Alright, here we go.
First off, Binks of Free Canuckistan does that magic that he does: Steynian 392. Do go and check it out for all sorts of wonder links and video and textual content, on freedom of speech and many, many other topics.
Second, Richard Moon speaks! Via Full Comment: The Attack on Human Rights Commissions:
The Attack on Human Rights Commissions
(Saskatchewan Law Review Annual Lecture)
1. In June of 2008 I was asked by the Canadian Human Rights Commission [CHRC] to write a report about the regulation of hate speech on the Internet, focusing specifically on section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Section 13 is the hate speech provision in the Act. It prohibits the repeated communication on the phone system or the internet of 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” – such as race, gender and religion.
2. In the report, which was released last Fall, I recommended the repeal of s.13 of the CHRA so that the CHRC and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal would no longer deal with hate speech, and in particular hate speech on the Internet. I argued that hate speech should continue to be prohibited under the Criminal Code.
I took the position that state censorship of hate speech should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression – that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence advocated is not imminent.
In my view, the failure to ban the extreme or radical edge of prejudiced speech carries too many risks, particularly when it circulates within the racist subculture that subsists on the internet.
At the same time, less extreme forms of discriminatory expression, although harmful, cannot simply be censored out of public discourse. Any attempt to exclude from public discourse, speech that stereotypes or defames the members of an identifiable group would require extraordinary intervention by the state and would dramatically compromise the public commitment to freedom of expression.
Finally, I argued that a narrowly drawn ban on hate speech that focuses on expression that is tied to violence does not fit easily or simply into a human rights law that takes an expansive view of discrimination, emphasizes the effect of the action on the victim rather than the intention or misconduct of the actor and employs a process that is designed to engage the parties and facilitate a non-adjudicative resolution of the “dispute” between them.
Read the rest of it here. Meanwhile, via Kelowna.com: No clear win for fighters of hate speech law: professor:
Canwest News Service
Critics of Canada’s hate speech laws can hope for nothing more than “a marginal win in a polarized debate,” because of their ruthlessly successful “propaganda campaign,” according to law professor Richard Moon.
“This is the most spin can accomplish,” he writes in comments submitted to a House of Commons committee looking into the hate speech provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, in advance of his testimony on Monday.
“Their claims are repeated, often uncontradicted, in radio and television interviews. They are parroted by politicians and in newspaper editorials and columns. And, although this is more difficult to gauge, they appear to be taken up by Canadians, who watch or read the mainstream media,” he writes. “Why does it seem so difficult to have a serious and honest debate about hate speech regulation?”
His answer is that, faced with such a noisy campaign, news reporters repeat spin out of a desire to seem fair, columnists weigh in with no other goal than to provoke, and television producers tend “to avoid complex analysis and to sensationalize issues.”
Read the rest here.
Third, a bit of a grab bag. A little bit more coverage of Reporters Without Borders’ rather low ranking of Canada’s press freedom from Big Blue Wave, and Post-Darwinist. Meanwhile, Barry Cooper’s latest article on the HRCs is picked up by the Montreal Gazette: It’s time to close our kangaroo courts. H/t to Free Dominion, which also notes the Guelph Mercury‘s pick-up of Barry’s article here.
Fourth, Denyse O’Leary writes at Post-Darwinist: Intellectual freedom in Canada news roundup:
Any time I begin a posting cycle these days, I tend to begin with “Intellectual freedom in Canada”. Why? Because if you cannot say what is wrong with an idea, you cannot plausibly say what might be right about it either.
Everybody becomes a public relations agent for the government or for … who?
Anyway, here’s a recent news round-up:
– Here’s the transcript of Ezra Levant’s and Mark Steyn’s testimony at the Canadian Parliament’s Justice Committee.
See, the “human rights” racket worked as long as the racketeers had enough sense to attack only people whose votes the government doesn’t care about.
Read the rest here.
Fifth, Mark Steyn writes in Macleans:
Indeed. Any self-respecting author would be proud to have “As Non-Recommended By The Canadian Human Rights Commission” emblazoned across his cover. What’s sadder is that Mr. Forsmark is correct: my review of Prayers for the Assassin was Exhibit No. 3 in the Canadian Islamic Congress’s indictment of Maclean’s systemic “Islamophobia.” The plaintiffs painstakingly listed every plot twist (“1) America will be an Islamic Republic by 2040 . . . 2) There will be a break for prayers during the Super Bowl,” etc.) without betraying any understanding that Robert Ferrigno’s book is a work of fiction.
