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BPC Bulletin March 18, 2024

BPC Bulletin: Canada's Online Harms Act: Commentary (2)

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

In Parliament, the Liberal government of Canada has introduced the Online Harms Act (Bill C-63).

Arif Virani, the minister of justice, introduced the bill in the House of Commons on February 26, 2024.

Bill C-63 aims to

  • protect children from sexual exploitation and cyberbullying,
  • enhance reporting of internet child pornography offences,
  • strengthen the laws against hate propaganda and incitement to violence,
  • impose responsibilities on companies that operate online to better protect citizens,
  • create a digital safety commission,
  • create an office for an ombudsperson
  • etc.

The introduction of Bill C-63 prompted Canadian opinion columnists to express their views about the bill. A selection of their writings — in English and French — appears below. 

[Editorial note: the published opinions in this bulletin are listed in chronological order. The newest opinions appear near the top. The oldest opinions appear near the bottom. A separate bulletin provides Web links to news reports about the Online Harms Act.]


published from March 9 to March 16, 2024

In Le Devoir, Konrad Yakabuski comments: 

Projet de loi C-63 et préjudices en ligne, les crimes de la pensée | Le Devoir 

In The Globe and Mail, Andrew Coyne comments:

Opinion: Canada’s Online Harms Act is revealing itself to be staggeringly reckless - The Globe and Mail

At The Hub, David Polansky comments:

When it comes to determining hate speech, we can't just 'trust the experts' - The Hub

In Le Journal de Montréal, Nathalie Elgrably comments:

C-63: la création d’une dystopie | Le Journal de Montréal (

In The Catholic Register, Cathy Majtenyi comments:

Online Harms Act too long in the making (

At the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Christine Van Geyn comments:

Bill C-63: Trudeau's New Kangaroo Censorship Courts at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal - Canadian Constitution Foundation (

In the National Post, David L. Thomas comments:

I chaired the CHRT. It has no business policing 'hate speech' | National Post

Michael Geist comments:

Government Gaslighting Again?: Unpacking the Uncomfortable Reality of the Online Harms Act - Michael Geist

In Le Journal de Montréal, Guy Fournier comments:

Margaret Atwood vit à une autre époque | JDM (

In the National Post, Kathryn Marshall comments:

Trudeau's online harms crackdown is a recipe for justice dysfunction | National Post

In The Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee comments:

It’s always wrong to criminalize speech - The Globe and Mail

In University Magazine, Anwar Abdi comments:

What is the Online Harms Act (Bill C-63) in Canada? - University Magazine


published from March 1 to March 8, 2024

In Policy OptionsOptions Politiques, Florian Martin-Bariteau comments:

Online Harms Act: a step in the right direction to protect Canadians online (

In Le Droit, Hélène Buzzetti comments:

La police — désarmée — du web (

In the National Post, Christine Van Geyn comments:

Under Bill C-63, an online comment could cost you thousands | National Post

In the National Post, Jordan Peterson comments:

Jordan Peterson: Online harms bill is Trudeau's illiberal manifesto | National Post

At the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Brian Giesbrecht comments:

Wokeism vs. Classical Liberal Truth-Based Order at the Root of Online Harms Bill Debate | Frontier Centre For Public Policy (

The Wetaskiwin Times editorializes:

Here come the Internet police | Wetaskiwin Times

In Le Devoir, Pierre Trudel comments:

Venir à bout des préjudices en ligne | Le Devoir

The Globe and Mail editorializes:

Globe editorial: The Liberals table a fatally flawed online harms bill - The Globe and Mail

In The Hill Times, Sheila Copps comments:

Feds try to tackle online harms - The Hill Times

In Edmonton, Darcy Ropchan of CityNews comments:

Will online regulation bill restrict free speech? (

Peter Menzies of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute comments:

Online Harms Act Is Using Child Safety as a Front to Assault Canadians’ Freedoms: Peter Menzies in the Epoch Times | Macdonald-Laurier Institute (

Christopher Dummitt of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute comments:

Trudeau's attempt to institutionalize debatable ideas of harm: Christopher Dummitt in the National Post | Macdonald-Laurier Institute (

