Alright, here we go.
First off, a little more post-mortem coverage of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant’s dual testimonies before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, from Gapingwhole and My Hate Speech’s – Torn Messages.
Meanwhile, from the Troy Media Corporation: It’s Show Time! Free Speech and Canadian “human rights” commissions:
By Barry Cooper
Professor of Political Science
University of Calgary
For those who have never taken the time to read dry legal documents, consider that Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act declares that hate speech is constituted by words that are likely to expose somebody to hatred or contempt – and what that has meant for Canadians.
In early October, Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant gave testimony before the House of Commons justice committee, currently considering whether section 13 should be repealed. Their remarks, available on You Tube, provide a short but thorough examination of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) and its works.
They argue that the censorship implications of section 13 are an abomination in a constitutional democracy, that section 13 is the reason for so many complaints, and is why the entire administrative structure of this taxpayer-supported, government-backed human rights industry is broken past the point where it can be fixed. Any country, at least where freedom of expression and speech is truly valued, would have dissolved this outfit years ago.
Both Steyn and Levant have encountered Canada’s human rights bureaucrats first hand and written about their hair-raising experiences. The larger story, of an out-of-control bureaucracy that transformed itself from an organization charged with conciliation of differences among citizens into a politically motivated attack organ, should also trouble Canadians.
Because most of us are in favour of human rights, Canadians have accorded the benefit of the doubt to anything calling itself a human rights commission. That favourable impression has depended on maintaining a veil of ignorance over how these bodies actually operate. After Steyn and Levant (among others) made their operations public, it is clear to all but the willfully blind that their reputation is entirely undeserved.
Read the rest here.
Second, a little hope for HRC reform from Alberta’s Wildrose Alliance Party. Shelshock Canada writes about their leadership convention, in which Danielle Smith was voted the leader of the WAP; of course, the HRCs came up in that decidedly libertarian conversation. Read all about it, here. H/t to Blazing Cat Fur.
Third, a little more coverage of Jan Buterman’s complaint before the AHRC against the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board, from Wintery Knight.
Fourth, Denyse O’Leary from Post-Darwinist writes: Intellectual freedom in Canada: News roundup:
Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council of Canada notes:
In Toronto, British intellectual Timothy Garton Ash delivered a lecture on the need for more free speech in diverse societies. Julie Payne reports for The Canadian Journalism Project.
Here, I am reminded of Mark Steyn’s remarks at the Ontario Legislature, when he pointed out (among other things) that in societies where people are not allowed to criticize religion or the government or social habits, they often respond by just blowing stuff up. One reason Canada was a low threat society for so long was precisely because it was okay to say you didn’t believe in God or thought the Prime Minister a fool or thought some people should solve their “victimization” problems by staying in school, getting a job, and waiting till they have a stable partner to have children. If few care what the opinionator thinks, few will pay attention. But he has no motive for violence.
Read the rest here.
Fifth, from Commentarama: If You Can’t Kill Free Speech One Way–Try Another:
Our Founding Fathers declared freedom of speech to be a fundamental human right. Obama and his Middle Eastern friends have declared the suppression of free speech to be a fundamental human right. Anyone here wonder why I’ve suggested on numerous occasions that Obama has never read the U. S. Constitution? The Arab and Islamic tyrants are thrilled, and the Euroweenies are in complete denial about the depth of this attack on the ability of free people to express their opinions, however unpopular.
Here’s what Obama’s ranking U.N. diplomat, Douglas Griffiths has said: “This initiative is a manifestation of the Obama administration’s commitment to multilateral engagement throughout the United Nations and of our genuine desire to seek and build cooperation based upon mutual interest and mutual respect in pursuit of our shared common principles of tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” Say what? The HRC and the Organization of Islamic Conferences read it somewhat differently. “Respect” means one thing–the silencing of any speech critical in any way of Islam.
Unlike any previous action regarding speech in which the United States has participated, Obama did not set any of the routine boundaries which exempted America and its Constitution from the rules of the Commission. Obama echoes the words of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in that he doesn’t consider free speech to be very important, and since it’s a very American value, he doesn’t much care for it. In fact, I expect a “free speech apology tour” to be scheduled any time now.