'This is the slow walk towards full tyranny': Viva Frei on the Online Harms Act

'It's patently absurd to even float the idea of life in prison for words,' he stated.

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Viva Frei, a prominent YouTuber and lawyer, has sounded the alarm on Bill C-63, Canada's latest attempt to tackle 'online safety concerns.'

Introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the bill purportedly aims to address issues involving hateful content by proposing amendments to the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

One of its significant provisions is the introduction of a defined notion of "hatred" in section 319, with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment for advocating genocide and two to five years for indictment prosecutions.

In a recent interview, Frei shared his apprehensions about the implications of the bill, warning that it could mark a troubling shift towards authoritarianism. "This is the slow walk towards full tyranny," he remarked, drawing parallels with previous legislative attempts such as Bill C-16. Frei criticized the attempt to define "hatred" within the law, describing it as "patently insane" and indicative of government overreach.

Frei also highlighted the broader context of the bill within the government's agenda to regulate the internet. He expressed concerns about the lack of clarity in the definitions of terms like "promoting" and "advocating" genocide, warning of the potential for abuse and political weaponization.

Moreover, Frei questioned the necessity of the harsh penalties outlined in the bill, particularly life imprisonment for advocating genocide. "It's patently absurd to even float the idea of life in prison for words," he stated.

In assessing the bill's objectives, Frei questioned the need for additional legislation beyond existing criminal and civil remedies, arguing that the pretext for the bill – ostensibly to combat online abuse – was disingenuous. He warned of the chilling effect of the legislation on free speech and democratic values.

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