REVEALED: Trudeau’s ‘thought crimes’ bill would create $200 MILLION in new bureaucracy—Poilievre vows to repeal it

"Should his Liberal-NDP coalition government pass this new censorship law, a Pierre Poilievre common sense Conservative government will repeal it."

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Conservative leader Pierre Poilievere says he would repeal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Bill C-63, the Online Harms Act, after learning it would cost an additional $200 million for government employees to monitor alleged "hate crime offenses" according to the latest report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO).

The bill has passed first reading in the House of Commons but could potentially die on the order paper before the next federal election, slated for October 2025.

The Online Harms Act, while ostensibly seeking to "protect all people in Canada from hatred," would create a definition of "hatred," increase existing penalties for "hate propaganda offenses" and promulgate a unique Criminal Code entry for a "hate crime offense" while offering new "remedies" for violating online hate speech within the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Being guilty of a "hate crime offense" could lead to life in prison. The bill re-establishes the power of human rights tribunals to convict people of hate speech and hate propaganda under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The maximum fine if found guilty would be a whopping $70,000.

The bill would also create another layer of bureaucracy in the federal government with the creation of a Digital Safety Commission, Digital Safety Ombudsperson and a Digital Safety Office. Together, these officials would issue punitive fines and assess complaints about alleged hate crime offenses on social media.

This bureaucracy would require 300 full-time government employees, according to estimates provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage to the PBO. C-63 would also contain a thought crimes component where social media users could be subject to house arrest for any so-called hate crime offenses they might commit.

In a report issued Thursday, the PBO estimated that the new bureaucracy will cost at least $201 million over the next five years — although Canadians could find themselves contributing to that sum in the form of fines collected from any social media users or platforms, which could mitigate that amount.

The PBO issued the report as a result of a request from Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner who asked for a calculation of all costs that would be accrued by the new Online Harms Act. In a Substack post, she wrote that "the opportunity cost of bill C-63 alone should be enough to send it to the (Justice) Minister's shred pile," she wrote.

"It's unconscionable that the Liberal government would consider dumping $200M and over 300 new staff into an ill-defined new bureaucracy that does little to materially protect Canadians from online harassment when Canada's existing law enforcement officials are begging for support to deal with the crime waves sweeping across our nation," she continued.

Poilievre's office told the National Post that a new Conservative government would repeal C-63 if it is passed into law.

"Common sense Conservatives oppose Justin Trudeau's three-headed censorship monster and new $200 million bureaucracy. Should his Liberal-NDP coalition government pass this new censorship law, a Pierre Poilievre common sense Conservative government will repeal it," said Sebastian Skamski, director of media relations.

In his reference to the "three-headed censorship monster," Poilievre points to Trudeau's other internet censorship bills, C-11 and C-18, called the Online Streaming Act and Online News Act, which were passed into law in 2023.

Poilievre has been strongly critical of the philosophical thrust of the bill, saying it shows how Trudeau must have read George Orwell's 1984 as "an instruction manual and not a warning."

"This morning," Rempel Garner continued in her Substack analysis, "Parliament's fiscal watchdog released an astonishing analysis of how much the Liberal government's much-maligned 'Online Harms Act,' Bill C-63, will cost Canadian taxpayers. In a report posted to their website, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) found it will cost a staggering $200M to establish a whopping 330-person, brand-new bureaucracy to create and enforce yet-to-be-defined regulations regarding the use and management of social media platforms.

"I asked the PBO to investigate the costs of Bill C-63 after a deluge of cross-partisan concerns were raised about the bill's inability to both prevent online harassment and its likeliness to impinge upon the rights and freedoms of Canadians. In but two examples of the latter, renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood called, the bill 'Orwellian,' and The Atlantic published an article about the bill entitled 'Canada's Extremist Attack on Free Speech'. Also, opposition to the bill has increased after the federal Liberal government appointed a man who reportedly made statements appearing to rationalize terrorism into a role that would have oversight over some of the bill's most concerning provisions.

"And the mind-blowing cost of the bill could grow. I was told in a briefing by the PBO that department officials suggested the data given to their office were only preliminary estimates of the new bureaucracy's cost. Further, Bill C-63 also doesn't directly set out any structure which would allow for the recoupment of administrative expenses. This omission means that Canadian taxpayers will likely be stuck footing the bill for a massive bureaucracy that will allow big tech companies to negotiate favourable terms with non-elected regulators behind closed doors."

The Online Harms Act, while ostensibly seeking to "protect all people in Canada from hatred," would create a definition of "hatred," increases existing penalties for "hate propaganda offenses" and promulgate a unique Criminal Code entry for a "hate crime offense" while offering new "remedies" for violating online hate speech within the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Being guilty of a "hate crime offense" could lead to imprisonment for life. The bill re-establishes the power of human rights tribunals to convict people of hate speech and hate propaganda under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The maximum fine if found guilty would be $70,000.

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