Justin Trudeau told media that Canadians “don't have the freedom to hate” during a press conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia this morning.
The prime minister was nearly one hour late for the event, which included appearances by fellow Liberal Party of Canada candidates Andy Fillmore, Bernadette Jordan and Dominic LeBlanc.
A reporter asked Trudeau:
“On another topic, we seem to be seeing more hate [and] vandalism along the campaign trail, and now this latest example of your candidate, Marc Serré, who was physically assaulted. I'm wondering if you're sending a message to candidates and volunteers to step up safety or security considerations.”
Serré was allegedly assaulted in his campaign office on Monday. A woman has since been charged with assault with a weapon related to the incident.
In response, Trudeau stated:
“Absolutely. Um, people need to be safe. People need to feel safe in Canada, and over the past years, unfortunately, we've seen a rise in intolerance and hates of hatred, not just in a political context, but across the country.
“That is why we need to continue to be unequivocal about standing up against hatred and discrimination. As we have as a government, as we need to continue to.
“There's not a debate around vaccines, there's not a debate around climate change, we know for the safety of Canadians and future generations — we need to step up. It is unacceptable there continue to be acts of racism and intolerance in communities across the country, whether it's political or not. We need to do more, which is why we're going to be moving forward on stronger controls over online hate, and harms, while respecting freedom of speech.
“But you don't have the freedom to hate, you don't have the freedom to incite to violence, and our government, that is taken many steps on this, will continue to, because no one should feel unsafe, particularly not someone who's coming out to volunteer and support in a political campaign to make this country even better.”
Section 318 of our Criminal Code makes it a crime to advocate for genocide; Section 319 makes it a crime to incite hatred, but hatred is a feeling, a human emotion.
And Trudeau's Bill C-36 goes much, much further.
Read more about Bill C-36 here.