On February 19, 2021, in another free speech win for the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Justice Davies ruled:
I find that section 91(1) of the CEA violates section 2(b) of the Charter and is not saved under section 1. Pursuant to s. 52(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, section 91(1) of the CEA is of no force or effect.
The decision, Canadian Constitution Foundation v. Canada (Attorney General), 2021 ONSC 1224, strikes down the election censorship provision of the Canada Elections Act because in 2019 Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government removed the word “knowingly’ from the Act.
In other words, if you published a false statement that you did not know was false, you could still be fined and imprisoned under the Liberal version of the law.
The Elections Act amendment was one of many changes made in the Liberal government’s ongoing efforts to stifle free speech in Canada. Their dogged determination to censor the Internet to ‘protect Canadians’ is the major effort that is still ongoing.
From the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s press release:
“Today’s decision is a major victory for Canadian voters and for freedom of expression,” said CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron.
“The court struck down the provision of the Canada Election Act that prohibited publishing false statements because the government had removed the requirement to prove that the publisher knew the statements were false.”
“This legislation had the potential to fine and even imprison people for honest mistakes. This would create a chilling effect on the free exchange of political ideas and opinions, and the law acts as a form of unjustified censorship. We are thrilled that the law has been struck down. This result will improve the electoral process and also protects the fundamental right to freedom of expression.”
If you haven’t donated to the Canadian Constitution Foundation lately, please donate to the CCF today. They continue to beat back the government’s attempts to violate the rights of all Canadians and are worthy of your support.
Canada Elections Act, Section 91:
Publishing false statement to affect election results
- 91(1) No person or entity shall, with the intention of affecting the results of an election, make or publish, during the election period,
- (a)a false statement that a candidate, a prospective candidate, the leader of a political party or a public figure associated with a political party has committed an offence under an Act of Parliament or a regulation made under such an Act — or under an Act of the legislature of a province or a regulation made under such an Act — or has been charged with or is under investigation for such an offence; or
- (b)a false statement about the citizenship, place of birth, education, professional qualifications or membership in a group or association of a candidate, a prospective candidate, the leader of a political party or a public figure associated with a political party.