Monday, June 02, 2008

Free Speech In Canada

I haven't written as much as others have about Mark Steyn's drumhead in British Columbia; to be perfectly honest about it, so many good people are doing such excellent work covering it that I have little of value that I could add.

The proceedings started today, and MacLean's, the magazine that printed Steyn's "hate speech", is liveblogging them. Here are what are to me the critical issues:

10:05 AM
Section 7.1 of the BC Human Rights Code is the relevant legal text, prohibiting exposure to hate.

11:04 AM
Under Section 7.1, he continues, innocent intent is not a defence, nor is truth, nor is fair comment or the public interest, nor is good faith or responsible journalism.

Or in other words, there is no defence.

That should scare any lover of freedom.

Update, 6/3/08: Things aren't any better in France:

Brigitte Bardot was convicted Tuesday of provoking discrimination and
racial hatred for writing that Muslims are destroying France.

A Paris court also handed down a $23,325 fine against the former screen
siren and animal rights campaigner. The court also ordered Bardot to pay $1,555
in damages to MRAP...

French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on
racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot had been convicted four times
previously for inciting racial hatred.

She's now an animal rights campaigner and was frosted about a Muslim celebration that includes the slaughter of sheep.


Ellen K said...

I have so much admiration for the Muslim student who wrote regarding the reading of articles in MacCleans without feeling his human rights had been trampled. I further laud him for being willing to take on the rigid conformity in Islam to try and make this a religion that is more tolerant and more acceptable as mainstream without losing its key hallmarks. What has been lacking for awhile now is an Islamic political middle ground. If the Muslim middle class wants to survive, then they had better begin to take on the radical fundamentalists who want to limit everyone and everything to their tunnel vision world view.

Chanman said...

God Bless the First Amendment!

allen (in Michigan) said...

Oooh, recommended!

If anyone'd like a fine example of the mundane roots of authoritarianism then this series of blog posts is required reading.

There aren't any Mao's or Che's or any other supremely evil, ambitious psychopaths in evidence, just a small group of people who have more power in their hands then they quite know what to do with or dare to use. But give them a couple of years of getting away with increasingly outrageous decisions and see what they're capable of.