Saturday, November 1, 2008

HRC speech censorship - Harper responds

Ezra Levant is encouraged by Stephen Harper’s response to CFRB’s Brian Lilley who asked the PM if his government would be addressing the issue of HRC's censorship of the press.

Lilley’s question:

... the issue of the human rights commission, we have seen both federal and provincial human rights commissions taking media organizations, journalists eforbe them to justify what they have written and I was wondering if your government will be touching that topic?

and Harper’s answer:

In terms of the free speech issues and some of the activities of human rights commissions, I think that everyone has had some concerns about this. This is a complicated area of law, balancing what most people understand to mean by free speech with obvious desire to not have speech that would be intended to incite hatred towards particular groups or individuals. I think some of the most egregious cases, if you actually look at this, are in provincial human rights commission and obviously, you know I can't control or comment on that. I think there has been some - I think the Canadian human rights commission has been moderating some of what - some of its practices a little bit recently to respond to some of these concerns and I hope that will continue.
That sounds a bit limp to me. Here’s Harper’s position in 1999 (from Kathy Shaidle’s "The Tyranny of Nice"):

"Human Rights Commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and basic existence of a democratic society...It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this very scary stuff."
PM Harper’s response was certainly hyper-cautious compared to citizen Harper’s. To some extent I suppose that’s understandable. Staying in power is a tricky business , especially for conservatives in these ultra-sensitive, politically correct times. You have to know which fights to pick and when to fight them. Though surely at some point defending "fundamental freedoms" has to rise to the top of the priority list.

Ezra suggested that now might be a good time to e-mail the Prime Minister and encourage him to take action. Done.


Anonymous said...

Political correctness is very expensive in terms of freedom and cash, the tax deductions on our paycheques employ well paid, vast bureaucracies comprised of the friends of left wing politicians who are otherwise unemployable, and worse, they are legally allowed to attack people like writers and commentators.

Perhaps the only good thing about Americans electing leftist politicians is that they will extend a short recession, that they caused, into a long depression that will ultimately galvanize the public to come out against political correctness and wasting taxpayer's money.

JR said...

There's a lot of truth to that. Booting the HRCs out of the speech censorship business and tightly constraining them elsewhere (if not eliminating them altogether) will make us freer and save us money. However it might be better in the long run for Harper's government to tread carefully and avoid stepping into some media driven backlash. In fact it should be the MSM that's leading the charge against press censorship. Then the politicians could do what they're best at - 'leading' by getting out in front of a popular movement. But, unfortunately, to their shame, the press has been largely absent - mostly out of brainless multi-culti pc'ness.