Deborah Gyapong: At least it won't get worse

At least it won't get worse

So Stephen Harper returns with a strengthened minority government. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? From the freedom of speech point of view, Mark Steyn has this to say:

Mr Harper's failure to sweep the land probably means that this inherently cautious politician will be unlikely to champion any serious reform of the country's ghastly "human rights" commissions that consumed so much of my time and money this last year. He was awfully non-commital when I spoke to him about it back in the summer, and I'd imagine he'll be even more so now.
I agree with Mark on this. We cannot expect any changes, at least on the surface. Whatever changes, if any, will be so subtle and so incremental that they will escape detection by any but the most diligent observers.

Frankly, if he had won a majority thanks to Quebec we would have the same approach.

I think Harper will be especially chastened by the Quebec results, the fact that $45 million in cuts in arts funding (cuts that social conservatives in the rest of the country applauded) kept him from the majority he hoped for. Changes to human rights commissions will never fly in Quebec, nor will anything remotely socially conservative. I have some concerns the election results will mean more pandering to Quebec at the expense of the conservative base who have no where else to go.

Several weeks ago, I attended a dinner and sat across from a high-up in the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Of course, I gave this individual an earful. And I think this person heard me. I think the conversation would have gone much differently had I been sitting across from one of the ideologues that bloggers have identified as key players in abuse of civil rights that has gone on so far.

The changes we might expect will be subtle: changes in personnel, perhaps, away from extreme ideologues to people who think striking a balance is important. In other words, we may see a slow as molasses change from those who think, like Dean Stacey said under oath, that" freedom of speech is an American concept" and "I don't give it any value" to those who agree that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are Charter values but who want to balance them with ensuring that no minority group is victimized by hatred or discrimination.

The big difference we are likely to see is what we've already been seeing: an attempt to define the hallmarks of hatred according to the Supreme Court's Taylor decision, signally a move away from the vagueness of the "likely to expose" thought- crimes provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act, section 13(1) that is so dangerously open to interpretation, and so free of any recourse to truth as a defense.

No, it is not good enough. It is also a great disappointment that the Justice Minister (who got relected) continues to have his department intervene on behalf of that horrible subsection. But believe me, having this Tory minority government is far better than having a bunch of ideologues with the ability to define hatred any way they choose, and targeting Christians and conservative dissent with impunity.

If you think the Tories are bad, think of what it was like under the Liberals when anyone who simply disagreed with their radical, anti-family agenda was called "Anti-Charter" and "anti-Canadian." Shoot, Prime Ministers Paul Martin and Jean Chretien both used this kind of hate-speech against those with traditional values during election campaigns. It was under the Liberals that the whole apparatus became the anti-Christian, anti-Western home for radical social engineers that it had become.

For those who are disenchanted with the Tories and even furious at them for betraying conservative principles, take a look at the reality of the election. Most people voted for left-wing parties. The majority of Canadians, in other words, don't give a hoot about freedom of speech unless it is the right for Avi Lewis or some jerk who likes the f-word and transgressive sexuality to get a paid junket to world capitals to display their anti-Western claptrap. They only see freedom of expression as the right to choose a porn channel with Canadian content, or the right to produce art at public expense that no one would buy and or that undermines traditional principles. In other words, freedom of speech applies only to subversives who hate everything Canada was founded on, who want to reserve the right to continue to undermine with bathroom humor or art designed to shock.

But those who defend the rights of the unborn, those who defend traditional marriage and the biological family are directly endangered by all the other parties. At least under the Tories things will not get worse. They may not even improve. But having things get worse and feeling like Canada was pumping itself to hell on a handcart was what it felt like with the Liberals in power.

No, I remember what it felt like in Ottawa when prime ministers advocated hatred against Christian believers and called them anti-Canadian, when Christians were painted as scary, when prime ministers used all the hallmarks of hatred against them.

So even though I have a headache this morning, I am thankful.

Other good news is the fact that Liberal MP Keith Martin got re-elected. There was some concern that he might not survive in a closely contested race. But Keith will be back, but only for this term, as he planned to retire after one more election. He was the champion of freedom of speech with his private member's motion to axe section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Let's hope he finds a way to bring back our cause to Parliament.



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