Monday, June 30, 2008

OTTAWA CITIZEN: The resistance (against CHRC) must continue

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/columnists/story.html?id=6376c17a-4228-4e04-a2fd-802012bb410b

 

 

The resistance must continue

 

David Warren

The Ottawa Citizen


Saturday, June 28, 2008

 

As was perfunctorily reported on Thursday, the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, one of three HRCs to which Islamists took Maclean's magazine for having published Mark Steyn, has self-protectively dismissed the case before it could come to tribunal. The Ontario HRC had previously dismissed it: but with an outrageous statement from its chief commissioner, Barbara Hall, to the effect that Maclean's was guilty of publishing "hate," nonetheless. She regretted that her commission had no mandate to try the case, but looked forward to a time when this mandate would be extended.

A British Columbian "human rights" tribunal did, however, decide that it had jurisdiction over what a Toronto-based magazine could publish, and the show trial against Maclean's continues there, with judgment awaited. The Alberta HRC continues to try Ezra Levant and his Western Standard magazine (now defunct in print) -- in proceedings that have gone on for more than two years. The Canadian HRC has taken 16 months in preliminary consideration of the case a gay activist brought against the small Toronto-based Catholic Insight magazine. Indeed: prolonged and arbitrary delays appear to be part of the method by which the HRCs bleed their respondents dry with legal and other expenses.

I have mentioned only the current cases in which periodical publications have been prosecuted, in the strange new world of "Kafkanada" -- where you can be tried for the same imaginary "hate crimes" in any or all federal and provincial jurisdictions, simultaneously or sequentially. A single complaint by any reader anywhere is enough to launch a secret inquiry. The target has no right to confront his accuser, and will not at first even be told who he or she is.

Truth is no defence, the absence of harm is no defence, there are no rules of evidence whatever, and the inquisitors of these kangaroo courts may ultimately reach any "judgment" they please, after months or years of playing cat-and-mouse with their selected victim.

A Protestant minister in Alberta was, for instance, recently ordered to publicly renounce his Christian beliefs, as well as pay a big lump sum to the anti-Christian activist who had prosecuted him, in a case I mentioned in a previous column, and which I am pleased to see is getting wide publicity in the United States even if not up here. "Re-education" programs are frequently assigned, for which the victim must also pay.

All of the complainant's expenses are paid by the taxpayer, as well as all of the overheads and expenses of the jet-setting "human rights" bureaucrats, who do all the prosecutorial work, as well as providing both judge and jury. The system is, in principle, indistinguishable from that in place during the Cultural Revolution in Maoist China. It was perpetrated by leftist activists on the Canadian people while they were sleeping. It is a system of the activists, by the activists, and for the activists.

The people are still sleeping, but some "blowback" has finally begun to occur. Given its very eccentric inquisitorial practices, which have been documented and publicized on the Internet, the CHRC is now under an RCMP investigation, a Privacy Commission investigation, and there is a Parliamentary investigation pending. (As a public relations exercise, the CHRC has also hand-picked its own "independent" investigator to do what we can only assume will be a defensive whitewash, as usual at taxpayer expense.) It is against this background the CHRC decided that the better part of valour is discretion, and that it truly did not need to be prosecuting such high-profile targets as the bestselling author Mark Steyn and the mainstream newsweekly Maclean's, at the present time. The CHRC can retrench, and return to its bread-and-butter business of destroying little people who command no publicity -- biding their time until circumstances are propitious to "extend their mandate" again.

Vigilance is the price of liberty, and it is crucially important that we not take the heat off Canada's HRCs when they retreat. Canadians need to know the whole truth about what these vile "human rights" investigators have been doing, and their past victims should be exonerated.

Given what has already occurred, it is not enough simply to fire the people responsible for specific abuses. The Human Rights Code must be rewritten to eliminate future challenges to free speech and press, and the HRCs themselves taken down. The very notion that "your freedom ends when I begin to feel offended" must be shown for what it is: totalitarian flotsam in the fetid swamp of politically correct thought.

