My head is still spinning from the Supreme Court of Canada's Whatcott decision. When it comes to human rights commissions and their vague "likely to" thought crimes provision, truth is no defense, neither is motive. In other words, you don't actually have to be guilty of hateful feelings of detestation in order to be found guilty of villification. Equality trumps foundational rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It was sickening, frankly.
Our hope now rests with pushing for legislative change. That means that all the free speech bloggers and pundits needs to rev up the old public opinion engines and make sure our politicians know these laws must be taken off the books. The next big battle-ground is the Senate on Bill C-304 to eliminate the Section 13 "likely" clause of the Canadian Human Rights Act. While there is a Conservative majority there, some Senators have spoken against the bill. And the Liberals, led by former Parliament Hill journalist Jim Munson are revving up all the tired arguments that seemed to make their way into Justice Rothstein's decision.
Did anyone else get a sense that the decision was so old hat, so obviously disproven, so discredited that it was astonishing to see them re-iterated by the highest court? As if all the justices do is watch the CBC all the time and don't even realize contrary views and even facts that support them exist. Sigh. I mean, really, the arguments about Germany and the Jews and the Rwandan genocide making it necessary to have human rights commissions are ridiculous. Those genocides were government-sponsored; government entities were promoting the hate speech and used systematic, planned, government-sponsored methods to eradicate Jews or Tutsis in both genocides It was not the result of some guy handing out pamphlets who got the population all riled up.
In fact, reading the Whatcott decision seemed like the ingredients for a hate-tract against believing Christians like myself and the menu for state persecution of those who refuse to bow down and worship the state.
Here's a link to a recent story I wrote about the progress of the bill now before the Senate.
OTTAWA - Senator Douglas Finley warns the passage of Bill C-304 to eliminate the anti-free speech Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is “not a done deal.”
Conservative MP Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill to eliminate the vaguely worded Section 13 clause that deems communication “likely” to expose a protected group to hatred or contempt discrimination under the act passed the House of Commons last June. Finley, the Conservative senator who is shepherding the bill’s passage through the Senate, said many pundits assumed the fight had been won then, leaving “a false impression.”
“This will receive opposition in the Senate, although we have a pretty large majority,” Finley said, noting that even some Conservative senators have spoken against it.
Bill C-304 is expected to go to a vote on second reading soon. Finley expects the bill to pass and go on to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee, which will receive witnesses.
“How long this will take is very largely a matter of the interest shown by outside witnesses to attend the hearings,” he said.
“The process can take anywhere from a matter of days to several months. It’s difficult to predict,” but the “issue provokes passion on both sides of the argument.”
I would advise anyone who is concerned about this issue to contact Senator Finley's office or the committee named in the article. Plan to make an appearance before the committee.
Jay, re last week’s Canadian Supreme Court decision, there’s no doubt (after some partial victories by us northern free-speechers in recent years) that it’s a serious setback for freedom of expression. The defendant, Bill Whatcott, is not partial to those of a homosexual bent. If one feels otherwise on these matters, it’s reasonable to be offended by his observations. But it’s entirely unreasonable to criminalize them. Bruce Bawer, who falls into the protected class on whose behalf the Canadian jurists claimed to act, says take your finely balanced, reasoned, nuanced judgment, and shove it:
"Don’t do me any favors. I feel far less threatened by the likes of Whatcott than I do by courts that consider it their prerogative to limit the liberties of a free people in such an arrogant fashion. The justices seem not to recognize – or to care – that if you want to live in a truly free society, you’ve got to be willing to share that society with people who consider you an abomination and who feel compelled to shout their views from the rooftops."
He’s right. Bill Whatcott is far less of a threat to liberty than those six judges. What’s weird about all this is that, around the world, supposedly free peoples are happy to accord the bench (even a bench whose arguments are as incoherent as the Ottawa guys’) a monopoly power on all the great questions of the age. Even as every other societal institution in the West — church, monarchy — has lost authority, blokes in black robes have accrued more and more.
The biggest danger to a legislative repeal of the insidious faux human rights regime is the deference most Canadians and politicians have for the Supreme Court of Canada.