Bill C-16 does not limit your freedom of speech

There is no place in Canada for discrimination.

Bill C-16 does not limit your freedom of speech

In the May 17 issue, there was a letter to the editor from Mr. Perry Foster that included an interesting statement that Bill C-16 limits free speech. Bill C-16, in simple terms, adds gender identity and expression to the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code as prohibited grounds for discrimination. The amendment to the Code protects against hate propaganda and any “offence motivated by” bias, prejudice, or hate.

Bill C-16 does not limit your freedom of speech. You may state that you disagree with those who choose to identify as a gender that does not match their sex. The fact that Mr. Foster was able to write in and show his disagreement proves that his freedom of speech has not been apprehended. This is a fundamental right that will not be taken away.

What has been taken away is the ability to discriminate against or harm transgender and non-binary individuals. You may not deny them employment, food, housing, or rights based on their gender identity. You may not attempt to shut them out of society, spread hate propaganda, or otherwise try to harm them. Bill C-16 solidifies the rights of trans individuals as human beings. Those who claim that it limits their freedom of speech are simply upset that they can no longer spread hatred, or act upon these discriminatory views that they hold.

Studies show that transgender individuals have a higher suicide rate. Those experiencing low levels of hatred are 66 per cent less likely to consider suicide. By simply treating these people with respect and allowing them to be who they are, you can save a life.

There is no place in Canada for discrimination. Denying an individual basic rights and protection against acts of hatred can lead to their death. The government is not taking away your right to free speech with Bill C-16, they are simply not allowing you to act on any hateful views you might possess.

Piper Cote

Cowichan Bay