Over the years I've written many columns about honour killings in Canada's South Asian communities. Under the terms of Quebec's proposed Bill 59, my frequent allusion to the demonstrable fact that most victims of honour crimes are Muslim girls and women might, posted on the Internet as all my published writing is, lead to prosecution for Islamophobia with a possible fine of $20,000, and my name posted to an online list of offenders in perpetuity. Would that stop me from criticizing the cultural roots of honour crimes? Yup, it sure would.
Such a lawsuit could be initiated by any individual who feels offended by a statement that he or she believes promotes "fear of the other." The fact that what I have written is "true" and "in the public interest" would not be grounds for my defence, as they are under the actual laws of defamation.
This bombshell makes a mockery of the federal government's 2013 move to end scrutiny of Internet speech in abolishing Section 13 of the Human Rights Act. Most worrisome, if made law, the bill would allow the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to pursue websites it deems disrespectful to Islam.