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Wpg Free Press: Steve Ashton wants to make racist and homophobic insults a crime

August 17, 2017 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports

NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton promised Wednesday to bring in a bill making it illegal to utter a racist or homophobic slur in public anywhere in Manitoba….

But University of Manitoba law professor Karen Busby said provinces don’t have any jurisdiction to create the type of law Ashton promised, and it wouldn’t stand up to a Charter of Rights challenge.

The existing anti-hate law is federal under the Criminal Code of Canada, and is very specific, Busby said.

“It’s only for the most heinous of speech, to violate the Charter of Rights. It’s about inciting hatred in public,” she said.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that racist language is not in and of itself a violation, Busby said.

“No attorney general in Manitoba has ever authorized charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. No politician wants to give people a platform to spew their hatred,” Busby said.

 

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