David Warren's column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday.

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT FREEDOM – SUPPORT FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

 

http://www.StopSection13.com

http://www.freedomsite.org

http://blog.freedomsite.org

http://canadianhumanrightscommission.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

Friday, June 27, 2008

LONDON FREE PRESS: Canadian human rights codes, tribunals open door for misuse

Canadian human rights codes, tribunals open door for misuse

By RORY LEISHMAN

The decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal to investigate Maclean's magazine for publishing an article that some Muslims have found offensive is just the latest in a long line of violations by Canada's so-called human rights tribunals of the historic rights of Canadians to freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Mohamed Elmasry, national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, initiated the attack on Maclean's by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal with a formal complaint in which he claims the magazine exposed "Muslims to hatred and contempt due to their religion" by publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn's bestselling book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. Elmasry contends that: "Under the British Columbia Human Rights Code, publication of material of the nature described above is prohibited and clearly exceeds the scope of free speech."

In a recent editorial on the Maclean's affair aptly entitled B.C. hate provision should be excised, the Globe and Mail suggested Steyn may well have underestimated the forces of assimilation and integration for Muslim immigrants, "but then again he may be right."

What will Elmasry and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal do now? Initiate an investigation of the Globe and every newspaper that dares to suggest that Steyn might be right about the perils posed by radical Islam?

It's not only newspapers and magazines that are threatened by Canada's human rights censors. Libraries and bookstores could be next. After all, if it is illegal under some of Canada's human rights laws to publish just an excerpt from Steyn's book, it must be an even greater violation of these misbegotten human rights codes to make his entire book available to the Canadian public.

And it's not just Muslims who are using Canada's human rights tribunals to suppress viewpoints they find offensive. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is currently investigating Toronto-based Catholic Insight magazine at the request of a reader in Edmonton who charges the magazine violated the ban on "hate literature" in section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Code in a number of articles that simply uphold the universal and constant teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.

This Catholic Insight inquisition began in February 2007. The magazine has run up a crushing $20,000 in legal bills in what looks like a vain attempt to defend itself against a commission that has never lost a case in a tribunal hearing on a Section 13 complaint.

Meanwhile, a human rights panel in Alberta has ruled that Stephen Boissoin, an automobile-parts manager and erstwhile Baptist minister, violated the province's human rights code with a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in which he denounced teachings on homosexuality in the public schools. The panel has ordered Boissoin to make a public apology and pay $5,000 in damages to the complainant, Darren Lund, a heterosexual professor at the University of Calgary who was offended by Boissoin's letter.

The Red Deer Advocate has apologized for publishing the offending letter to the editor. Boissoin is appealing the panel's ruling to the courts.

Referring to the Maclean's case, the Globe and Mail has suggested that the censorship powers in Section 7 of the British Columbia Human Rights Code "should be struck down by a court, if not by the tribunal." But surely it's elected legislators, not judges, who should eliminate the oppressive powers of Canada's human rights tribunals.

Rest at: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Columnists/Leishman_Rory/2008/06/14/5876356-sun.html


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Complaint against MACLEANS MAGAZINE Dismissed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2008/26/c8368.html

 

 

 

 

Attention News Editors:

 

Maclean's responds to recent decision from the Canadian Human Rights Commission

 

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - Maclean's magazine is pleased that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed the complaint brought against it by the

Canadian Islamic Congress. The decision is in keeping with our long-standing position that the article in question, "The Future Belongs to Islam," an excerpt from Mark Steyn's best-selling book America Alone, was a worthy piece of commentary on important geopolitical issues, entirely within the bounds of normal journalistic practice.

 

    Though gratified by the decision, Maclean's continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial decisions of the nation's media. And we continue to have grave concerns about a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media outlet to be pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought by the same complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to say nothing of the inconvenience. We enthusiastically support those parliamentarians who are calling for legislative review of the commissions with regard to speech issues.

