Alright, here go.
First off, coverage of and commentary on Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant’s testimony yesterday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, looking into Section 13(1), from Chris Selley, Five Feet Of Fury ( with more here ), Dr. Roy’s Thoughts ( with pictures; pre-testimony post here ), Pelalusa, Sobering Thoughts, Scaramouche, Canadian Human Rights Commission Exposed, The International Free Press Society, Blazing Cat Fur, CBC News, Deborah Gyapong, Jesse Ferreras, the Nanaimo Daily News, the National Post, Vlad Tepes, The Black Kettle, Feeds4All, Scary Fundamentalist, Macleans, Wintery Knight, The Freedomsite Blog, NewMajority.com, The Canadian Sentinel, and Small Dead Animals. Audio of Mark Steyn’s appearance on the Rob Breakenridge show post-testimony can be found here.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Hynek ( have I posted this before? Either way, sorry this is late ) talks a little bit about Blazing Cat Fur‘s letter-writing campaign, while the CHRC’s investigation into Richard Warman recieves commentary from Stand Your Ground, and the CHRC’s decision to appeal the Hadjis decision in Warman v. Lemire recieves coverage from The Miss Marprelate Tracts.
Second, an interesting case involving immigrant workers ( the legal kind ). From ParentCentral.ca: Immigrant teachers being kept from the classroom:
Like many struggling immigrants, Kravtsov believes he’s been discriminated against by a professional body – in this case, the Ontario College of Teachers.
Unlike most, he did something about it: Kravtsov and two other teachers from Russia and Ukraine complained to the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2004. The commission agreed they had a case and sent it on to the tribunal stage – recommending they be granted their certificates and compensated for three years’ lost wages.
That might have been a victory, but they were dealt a new blow last month when tribunal vice-chair Alan Whyte ruled they couldn’t proceed because of the teachers’ concurrent civil lawsuit against the college. The commission has decided not to pursue the case further, leaving the teachers awaiting a hearing in Ontario Superior Court more than a year from now.
Kravtsov, in an email, said the teachers are “very disappointed” with the tribunal’s decision. “We feel we’ve been robbed of an opportunity to examine the College’s licensing practice. We are doing this not just for ourselves but for all foreign-trained teachers who are faced with these hurdles.”
Read the rest here. Someone being disappointed by an HRTO decision. Imagine that.
Fourth, Ghost Of A Flea gives a run-down on the recent Canadian Constitution Foundation shin-dig, at which the whole ‘HRC’ thing came up for discussion:
Being a brief, slightly exaggerated and ill timed (my watch is fast) account of my evening with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, a voice for freedom in Canadian courtrooms and Canadian law schools. Special thanks to the Flea’s Osgoode connect; a member of Clan Lasombra in good standing.
6ish (Remember: Watch fast.): Unanticipated trepidation as belatedly realize this is not a blog meet up but a conference for constitutional law enthusiasts. Canadian constitutional law. I may find this sort of thing fascinating but do I want to be seen entering the hotel?
6.14: Unravel name tag while vaguely wondering how my registration fee is to be refunded.
7.10: Andrew Coyne arrives. Party starts.
7.12: Say hey to Andrew Coyne. Coyne introduces me to Philippe, says kind words re The Flea by way of introduction. I remain clueless thereby undermining Coyne’s best efforts to make me look good.
Questions from the floor:
The first questioner has the poor taste to cite the words of an imam who called for the death of gay men (beheading, I believe), suggests apparent bias on the part of an HRC in refusing to contemplate whether these words are hate-speechy (let alone whether they meet Canada’s hand-wavy test of immanence re head-chopping violence), and argues the futility of Canada’s hate speech laws given the precedent of hate speech laws in Weimar Germany.
Here’s your money quote response from Philippe Dufresne: “Whether the (hate speech) laws were effective enough in Germany, I can’t speculate.”
Yes, that’s a direct quote. The outcome being so ambiguous there is so much room left for speculation. But then, my views are less nuanced.
Fifth, a new book to check out. From No Apologies: “No Sacred Ground” e-BOOK now on sale:
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision against Christian Horizons a couple of years ago was a devastating blow against Christian liberty in Canada. The case is still alive because Christian Horizons appealed most of the decision into the provincial court system and they are waiting for their day in court.
