Sample Essay on Issues around Freedom and Expression in the Charter

Primarily, a constitutional law can represent many things; however, it can mostly act as an agent of change to any society. It establishes the manner in which people get to organize their lives both politically and socially. Again, the constitution gives people the insights to assist in comprehending as well as defining the society and the direction it is leading. It is strictly concerned with offering implication to ourselves as well as our relationship with other people. However, on their own, the constitutional guarantees are often theoretical concepts. They need the judges to do the interpretation process as well as breathe life into them. The process of offering the meaning of constitutional guarantee to the freedom of expression needs an extensive examination of the context, history, purpose, precedent, and the commitment of the framers. The Canadian Constitution integrates the Charter of Rights and Freedom and section 2 of this Charter gives everyone, among many other things, the freedom of religion and conscience, the freedom of opinion and expression, thought, belief, and freedom of the press and even another media. Nonetheless, section 1 of the Charter confines the granted liberties by putting them to considerable limits recommended by the law and regulation that can be perceptibly vindicated in the democratic and free society (Rosenfeld, 1523). Therefore, this essay discusses issues around freedom and expression in the Charter as well as how the use of speech promotes hatred and harasses the individual or groups. The essay shall also discuss ways to control people who apply the expression to target women or other vulnerable people. The problems that have been exposed on university campuses across Canada and US which seem to create or expose an environment where insulting or degrading others is acceptable shall be discussed. Finally, how to protect expression while countering these issues shall also be unfolded in the essay.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Expression

Largely, Section 1 of this Charter is the core, preeminent provision, and this section is a unique one especially when comparisons are made to other national as well as international rights-safeguarding instruments. For instance, the American Bill of Human Rights has no similar section as the one present in the Canadian Charter. At a first look, section 1 of the Charter may seem to be contradictory or inconsistent. Alternatively, it guarantees the rights, yet, at the same time, it authorizes restrictions on those kinds of rights in some situations. The manifestation of section 1 of this Charter needs the assessment to be subdivided into two parts. The first part may require a court to establish the content as well as the scope of the rights and then resolve whether the individual right has been violated. In the second part, the court determines whether any challenge on the right can be approved on the grounds of a democratic and free society in Canada. In essence, this double role exemplifies the notion that the constitutional rights present in the Charter may not be absolute. The liberty of expression guarantee is present in section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter that provides everyone with the fundamental rights of belief, expression, thought, opinion, and media communication. However, every charter rights are often subjects to considerable bounds that can be evidently defensible in a democratic and free society.

The most critical substantive provision pertinent to the democratic approach to the liberties of expression is found in section 15 of the Charter, which is equality part (Uberoi 826). Just as provided in section 1 of the Charter, this section is unique compared to any national as well as international tools that exit to bar discrimination. It fundamentally encompasses four equality assurances, the open-ended item on forbidden grounds, and the affirmative feat provision to permit useful programs for the disadvantaged individuals or groups. This section stipulates that every person is equal under and before the law and has the privilege of receiving equal benefit and equal protection of the law without any form of discrimination, and more precisely discriminations grounded on race, religion, age, sex, colour, ethnicity, and mental or physical disability. In essence, the Canadian Charter of rights and freedom of expression clearly stipulates and provide laws that should guide people on the liberties that are granted by the constitution.

Use of Expression to Promote Hatred and Harassment of Individuals or Groups

Hate offense refers to the criminal acts frequently inspired by hatred towards the identifiable groups. Hence, the incidences may aim at race, language, religion, colour, age, sex, ethnic or national origin, physical or mental disability, the sexual orientation, etc. (Tsesis, 49). The offenses mentioned above are distinct in that they often affect those who might be precisely targeted by the offenders, though they frequently secondarily influence the entire communities. Hate has been mostly expressed through literature, speech, posters, graffiti, pamphlets, the Internet, assault, brochures, and property defacing or property damage. The argument that hates crime can be constitutionally controlled based on the equality concept often engages the sections 1, 2(b), sections 15, 27 as well as 28 of the Canadian Charter. Section 13 of the Human Rights Act prohibited communication in particular by the use of internet and other forms of telecommunication messages that have the capability to expose an individual to form of hatred or harassment or even the contempt on the grounds of race, colour, origin, religion, etc. However, the bill C-304 later rescinded it in 2013 and thus it is no more in use.