 

    About Maclean's:

 

    Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine. Maclean's enlightens, engages and entertains 2.8 million readers with strong investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the fields of international affairs, social issues, national politics, business and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.

  

 

For further information: Marnie Peters, (416) 764-2862,

Marnie.peters@rci.rogers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT FREEDOM – SUPPORT FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

 

http://www.StopSection13.com

http://www.freedomsite.org

http://blog.freedomsite.org

http://canadianhumanrightscommission.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

[VIDEO] Paul Fromm FOR OUR PEOPLE: Analysis of the BCWhitePride Decision

Paul Fromm:  FOR OUR PEOPLE

For Our People: Analysis of the BCWhitePride Decision

 

  

 

http://www.youtube.com/v/QtYg7tM79r4

 

 

Decision based on the ridiculous testimony of a ARA thug named Shane Ruttle Martinez

 

Shane Ruttle Martinez sets up a person he thinks is "John Beck" by pretending to be a woman named Rachael, and by stealing the pictures of a real Stormfront member and sending them around the internet

 

Based on the shady testimony of Shane Ruttle Martinez, John Beck was found "guilty" and hit with the second largest decision ever - $6,000

 

 

 

Paul Fromm For Our People:

http://www.youtube.com/CanadaFirst2007

 

 

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crazy CHRC Spends $75,000 in SECURITY on Paranoid concerns

The CHRC is totally nuts and obsessed about “security”.  As part of their fantasy, they now employ multiple no-necked security personnel to follow them around all the time.  

 

This done to partly to pretend they are important (as they get more security stromtroppers than even the Prime Minister of Canada!), and partly to pretend as tho they are somehow at risk from an imaginary underground neo-nazi army, on par with Al Qaeda.

 

In just 4 months, the CHRC ripped off the Tax-Payers of Canada for over $75,000 in “security” fees!

 

 

 

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/disclosure_divulgation/quarter2_trimestre2/2007page10-en.asp

 

Vendor Name:

Policing & Security Management Services

Reference Number:

P0800348

Contract Date:

2007-08-28

Description of Work:

0499 Other professional services not elsewhere specified

Contract Period:

2007-09-01 To 2007-12-31

Delivery Date:

 

Contract Value:

$75,296.00

Comments:

Contract

 

 

See the security firms website: http://www.policingsecurity.ca

 

 

 

The CHRC in the past has even tried to claim a “security threat” to keep the Media and the General Public out of the March 25, 2008, Marc Lemire hearings [Levants comments], where it was revealed that the CHRC had multiple infiltration accounts on message boards, and that they hijacked the internet connection of Nelly Hechme to hide their tracks while posting on message boards

 

The CHRC uses the veiled threat of “Security Threat” as a way to cover-up their misdeeds and dirty tricks.

 

Even the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has openly questioned the ludicrous claims of “security” by the Commission:

 

[9] The outcome of the s. 37 matter gives me pause to question the soundness of the Commission's invocation of public security concerns with respect to the testimony of these witnesses.

 

http://www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/search/view_html.asp?doid=892&lg=_e&isruling=0

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT FREEDOM – SUPPORT FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

 

http://www.StopSection13.com

http://www.freedomsite.org

http://blog.freedomsite.org

http://canadianhumanrightscommission.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, June 23, 2008

EDMONTON SUN: Anyone care about free speech?

Anyone care about free speech?

 

By PETER WORTHINGTON

Edmonton Sun | June 23, 2008

 

The tragedy of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal's case against Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine over alleged "hate" mongering because of Steyn's views on Islam is that most people don't give a damn.

Oh, many sympathize with Steyn because the issue seems so silly, but most don't see the destructive effect of hate legislation, or how it threatens our freedom.

Of all the benefits embodied in our county, free speech is -- or should be -- among the most precious. Without the freedom to express opinions on any matter, we cease being a free society. The implications are as simple as that.

The villains in the Steyn case are not Muslims who complained to the HRC that Steyn's writings foster "Islamophobia" and hate. Nor is the Human Rights Commission at fault for hearing the allegations.

