So Ezra decided to take advantage of the ancient Anglo-Saxon right to free expression and published the cartoons.Magna Carta? Habeas Corpus? Forget those! In the eyes of the freedom-snatching committees, hurt feelings of a radical Muslim who has publicly called for sharia law to be imposed in Canada outweigh the rights of Canadians; including immigrants who chose to come to Canada specifically because of Canada's strong democratic traditions and the heritage of free speech that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta.
What he was reminded of, almost immediately, is that Canada is no longer an Anglo-Saxon nation. Gone is the robust belief held by our ancestors for 800 years that the citizen is sovereign, that he is free to do as he wishes unless the state can show unambiguously that there is an overriding need to limit his liberty temporarily. It has been replaced by the continental notion that nothing is allowed unless it is expressly permitted by the state. The belief that the citizen owes the government an explanation of his actions, not the other way around, has gripped our politicians, bureaucrats, judges and professors.
Ironically, human rights commissions are the best examples of just how many rights we have lost. They follow none of the rules of evidence built up over centuries to assure the accused of a fair hearing. Many commissions will hear plaintiff 's testimony in secret, violating the protection of being able to confront one's accusers. Most admit hearsay and limit the right of the accused to counsel or to call his own witnesses and experts.That too is important. Not only those extrajudiciary tribunals violate our freedom of speech - they deny us the right to a fair trial. The common law rules of evidence don't apply there; the truth is not a defense and the presumption is that the accused is guilty until proven innocent, not vice versa. Yet the committees have the authority to asses fines of up to $50,000 and incarcerate would-be-haters - even if there were no criminal charges laid...
Whether they will admit it or not, most also employ reverse onus: Before them, the accused is presumed guilty of racism, sexism, homophobia or general insensitivity if someone from a favoured minority claims to have been offended. It is the responsibility of the accused to prove he is not.
Unlike in a defamation court, at a human rights show trial truth is no defence. What's more, the accuser will be represented by the tax-funded officers of the commission, sometimes even by government-paid lawyers, while the defendant will have to pay his own way.
I know I'm repeating what I've already said about the freedom-snatching committees. But I better say it one more time. Because unless the people realize what hides behind the Orwellian name "Human Rights Commission", anyone daring to dismantle those kangaroo courts would be unjustly accused by hysterical zealots of rolling back human rights.