Alright, here we go.
First off, an event to attend:
Race, Religion, Equality and Freedom:
Current Canadian Legal ControversiesCanadian Constitution Foundation
Third Annual Law Conference
October 2-4, 2009
Best Western Primrose Hotel, Downtown TorontoPreliminary Schedule (as of August 2009)
Friday October 2 6:00 p.m. Registration opens 6:30 p.m. Reception 7:00 p.m. John Carpay, CCF Executive Director, welcoming remarks 7:15 p.m. Panel I – Is there a human right to be free from offence?
Debating the restrictions on free speech in human rights legislation
Grant Huscroft, University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law
Richard Moon, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law
Philippe Dufresne, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ottawa
Mark Freiman, President, Canadian Jewish Congress
Second, Rebekah at the Miss Marprelate Tracts writes: Learning: Lessons for Social Conservatives from the Free Speech Movement in Canada:
It was a motley party from the beginning. A confusing mess of Jews and Neo-Nazis, die-hard social conservatives and liberals (not to mention libertarians), gay rights activists and priests and pastors who have dedicated their lives to opposing gay rights activists. The weapons of choice were blogs and publicity stunts, but mostly blogs. You know, those online diaries where people pontificate around like their opinions are the most important things in the world and usually have a readership of -well- not a lot. This collection of rag-tag fire-breathing radicals was attacking a decades old law and a nicely established government department. A government department moreover that monopolized most of the feel-good words. Human rights, anti-hate, reconciliation, arbitration, anti-discrimination, and had a whole host of feel-bad words to toss at their opponents, hate-mongerers, bigots, racists, Nazis, regressive, anti-human rights, right-wing extremists, unfeeling, marginal, obnoxious.
Third, Jesse Ferreras is the sporting chap that he is:
Us free speechies hoped a FOI request about Jennifer Lynch’s file would include voodoo dolls of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn with the eyes and hearts poked out. Unfortunately it’s just a list of press mentions about the CHRC, few of them favourable.
I made it with an editorial I wrote in Pique, so did Levant and Rob Breakenridge. Very few blogs. Guess Jennifer Lynch isn’t under the full-scale assault she thought she was.
Read it here.
Fourth, a bit of human rights law history from Northern Exposure: More Amendments to Human Rights Legislation in Canada:
Over the past couple of years, human rights legislation across Canada has undergone a period of transition. This comes as a response to growing dissatisfaction with outdated statutes and the lengthy processes in place to resolve complaints.
Amendments to the British Columbia Human Rights Code were proposed in 2002 and set the stage for other provinces to follow suit. Modifications to Ontario’s Human Rights Code followed in 2008, and those changes closely mirrored those put in place in British Columbia. Now it seems that Alberta is next in line.
As the province to most recently update its legislation, one might presume that the Alberta amendments would be the most progressive, incorporating the successes and avoiding the downfalls of prior amendments to human rights statutes across the rest of the country. Unfortunately, the amendments to Alberta’s human rights regime have resulted in mixed support and even outrage from some Albertans.
Like the recent changes in British Columbia and Ontario, Alberta’s amendments to its Human Rights and Multiculturalism Act create a streamlined procedure for filing complaints. The legislation also attempts to eliminate duplicating resources. In Ontario, for example, complaints can now be filed directly with the Human Rights Tribunal, eliminating the need to proceed through the Human Rights Commission. Similarly, in British Columbia, the Human Rights Commission was eliminated in favor of a single human rights forum – the Human Rights Tribunal. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal was also given the added statutory power to dismiss groundless complaints.