Similar to the Stephen Boissoin case in Alberta, Christian Horizons was banned from expressing its Christian nature in public. They were banned from requiring employees to sign a Morality and Lifestyle statement. They were told they had to indoctrinate employees in “human rights” propaganda, regardless of whether or not any of the content violated their own convictions.
And all this because a lesbian ex-employee had so little regard for the contract she voluntarily signed and because her narrow ideology was more important than freedom of religion and Canada’s democratic principles. This ex-employee was the one who filed the “human rights” complaint against Christian Horizons.
I wrote a book to explain the seriousness of this case. The book is now available on the ECP Centre’s website as well as my own. And now I have just made available, only through the ECP Centre, an e-version of the book that we can send you via email for only $5+GST, less than half the price of the paperback. To order this ebook, please visit the ECP Centre’s product page and scroll down to the “No Sacred Ground” ebook for $5 and place your order. We will send the book to you by email.
Sixth, the Ontario Human Rights Commission continues in its quest to put a home in every home. From CNW Group: New Policy shows how to Provide Human Rights in Rental Housing:
TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ – New guidelines will help improve equal access to rental housing for all Ontarians. The Policy on Human Rights and Rental Housing, Canada’s first comprehensive look at how barriers to housing can be indentified and eliminated, was released today by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). The policy follows extensive research and consultation with tenants, housing providers, decision-makers and other partners. Its aim is to provide tools, practical scenarios and information that can be applied to everyday situations, so that human rights problems can be eliminated quickly or prevented from happening in the first place.
“The evidence is very clear,” said OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall. “Discrimination occurs in many forms in rental housing across Ontario. Vulnerable and marginalized people have a much tougher time getting the housing they need because they face a number of barriers. This new policy is just part of a wider effort to break down those barriers to fair rental housing.”
Seventh, the newest form of discrimination? From the Globe and Mail: The new harassment? Same-sex abuse:
From 1990 to 2008, the percentage of sexual-harassment charges filed by men with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or state and local agencies doubled to 16 per cent from 8 per cent. In Canada, men have filed 34 workplace sexual-harassment complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission since 2005.
Of course, it is impossible to know how many of these cases involve men complaining about other men or, for that matter, how many of the complaints filed each year by women concern a female harasser. Those details are not recorded by agencies that field complaints.
Read the whole thing here.
Eighth, Jason Kuznicky writes for the Cato Institute: Free Speech, Hate Speech, and Canada’s Section 13:
NewMajority.com has a great series of videos showing the testimony of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant against Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
That section empowers the Canadian Human Rights Commission to punish telecommunications that are “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” owing to their protected minority status. It is, in short, a hate speech law.
Penalties are harsh, and can include large fines as well as a lifetime publication ban. For a supposedly liberal country like Canada, Section 13 is an extraordinarily illiberal law.
Section 13 has also lined the pockets of one Richard Warman, a former employee of the Commission who has been responsible for the overwhelming majority of prosecutions in the last decade. Steyn and Levant show in their testimony how Section 13 has prompted computer hacking, the planting of false hate speech, and other underhanded techniques from Warman and the rest of its enforcers. Levant suggests that Warman, a privileged white male lawyer, has been the single greatest beneficiary of the law.
Business regulation boards commonly get taken over by the friends of big business. This is a huge problem in the study of law and economics, one with its very own name — regulatory capture.
Censorship agencies are a bit different. They don’t usually get taken over by the friends of publishers, who might be lenient. Instead, they attract the most aggressive would-be censors, the ones who would most enjoy the powers that a censorship board can offer. Once these arrive, few others will have the stomach to continue serving. Agencies like the Canadian Human Rights Commission suffer from regulatory capture, not by the businesses they regulate, but by the most censorious people around. That’s one reason why it’s a huge problem to have a censorship board in the first place.
Finally, the Vatican messes up free speech; breaking a few chicks; there’s Ezra again! ( scroll down ); Jenny’s future testimony; how the CHRC works; and the quest to find racism or something continues.