…anything that forces someone to express opinions that are not their own is a “penalty that is totalitarian and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada even for the repression of the most serious crimes.” National Bank of Canada v. Retail Clerks’ International Union et al. (1984) SCC; Slaight Communications Inc. v. Davidson (1989) SCC.
With that statement, the Supreme Court of Canada set down the basic principle in Canada, that any government action or legislation which has the effect of forcing its citizens to mouth thoughts or opinions that are not their own, is unconstitutional and an unreasonable infringement on section 2 Freedom of Expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This principle was reaffirmed by the same court in the case of Slaight Communications.
There has been much in the news lately regarding federal Bill C-16 which passed the house of commons and is now in the Senate. The bill has brought with it a fair amount of media attention likely on account of its subject matter, but also, the implications of the bill.
Proponents of the bill identify that it is a much needed progressive development in the law to protect historically marginalized groups. There are also critics of the bill. This blog post will examine one of the more intriguing issues; namely, that the bill on its face introduces government mandated compelled speech into federal legislation...