PUBLIC INCITEMENT OF HATRED

... / Wilful promotion of hatred / Defences / Forfeiture / Exemption from seizure of communication facilities / Consent / Definitions / "communicating" / "identifiable group" / "public place" / "statements".

319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in a public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace if guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against and identifiable group is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

(a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
(b) if, in good faith, he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject;
(c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
(d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

(4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on such convictions, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.

(5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section.

(6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

(7) In this section,

"communicating"
includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means;
"identifiable group"
has the same meaning as in section 318 ;
"public place"
includes any place to which the public have access as a right or by invitation, express or implied;
"statements"
includes words spoken or written or recorded electronically or electromagnetically or otherwise, and gestures, signs or other visible representations. [R.S., c.11 (1st Supp.), s.1.]


Note: Although at some of this section infringes the right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms , it has been ruled that it constitutes a reasonable limit on that right and is therefore valid legislation: R. v. Keegstra (1991), 63 C.C.C. (3d) 110, [1991] 4 W.W.R. 136, 79 Alta. L.R. (2d) 97 (C.A.).


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