Censorship in Canada

There are now 4 categories for which books are prevented entry to Canada, and can be detained for indefinite periods of time at the border. When customs officials on duty at the border, or working with the Canadian government mail company, perceive that a book, magazine, or film, coming through the border could possibly be defined under one of the following four categories, the material is sent by a chain of command to the federal capital in Ottawa, where one individual has the final decision as to whether the book, magazine, or video in question will be allowed through the border.

The 4 categories are:

  1. HATE LITERATURE: Any book that names a specific group as being responsible for something in history or in society that will promote animosity among other people towards that group. For example he said revisionists and neo-nazis say the Jews are responsible for promoting the Holocaust stories to obtain sympathy and money; this is therefore classified as Hate Literature.
  2. OBSENITY: This is subject to arbitrary decisions by government officials. Most types of pornography from simple exposure of genitalia to violent and degrading sexual acts are seized at the border, and some are returned and some are not after decision are made by the one person in Ottawa.
  3. SEDITION: If the material encourages people to break any criminal law, or human rights code of ethics, of Canada
  4. TREASON: When material promotes the overthrow of the leaders of Canada. This is an outdated law as many people today publicly promote the overthrow of the government to their friends and co-workers.

When deciding whether a book would be included in one of the above 4 categories, the Customs officers have to consider such things as artistic merit and educational value.

A current list of confiscated books and an official definition of the above mentioned criteria is being prepared and distributed by the Canadian Department of Prohibited and Controlled Goods, Ms. Missie Marsden - Director, Ottawa, Canada Tel: 1 - 613 - 954 - 7049.

According to the information officer of this Department, each year the list from the year before is being "purged" as the definitions of prohibited information are continually changing. For instance material that used to be defined as "pornographic" up to early 1990's because it contained photos or descriptions of "anal penetration" or "homosexual anal intercourse" are no longer considered "pornographic" and are allowed to enter Canada.

The prohibition list was computerized in 1988, and since 1984 Canada is working with other countries like "France and Germany" monitoring "hate literature".

Local offices take care of material coming through the border in their respective provinces, but "all suspected hate literature" is sent to Ottawa to be processed by this department.

Additionally to this, the Customs and Excise Division of Revenue Canada prints a list every 4 months of books that have been seized during that time period. The list is called: A Supplemental List of Books Currently Being Detained. Most books on the list are considered either "hate literature" or "obsene".

The List can be ordered at:

Revenue Canada - Customs and Excise Division, Department of Prohibited Importations. Ask for: A Supplemental List of Books Currently Being Detained - Guide D-9-11.

Going back to 1940 customs officials have acted in an unorganized manner to seize material, especially pornographic books like "Lady Chatalline's Lover" (1962), that appeared to violate the laws or social norms of Canada. But in about 1983 the government suddenly became aggressive about seizing books and magazines where it had been far more relaxed 1993. This was peculiar because there appeared to be no particular pornographic book or magazine that prompted it. It may be that the reason for this was the distribution of the Holocaust revisionist book The Hoax of the 20th Century (by Arthur R. Butz, 2nd ed. Historical Review Press, Brighton 1977).

All this in a sense is unnecessary, as the Internet is quickly replacing books among the general population as their source of research and casual reading material. Books and book-banning laws are going to quickly become outdated as the unstoppable free Internet becomes more and more popular to the elite educated inquisitive people of Canada, England, and Germany.

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