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Canadian News Apr 7, 2021 1:56 PM EST

Former Justice and Trudeau Foundation mentor advocates shutting down websites with 'hurtful language'

McLachlin, who served as the 17th Chief Justice, was also appointed as a mentor in the Foundation after advising the government on the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Former Justice and Trudeau Foundation mentor advocates shutting down websites with 'hurtful language'
Nico Johnson Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

A former supreme court justice has said that the federal government should use a "takedown mechanism" for websites that use harmful language.

Beverley McLachlin, who served as Canada's 17th Chief Justice, was also appointed as a mentor in the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation after advising the government on the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Speaking in a podcast, McLachlin said that the Trudeau government needs "to have ... a takedown mechanism when it’s going to be a threat to life," according to Blacklock's Reporter.

"We also need other mechanisms," she continued. "We need a place where people can raise complaints."

McLachlin did not specify what constituted this harmful language, nor did she make any suggestions as to what particular publishers would be punished. She did say, however, that these websites were "hurting our democracy."

Upon retiring as a chief justice, McLachlin co-authored a report (funded, of course, with taxpayer money) that called on parliament to "protect against social harms" online.

Veering into the hypothetical, McLachlin recounted her own experiences: "We are proposing an e-court where you go online, you say, ‘this is happening to me, I am being bullied or harassed or whatever it is, and how do I deal with it?’"

After this, "there would be experts who know how to deal with those things," she added.

"We all understand that speech is a wonderful thing and it should be allowed to be free as long as it’s not hurting other people," she advised soberly.

After retiring as a supreme court judge in 2017, McLachlin was asked by Justin Trudeau's PMO to advise the then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin case.

Trudeau was hoping that by doing this Wilson-Raybould would accept a settlement from the Quebec-based manufacturing giant, instead of proceeding with a criminal trial.

McLachlin asserts that she declined the offer from the PMO to advise Wilson-Raybould on the SNC-Lavalin case, saying that she "had no desire to be involved in this."

Despite this, an explosive recording was secretly captured by the Attorney General that reveals the disgraced civil servant Michael Wernick offering Wilson-Raybould McLachlin's legal advice: "she could give you advice on this if you want to feel more comfortable that you're not doing anything inappropriate."

It is unclear how much money McLachlin received in her role as a mentor for the Trudeau Foundation. Having said this, Chantal Hebert (who was appointed as a mentor in 2011) received a $20,000 honorarium and a $15,000 travel allowance for her work in the same position.

McLachlin already receives a $270,266 taxpayer-funded, annual pension after retiring from the Supreme Court.

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