Monday, November 29, 2010

Free speech - what's happn'in?

Kathy Shaidle at FFoF reminds us of an event to raise funds for hubby BCF's legal defense (donate) against a lawsuit from Richard Warman.  As a reminder she points to a segment of Mark Steyn's and Ezra Levant's testimony before the Parliamnetary Standing Committee on Justice and "Human Rights" on the subject of  abolishing Section 13 of the HRA.

I wound up watching the whole thing, again.  Part 1:

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.

Ezra and Mark were brilliant! The Committee, not so much.  You can see why little of any real value gets done in that place.  A year later, where are we with this?


Wd Fyfe said...

Levant and Steyn are on the frontline but I think some of the rest of us are fighting the wrong battle.

JR said...

On your cited web page, you wrote: “...Freedom of Speech is an American concept ...”

You must be a fan of Dean Steacy (CHRC investigator) for he said exactly that in defending his discredited “investigations” of CHRC targets.

You, and he, couldn’t be more wrong. The concept of free speech dates back millennia to ancient Greece and perhaps before. For example:

Socrates at his trial: ‘If you offered to let me off this time on condition I am not any longer to speak my mind... I should say to you, "Men of Athens, I shall obey the Gods rather than you."'

Then there’s British law and tradition with the Magna Carta being a significant milestone leading to the English Bill of Rights, etc. all of which underpin Canadian legal traditions and system of justice;

Voltaire: 'I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.'

From the French Revolution, 'The Declaration of the Rights of Man'

John Stewart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’


So, the Americans hardly invented free speech. But they are arguably one its greatest defenders. They live up to their constitution. Canadian freedom of speech, on the other hand, is rather shriveled in comparison. Our Charter of Rights grants freedom of expression as a “fundamental” right which Section 13 of our “Human Rights” Act then effectively diminishes. Our various “Human Rights” Commissions and Tribunals make a mockery of the concept.

I certainly agree with you that open debate needs to be protected from the mob. But that’s part and parcel of defending freedom of speech for all of us. If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend watching all seven parts of the Steyn/Levant testimony. It’s well worth the time.