A lawmaker from Canada’s Conservative Party has introduced a private member’s bill that would prohibit Holocaust denial.
Saskatchewan MP Kevin Waugh’s “An Act to amend the Criminal Code (prohibition – promotion of antisemitism)” would make Holocaust denial – “one of the main indicators of antisemitism and radicalization” – illegal in Canada.
“Ignorance fuels intolerance so we must continue to teach the truths of the past,” Waugh said. “Education is the safeguard of history. We must face history with courage and boldly call out and confront intolerance wherever it exists. Passage of this bill protects the truth.”
The bill, introduced on Thursday, is part of a commitment by the Conservatives to end “the scourge of antisemitism in Canada and we believe all Canadians should feel safe and welcome in our communities.”
Waugh explained that “Holocaust distortion, denial, and antisemitism must be confronted with the strongest opposition and condemnation.”
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) praised Waugh’s bill, which would amend the Criminal Code to prohibit public denial and distortion of the Holocaust.
The bill, seconded by Thornhill MP Melissa Lantsman, would amend the Criminal Code’s Section 319 to “prohibit the communication of statements, other than in private conversation, that wilfully promote antisemitism by condoning, denying or downplaying the Holocaust.”
“FSWC has long been calling for the Canadian government to modify its hate speech laws by including Holocaust denial and distortion, which has risen dramatically across the country, as a criminal offence,” FSWC said in a statement. “FSWC calls on all members of Parliament to give multi-partisan support for this bill, which comes at a critically important time in our country.”
The introduction of the bill came a week after NDP MP Peter Julian tabled a bill that would would prevent anyone from selling and displaying symbols that promote hatred.
The bill would ban swastikas and other Nazi symbols, Klu Klux Klan symbols, the Confederate flag and other “symbols of slavery, racism and of white supremacy.”