Yesterday, Anthony Furey, with the Toronto Sun, wrote about the concerns of some Canadians that a new motion, M-103, passed in the House of Commons on Thursday, paves the way for the criminalization of a "robust criticism of Islam." Despite studies, reported by the CBC, that point to Canada as a "welcoming and friendly" country, Canada has some rather harsh laws with regard to Freedom Of Speech, which often surprises observers from other countries.

For example, I currently face a publication ban, as well as criminal libel charges, for my truthful reporting about a situation that includes a suspicious death and seeming wide-scale fraud.

My lawyer, Daniel Baker, has summed up the situation in Canada as follows: anyone who writes anything negative about anyone else, even if verifiable as accurate, has committed a criminal offense.

Police decide what gets published in Canada

Why then, are the writers of critical stories in the Canadian press not subject to arrest and persecution? I believe this is a result of an informal agreement that has been worked out between Canadian police and the Canadian media over generations. So long as the media is not overly critical of police, they will look the other way over negative writing about other Canadians. However, once police become the subject of criticism, as evidenced by the charges against me, the temptation to bring criminal charges against truthful writers appears to be too overwhelming for at least some Canadian police forces to handle.

I applaud Canada, my home, for inviting hundreds of thousands of refugees into its fold, as I applaud our international reputation for being nice people. However, criticism of religion is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as is all free speech. While I personally would likely not choose to satirize the Prophet Mohammed as France's Charlie Hebdo did, neither do I believe that the publication violated anyone's rights by doing such a thing, nor that they should face any type of legal repercussions for publishing cartoons satirizing religious figures, or anyone else.

Canadian free speech under threat

In November 2016, Lisa Taylor, with Ryerson University, spoke about how criminal libel laws are being used with increasing regularity in Canada, and how this threatens the right of Canadians to freely express themselves. From 2009 to 2012, there was an average of 37.7 criminal libel convictions in Canada each year, up significantly from 18 per year from 2005 to 2008.

As with my case, about one quarter of cases are described involving "political dissent." Ryerson University characterizes politically motivated activities to include those who have criticized "police brutality, protesting controversial rulings by judges and criticizing municipal authorities on Facebook."

In my experience, drawing comparisons between TSX Venture Exchange stock distributors and convicted U.S. swindler Jordan Belfort could be added to this list, and appears to have pushed the correct criminal libel buttons. Mr. Baker will be challenging the constitutionality of the charges against me over the coming months. We hope to set a precedent that will strike at least some of the provisions of the law from Canadian books.