CCLA has written to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Honourable Judy Foote, expressing our concerns about an order she has issued, prohibiting Canada Post from delivering publications by a particular individual. The order relates to Your Ward News, a free newspaper that is alleged to be delivered to a large number of homes in the Toronto area. The paper is controversial and has been the subject of criticisms and complaints, including allegations that it promotes hatred against specific groups including Jews, Muslims, women, and LGBTQ persons, and that it targets specific individuals with defamatory speech.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in Canadian society. CCLA supports the rights of individuals to disseminate messages regardless of whether we support the content of those messages, short of such speech being criminal. Indeed, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized, the constitutional protection of freedom of expression exists not to protect popular or mainstream expression, but rather dissenting and unpopular views.
In this case, CCLA was particularly concerned by the procedure used to cease distribution of the paper, which is a government order that places a prior restraint on all expression disseminated through the mail by a particular individual. The Minister did not provide meaningful reasons for the order or specify which comment(s) are alleged to constitute criminal expression. This means that the process of reviewing the Minister’s decision is also hampered and is open to challenge on the grounds of a failure of natural justice and due process.
About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.
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