Merry Christmas, assuming the expression hasn’t been banned yet…
First: The BCCLA intervention in the judicial review of the Lemire case has rankled the censors.
Micheal Vonn, BCCLA policy director, noted that while there is no doubt that Lemire’s statements, which have been posted on websites, “are ignorant or offensive,” the prosecution has done more to disseminate the material than he has.
“A perverse thing happens when you try to censor those statements,” Vonn said. “We would like people to call out and say his ideas are wrong. You’re allowed to hold wrong ideas but everyone should have the right to tell you why you’re wrong.”
More on the judicial review from the Post.
Second: The Canadian Press reports (using very non-neutral language) that Richard Warman is upset over the efforts to halt his Section 13 gravy train. As usual, he invokes the typical “Nazis are everywhere” fear-mongering.
Third: Meanwhile, Canada’s most liberal newspaper has come down squarely against Section 13 and in support of Brian Storseth’s bill that would repeal it. Will wonders never cease?
The Canadian Human Rights Act, for example, prohibits publishing via the Internet “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” That can draw fines of up to $10,000 plus heavy damages. That’s a damper on spirited public discourse. The act can be interpreted to cover stereotyping and defaming, as well as hate-mongering. There’s no need to prove intent. Evidence can be accepted that would not stand up in court. And guilt doesn’t have to be established beyond doubt. All this puts an unreasonable burden on anyone unlucky enough to be hauled on the carpet.
Fourth: I continue to say that the silver lining concerning Alberta’s Bill 44 is that the province’s teachers now know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the inevitable chill that human rights statutes place on our freedoms. They’re all for draconian quasi-judicial star chambers when the net only catches people with beliefs they don’t like, but now that it could possibly be used against them, they’re up in arms. All of the teachers’ arguments against that particular section of the Code could be applied to every single section.
If this was a poison pill planted by Stelmach and Blackett for the eventual demise of Alberta’s human rights code, I would have to tip my hat to their genius and eat all of my previous criticisms. But somehow I doubt it…
Fifth: Again, more absurdity over “discrimination on the basis of family status”. One bylaw officer in Langley wanted to dictate her work hours so she could take care of her three children. This started a years-long brouhaha that culminated with the city laying off two of the officers, including the one who wanted restricted work hours. She, of course, launched a human rights complaint, which was only rejected on a technicality. I guess having kids gives you the right to inflict migraines on your employer.