory of ‘Eurabia’ to turn s. 13 into a national debate. Yet, the debate changed significantly once in the mainstream to reflect a concern for free speech based upon manufactured and negative perceptions of Muslim hate speech complainants. Consensus among major Canadian newspapers is an indication of how Canadian identity was (re)constructed as essentially Western and against Muslim Others who were seen as parasitic upon the tolerant excesses of liberalism.

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  • Copyright © 2015 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2015


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