Canada's Limitation of Hate Speech: A Comparative Perspective
Brigham Young University Journal of International and Area Studies 34 (Winter 1996)
11 Pages Posted: 28 May 2015
Date Written: 1996
The Supreme Courts of Canada and the United States have reached different conclusions regarding when the government may restrict hate speech, with Canada being more receptive to governmental limitations. This paper explores the analysis employed by each court in analyzing speech restrictions and asks why Canada has been more open to such restrictions. It postulates that Canada’s greater receptivity to speech limitations may stem from Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which recognizes the power of Canadian legislatures to limit and override the Charter’s free expression guarantee; Canada’s historical treatment of fundamental freedoms, which included practices and perspectives amendable to speech limitations; Canada’s consideration of long-range harms in balancing social needs against individual rights; and Canada’s international obligation to proscribe hate propaganda.
Keywords: Canada, free speech, hate speech, comparative, constitutional law
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