Montréal man Gabriel Sohier Chaput was found guilty on January 23, 2023, of promoting hate against Jewish people based on an article posted on a far-right news website. Quebec Court Judge Manlio Del Negro rejected Gabriel’s defence that what he wrote for the Daily Stormer was satire and intended as an exaggeration. Sohier Chaput has since been taken into custody.
Sohier Chaput was charged in 2018 under the Criminal Code with the willful promotion of hatred “by communicating statements, other than in private conversation (that) wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group.” The charge came after a series of articles by the Montreal Gazette in 2018 which described Sohier Chaput as being one of North America’s most prominent writers on the Daily Stormer.
How is hate speech defined in Canada?
In Canada, hate speech is defined as any speech, gesture, conduct, writing, or display that may incite or promote hatred against any identifiable group, or because it disparages or affronts the dignity of such a group. Such speech is prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
Sections 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code criminalize hate speech, specifically advocating or promoting genocide, and public incitement of hatred, respectively.
Section 320.1 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to wilfully promote hatred against any identifiable group by communicating statements in any public place, thereby making it illegal to communicate statements in public that incite hatred against any identifiable group.
Under the Criminal Code, hate speech must be proven to be intentional and to have led to a likelihood of harm in order for it to be considered a criminal offense.