Alright, here goes.
First off, Mr. Levant goes to Washington. From Ezra’s blog: Free speech conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 27-28:
I’m honoured to have been invited to speak at the “International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion” later this month in Washington, D.C. The conference, details of which can be seen here, is co-sponsored by an array of amazing pro-liberty groups.
(In a sane world, this is the kind of conference that a “human rights commission” bureaucrat would attend; instead, Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission jets around the world to meetings with Potemkin human rights fronts for Third World dictators, where they actually plot ways to infringe upon our liberties. How embarrassing for Canada.)
I’m looking forward to telling Canada’s story down there. It’s actually my second visit to Washington on this matter; the first time I testified before the bi-partisan Congressional human rights caucus. Though this is not an official government event, it will still be held at the Congressional Auditorium, which is quite prestigious.
All of the speakers look interesting, but some of them have me especially excited: Sen. Jim Demint is one of my favourites; Frank Gaffney is indispensable; one of my favourite bloggers, Atlas Shrugs (Pamela Geller) will be there; Brooke Goldstein of the Children’s Rights Institute (formerly of the Middle East Forum) and my fellow Canadian, the former CSIS counterterrorism agent, David Harris.
If by chance you’re in the D.C. area, please come by. There is no fee (but registration is required).
And if you’re in Montreal, I hope to see you later this week!
Read it here.
Second, Blazing Cat Fur and American Power note Barry Cooper’s latest article in the Troy Media Foundation: It’s Show Time! Free Speech and Canadian “human rights” commissions, which has also been picked up by S.E. Calgary News.
Third, the Canadian Jewish Congress speaks. From Scaramouche:
Despite these realities, which involve the abridgment of real rights, the Ceej is pushing for the following remedies, among others, to deal with the current crop of antisemites (my bolds):The Government of Canada must ensure its legal and administrative systems are doing all they can to engage in the fight against antisemitism. Existing legal protections should be maintained new regulatory initiatives should be investigated, and the provision of appropriate training should also be facilitated. The Inquiry should recommend:10) That the existing statutory “fence of protection,” both in the Criminal Code and in Human Rights legislation, should be reaffirmed and, where appropriate, strengthened.11) That regulatory measures, especially in the field of telecommunications, that are consistent with Charter standards for the protection of free expression should be considered. This should include ratification of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime and the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime.12) That appropriate training be provided for members of Federal Boards and Tribunals that deal with hate speech and antisemitism to ensure appropriate application of the law…In other words, censorship, censorship and more censorship–as if that’s going to protect Jews or anyone else in this era when the sharia types are pushing for exactly the same kind of measures to spare Muslim “feelings”.
Are some rights more important than others? Should gender equality prevail over, say, freedom of speech or religion? Experts on rights would consider the question irrelevant. Rights are rights are rights, jurists say, and there’s no sense in establishing a hierarchy. But unfortunately, this question has jumped to the top of Quebec’s political agenda.
If some prominent commentators, various lobby groups and, last but not least, the Parti Québécois, had their way, charters of rights and freedoms would be amended so that gender equality would prevail over all other rights. Quebec would become the only jurisdiction in the democratic world to consider that liberty of thought (something that’s close to religious freedom) is a secondary value when it conflicts with women’s rights.
The spark that led to the astonishing debate now under way in Quebec is, once again, an innocuous privilege granted to some members of Montreal’s Hassidic community. When applying for a driving permit, they requested an instructor of their own gender for the practical test. They were allowed one when one was easily available, or told to come back later. Over six months, this happened six (six!) times. This became a tempest in a teapot, then the matter of a “national” debate when a newspaper revealed that the “reasonable accommodations” quietly practised on a case-by-case basis by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec had been sanctioned by the province’s Human Rights Commission.
Fifth, via Legaljob.ca: Interview with Pearl Eliadis, a lawyer specializing in international law:
How did you come to specialize in this area of law?
The path to be taken to work in the branch of one’s choosing is not always clear! I started out working for a large corporate firm, because you get good training in all legal fields. As president of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation (now called Equitas), I was then hired by the Ontario Human Rights Commission for its senior management committee. That’s when I became truly involved in the international aspects of law; Ontario became the first province (excepting Quebec) where international principles were incorporated into the policy and the law. The United Nations then became interested in the Commission’s work, and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) offered me a project aimed at creating an institution for human rights in Rwanda, after the genocide.
What type of cases do you handle?
The cases I handle almost always have international implications. I recently worked on a case involving the situation in Sri Lanka, which experienced a new bout of civil war in 2008. An intergovernmental organization gave me the assignment of getting a fix on what was going on in the country, which involved drafting a legal assessment of the impact of the conflict, especially on civil and political rights. My role was to determine whether or not the government was observing the international agreements the country had signed. To do this, I interviewed all of the players involved including the police, judges, government members, NGOs and defence lawyers.
What are your upcoming projects?
I have a couple of new projects in my sights. One of them is on China and the labour rights of migrant workers—not foreign workers, but Chinese coming from rural areas to work in towns. The other project involves the creation, in Canada, of a human rights newsletter and of classifying practices in the 14 jurisdictions of Canada.
Flexible? Tolerant? Funny, those aren’t the two adjectives that leap to mind when one thinks of Pearly Victorious, the scourge of Canadian free speech.
The Speak Up part is a challenge with a blog. Because, nobody is really listening in the normal sense of that word. It’s your/my blog and I can say what I want. However, it is my desire to speak words that bring truth, and not hurt, unless a little pain is good for the soul. I am not the judge of that, so hope that my words bring truth. I try to check my ego at the door when I sit down, but do not succeed always, though I hope I am more successful than failing.
I have been hard on Jim Corcoran because he is doing something that is very hurtful to the Church. He didn’t start it in one sense, but he is in charge of the pain machine now. Yet, I believe that he is a good man, with a good heart, who desires to do the right thing.
I am hard on the HRCs/HRTs not because the people in them are bad, even though I poke fun at them from time to time. They are people trying to do their best, but what they are doing is not helping, but hurting the people of Canada, and runs counter to the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people in Canada, in the name of political correctness, which is not a name worth doing something in.
Eventually, we shall all have freedom because of the truth, not my truth, or your truth, but because in the fullness of time, TRUTH will be revealed to us all as individuals, and we will have no practical choice but to follow it.
Read it here.