Curb bigoted acts not free speech
June 16, 2008 |
Gadfly conservative author
This polemic drew complaints from
In April, the
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is also actively investigating the complaint.
All this gives Prime
Conservative MP Rick Dykstra has asked the Commons justice and human rights committee to review Section 13. And Liberal MP Keith Martin has introduced a private member's motion to have the Commons call for the section's deletion. However these initiatives play out, they reflect growing unease that an unwarranted chill is being cast on free speech, when sufficient safeguards exist elsewhere. Parliament and the provincial legislatures should take note.
Does society need to cast more of a chill on press freedom in order to combat discrimination? Polemicists such as Steyn are better countered in the marketplace of ideas. Readers who feel ill-served are free to go elsewhere.
Parliament and the legislatures should rethink laws that have the effect of targeting opinions rather than actions.
As Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has argued on these pages, human rights commissions should concern themselves with discriminatory behaviour, not discriminatory opinion. "Generally, the answer to bad speech is good speech," he wrote. Wise words, from a respected rights advocate.
Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act