The Demise of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act: Reappraising the 'Battle for Free Speech'

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D'Orazio, Dax A. J.




In 2013, Bill C-304 repealed Section 13 (s. 13) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Although the law used broad language, it had not garnered much attention until a concerted campaign sought repeal. This thesis argues that the key to understanding its demise is the way in which the hate speech backlash exploited the growing ideological belief that Islam is antagonistic to, if not incompatible with, democracy. This is evidenced by the fringe bloggers that coalesced around a conspiratorial theory of ‘Eurabia’ to turn s. 13 into a national debate. Yet, the debate changed significantly once in the mainstream to reflect a concern for free speech based upon manufactured and negative perceptions of Muslim hate speech complainants. Consensus among major Canadian newspapers is an indication of how Canadian identity was (re)constructed as essentially Western and against Muslim Others who were seen as parasitic upon the tolerant excesses of liberalism.


Political Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Economy

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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