Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A big victory for free speech

Today a decision by a Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal acquitted Marc Lemire of hate crimes concluding that the Human Rights Act, Section 13 (Hate Speech) contravenes the Charter's freedom of speech provisions.

Blazing Cat Fur has it all!

That's good news - a defeat for Richard Warman and his ilk and the first real 'hate speech' acquittal by the CHRC. But will a pronouncement from a "Human Rights" Tribunal carry enough weight to get the ball rolling on changing a law which was upheld in a prior Supreme Court ruling? Will it stiffen the Justice Minister's and the PM's backbones sufficiently to get them leading the way on changing the law? We'll see.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What it does do is prevent an appeal to the higher court which would have probably struck down section 13.
Clever guy isn't he?

xanthippaschamberpot said...

I disagree, anonymous.

This ruling sets a legal precedent: a valid and binding one (just like their 'stupid' ones were 'valid'). The wording is especially important, as it states (in no uncertain terms) that Section 13(1) is not compatible with the Constitution.

I suspect that this is the 'catalyst' which Prime Minister Harper needed (minority government and all that) to begin a serious 'cleaning up' of the 'Human Rights' laws. As in, this gives him the urgency to act 'to preserve the legal frameword of Human Rights legislation' in Canada....can't have bits of it be ruled 'unconstitutional', can we?

So, he can set up a committee to re-draft the whole thing, and re-define the HRCs sphere of influence!

I hope he does it well....

BTW....if he's looking for people to put on the Commissions - I AM available! You know, a female immigrant, with a disability and all - I could be a real asset to any committee re-drafting this stuff...

JR said...

Xanthippa, I hope you're right. I just wonder whether a decision from a mere lawyer in a kangaroo court system (as much as I like the way he thinks) carries much weight with Nicholson et al especially when our Supreme Court seems to put so much emphasis on the right of the state to limit free speech, ie. Section 1 of the Charter:
"The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

Here's the current El Supremo on the subject.