The Canadian Criminal Code states that a hate offense is often committed to harm, intimidate or even terrify both an individual and an entire group of people, which the victim aligns. It normally relates to the context when the victims are aimed for the stance they hold and not anything they have committed. It can encompass some form of intimidation, physical force or threat, harassment against a person, group, or property (Tsesis, 49). In addition, section 319 of the Criminal Code mainly deals with the strings of public incitement or hatred against individuals based on their colour, sex, religion, ethnicity, etc. In Canada, it often prohibited to communicate any hatred message in public places by broadcast, telephone, or through other visual or audio means, but the same provision also protects individuals from facing charges especially when the statement they make are right or even the expression involving religious views. In addition, it is a crime to inflame hatred and under the provisions of section 318 of the Canadian Criminal Code, it considered a crime to advocate or even promote genocide.  In the sense that a person calls for, encourage, or facilitate the killing of members a given society based on religion, colour, race, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin. Here are some of the notable cases that show how lawful systems balance hate crimes as well as what encompasses the freedom of speech. For instance, in 1990, the Canadian Supreme Court deliberated whether the provisions of section 319(2) relating to the Criminal Code breached the constitutional liberties of expression in the James Keegstra case (Leeper, 295). Keegstra was a high school instructor in Alberta who taught his learners many anti-Semitic philosophies as well as that the Holocaust issue was just a myth that was encouraged as part of the Jewish conspiracy agenda. The legal courts ruled that, even though the provisions of section 319(2) of the Criminal Code limit free speech, it is to a considerable limit within the free and democratic society and do not breach the Charter (Leeper, 295).

Another case is that of David Ahenakew who was once an influential head of the First Nations Assembly was relieved of duties due to the remarks about Jews (Schauer, 705). In his speech at the Assembly of First Nations leaders held in Saskatoon, Ahenakew sprang into a scarcely graspable diatribe and issued anti-Semitic comments (Schauer, 705). He also repeated the remarks to some reporter, and after that news was distributed, he got charged for encouraging hatred (Prutschi, 105). Another landmark case was that of a Holocaust denier called Ernest Zundel who also stayed in Canada for approximately four decades just making many court appearances to contend for his liberty of expression regarding the anti-Sematic comments in pamphlets, website, and books. The Canadian Supreme Court upturned his conviction in 1992 for the dissemination of false news, citing that the charge breached Zundel’s Charter privileges to the freedom of expression (Hasian, 43). Zundelwas later deported to Germany in 2005 after the court issued a ruling that he became a danger to national security and was freed from the prison in Germany in 2010 after completing a five years jail term for denying the Holocaust issue (Kelly, 321).

Ways to control individuals who apply an expression to target women or other vulnerable people

Primarily, the liberty of speech is an essential factor for many societies, people, and individuals. The freedom of expression often receives some extent of limitations especially when it has been abused. Some people tend to use the various communication platforms to inflict some  hatred on women and vulnerable individuals. In this regard, the freedom of expression shall come into question when legal structures, societal values enter into conflict with rights and values of other people. In most cases, such people hurt women and other people who are vulnerable in the society. When these kinds of elements find their ways in society, then the target people suffer and social disapprobation. One way to control individuals who use an expression to target women and other vulnerable population in the society is through prosecution. Prosecution should be carried on such groups of people who spread hatred to others in the society. In fact, hurting other individuals just for the sake of prejudice as well as hatred is not a good approach for the nation. Numerous examples when moral, religious, and cultural sentiments have been traded against vulnerable people. The extents to which individuals commit expression crime vary in people and in many scenarios it may lead to unjustified prejudice. Stringent laws should also be in place to ensure offenders who commit such expression crimes are legally apprehended. Though many criticisms are often laid on various people and societies, they influence religion, social, moral identities of this vulnerable group.

Hatred levels on colleges across the US and Canada have been on the high ends in such a way that insulting or degradation has formed a major part of the learning institutions. Students have been perpetrators of hate speech in many forms, and the situation has reached a level that should be addressed. Students in the universities have committed many expression offenses. In fact, barely a week passes by without hearing of reports about something so offensive that exists in colleges. This shows how the levels of hate offenses have risen in most universities. The communities of higher learning have been accused of misusing the rights of expression to insult other fellow students. In fact, US colleges have experienced the high level of hate speech among students in a manner that they are seen as an acceptable thing in the institution. When hate, expressions are established to have a hand in the levels of crime, penalties are often increased. Although the suitability of executing legislation intended for offline hate to online hate is contentious. The number of various laws that can be applied may result in conflicting conclusions. Furthermore, substantial debate exits over which kinds of expression must be subjected to these statutes. From this situation, academic communities have been threatened from both inside and outside by the nature of hate speech that is occurring in the colleges. For instance, a form of emotional abuse such as public humiliation is common in academic communities. Exposing an individual to unwanted attention, encouraging others to omit and harass, as well as the use of human exposure to control and manipulate.