At fault is the government of Stephen Harper for not rescinding a law that the Liberals introduced and makes a mockery of both justice and freedom.

Harper is PM with the power to right a wrong. Instead, he's been silent and betrayed his own values.

Steyn's case is replicated in the human rights persecution in Alberta of Ezra Levant whose now-defunct magazine, the Western Standard, published the Danish cartoons -- political statements on Islamic terrorism, not religious mockery.

The complainants get a free ride, the defendants have to pay their costs.

Truth is no defence before a human rights tribunal. Steyn's accuracy is not at issue, just his opinions. Under hate legislation, opinions are punishable if they offend a particular group.

If you think about it, this is an abomination.

Barbara Hall, Ontario's human rights chief commissioner, said she didn't have the authority to deal with Steyn and Maclean's, but that she found his article "xenophobic," "destructive" and "Islmophobic."

There's an unbiased adjudicator!

 

Full article at: http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2008/06/23/pf-5958606.html

 

GLOBE AND MAIL: Repeal Section 13 (Too wide a net for hate)

 

CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Too wide a net for hate

Hate is a subject that the Canadian Human Rights Commission wisely wishes to think about. A law professor at the University of Windsor, Richard Moon, will write a wide-ranging report for the CHRC, to come out in October, on "the most appropriate mechanisms for addressing hate messages."

In her announcement of this policy review on Tuesday, Jennifer Lynch, the Chief Commissioner, unmistakably alluded to the debate over three human-rights complaints against Maclean's magazine about "The future belongs to Islam," an article in 2006 by Mark Steyn. There is no hearing date yet for the proceeding at the CHRC; the complaint in B.C. has been heard but not decided; while the Ontario one failed for lack of jurisdiction, the commission joined in the accusation by way of press release.

The Canada Human Rights Act deals with hate in a section that was originally about telephone "hate messages." But in December, 2001, the Anti-Terrorism Act made clear that Internet communications were covered. Of course, Internet publication now largely overlaps with print media. An enactment that once dealt, for example, with a phone number that one could call to hear a recorded "white power message" now looms over the whole of the press in Canada.

Like its sibling in the B.C. Human Rights Code (at the core of the Maclean's hearing in Vancouver earlier this month), section 13 of the federal statute is aimed at what is "likely to expose" people to hatred or contempt because of ethnicity, religion and other specified factors. Evidence of such a likelihood - in the absence of a solid science of mass psychology on which to base expert testimony - is bound to be dubious, and there are no defences of the kind found in civil lawsuits about damage to reputation, such as fair comment.

Rest at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080623.EHUMANRIGHTS23/TPStory/Comment

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Articles denouncing the censors at the Canadian Human Rights Commission

1: National Post:  George Jonas: All speech is free in Canada except speech we happen to hate

 

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 Moon reins in the Canadian Human Rights Commission

 

4: Sask Leader-Post: Back to basics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Jonas: All speech is free in Canada except speech we happen to hate

Posted: June 20, 2008, 7:17 PM by Marni Soupcoff

George Jonas

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 Ministry of Love, though not remotely as powerful or quite as evil.

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 Canada’s thinkpol should be a goodthinker, fluent in newspeak. He ought to bring to his task a bellyfeel about crimethinkers and the correct way of dealing with them. He should have a capacity for doublethink and recognize the importance of keeping anything malreported out of the public discourse, especially away from such prolefeed as the Internet.

Is Waterloo University’s Richard Moon, the law professor retained by CHRC to head the review, such a person? I’ve no idea. I expect Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Q.C. and her advisors think he is, otherwise they wouldn’t have retained him. The human rights industry is fighting for its life. Not a charity under the best of circumstances, when the Ministry of Love is in survival mode, you don’t want to meet it in a dark alley.

