Much Ado About Something Really Important – Free Speech
So, as of September 2, 2009 we have the long awaited rambling, fatuous, yet oft times relevant ruling by Member Hadjis of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the Warman/Canadian Human Rights Commission v. Lemire case.
Free Speech supporters jumped for joy because of some false sense of vindication that Marc Lemire had been exonerated, but as I have posted previously here and here and here, that is not really the case. Mr. Lemire, was found to have contravened S.13 of the Canada Human Rights Act, and because of blah, blah, blah, Member Hadjis chose not to issue any remedial order against him. That’s not exoneration. That’s a guilty verdict, without the hanging at the end.
But the blah, blah, blah is what really matters. The guilty verdict allows J Ly to hang another pelt on her string of undefeated hate crime prosecutions, for whatever good that will do her and the Commission.
The CJC, and the CIC and all other unofficial racists of varying stripes are calling for this Decision to be appealed. But of course. We need clarity on this one. As Ezra calls them, the official Joos, and the Islamists need to know the rules so they can carry on to fight “their” good fight, more on that someday soon, whatever the h?ll that is.
But, clarity of the blah, blah, blah does matter to all those who value free speech here in Canada. The ability to be able to speak one’s mind without fear of reprisal is a fundamental freedom in this country, which is necessary for all, not just those who fit the boundaries of today’s political correctness, and are in a protected group.
But, this thing is now a political football, and there is money involved in politics, and back room bargaining. And there is looming a Federal election, because we have an alleged Prime Minister in waiting who should have stayed at Harvard, but wants to run the show. Last time a prof came on board to run the country, we got Trudeaupia. I’m not wanting that again, thank you very much. I was young and naive back then, and believed the rhetoric. Heck, I was even invited to contest a riding in Scarborough in the 70’s as a Liberal. But the Kool Aid had saccharin in it and I hate artificial sweeteners.
So, no matter how you cut it, this thing won’t die as it is. But, it will take years to work its way out to a final conclusion, probably. Parliament could strike down S.13, or amend it. Not soon though. See above.
It has to be appealed to get clarity in a higher court, where real judges make real decisions, or so we are told. That will take years.
But, the good news is that we don’t have to wait that long, because S.13 has an ugly fraternal twin sister in Alberta in the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act. Although it is not identical, the intent is the same, and there is a key phrase that is the guiding light, if that term can be believed, that links them. Here are the two particular sections of their respective pieces of legislation for you to see what I mean. First the Canadian one on which Member Hadjis had his say for Lemire:
13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Now the Alberta piece on which Lori Andreachuk opined and hung Reverend Stephen Boissoin out to dry a few years back:
3(1) No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that
(a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a class of persons, or
(b) is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt
because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.
There is a lot of similarity here, but why do I care? I care because on September 16-17 Gerry Chipeur the lawyer for Stephen Boissoin, and for all of us, who value free speech, gets to argue the spanking new Lemire Decision along with his brief, before a real judge in Alberta Court of Queens Bench, and get this ball rolling for us all.
I also note in doing a quick review of the provincial and territorial Human Rights Codes and Acts that British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the North West Territories have a similar provision in their legislation, while the others do not.
Although there is a lot of similarity to the two sections of the respective pieces of legislation, there is one particular distinction, and that is that Canada’s legislation uses the single word I have put in bold “repeatedly”, while the Alberta legislation uses the word “any”. This will be somewhat significant, but only adds fuel to the existing conflagration.
So, the next thing that I decided to do was make sure that I understood the common usage of the words of this legislation, since the common usage is the starting point for understanding the intent of the law.
Just to get a brief handle on hatred and contempt, I went to Wikipedia, for some answers, and found the following interesting though not exhaustive explanations.
Hatred (or hate) is a word that describes the intense feelings of dislike. It can be used in a wide variety of contexts, from hatred of inanimate objects or animals, to hatred of other people, entire groups of people, or people in general.
Here is a bit of the Psychological view of Hate from the same article:
In psychology, Dr. Sigmund Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. In a more contemporary definition, the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object.” Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a (temporary) emotional state.
So, if as it has been described, it is a deep and long lasting attitude and disposition, I wonder how an inanimate object like an article or several on the Internet or even a particular book or many can expose a person or group or persons to hatred, that does not already exist, and is not condoned by society, and allowed to fester for other reasons. But more on that another day.
Even more interesting is the neurological science of hatred. Here is the excerpt about that from the same article:
The neural correlates of hate have been investigated with an fMRI procedure. In this experiment, people had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of people they hated. The results showed increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in the premotor cortex, in the frontal pole, and bilaterally in the medial insula of the human brain. The researchers concluded that there is a distinct pattern of brain activity that occurs when people are experiencing hatred.
So, the experiencing of hatred has a physiological component to it as well.