Protection of freedom of expression

The right to expression in Canada is protected as the fundamental freedom in the provisions of Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The free expression in Canada is never absolute since Section 1 of the Charter of Rights, and Freedoms permits the government to pass a regulation that bar free speech so long as it is within considerable limits and can be justified (Kelly, 322). Nonetheless, this has been a subject of controversy since other people have the feeling that terms for substantial justification are vague thereby giving the government an irrational amount of regulation over freedom of expression. Other people have the impression that such kinds of limitation are essential so that it balances the fundamental rights of one party against the other. Independent, free, and diverse media are crucial factors for free and democratic society. Social networks, blogs, search engines, and content aggregators enable people to access information as well as communicate with other thousands of individuals in an entirely novel way. Combined with other forms of media, these novel ways serves as a vital source of much-needed information. However, for people to enjoy thoroughly the right to expression and the media as mentioned above such as the Internet need to be open and stable. Technical failures, as well as intentional interruptions, can affect access to information irrespective of frontiers. Canada must thus protect the freedom of expression. Some of the key issues that Canada can use to address as well as promote the rights to speech are as follows. First, developing series of standards grounded in human rights to preserve and protect free legal rights of each person. This can be done by assessing the balance between the honors and protecting the reputation of individuals and protecting the rights of expression. In an expression that is done through the internet, the country can develop working relations with other relevant stakeholders a conceptual of understanding to safeguard the universally, openness, and integrity of the Internet as a way of protecting rights of expression irrespective of frontiers as well as Internet freedom (Leeper, 295).

In conclusion, issues regarding freedom of expression in Canada are of great concerns. As revealed in the essay, the rights to free expression are enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms where section 2 of the Charter provides to everybody, among several other rights, the freedom of religion, the freedom of expression, thought, belief, and media. However, section 1 of the same Charter restricts the provided freedoms by enabling them to subjects of vast considerable as suggested by law in a democratic and free society. In addition, the paper highlights the use of the expression to encourage hatred as well as harass among individuals or groups. The Keegstra case illustrates how the use of expression to some extent, can promote hate on other people based on religion and many other factors. Women and vulnerable populations are susceptible to abuse of expression and this paper thus has unfolded how to control individuals who apply an expression to target women or other vulnerable groups. Considerable use of hatred expressions on academic communities across the US and Canada has appeared to be acceptable, and the paper deliberates on the subject. Finally, the issue that regards the protection of freedom of expression in Canada is unfolded.





Works Cited

Kelly, James B. “reconciling rights and federalism during review of the charter of rights and freedoms: The supreme court of canada and the centralization Thesis, 1982 to 1999.” Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique 34.02 (2001): 321-355.

Leeper, Roy. “Keegstra and RAV: A Comparative Analysis of the Canadian and US Approaches to Hate Speech Legislation.” Communication Law and Policy 5.3 (2000): 295-321.

Rosenfeld, Michel. “Hate speech in constitutional jurisprudence: A comparative analysis.” Cardozo L. Rev. 24 (2002): 1523.

Tsesis, Alexander. “Dignity and speech: The regulation of hate speech in a democracy.” Wake Forest Law Review 44 (2009): 49.

Uberoi, Varun. “Multiculturalism and the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms.”Political Studies 57.4 (2009): 805-827.

Leeper, Roy. “Keegstra and RAV: A Comparative Analysis of the Canadian and US Approaches to Hate Speech Legislation.” Communication Law and Policy 5.3 (2000): 295-321.

Schauer, Frederick F. “Expression and its consequences.” University of Toronto Law Journal 57.3 (2007): 705-720.

Prutschi, Manuel. “Anti-semitism in Canada.”Jewish Political Studies Review (2004): 105-117.

Hasian Jr, Marouf A. “Canadian civil liberties, Holocaust denial, and the Zundel trials.” Comm. & L. 21 (2000): 43.