Rest at: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/06/20/george-jonas-all-speech-is-free-in-canada-except-speech-we-happen-to-hate.aspx

 

 

 

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

 

Mark Mercer

Ottawa Citizen Special


Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has engaged Richard Moon, an expert in constitutional law and a professor at the University of Windsor, to review its policies with regard to suppressing and punishing expression.

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.

More than a few critics charged right from the beginning that Section 13 denies Canadians freedom of expression. These critics have long demanded that the CHRC get out of the censorship business entirely. But the matter didn't make it onto the general public's radar screen until late last year, when the CHRC, as well as two provincial commissions, accepted to hear a complaint that Maclean's magazine had exposed Muslims to hatred and contempt.

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. Moon go about finding that correct balance?

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.

Rest at: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=0268fe7c-dd25-4106-a59b-2232eef22b4d

 

 

 

The Post editorial board: Here's hoping Professor Moon reins in the Canadian Human Rights Commission

Posted: June 19, 2008, 11:00 AM by Marni Soupcoff

NATIONAL POST

Editorial

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 Canada's human rights bodies — federal and provincial — are in need of investigation. They are out of control, far more interested in imposing political correctness than defending free speech.

They have become laws unto themselves, too, routinely suspending rules of evidence that have taken centuries to perfect.

Consider that Ms. Lynch's own lead investigator at the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), Dean Steacy, recently testified at a hate speech hearing that "freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." The man charged with pursuing incidents of allegedly hateful messaging on the Internet in Canada clearly has no clue of the 800-year-old tradition of free expression that protects Canadians.

Even Ms. Lynch herself gets it largely wrong. In an interview with the Post on Tuesday, she exclaimed, "I'm a free speecher. I'm also a human rightser," as though the two were separate. No human right is more basic than freedom of expression, not even the "right" to live one's life free from offence by remarks about one's ethnicity, gender, culture or orientation. Ms. Lynch seems mistakenly to believe there is a delicate balance between free expression and other, newer human "rights."

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 Ms. Lynch's call for review, especially given the timing. The CHRC has recently landed itself in hot water for the overly aggressive methods it appears to have used to investigate white supremacists on the Internet and for investigating Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine over material they published that offended some Muslim law students. It's a little too precious that the CHRC has chosen now for its self-examination, when a private member's bill in Parliament would strip it of the right to investigate hate speech allegations altogether.

Rest at: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/06/19/the-post-editorial-board-here-s-hoping-professor-moon-reins-in-the-canadian-human-rights-commission.aspx

 

 

 

 

Back to basics

 

The Sask Leader-Post


Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

Recent decisions by human rights commissions are cause for concern.

In Ontario, a Christian group violated the rights of a worker who had to quit her job after revealing she was gay, says the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

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.

In the Saskatchewan case, the commissioner in question did find another person to perform the ceremony. Why, then, wasn't this the end of the story? To me, it's a case of gays throwing their weight around: you must tolerate my preferences, but I won't tolerate yours!

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 MP Keith Martin has raised the concern that, through human rights tribunals, "someone could be using the power of the state for their own private initiative... (for) one person's private crusade." Activists have chosen to bypass the courts to gain access to taxpayers' money via these commissions to fund their prosecution of those who express differing opinions.

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.

Rest at: http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/letters/story.html?id=ce9cbe83-3e4f-49d4-aab7-7f9592b81093

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

CHRC to Investigate the CENSORSHIP Role of Section 13-1 (Press Release and Media Articles)

 

CHRC to Investigate the Role of Section 13-1  (Press Release and Media Articles)

 

 

 

1: Self-serving press release from the Canadian Human Rights Commission

2: National Post: Human rights body to review internet role

3: Ottawa Citizen:  Rights commission to review Internet hate laws

4: Western Standard: Fed censorship powers to be reviewed

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/media_room/news_releases-en.asp?id=476&content_type=2

 

Canadian Human Rights Commission Launches Independent Review On Hate Messaging on the Internet

(Ottawa, June 17, 2008) – The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has launched a comprehensive policy review of how best to address hate messages on the Internet. Leading constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor will conduct an independent study as an important part of this review.

