Friday, July 3, 2009

"Rights" Commission Threatens Our Liberty

The Montreal Gazette gets it right:
The Canadian Human Rights Commission appears to have learned little from its adventures of the last few years. In its latest report to Parliament it stubbornly defends its authority to police the Internet - or any other electronic medium - for opinions that are "likely to" expose people to hatred or contempt.

This is, as we have said previously in this space, an unacceptable assault on free speech.

With frightening eagerness to rein in Canadians' free expression, the commission finds the authority to restrict honest opinion in Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, a notoriously vague bit of legal writing that forbids transmissions "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt." The subjective power of that "likely to" makes everyone vulnerable to bureaucratic whim, malice, or distemper.
But it would be far better for Parliament simply to repeal Section 13, and leave the question of hate speech to the criminal courts where it belongs - if it belongs anywhere. If a citizen's liberties are to be threatened, that citizen deserves the full protection of the law.
And here's another great article on the HRCs by Mark Steyn - "Statist Fat Cats vs Blazing Cat Fur":
In Canada, it is now apparently reflexive to shriek: “You can’t say that!” Ms Evans was careful to observe the niceties – “This is not a statement about daycare” – and she would certainly have no difficulty producing studies and statistics in support of her assertion. To be sure, other studies say other things. Obviously, her view is – what’s the word? – “debatable”. But in the decayed Dominion why bother debating? It’s easier just to get dissident views rendered unsayable.

In a previous incarnation, David Swann was fired for his support of the Kyoto treaty. So you’d think he’d be less quick off the trigger in demanding from Ms Evans full-blown formal recantation or expulsion from public life. I see the Liberal leader lists as his principal leisure activity “peace and justice work”. Perhaps he’d have a more temperate demeanor if he took up hunting or cage-wrestling.

Needless to say, he got his way. Ed Stelmach, the Premier of Alberta, pronounced Ms Evans’ words “regrettable”, and a day or two later the minister apologized. Whether it was sincere or not is of no consequence. Young, ambitious politicians eager to climb the greasy pole will get the message. You will still, from time to time, hear such totally stunningly outrageous opinions but only whispered furtively between the like-minded, in the dead of night, far from the corridors of power. That wet farting sound you hear is the bounds of Canadian public discourse shriveling just a little more.
Well said. Hopefully, as the debate goes on, and, as some of that makes its way to the mainstream media, there will be more people realizing that those freedom snatching committees, with "human rights" in their name, have nothing to do with human rights.

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