The Public Safety Minister's assertion that the Harper government is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to organized anti-Israel boycotts has reportedly prompted concerns from civil liberties groups and BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) activists.
Neil Macdonald of CBC News writes:
Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada's updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws "anywhere in the world."
He quotes Blaney's aide Josee Sirois as saying:
"We will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion."
Describing the BDS movement as "far more successful for the Palestinians than armed struggle," Macdonald says that Blaney's "zero tolerance" comments:
...alarmed groups that have, to varying degrees, supported boycotts, believing them an effective tool to bring about an end to Israel's occupation and colonization of the West Bank, and its tight grip on Gaza.
Some of these groups had noted that the government changed the Criminal Code definition of hate speech last year, adding the criterion of "national origin" to race and religion.
This change could, they feared, effectively lump people who speak against Israel in with those who speak against Jews.
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