There are a lot of reasons to be grateful to be an American. For all our nations’ ongoing issues – a senile President, a corrupt Congress, uncontrolled borders, major cities slipping into a new dark age – at least we aren’t (yet) being tossed in jail for something we might do.

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 That may not be the case in Canada much longer, where their Parliament is considering a law allowing judges to place someone under house arrest if the judge thinks they might commit a “hate crime.”

Justin Trudeau’s government has proposed a law giving judges the power to put someone under house arrest if they fear they could commit a hate crime.

Critics have warned the “draconian” bill is an overreach of power and could stifle free speech and difficult discussions.

But Canada’s justice minister defended the measure, claiming it would be an “important” tool to help protect potential victims.

An online harms bill introduced by the Liberals last week proposed a string of laws to protect children and prosecute hate crimes.

What the hell, Canada?

Can no one in Ottawa see what a serious and slippery slope Canada is perching on here? Forget any pretense of due process or presumption of innocence, which Canada doesn’t guarantee in any case; now a judge will be able to order you confined—sure, to your own home, but confined—and maybe electronically monitored, for wrongthink. There’s just no other way to interpret this abomination.

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The people favoring this talk about it applying to child pornography and so forth, but it doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to see an overbearing government—like Canada under Trudeau—thinking, “Oh, hey, we can apply this in lots of cases – say, against our political opposition.”

Imagine the chilling effect this would have on everyone from teachers to stand-up comedians. One wrong utterance, one complaint about expressing an unpopular opinion, and a law-abiding Canadian is under house arrest and wearing an electronic monitor to make sure he stays there.

Fortunately, there are some vestiges of sanity among our neighbors to the north (or, in my case, to the east.)

Following the publication of the proposed bill, Pierre Poilievre, the opposition leader, said his party did not believe in “censoring opinions”.

“We do not believe that the government should be banning opinions that contradict the prime minister’s radical ideology,” he said.

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, criticised the “draconian penalties” proposed by the Bill.

He warned it could lead to “violations of expressive freedom, privacy, protest rights, and liberty” and a new offence introduced “risks misuse or overuse by police, and unfairness to accused persons in court”.

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Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, worse pops by and says “Hold my beer.”

Free speech has a long, long history in Western civilization, beginning with the ancient Greeks.

The ancient Greek word “parrhesia” means “free speech,” or “to speak candidly.” The term first appeared in Greek literature around the end of the fifth century B.C.

But it seems like this is a tradition that Canada is tossing in the dustbin, along with due process and the presumption of innocence; they are proposing, instead, to place people under house arrest because a judge is worried about what they might do. That, folks, is the stuff tyrannies are made of.

Unfortunately, Canada has a long history of clamping down on free expression.