Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Free speech in Canuckistan

This has been a hot topic for about a week now. But, better late than never:

The law

The Constitution giveth our freedom:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.
And the Human Rights Act taketh it away:

First, by identifying types of discrimination:

3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.

Then targeting speech as a basis for a ‘discrimination’ complaint:

Hate messages

13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.


(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies in respect of a matter that is communicated by means of a computer or a group of interconnected or related computers, including the Internet, or any similar means of communication, but [excepting] ...the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking.

So, our fundamental freedom of expression is sacrosanct right up until someone claims to be offended by what we’ve said and our ass is hauled before a human rights tribunal (a.k.a. Kangaroo Court.) If the human rights bureaucracy decides to pursue a complaint it will be investigated i.a.w. Part III of The Act.

The overall effect of having the Human Rights Act hanging over our heads this way is to limit our fundamental right of free speech. We have a ‘human rights’ law that suppresses our human rights. Wonderful!

In action

Obviously the potential for mischief and harassment by a loopy or politically motivated complainant is great. This is exactly what is happening to the owners of the blog site Free Dominion who have been served with a notification of complaint and have lawyered-up in preparation for a defence. The complaint is from woman by the name of Gentes (a non-Muslim) who claims to have been deeply offended by these comments on the FD site:
04/24/06 "I can't figure out why the homosexuals I ran into are on the side of the Muslims. After all, Muslims who practice Sharia law tend to advocate beheading homosexuals."
03/09/06 "I defy Islamic censorship and speak about what I believe is the truth about violent Islamism and its threat to religious liberty in Canada."
More on this via Relapsed Catholic here, here, here and here.

What I’d like to know is why the Human Rights Commission decided to press ahead with an investigation in this instance. Why didn’t they just dismiss it as a mischief complaint?

Some speculate that the HRC is heavily populated with lefty scolds who would like to see the conservative Free Dominion site silenced. Seems like a credible theory to me. Which is all the more reason the Human Rights Act and the Human Rights Commission should be scrapped. They’re antithetical to human rights.

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