Monday, March 1, 2010

A Small Victory For Freedom Of Speech — At What Price?

Yet another verdict of a freedom-snatching committee has been overturned by the court of law:
REGINA, March 1, 2010 ( - Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal has ruled that an anti-homosexaulity activist did not violate the province's human rights code by publicly criticizing homosexuality through a series of flyers he distributed in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002.
In her decision in Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal et al., released February 25, Justice Darla Hunter ruled that Whatcott did not violate section 14(1)(b) of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code by distributing flyers to oppose the teaching of homosexuality in Saskatoon’s public schools.

The court overturned the 2006 Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered Mr. Whatcott to pay $17,500 to the complainants, to compensate for "loss of their dignity, self-respect and hurt feelings," and imposed a "lifetime" ban on his freedom to publicly criticize homosexuality.
So, common sense has finally triumphed. Distributing flyers that expose ads like "man looking for boys, age not so relevant" is not a "hate crime"; it's a matter of Bill Whatcott's freedom of speech and the society's right to information. Finally, we have the court upholding these rights and freedoms. But at what price?

Again we see that the real punishment for breaking the HRC-imposed rules of political correctness is not the fine and not even the lifetime ban on expressing your opinion, (which the freedom-snatching committees are somehow authorized to impose,) but the process itself. How long did it take for Bill Whatcott to get his conviction overturned? Seven years? Eight? Maybe more? How much did he have to spend for his own defense?

Let's not forget - when it comes to a "human rights" complaint, it's only the complainer who gets all his legal expenses paid for by the taxpayers. The defender must pay for his own defense. That alone is enough to make a successful professional broke. But then, for more than three years Bill was barred from working in his profession. How is one supposed to pay for his defense if his professional association won't allow him to get a job that suits his skills?

Bill has finally won the case, but who is going to reimburse him all that money he was forced to spend on lawyers? Who is going to compensate Bill for being kicked out of his job, for not being able to make a living doing what he's good at, for having to struggle to pay for basic living expenses when the endless legal process kept demanding cash, cash and more cash?

Now, try to picture another successful professional, spotting a similar ad in his local newspaper. The ad outrages him, just as the actual ad outraged Bill about a decade ago. But will he dare to openly protest against such an ad, knowing what happened to Bill? Will he have the courage to distribute flyers, featuring the scan of the ad or even posting it online, knowing that this may cost him his lifetime savings and his job? Will he dare to speak up, knowing that if he is loud enough to be heard, his career prospects will be reduced to flipping burgers or sorting garbage? Will he be ready to spend years seeking justice, just as Bill Whatcott had to? Most likely, he'll back down. And that's exactly what those Orwellian tribunals with "human rights" in their names want to achieve.

I congratulate Bill Whatcott for having the $17,500 fine and a lifetime ban on expressing his views overturned. And I'm glad that the judges didn't miss the opportunity to slam those "human rights" jackboots and their legal bullying. But more needs to be done to bring back our freedom of speech. Let's not forget - the real victory can only be achieved once every single "human rights" commission is disbanded.

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