Contempt is an intense feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior, base, or worthless—it is similar to scorn. Contempt is also defined as the state of being despised or dishonored; disgrace, and an open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or legislative body.
Here was an interesting comparative about contempt:
Robert C. Solomon (a now deceased psychology professor from Texas) places contempt on the same continuum as resentment and anger, and he argues that the differences between the three emotions are that resentment is directed toward a higher status individual; anger is directed toward an equal status individual; and contempt is directed toward a lower status individual. Contempt is often brought about by a combination of anger and disgust.
Likely means “probable: likely but not certain to be or become true or real.” This comes from Wordnet web a Princeton publication.
So, likely does not mean the same as certain, just probable. So, it’s not a fact jack, just a probability.
Expose means “to subject or allow to be subjected to an action, influence, or condition.”
Discriminatory means “containing or implying a slight or showing prejudice.”
So, S.13/S.3 purports to define as a practice which contains or implies a slight or shows prejudice, a repeated/any something that is probably (though not scientifically determined), ie. more likely to happen than not, but not certainly, going to subject or allow a person of a defined protected group to be subjected to an action, influence or condition of intense feeling of dislike, or of being despised or dishonored.
So, my question is how do they propose to know that for a fact, since what I have just stated is not factual in the first place? Oh, I forgot, they only need to know, or think they know, probably.
This whole section of legislation in whatever National, Provincial or Territorial version you prefer (I prefer none of them) has the ring of being specious to me. In other words, using the definition of the word specious, I would say that this section of legislation has “the ring of truth or plausibility but is actually fallacious”, when broken down, and examined.
In fact, as I look at the Boissoin case particularly, with the Alberta legislation, it gets more absurd by the minute.
For, example, if I go to my dentist’s office and get an x-ray on my teeth, I know that I have been exposed to x-rays by the evidence before my eyes – the picture of my teeth.
However, if I (or Stephen Boissoin in this case) wrote a letter to the Editor of the Red Deer Advocate about the Homosexual Agenda in education, and people at the Alberta HRC believed that it exposed (likely) homosexuals to hatred and contempt, how would they know? First off, they don’t care, as they didn’t care in Lemire either, and I’ll come back to that. But, they could attempt to look objectively at the Red Deer homosexual community and see if 5 years after the fact of the letter, which was about the time the Decision came down, they were more or less exposed to hatred than they had been before THE LETTER.
In the case of Lemire, where Member Hadjis found that Lemire had contravened the legislation by publishing the Aids article, which was likely to bring hatred and contempt to blacks and homosexuals, since they took about 6 years to come to trial and a Decision, they could have objectively looked to see if blacks and homosexuals were more hated and held in contempt than previously or not. Of course, they didn’t.
Instead in both cases, they first of all had a case brought before them by a disinterested party, in the sense that, the party bringing the Complaint, Lund against Boissoin, and Warman against Lemire was in no position to be aggrieved in the Complaint they were bringing, though they stood to be rewarded if it succeeded, and Warman has a history of so doing.
In Boissoin, EGALE, a gay rights group refused to be a party to Lund’s Complaint, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, although disagreeing with Stephen’s content, supported his right to freedom of speech in the matter. So, anybody who could have said, “I feel more hated today and more contemned than yesterday” did not come forward.”
In Lemire, the Official Joos lined up, but sadly they always do. They cried wolf once again, but offered no substantive proof of any harm, just sabre rattling, as usual. But, of course there is no responsibility to offer any proof of harm.
The Lemire case bogged down on all the shenanigans of the Canadian HRC entrapment methods. They made the Keystone Kops look smart, and Marc Lemire announced the other day that he has a book coming out soon, that should shed more light on this. It should be interesting reading.
In Boissoin, Lund trotted out a retired constable from Calgary, not Red Deer, and a psychologist both of whom were qualified as expert witnesses on gay and lesbians for their work in and around them. Since they were qualified by the Complainant, they of course testified to the harm done by the letter. Boissoin always considered this political commentary and so his expert witness was a political scientist who said THE LETTER was a political statement, which would have been excluded from S.3.
Both of these cases look like a bunch of blind guys getting together for a circle jerk to me. You can’t measure if someone is probably going to be exposed to hatred and contempt from an article or THE LETTER. You can only guess, and if you guess at probably, that lowers your odds, and gives you maybe, where the legislation says probably.
In both of these cases, and a number of other decisions that I have seen, and I am thinking of the Constable Michael Shaw case in Toronto recently in particular, the use of the word probably, or it as a concept is thrown around like it is a gospel word.
Yes is Yes, and No is No, but probably is not a strong enough word to destroy several years of some one’s life for. Stephen Boissoin had been in this mess for over 7 years, and Marc Lemire much the same. Tell me folks. Did they deserve this?
[ Walker says: He’s right, of course. Even if you get let off on hate speech charges, you’ve already lost because of your accusation. ]