Why Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Act will soon be dead

mentioned before that Wildrose Alliance of Alberta leader Danielle Smith had somewhat reversed her party’s position on amending Alberta’s Human Rights Act to unequivocally uphold freedom of speech. Instead, Smith announced, she’s going to go more the route of Saskatchewan, putting speech-related AHRA complaints under actual court oversight but still allowing the courts to determine what speech is and isn’t allowed.

I may have been a little unfair on Mrs. Smith. Her proposal is still a damn sight better than the current state of affairs in Alberta, and her proposal would pretty much sound the death knell of the “hate speech” provision of the Alberta Human Rights Act, Section 3 – perhaps not officially, but effectively. I don’t see why the thing couldn’t be officially scrapped altogether, but politics is politics. I’ll take what I can get.
Speaking of Section 3, I’m particularly heartened by Alison Redford’s election as premier-designate of Alberta in light of Redford’s own views on Section 3. This August, the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association asked several “potential premiers of Alberta” a few questions on civil-liberties related issues. Among those issues was the Alberta Human Rights Act ( “What changes will you make to Alberta’s human rights legislation and commission to strengthen equality and protect freedom of expression?” ) For the record, here is Danielle Smith’s answer to that question:
The Wildrose has committed to abolishing Section 3 of the Human Rights Act, as well as ensuring that true justice can be pursued by having Human Rights cases heard in a court of law, rather than in front of the Human Rights Commission. This would ensure that cases can be heard in a balanced environment, with real checks and balances, as well as trained legal professionals.
Also, as part of a Wildrose increase to Legal Aid, Albertans that require legal assistance for human rights cases would have the resources offered to them to ensure the access they require.

And here is Alison Redford’s answer to that same question:

I want to amend and fine-tune the existing legislation, after consultations with stakeholders, to better define and protect free speech in light of challenges to the statute in Freedom of expression must be shielded and Section 3 of theAlberta Human Rights Act should be repealed.

Read it all here. H/t to my uncle for sending me the survey – he knows who he is…

Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Act is toast.

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5 Responses to Why Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Act will soon be dead

  1. Pissedoff says:

    That’s the problem for me here in Ontario Hudak flipped on his position with the OHRC. Thats the problem with these Harper like CINOs NO bloody guts all cowards

  2. Yeah – things are getting better, but there are still a lot of flip-flopping politicians out there. It’s unfortunate that so many of the things we need require the work of cowards to get done.

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