1: National Post: George Jonas: All speech is free in
2: Ottawa Citizen: We need not fear words: A commission that seeks to protect us from hurtful statements would transform us into victims, cowering before the mere words of another
3: National Post: The Post editorial board: Here's hoping Professor
George Jonas: All speech is free in
Posted: June 20, 2008, 7:17 P
Few institutions conjure up George Orwell’s dystopia of 1984 as readily as the Canadian Human Rights Commission. A premature baby, born seven years ahead of Orwell’s schedule, the CHRC has been as smugly doubleplusgood as the satirist’s
Give it time, I say.
Worried that time isn’t on its side, the CHRC launched an independent review of some of its policies this week, coupled with an in-house review of some of its practices. “Independent of what?” you may ask. Rest assured, not of the Zeitgeist that created the 1977 Human Rights Act and its notorious Section 13-1. The likelihood of an organization like the CHRC instituting a probe for any purpose other than self-justification is remote.
To borrow Orwell’s language, anyone retained by
Mark Mercer . We need not fear words
A commission that seeks to protect us from hurtful statements would transform us into victims, cowering before the mere words of another
Ottawa Citizen Special
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has engaged Richard
Although the primary task of the CHRC is to combat discrimination in housing and the workplace, the commission seeks also to protect marginalized and vulnerable Canadians from hateful or contemptuous expression. It derives its authority to do so from Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the section according to which "it is a discriminatory practice ... to communicate ... any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" on the basis race, religion, or other specified characteristic.
In announcing the review, the CHRC states that it wants to know "how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages."
How will Prof.
It is important that we be free to express ourselves, both our opinions and our emotions, for many reasons. Some have to do with the pursuit of knowledge, others with our interests in knowing what people really think.
But the two best reasons are these:
1) a person's opinions and emotions are constitutive of who that person is, and expressing who he or she is is central to living a life worth living;
2) no political system is fair that does not grant to each citizen the opportunity to try to influence policy through saying whatever he or she wants to say however he or she wants to say it.
The Post editorial board: Here's hoping Professor
Posted: June 19, 2008, 11:00 A
We don't hold out much hope that a review of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's powers to investigate allegations of hate speech will come to much. For one thing, the commission handpicked its own investigator. But mostly we are skeptical because even when calling for the review, chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch demonstrated no clear understanding of free speech or the value of protecting it.
There can be no doubt
They have become laws unto themselves, too, routinely suspending rules of evidence that have taken centuries to perfect.
She also tipped her hand about the probable outcome of the review she had initiated: "We have a responsibility to lead the debate on how we can keep our policy up to date to effectively regulate hate on the Internet." Her interest appears to be in not whether to regulate speech, but merely how to do it "effectively." There seems to be little doubt in her mind that a government agency must have the ultimate say.
Frankly, we doubt the sincerity of
Back to basics
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Recent decisions by human rights commissions are cause for concern.
A Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission tribunal ordered a marriage commissioner who refused to perform a same-sex ceremony for religious reasons to pay $2,500 in compensation to the gay complainant.
One cannot divorce religious faith from personal and public life. They are inseparable. To sever that link is to misunderstand faith and goes to the very identity of the person.
There is a much larger issue -- human rights commissions overstepping their original mandates.
In recent years, commissions have expanded their jurisdiction into areas never intended by their founders. Provincial and federal commissions were established during the 1960s and 1970s to investigate and try to settle complaints of discrimination involving employment, delivery of services, and housing, based on race or gender.
Human rights commissions have undergone a profound shift since then -- from noble intentions to be protectors of human rights to activists, "advancing" specific rights by expanding their jurisdiction into areas never intended. Liberal
It costs nothing to lodge a complaint. The resources of the state are available to the complainant and there is no penalty for launching frivolous complaints, as in a civil court. The individual targeted by the complaint, however, is saddled with the presumption of guilt until proven innocent and has no similar financial resources from the state for their defence. They are left with a large legal bill, upwards of $40,000, to defend themselves.