Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Speech In Canada

I have greatly enjoyed my visits to British Columbia. I have nothing but fond thoughts of the people, land, and creations I've encountered. Vancouver and Victoria could hardly be nicer vacation destinations.

That doesn't mean I view Canada as our perfect, lily-white neighbor to the north. No, I don't support their socialism, I don't support their going soft militarily, and I don't like Orwellian Canadian (so-called) Human Rights Commissions. Free speech has been heading towards being a thing of the past in Canada.

There are signs, though, that Canadians may be taking a step back from the free speech abyss.

But to the surprise of critics like me, Moon recommended that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act — the so-called “hate speech” provision, which empowers the CHRC to censor the Internet and other electronic media — be repealed. Instead of a whitewash, Moon’s report was the opposite — another nail in the coffin of the thought police.

The CHRC was surprised, too, and obviously not pleased...

Ordinary Canadians accept some very limited infringements on speech, but only in extreme cases — such as when the speech is a real incitement to violence. That’s already covered by the criminal code, however. We don’t need redundant prohibitions in our human-rights law.

The fact that the CHRC continues to cling to its censorship powers — even after Moon’s dramatic rebuke — shows how out of step with Canadian values the CHRC has become. When it was created in 1977, the CHRC was designed to be a shield, protecting the civil rights of Canadians. A generation later, they’ve mutated into a sword, violating our freedoms. And their Kafkaesque conduct violates our norms of natural justice, too.

I wish the Canadians good fortune as they recover the rights stripped from them by their government.


allen (in Michigan) said...

I'm a little surprised the Mark Steyn debacle wasn't mentioned. I don't really have a good picture of how high a profile his case had in Canada but I was keeping a pretty close eye on it as it unfolded.

Seems like a case as specious as the one against Steyn, given Steyn's pretty high profile, would've attracted a lot of attention.

Steyn's doing a happy dance about the Moon report on his site.

Darren said...

Levant wrote this piece--he has some sort of relationship with Steyn, I don't recall exactly what it is. Seems to me he was trying to make the grand case here--and succeeded brilliantly.

Ellen K said...

How soon will we be fighting this same battle in the guise of the "Fairness" bill?