As summer nears its height, the Lynch List churns on…
First: Our very own Walker Morrow gets published in the National Post‘s Full Comment section. He discusses the changes at the BCHRT, wondering if there’s a welcome endgame to the provincial government’s actions:
It also sounds like a narrower focus might be in the works from on high. Perhaps it will place a greater emphasis on labor disputes at the expense of other, arguably more important issues like the plight of lesbian women in comedy bars across the province.
Could it be? Could the BCHRT’s reign of soft terror on freedom of speech in this province finally be coming to a close? Could the BC government have finally realized what an out-of-control body they’ve had running loose in their backyard for years? Could they finally be reining this body in?
Second: The feminists are up in arms about some of the moves afoot to reform the Human Rights Tribunals. One of their beefs is that they want the federal Commission to once again spend taxpayer dollars giving legal representation to complainants before the Tribunal. They argue that the Tribunal proceedings are not necessarily a tiff between two parties, but rather a means by which complainants can force their vision of society onto the public:
“…human rights complaints will be viewed increasingly as strictly private, that is as claims that are devoid of any public policy dimension. This is contrary to the view that is embedded in Canadian human rights jurisprudence: namely, that a human rights proceeding cannot be equated with a lis between parties in a court, because the ultimate goal is the promotion of human rights for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
I’d like to ask why the Commissions and Tribunals focus on confidential mediation if the purpose of the Tribunal is the benefit of the community as a whole rather than deciding between two private parties.
Third: Russ Campbell dredges up Lynch’s do-over of Moon’s report to Parliament to remind us that the Commission wants to remove the “truth” defence in the criminal code. Under the heading, “Removing the Truth Defence”, Lynch advises parliament:
Under the Criminal Code, the offence of hate propaganda includes a defence of truth. Professor Moon recommends the removal of this defence on the basis that a hate message suggesting that a given race, sex or religion is devoid of any redeeming qualities as human beings can never be true and therefore the justice system should not give hate-mongers a platform to make this argument in a criminal trial…
As this issue has resurfaced since the original drafting of the legislation, Parliament may wish to include considerations about the defence of truth in its deliberations.
In other words, to protect certain groups considered worthy, it is prepared to destroy the fundamental human right of free speech as it applies to individuals. How progressive of them!
Fourth: Do you think that the bare-knuckle realm of politics could resist enlisting the extraordinary powers of the Tribunal for very long? Nope.
Fifth: John Carpay in the Calgary Herald: Speaking Out is Better than Prosecuting
Rather than government prosecutions of “extreme” speech (can anyone define “extreme” objectively?), the better way to a more tolerant and respectful society lies in counter-speech. Telling someone — firmly but politely — that his speech is unacceptable will actually strengthen civil society. Admittedly this is difficult to carry out; much easier to file a complaint with a human rights commission and trigger a government prosecution. But counter-speech and direct feedback keep people connected with each other, and strengthen civil society. Taxpayer-funded prosecutions do just the opposite.