I realize this is last minute (stupid me for not giving you a heads up) but I will be leading a discussion on hate speech laws in Canada tomorrow morning (Saturday, April 16th) at 11:00 at the SFU Harborfront Centre. Here’s the event blurb:
Hate speech laws remain a controversial issue in Canada. When contrasted with the very libertarian First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, Canada’s free speech laws are curtailed in such a way that permits the prosecution of hate speech beyond specific incitement of violence. Advocates of unrestricted free speech point out that such restrictions are arbitrary and prone to subjectivity. Proponents of hate speech laws point to events like the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda as examples of times when hate speech directly led to horrific violence.
Do hate speech laws protect minorities, or simply drive controversial ideas into the underground? As a minority group, are atheists/agnostics/humanists more likely to benefit from legal protection, or be prosecuted for speaking out against religion? Do skeptics have a particular responsibility to advocate or oppose restrictions on speech? Is there a role that science can play in this discussion? Is there a difference between anti-blasphemy laws and anti-hate laws?
Many of you are already attending, but maybe there are some lurkers or non-CFI members who’d like to come out of the woodwork and participate in the discussion in person. I am going to try and get video to post online, but since most of the talking will be done by those attending the event (rather than yours truly), it may not be worthwhile.
Anyway, hope to see some of you tomorrow!