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The Bloc Québécois resubmits its “Charkaoui bill”

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Yves-François Blanchet had already tabled a similar bill in November, which was completely ignored.

The Bloc Québécois insists on banning speeches similar to that given in the fall by Montreal imam Adil Charkaoui, who called for God to “take care” of the Israelis, by submitting a second bill of law inspired by this incident.

Yves-François Blanchet said on Monday that he would like all federal elected officials to speak out on the idea of ​​getting rid of the religious exception included in the chapter of the Criminal Code on hate speech.

“This religious exception contributes to a climate of tension and violence on Quebec and Canadian territory [and] ensures that we import a war that is happening abroad,” said the Bloc leader to the parliamentary press.

Yves-François Blanchet himself tabled a bill on this in November, which was then completely ignored. The Bloc returns to the charge by having a similar text tabled by its member for Lac-Saint-Jean, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, whom a draw places among the elected officials who hope to have a text studied in the Commons by summer.

In Canada, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute: it is limited by what falls within the definition of hate speech. A person who foments genocide, for example, is liable to a maximum prison term of five years.

As written, the Criminal Code prohibits anyone from “willfully promoting hatred” against an identifiable group, unless it is a “good faith” opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a text religious.

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Remarks denounced

Last fall, the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, was offended by comments made on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the end of October, seeing it as an “incitement to hatred, to violence.”

The Canadian Press then translated the speech of Montreal imam Adil Charkaoui, who chanted: “God, take care of the aggressor Zionists […] make sure you leave none behind. »

All the opposition parties in Quebec had condemned his comments, “arsonists”, according to Québec solidaire, and “totally unacceptable” for the Liberal Party of Quebec. The PQ leader, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, asked the police “to follow up on this, to the extent that section 319 of the Criminal Code seems quite clear to [him].”

Nicknamed “Charkaoui bill”, by the Bloc leader's own admission, Bill C-373 is directly inspired by this affair. It is officially called the Criminal Code Amendment Act (promoting hatred or anti-Semitism). Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe briefly presented it in the House on Monday, specifying that it is necessary in the context of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Unacceptable position

Adil Charkaoui, who presents himself on his social networks as a preacher and activist for the rights of Muslims, “is not the only one to have made this type of statement, but he is the most grotesque in the category,” said Yves-François Blanchet. The latter wishes to flush out federal elected officials who hold to the “unacceptable position” which, according to him, is the maintenance of the religious exception.

“Every member of the House of Commons, at some point, is going to have to speak out [or] vote online, put their name on it. […] When we force people to vote, there is a political charge that comes with that and which ensures that we clearly identify the deputies who, in front of their voters, are capable of adopting unacceptable positions. »

The idea of ​​getting rid of such a privilege for believers is applauded by Yves Gingras, professor of history and sociology at the University of Quebec in Montreal. “There are plenty of perverse effects to this good intention which is to respect religions, [intention consistent with] the Canadian multiculturalist vision,” he indicates.

Adil Charkaoui had not responded to the questions of Devoir at the time these lines were written.

With The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116