Now’s the time of day – or night – when I talk about all those people who have been talking about Mrs. Lynch and her wonderful multi-colored commission, with associated flotsam and human riff-raff thrown in for good measure.
First off, a bit of housekeeping: I’d like to give a shout-out to The Black Kettle for linking to this blog. Apologies for the lateness of this shout-out, but I thought I should give it anyway. Links are appreciated; links from people who aren’t being snarky is even better – The Black Kettle gets my thanks for both.
Second, I’d like to point your attention to Blazing Cat Fur, SoCon or Bust, and Deborah Gyapong, as they talk a little more about the new case being brought before the Ontario Human Rights Commission on behalf of one Jim Corcoron – who I may have maligned without necessary provocation. Sorry about that, Jim. Meanwhile, Jim Corcoran explains his side of things in his blog, here. [ Note: I intend to write more about this case in the future; whenever I have time. ]
Third, the Canadian Human Rights Commission goes international. Via the Morning Sentinel, in Waterville, Maine: Much is lost by allowing same-sex marriage:
I believe that by allowing same-sex marriage we will be losing our freedom of speech and at the same time our religion. I would like to show you what things have happened in a short time when same-sex couples get their way, according to lifesitenews.com:
A photographer in New Mexico in 2008 refused to photograph a lesbian ceremony because it went against her Christian beliefs and was sued by the lesbians.
An affiliate of the United Methodist Church in New Jersey was sued by lesbians for denying them use of their pavilion for their ceremony.
A Christian pastor was sued for writing a letter to the editor on homosexuality.
The Christian Heritage Party of Canada and its leader Ron Gray are being investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Commission after a homosexual activist complained of material published on the party’s Web site he claims is offensive to homosexuals. Homosexual activists are demanding that the pro-family Web sites that post information critical of homosexual behavior be shut down.
There are many more stories like these. The history of allowing same-sex unions is a loss of freedom of speech and religious rights. There is a whole lot more at stake than just some homosexuals marrying.
That’s PR that you just can’t pay for, right there.
Fourth, Ezra Levant calls Jennifer Lynch a damned liar, although I have my reservations. It’s not that I don’t like calling people liars, it’s just that I don’t want to under-estimate who we’re dealing with. Time will tell, I suppose.
Is section 13 consistent with international human rights law?
Yes. International human rights treaties provide that careful restrictions of some forms of speech are both desirable and necessary.
Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantee freedom of expression.
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Article 19 of the ICCPR amplifies on the Universal Declaration by specifying:
- Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
- Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
However section 19 also allows that certain restrictions may be imposed on freedom of expression by specifying that:
- The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;
(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.
Article 20 of the ICCPR requires states to prohibit speech that incites war or promotes hatred:
- Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
- Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.
Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination also requires states to take action against hate propaganda by providing that:
States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention, inter alia:
a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;
b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;
c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.
In General Comment 11 the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that there was no fundamental conflict between Articles 19 and 20:
Article 20 of the Covenant states that any propaganda for war and any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. In the opinion of the Committee, these required prohibitions are fully compatible with the right of freedom of expression as contained in article 19, the exercise of which carries with it special duties and responsibilities. The prohibition under paragraph 1 extends to all forms of propaganda threatening or resulting in an act of aggression or breach of the peace contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, while paragraph 2 is directed against any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether such propaganda or advocacy has aims which are internal or external to the State concerned. The provisions of article 20, paragraph 1, do not prohibit advocacy of the sovereign right of self-defence or the right of peoples to self-determination and independence in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. For article 20 to become fully effective there ought to be a law making it clear that propaganda and advocacy as described therein are contrary to public policy and providing for an appropriate sanction in case of violation. The Committee, therefore, believes that States parties which have not yet done so should take the measures necessary to fulfil the obligations contained in article 20, and should themselves refrain from any such propaganda or advocacy.
Canada has also signed, but not yet ratified, the Additional Protocol to the Convention on cybercrime, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems.
Have United Nations bodies made decisions relating to section 13?
In 1983, a complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee was filed by Mr. John Ross Taylor and the Western Guard Party alleging a violation of the freedom of expression guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Human Rights Committee rejected the complaint on the grounds that:
…the opinions which Mr. Taylor seeks to disseminate through the telephone system clearly constitute the advocacy of racial or religious hatred which Canada has an obligation under article 20(2) of the Covenant to prohibit.
That’s all for now, folks. Tune in tomorrow for more, if there’s anything newsworthy to report.