'This is twisted, it’s dangerous and it’s scary': Justice Centre president John Carpay blasts Trudeau’s Online Harms Act

"You don't place somebody under house arrest because they might commit a crime in the future. This is sick, this is twisted, it's dangerous and it's scary."

At a town hall meeting in Ottawa Thursday night, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms president John Carpay said the “scariest provision” of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Online Harms Act is the “preemptive punishment of people who have not committed any crime."

Carpay was referring to the Liberal government’s latest censorship law, Bill C-63, that includes a thought crime component where people suspected of harboring “hateful speech” can be placed under house arrest and prevented from communicating over the internet.

“This is terrifying, you know, that you can get these restrictions placed on you, house arrest, curfew,” Carpay told a packed crowd at the West Ottawa Community Church.

“You don't place somebody under house arrest because they might commit a crime in the future. This is sick, this is twisted, it's dangerous and it's scary,” Carpay continued, noting that the Trudeau government is justifying its law by saying it protects children.

“So if this Bill C-63 passes, it's going to result in a situation where if I fear that you are going to commit a hate crime, hate speech, anti-semitism, whatever, I can file a complaint and I can force you to appear before a provincial court judge and I can say that I fear that you are going to say something hateful and if the judge thinks that I have reasonable grounds for my fear, he can order you under house arrest, ankle bracelets, curfew, abstain from alcohol or drugs, provide blood or urine samples to prove that you're not taking alcohol or drugs [and] confiscate your legally-owned firearms,” Carpay said. 


Earlier that day, Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre spoke about the legislation at the annual Canada Strong and Free conference in Ottawa, where he finally condemned the legislation and referenced the thought crime portion of the bill. Poilievre said Trudeau has put “forward another law, which could put you under house arrest or a peace bond under suspicion of something unacceptable you might say in the future. You know, this guy, if he read it, if he had read 1984 he would have thought it was an instruction manual and not a warning.”

Justice Minister and Attorney General Arif Virani recently tried to justify the thought crime measure that would force a potential hate crime violator to wear an electronic tag or be banished to house arrest. 

Virani told The Globe and Mail that while it is important that this power be "calibrated carefully," it might prove "very, very important" to impede the actions of anyone deemed to have demonstrated hateful behavior in the past or who has criticized any particular person or groups. 

If "there's a genuine fear of an escalation, then an individual or group could come forward and seek a peace bond against them and to prevent them from doing certain things," Virani said.

But Carpay noted that even if judges dismiss thought crime accusations, "the process is the punishment. Why should I be hauled to court in the first place based on somebody fearing that I might do something bad in the future?" 

When asked if there was sufficient time to stop the Online Harms Bill before the upcoming October 2025 election, Carpay told The Post Millennial, “Eighteen months is a long time in politics … but it’s not that valuable or effective to complain about legislation once it's been proclaimed into force. I’m not saying it can never be changed; I mean, it can be. But the time to be active on this is now.”

“There's an old French proverb: ‘if you don't do politics then politics will be done unto you,’” he said.

Carpay also noted that while the bill promises a definition of hatred will be produced by the Supreme Court of Canada, it “tried to define hate in a decision … and after writing 4,000 words the Supreme Court of Canada couldn't even define hate in a clear fashion. So under the Online Harms Act you and I could see the same flag or hear the same political slogan.  And you might say, ‘Oh, that's hateful.’ And I go, ‘Oh, that's not hateful; that's just a political opinion,’ or vice-versa.” 

Carpay said the potential censorship law will mean “there's no democratic accountability.  The federal cabinet will have the power to create, to write all of these regulations.  Once they are proclaimed in force, the Digital Safety Commission will have the power to tell social media service providers what they can say.”
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