Alright, here goes.
First off, Alan Shanoff writes, via The Winnipeg Sun: Freedom of expression makes gains in 2009:
Year-End Review 2009: Part 2
Here’s the second half of my year-end review of the top legal stories/developments for 2009.
1. Chalk 2009 up as another good year for freedom of expression in Canada.
Last Tuesday the Supreme Court of Canada gave the media a new defence with which to defend defamation lawsuits. It’s called the “responsible communication” defence and allows the media to defend itself even if some of the facts reported can’t be proven to be truthful. It won’t allow the media to run roughshod over reputations but it should encourage more investigative reporting.
2. A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal did the unthinkable. It declared that Section 13, the hate speech section, of the Canadian Human Rights Code, violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Let’s hold our applause for the decision as it’s been appealed to the Federal Court of Canada and we still have a patchwork of 11 human rights codes in Canada leading to the strange situation where the same complaint may be filed in multiple jurisdictions. Section 13 is currently under review by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
You can catch Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant, both previous subjects of unsuccessful hate speech complaints, making their submissions to this Committee earlier this year on YouTube.
Second, Dumb Old Housewives brings you the latest complaint, soon to be brought against Mark Steyn before the Ontario Tribunal for Human Rights ( or whatever it’s called these days ): Trying to imagine how Mark Steyn and the OHRC will meet next….
Kookie Pieceman isn’t a man. She isn’t sweet. She isn’t even brown. But she did not allow any of those facts to stop her from launching a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission regarding Mark Steyn’s latest musical offering, “Sweet Gingerbread Man”.
“I was shocked by Mr. Steyn’s tone,” Ms Pieceman stated during a weekend interview. “His fans are apparently eating this up, but any right thinking person would certainly pan it. What benefit can there be in allowing him to sing?”Ms Pieceman declined to repeat the harmful words contained in the controversial song, but maintains that in general, “it is likely to expose anthropomorphic baked goods to hatred and contempt.”
Third, Jim Swan writes a letter to the Red Deer Advocate: We owe a huge thank you to letter writer Stephen Boissoin:
Re. Dec. 4 news story headlined Judge rules against Alberta Human Rights Commission:
Finally! A ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission was hauled before a real court of law.
A real judge quashed their ruling as unlawful and unconstitutional! The public has known this commission to be a kangaroo court for years. The Alberta government ought to hang its head in shame for allowing this kangaroo court to exist for so many years in our province.
Read the rest here.