Nigel McKechnie of Hicks Morley writes:

Hicks Morley | New Federal Online Harms Bill: Possible Implications for Federal Employers

Postmedia News editorializes:

EDITORIAL: Don’t call the cops. Call a mind reader | Ottawa Sun

The Winnipeg Free Press editorializes:
Battle for online safety not an easy one – Winnipeg Free Press

David Fraser of McInnes Cooper comments:

Canada's "Online Harms" bill - an overview critique of Bill C-63 #BillC63 #OnlineHarmsAct (

In The Globe and Mail, Emily Laidlaw and Taylor Owen comment:

Opinion: Canada’s Online Harms Act gets the big things right - The Globe and Mail

In the Toronto Star, Sunil Gurmukh comments:

The Online Harms bill will not chill free speech (

In the Toronto Star, the editorial board comments:

Online harms bill a promising start to tackle the internet's dark corners (


published from February 26 to February 29, 2024

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms makes a statement:

Online Harms Act threatens free expression in Canada | Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (

In the National Post, Jamie Sarkonak comments:

Trudeau's digital bureaucracy will trample the flow of ideas | National Post

In Le Devoir, Brian Myles editorializes:

De promesses en écueils | Le Devoir

In the Toronto Star, Bernie Farber comments:

Online Harms Act will help fight online hate (

In the National Post, Terry Glavin comments:

Under hate speech bill, wouldn't Trudeau be guilty of vilifying Catholics? | National Post

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association writes:
CCLA Urges Substantial Amendments to the Online Harms Act - CCLA

In the National Post, Jesse Kline writes:

Online harms act makes hate speech akin to murder | National Post

Fannie Olivier of Radio-Canada comments: 

Préjudices en ligne : la cavalerie arrive en retard | Radio-Canada

At the Canadian Constitution Foundation, Josh Dehaas and Joanna Baron talk on a podcast:

Not Reserving Judgment Episode 27: Can the Trudeau government create $50,000 fines for 'harmful' speech? - Canadian Constitution Foundation (

At The Hub, Joanna Baron comments:

The government doubles down on censoring the internet - The Hub

In The Hill Times, Erica Ifill comments:

New bill pushes for accountability from platforms that won’t police themselves - The Hill Times

Michael Geist comments:

Why the Criminal Code and Human Rights Act Provisions Should Be Removed from the Online Harms Act - Michael Geist

In The Globe and Mail, Andrew Coyne comments:

Opinion: One cheer for the new Online Harms Act - The Globe and Mail

Aaron Wherry of CBC News writes:

Online harms debate pits real threats against elaborate fears | CBC News

In the National Post, Carson Jerema comments:

Don't believe the Liberals, Online Harms Act targets free speech | National Post

In the National Post, Chris Selley comments:

Liberal 'online harms' bill might disappoint its supporters most | National Post

In the National Post, John Ivison comments:

John Ivison: Online harms bill risks trading anarchy for censorship | National Post

In the Ottawa Sun, Warren Kinsella comments:

Trudeau Liberals' online harms bill sure seems like a problematic mess | Ottawa Sun

In The Globe and Mail, Campbell Clark comments:

Opinion: Serious questions and cartoon politics about internet regulation - The Globe and Mail

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation makes a statement:

New Online Harms Act makes Internet safer while upholding freedom of speech, says Canadian Race Relations Foundation (

La foundation canadienne des relations raciales makes a statement:
Le nouveau projet de loi sur les préjudices en ligne rend l'Internet plus sécuritaire tout en respectant la liberté d'expression, selon la Fondation canadienne des relations raciales 

At The Hub, Ginny Roth comments:

Your freedom to watch porn doesn't trump our duty to protect children - The Hub


published before February 25, 2024

Peter Menzies of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute comments:

Feds Showing Signs of Retreat on Controversial Online Harms Legislation: Peter Menzies in the Epoch Times | Macdonald-Laurier Institute (

In Kitchener, Ontario, Pierre Poilievre comments on February 21:
Canada's Opposition Leader: What does Justin Trudeau mean by "hate speech"? He means speech he hates. (


Thanks go to Charles Montpetit who forwarded the French-language commentary.

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.