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Dear [name removed] :
The office of the Prime Minister has forwarded to me a copy of your correspondence concerning the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). I regret the delay in responding.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental freedom enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which, in a free and democratic society, may be limited only when such an action is justified.
The Government of Canada is committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. To that end, the Government has introduced in Parliament Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, which calls for the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to apply equally to all Canadians. Bill C-21 would repeal section 67 of the CHRA, which currently shields some actions of the federal government or First Nations entities from the application of the CHRA. The repeal of section 67 would extend the rights of First Nations people, primarily those living on reserve, to file complaints with the CHRC.
Canada’s record on human rights is second to none; it is a record of which all Canadians can be proud.
As you may be aware, the CHRC, which administers the CHRA, operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada and reports to Parliament independently.
However, I would like to inform you that my caucus colleague Mr. Rick Dykstra has tabled a motion that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights examine and make recommendations with respect to the CHRC, including its mandate, operations, and interpretation and application of provisions relating to section 13 of the CHRA, which addresses hate messages. I look forward to that review.
Please be assured that your concerns have been given proper consideration. I appreciate having had your comments brought to my attention.
The Honourable Rob Nicholson
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