Saturday, April 17, 2010

Free Speech — As Our Opponents See It

Here's what Mr. Dominic LeBlanc, a Liberal MP from Beauséjour believes free speech is all about:
April 12, 2010 — Mr. LeBlanc (Beauséjour) — That, in the opinion of the House, the 25th anniversary of the coming into force of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1985, should serve as a reminder that the fundamental freedom of speech must also always ensure the freedom from hate speech or speech that incites violence, particularly when it involves minority communities.
(Last item before the Ways and Means)
But wait. Where in the Charter does it say that freedom of speech also implies freedom from so called "hate speech"? Could Mr. Leblanc please quote the appropriate section or, at the very least, name it?

Mr. Leblanc mentions speech that incites violence - that's already a criminal offense. Anyone suspected of that doesn't need a special reminder from Mr. Leblanc, that's what the police is for. The problem however is that there are groups that consider anything they don't agree with to be "hate speech". I understand that Mr. Leblanc didn't follow the trials of Mark Steyn or Ezra Levant, so he is unaware that there are special interest groups that use any legal means possible if not to silence their critics then at least to punish them by the undue process; to hurt them financially by having to pay for their own legal defense. But how come Mr. Leblanc fails to see the difference between civilized criticism and direct incitements to violence?

And another thing - Mr. Leblanc elaborates, that we ought to prevent hate speech and incitements to violence "particularly when it involves minority communities". Now it's me who just can't see the difference. Why is it so important for Mr. Leblanc to highlight the wrongness of hate speech "when it involves minority communities" as opposed to hate speech that doesn't involve minorities? If hate speech is wrong - it's wrong no matter what group is the one to be targeted. But if Leblanc believes that it's ok for group A to say some things against group B while group B can't respond in kind - maybe we should remind him of the section 15 of the Charter which proclaims that every individual is equal before the law - at least theoretically.

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