Free Speech under attack!

Here’s something I didn’t know 24 hours ago. Did you know that it is illegal for anyone in the National Capital Region to use the term “Parliament Hill” to describe a place or business that isn’t that hill on which Canada’s Parliament resides? It’s true, and it’s outlined in s.80 of the Parliament of Canada Act,

80. (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any Act of Parliament or regulation made thereunder, no person shall use the words “Parliament Hill” in combination

(a) to describe or designate a property, place, site or location in the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act other than the area of ground in the City of Ottawa bounded by Wellington Street, the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and Kent Street;

(b) to identify any goods, merchandise, wares or articles for commercial use or sale; or

(c) in association with a commercial establishment providing services.

(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

One wonders how many former political staffers have ever considered hanging their shingle on the name “Parliament Hill Consulting/Strategies/Communications/Group”



  • Gerry Burnie

    Good point. Mind you, in consideration of the shenanigans that go on on Parliament Hill, associating a business with it might not be a wise marketing strategy!

  • Gabby in QC

    Whoa! Spiffy new look!

    Too bad I must disagree with your take on the free speech angle. We’ve had that difference of opinion before. I don’t believe in unlimited & unfettered free speech like you seem to. I don’t know whether your post is tongue-in-cheek or not, but this is clearly not a “free speech” issue.

    First of all, “According to the Freedom Forum Organization, legal systems, and society at large, recognize limits on the freedom of speech, particularly when freedom of speech conflicts with other values or rights.” Wiki

    In this instance neither the “harm principle” nor the “offence principle” applies 

    But what does apply is the right to protect a trademark.
    I’d guess you probably support a commercial enterprise protecting its trademark. This is a similar case, with “Parliament Hill” — a legal entity — protecting its own established trademark. 

    The Quebec student protests are an example of where the distorted notion of free speech can lead.

  • Anonymous

    don’t you just love the summary conviction part.

  • Anonymous

    don’t you just love the summary conviction part.

  • Eric

    You’d prefer it was an indictable offence?

  • Anonymous

    But seriously, has ANYONE ever been charged?

    (Nice site revisions. less browser bloat too.)

  • Nick

    Just so I’m clear, you whine about erosion of free speech in one post, and then don’t seem to have a problem having a go at Manu Militari’s freedom of expression elsewhere? Really? Really really?

    You can’t have it both ways, man. It doesn’t work like that.