Invited to prosecute a complaint resting on the proposition that discussing the plot points of a novel constitutes a “hate crime,” any justice system worth the name would have laughed it out of court. So, needless to say, the Canadian, British Columbia and Ontario “human rights” regimes took it seriously. Which is one of the more obvious reasons why any freeborn citizen should reject their jurisdiction: these self-aggrandizing statist hacks are simply too bone-crushingly stupid to have any say over your lives.
There are enough Muslim fans of Mr. Ferrigno for his novels to have been translated into Turkish and Arabic. But here’s how nutty Canadian “human rights” are: a publisher in Egypt is free to publish the “Islamophobic” Ferrigno. But a publisher in Canada will be dragged into court in Vancouver merely for running a favourable review.
Read it here.
Sixth, Stephen Boisson’s case finds its way into debates on American law. Via Echurchwebsites.org.uk:
Sen. Jim DeMint, R.-S.C., an opponent of the hate crimes proposal, argued during floor debate that passage of the bill would lead to the policing of thoughts and words. He pointed to a case in Canada in which a youth pastor, Stephen Boissoin, was fined $7,000 by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for writing a letter to the local newspaper critical of homosexuality. The ruling is being appealed. Boissoin wrote, in part, “From kindergarten class on, our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators. Your children are being warped into believing that same-sex families are acceptable; that kissing men is appropriate.”
Seventh, Derek Fildebrandt writes for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation: Taxpayers Federation on the “Human Rights” Commission’s Lynch List?
After finally receiving some – but possibly not all – documents from a filed Access to Information & Privacy (ATIP) request by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission (CHRC) reacted strangely upon inquiring about where various receipts for Chief Commissar Jennifer Lynch are. Contacting the CHRC’s ATIP Coordinator , the folks at Canada’s enlightened censorship bureaucracy reacted with hostility upon learning who was calling (the CTF), refusing to discuss the documents outside of a formal complaint process on paper. As some readers will know, a complaint was already filed against the CHRC for failing to respond on time and its excuse that providing information would “unreasonably interfere” with its business (namely, censoring the opinions of free Canadians).
Normally, government outfits have up to 30 days to respond to an ATIP request. The CHRC took 51 days. With every other department which was contacted by the research wing of the CTF, the respective ATIP Coordinator has been willing to discuss the documents to ensure that all is included and clear.
Not so with Jennifer Lynch and her lackeys. Normally however; the CHRC only tries to block information from coming from Canadians. Now it appears that it is trying to block information from its organization to taxpayers.
The Thought Police can block, bob, weave and duck as long as they like, but we’re not going to give up any time soon.
Eighth, Emily Belz writes for WORLD mag:
High-profile hate speech cases internationally, where laws are in place to prosecute speech specifically, have often concluded in the defendant’s favor, as in Scot’s case, but the process has been long and expensive.
In Canada, any public speech that “incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace” or “willfully promotes hatred” is liable for prosecution. One of the country’s top news magazines, Maclean’s, faced charges in 2007 for an article published about the expansion of radical Islam. After months of haggling, several federal and provincial human-rights commissions dismissed the charges. The Canadian parliament is reviewing its menagerie of commissions that hand down hate speech convictions.
Ninth, the boys at Anti-Racist Canada don’t like Paul Fromm: Add Another to the List of, “Why Not to Have Paul Fromm Represent You” Decisions:
When the the Lemire decision came down in which Section 13 of the Human Rights Act was ruled to be unconstitutional by Athanasios Hadjis (a decision now being appealed) the boneheads got very excited. They also figured that this decision would reverse previous decisions made by the CHRT. In fact, Paul Fromm made demands that the penalties resulting from the Jessica Beaumont decision be reversed and that all monies paid be returned to Beaumont with interest.
Read the rest here.
Finally, person of the year; don’t tell them; Church teachings ( scroll down ); good ol’ Cheryfa MacAuley Jamal; irony ( scroll down ); nominations are open ( scroll down ); fun on campus; and justifying censorship.