June 8, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Frederick James (Jim) Hawkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hawkes:

Madam Speaker, this is my first attempt at a private member's bill that deals with something that arose in my life prior to politics.
It is a tendency of the media from time to time to be in such a hurry to be first with a story that they ignore the responsibility side of the freedom which our society provides them.
This bill would add to section 300 of the Criminal Code the provision that everyone who publishes defamatory libel that he knows is false or, and this is the addition, with a reckless disregard for its truth is guilty of an indictable offence.
All we are asking with this legislation is that reporters and journalists, those who publish, make an honest effort to determine whether what they are publishing is true.
We have a second section in this bill which states that if they have made a mistake and then make a very vigorous and sensible effort to correct it, not simply by putting the correction on the back page somewhere but by giving it prominence and making an effort to correct what they did to cause the damage in the first place, there can be a mitigation of sentence.
I draw this to the attention of the House. In particular I draw it to the attention of those who own and publish periodicals and other media. The time has come in society where a greater effort needs to be made to publish the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
June 8, 1993

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