Section G. of the Appeal Document is another legal zinger section, before the nyah, nyah finale, so you will have to wait for the finale, or skip to the end of this blog entry, if you are an ADD type like me.
Section G. is entitled “No Province May Enact a Law that Limits Free Political Debate or Expression”. As Mr. Chipeur contends, any limitation on expression is limited to the Federal Government under Section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867, because such limitations are considered criminal and therefor under exclusive Federal responsibility.
The Panel involved in the Boissoin case was concerned that some speech might not be caught by this limitation, although the Supreme Court of Canada does not share their concern, and they are a real court. Of course, Mr. Chipeur brings out that this is not the first time that Alberta has stepped into do do trying to take on censorial powers over press freedoms going back to the 1930’s and the Alberta Press Statutes case. In that case Justice Cannon stated categorically:
“[The] Federal Parliament is the sole authority to curtail, if deemed expedient and in the public interest, the freedom of the press in discussing public affairs and the equal rights in that respect of all citizens throughout the Dominion.”
Clear? Crystal. Mr. Chipeur relies on the case for more of his ammunition though, and makes several quotes from it, all of which are interesting, and poignant. In light of what follows in his (not very) brief, this one is key, I think:
“Any attempt to abrogate this right of public debate or to suppress the traditional forms of the exercise of the right (in public meetings and through the press) would, in our opinion, be incompetent to the legislatures of the provinces, or to the legislatures of any one of the provinces, as repugnant to the provisions of the British North America Act, by which the Parliament of Canada is established as the legislative organ of the people of Canada under the Crown, and Dominion legislation enacted pursuant to the legislative authority given by those provisions.”
He then goes on to state that the Panel and its witness Professor Barry Cooper recognized the political nature of the Letter and Stephen Boissoin’s activities, and that the Complaint arises out of a debate over public policy in the public school system that Stephen Boissoin opposed and that the Respondent to the Appeal supported.
He then states that in his opinion, the Complaint was a strategy by Dr. Lund to suppress opposition to the public policy that he supported (a pretty good one to date I might add). What a way to use the HRCM Act and its processes, and make buffoons of the Panel, if their act of censorship is turned against them.
If it is allowed to stand because Stephen Boissoin does not have the courage to stand against this heinous activity, or cannot somehow get someone to believe in him, then a precedent is set, and off we go. This is why Stephen Boissoin is a hero in my eyes, folks.
“Dr. Lund’s Complaint is nothing more than a transparent attack on freedom of expression , perhaps the most essential element in a flourishing democracy. Without this freedom, a democracy will suffer a quick and certain death.”
He places the burden of why the government should limit Stephen Boissoin’s right to free speech on Dr. Lund, and closes with the following quote from John Stuart Mill’s philosophical work published in 1859:
“Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being “pushed to an extreme”; not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.”
With that quote, Mr. Chipeur moves on to the final piece of his puzzle, what we have all been waiting for “The Respondent (Dr. Lund) Should Pay Full-Indemnity Costs to Stephen Boissoin”. He starts by pointing out that the Complaint was ill conceived and prosecuted. All right, Lund was dumb enough to bring the Complaint, but the Panel was dumb enough to prosecute it. Where are they? Somehow they did not have to defend their part of this action.
In fact this part is so good that I need to reproduce it for you:”
The history of this Complaint demonstrates why human rights laws should not be available to private prosecutors with a cause. An order requiring the Respondent to pay the costs of the Appellant, Stephen Boissoin, on a full indemnity basis will send a clear message that the human rights process should not be available to private citizens with no personal interest in a case, other than a political cause.
The Respondent was given the full powers of the state (police powers) to require Stephen Boissoin to appear before a Panel to defend himself with expert witnesses and with legal counsel. Stephen Boissoin was required over a period of six years to:
a) retain legal counsel;
b) retain expert witnesses;
c) participate in numerous pre-hearing motions;
d) attend for a week at the hearing before the Panel.
Most importantly, Stephen Boissoin was made liable to both damages and costs under the HRCM Act.
The Respondent should not have pressed on with the Complaint after the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission refused to advance his Complaint (the Commission went so far as to secure an order excluding the Commission from the present appeal).”
Mr. Chipeur also notes that the Red Deer Advocate which published the Letter was not a party to the Complaint, making it a personal vendetta against Stephen Boissoin, and that Dr. Lund benefited personally from the final Decision of the Panel to the tune of $5,000, though as Stephen has said, he will never see it on this earth.
Last, zing, Dr. Lund used resources of the University of Alberta during his prosecution of this Complaint. Bad Dr. Lund.
Mr. Chipeur concludes by requesting an order to bring this to fruition, including setting aside the original Decision of the Panel.
Frankly, I hope they stick it up Dr. Lund’s lily white you know what. I am wondering how to get his response to this document, so I can bring it to you. If I figure that out I will do so. Otherwise we will just have to wait for the fur to fly.
By the way, Stephen still needs your support. Visit his blog and donate here, please.