Alright, here we go.
First off, some more coverage of Lynch, Moon, Farber, and Freiman’s testimony before the HoC Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights from the Soconvivium blog, Blazing Cat Fur ( with more here ), Free Dominion, Jay Currie, and Freedom Through Truth ( with more here ), with a good old-fashioned coverage round-up at Free Canuckistan. Meanwhile, Mark Steyn writes: The censor speaks:
I spent much of Monday on a plane to Phoenix, to see my friends at the Goldwater Institute, a great beacon of liberty and thus the antithesis of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission. So I’m only belatedly catching up to the all-star censorfest at the House of Commons Select Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It was live blogged by Miss Marprelate, Jay Currie, and the ol’ hatemonger himself Ezra Levant – and Deborah Gyapong has pictures.
A couple of quick observations from the wee small hours in the western desert:
First, this letter to the Justice Committee from Ezra Levant is a little disturbing. I met the clerk of the committee on my trip to Ottawa and found her very charming, but she explained to me that nothing could be distributed to members unless it was in both English and French. Fair enough. Them’s the rules and that’s that. So I went back to New Hampshire to translate certain unilingual exhibits such as Julian Porter, QC’s objection to the Canadian “Human Rights” Tribunal’s decision to hold the Lemire trial in secret. Ezra, on the other hand, submitted his evidence to be translated by the government and it does seem somewhat unsatisfactory that they were unable to do it in time for Commissar Lynch’s appearance.
Second, if Richard Warman was present at today’s events, why was he not called as a witness? Mr Warman is Section 13’s serial plaintiff and both Ezra and I charged him with a grotesque abuse of the process and cited him as a leading example of how “corrupted and diseased” Section 13 has become. If he has time to show up in the audience, why doesn’t he have time to testify?
Third, M Menard and Mr Comartin, who were impressive questioners last time round, were sharper still on this occasion. Serge Menard is a Bloc MP and Joe Comartin an NDP member. Realistically, even assuming every Tory votes to do something about Section 13, nothing can happen without at least one other member of the committee, and it would seem the Bloquistes and the token Dipper are more engaged by the subject than the Liberals.
Fourth, Commissar Lynch was a bland obfuscatory dud who all but openly insulted the members’ intelligence, retreating to the same generalized bromides. Her assertion that the dismissal of the case against Maclean’s demonstrated that the process worked was laughable. Everyone knows Maclean’s and I got off only because we went nuclear and made the price of conviction too high for the Commission to risk. But beyond that, even overlooking that curiously random grin of hers, there’s something very creepy in hearing a government’s chief censor emphasizing her commitment to a “harmonious society”. It’s not only a dubious legal concept in terms of Canada’s 800-year inheritance since Magna Carta, but it has the explicit whiff of totalitarian fakery. I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmonee, but I wouldn’t hire Commissar Lynch, Dean Steacy or Richard Warman as the vocal coaches.
…just to reassure myself as I can reassure you that Canadians can have pride in all of the employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the way we carry out our complex mandate.
Ms Lynch, let me stop you there. That’s not an answer to my question.
This exchange (click the YouTube clip) with Joe Comartin, the NDP MP, at yesterday’s Committee hearing summed up Commissar Lynch’s strategy. Asked specific questions by Mr Comartin, she retreated to ever more expansive generalities. When he queried whether she was embarking on civil action against Ezra Levant and me, she replied that “we are leaders and catalysts in advancing equality in Canada and in fact internationally.” I gues that explains all the lunches in Geneva and Dublin but it seems an odd response to a very specific line of questioning. By this stage, Commissar Lynch seemed to be repeating a handful of stale bromides in entirely random order. I think Ezra is right, and that her preferred mode of condescension and transparent evasion (occasionally enlivened by entirely false assertions on such specifics as the RCMP) was not a wise move.
[UPPERDATE: Marc Lemire has asked to be invited to testify.]
