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Canadian Province Adopts Law To Punish Individuals Who Harass Or Intimidate Politicians, Fines Up To $1,500


Quebec’s legislature has adopted a law to punish anyone who harasses or intimidates politicians with fines up to $1,500.

“The Coalition Avenir Quebec government has said the law is necessary to stem the rise in resignations of elected officials, particularly at the municipal level,” National Post reports.

Critics blasted the law for its infringement on free speech.

CTV News reports:

The government introduced the legislation shortly after an organization representing Quebec municipalities released a survey indicating 74 per cent of elected municipal leaders reported having experienced harassment and intimidation, and that 741 out of 8,000 had quit since elections were held across the province in 2021.

Aside from fines, the law allows elected officials to ask the Superior Court for an injunction against a citizen who threatens, intimidates or harasses them.

From National Post:

Municipal Affairs Minister Andree Laforest amended the bill in response to criticism — including from media companies — to include wording that affirms the right of citizens to freely participate in public debates.

Laforest also amended the bill to specify that Crown prosecutors rather than the provincial elections agency would be responsible for charging someone who threatens or intimidates a politician.

Media companies argued the legislation was too broad and allowed elected officials to potentially silence unfavorable criticism from citizens and journalists.

Outlets, including The Canadian Press, La Presse, Quebecor, and CBC, penned an open letter to the government in May.

“This would make life easier for elected officials, and cities, who would like to intimidate individuals and organizations that do not have the means to defend themselves,” the letter said, according to The Canadian Press.

“The mere existence of this new legislative tool would be likely to have a chilling effect on citizen and media speech,” it added.

This is a Guest Post from our friends over at 100 Percent Fed Up.

View the original article here.



 

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