Jesse makes a good point here. I guess my only concern would be that an organization like the CHRC/T might be willing to try and overlook the provisions of 319(3) in favor of their own censorship provisions. After all, didn’t Richard Moon’s report for the CHRC actually recommend that the 319(3) provisions be removed ( page 32/33 ) from criminal hate speech prosecution considerations? ]
As a free speechie I should feel sorry for Focus on the Family, the evangelical organization that works to strengthen traditional marriages and families by opposing concepts such as abortion, extra-marital sex and homosexuality whilst supporting ideas such as school-sponsored prayer and corporal punishment.
Michael Baggott at LifeSiteNews.com reports that the organization has been editing its radio broadcasts to conform with Canadian hate laws. I should feel bad for them that they feel they need to do this. But I don’t.
Now I don’t agree with a lot of what Focus on the Family says, but like Voltaire always said, I defend vigorously their right to say it. And those who feel that Bill C-250, which makes “sexual orientation” an identifiable group protected from incitement to hate and genocide under Section 318 of the Criminal Code, limits free speech ought to look more closely at the protections you have.
Under Section 319(3) you’re protected on four separate grounds: if the statement you’re making is true; if the opinion was expressed based on a religious text; if the statement was relevant to a public interest; or if one intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters that produce hatred against an identifiable group in Canada.
Now Focus on the Family isn’t clarifying what it won’t say on radio, they merely indicate in LifeSiteNews that it’s the kind of thing that would be protected in the United States and prosecuted in Canada. That’s vague and dishonest, and it misleads good people who worry that the group is being chilled into silence.
If they have truth, religious conviction or the public interest on their side, then they’re safe under Canadian law. Since I’ve never heard of Focus on the Family saying anything that incites hate or genocide under this country’s laws, I have to assume that they’d be safe. Therefore I have to conclude that they’re just running scared when they don’t have to.
And if it’s human rights commissions they’re worried about, they shouldn’t. They have a legion of free speech defenders on their side. Grow up, speak up and stick a middle finger up to the censors.