[UPDATE: “Canada’s Schoolmarm.” The “TM” after the “QC” is a nice touch: I was interested to discover via a FOI request that the Chief Commissar signs herself “Jennifer Lynch, QC”. I know many QCs, including my brother-in-law, but they don’t use the post-nominal in their signature.]
Read it here.
Second, a bit of a grab bag. A little more coverage of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant’s testimony before the HoC Committee on Justice and Human Rights from the Soconvivium blog. Meanwhile, from Free Dominion: Government of Canada moves to monitor Internet users; and Questionable conduct of CHRC.
Third, Stephen Boissoin’s case has repercussions in the United States. From KansasLiberty.com:
Smith, who also serves as a Bible study teacher, said she questioned whether teaching a part of the Bible that directly addresses homosexuality could be punishable under the new law.
“It’s going to push Christians into a situation in which they really have to be able to stand on the truth, no matter what the consequences,” Smith said.
Smith’s concerns were a reality for Stephen Boissoin, a youth pastor in Canada, who was fined $7,000 by the Alberta Human Rights Commission after being critical of homosexuality in a letter he wrote to a newspaper in 2002.
So where has Turley been all these years while his leftist brethren have been applying an iron muzzle? Perhaps the same place he is right now. After all, while he does mention hate speech in the second line of his piece, he then draws a curious conclusion, writing, “Whether defined as hate speech, discrimination or simple blasphemy, governments are declaring unlimited free speech as the enemy of freedom of religion.” This, despite the fact that he presents the following on a list of examples of speech infringement: “In Canada, the Alberta human rights commission punished the Rev. Stephen Boission and the Concerned Christian Coalition for anti-gay speech.”
Read it here.
Fourth, Chuck Colson writes for The Christian Post: ‘Rights Talk’ Run Amok:
In July 2008, Ian Martin needed a place to stay. That should have worked well for Douglas McCue, the owner of the CornerStone Bed and Breakfast.
Martin is blind and uses a seeing-eye dog. That wouldn’t be a problem, except that B&B owner McCue “suffers from acute sinusitis aggravated by exposure to canines.” Thus, no matter how much he wanted to rent Martin a room, his health wouldn’t permit it. That should have ended the matter.
Except that, as Canadian columnist Mark Steyn notes, this was Ontario, home to the Human Rights Commission. Martin filed a complaint and demanded compensation that “started at two grand and quickly escalated into five figures.” Eventually, McCue paid a $700 fine, issued a perfunctory apology-and then closed his bed and breakfast.
What happened to McCue was outrageous, but it could have been worse. He could have been sued for refusing to allow a horse to stay in one of his rooms.
Fifth, from Xtra.ca: Saskatchewan same-sex marriage case heats up:
The issue of religious marriage commissioners refusing to marry same-sex couples has been a hot issue in the province since gay marriage was legalized in 2004. At the time, the NDP government issued a directive requiring all commissioners to marry same-sex couples.
In 2008 a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruled that Orville Nichols, a Regina marriage commissioner, violated the rights of two Regina men when he refused to marry them. Nichols was fined $2,500, and he has appealed the tribunal ruling although no decision has been made to date. Two other marriage commissioners have also sued the province claiming that being forced to marry same-sex couples violated their religious rights.
Read it here.
Sixth, from No Apologies: Veiled Justice – Ontario Human Rights Commission Intervenes in Headcovering Appeal:
The Ontario Human Rights Commission intervened, Monday, in a Superior Court hearing ruling on whether a Muslim woman ordered to testify at a sexual assault trial should be allowed to wear a veil. The appeal, brought forward by the woman ordered to testify in the original trial, is set to push the limits of religious accommodation in Ontario’s court system, infringing on common law standards of judicial process and the right to fair trials. What is interesting about the case is how the Ontario Human Rights Commission and it’s provincial counterparts across the country, foes of religious freedom and expression in complaints targeting evangelical and Catholic groups, now comes out in support of the faith community when it suits the greater ambitions of political correctness.
Read it here.