Speaking today to the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), CHRC Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Q.C. said, "The current debate on how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages in the Internet age is an important one. We are confident that this review will provide insight into the issues and move the discourse one step further."

Growing public interest and continued advances in technology all point to a need to examine issues surrounding hate on the Internet. The Commission is dedicated to ensuring that the Canadian Human Rights Act remains effective. "Legislation must evolve – when necessary – to respond and reflect changes in society," said Lynch.

Professor Moon is a prominent expert on freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and the structural aspects of constitutional rights protection. He is the author of the seminal book, "The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression".

He will conduct legal and policy research and analysis and make recommendations on the most appropriate mechanisms for addressing hate messages on the Internet, with specific emphasis on section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the role of the CHRC. His work will include a review of existing statutory and regulatory mechanisms, an examination of the mandates of human rights commissions and tribunals, and a consideration of Canada’s international human rights obligations.

The review is to begin immediately and Professor Moon is expected to submit his report to the Commission this fall.

-30-

See Announcement by Chief Commissioner, Jennifer Lynch, Q.C.
See Backgrounder

For more information:
Media Relations
(613) 943-9118

 

http://www.marketwirecanada.com/mw/release.do?id=869626

Richard J. Moon, Professor of Law

Professor Richard J. Moon is a leading constitutional expert on freedom of religion, freedom of expression and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A recognized researcher and writer, Professor Moon teaches Law at the University of Windsor. His teachings and writings have informed generations of law students in Canada and the United States. He is the author of The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression, and of three chapters of the leading constitutional law casebook in Canada, Canadian Constitutional Law"

He is a past president of the Canadian Law Society Association and is the former Fellow of the University of Windsor Humanities Research Group.

To view Richard Moon's biography, visit: http://www.uwindsor.ca/users/r/rmoon/bio.nsf

 

 

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=594639

 

 

Human rights body to review internet role

Joseph Brean,  National Post  Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2008

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE -- Faced with a growing controversy over human rights complaints and freedom of speech, the Canadian Human Rights Commission Tuesday launched a major independent review of how it deals with hate messages on the Internet.

"I'm a free speecher. I'm also a human rightser," said Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the CHRC. "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."

Headed by Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, the review will involve a re-analysis of Section 13-1 of the 1977 Canadian Human Rights Act, which applies to "telecommunication" of any material "that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt," based on 11 specific grounds such as race, gender or religion.

Recommendations could include changes to the law, formal guidelines for the commission or requests for further guidance from Parliament.

A parallel internal probe will examine the methods used by CHRC staff in investigating complaints under this section, which have controversially included using pseudonyms to access and post material to target Web sites.

Although hate-message cases account for only about 2% of the CHRC's workload, they have emerged as the topic of a divisive national debate, in which freedom of speech is often seen as incompatible with freedom from discrimination.

That debate has focused most notably on hate speech complaints brought against Maclean's magazine in three jurisdictions by a group of Muslim law students. But it had been brewing earlier because of similar complaints against conservative blogger Ezra Levant, who published the Danish Muhammad cartoons, and far-right Internet propagandist Marc Lemire. Mr. Lemire is pursuing a constitutional challenge to section 13-1 as part of the case against him at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Critics argue that the section's legal test of "likely to expose" is too loose because truth is not a valid defence, and intent - whether malicious, journalistic or even scholarly -- is irrelevant.

In an interview on Tuesdaywith the National Post, her first since the controversy hit the headlines this year, Ms. Lynch said the "tidal bore of interest on both sides of the equation" prompted her to take this "more formal step to lead some cutting-edge thinking."

She was clearly familiar with the criticisms levelled against her commission, and had an answer for each.

She said the CHRC's harshest critics have misunderstood its dual role to decide which cases to refer to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for adjudication and to promote awareness and lead public discussion of human rights.

"No one would ever call up the chief justice of the Federal Court and say, ‘Hey, are you ever overdoing it! What are you taking this case for?' " she said.

She compared the commission's work on complaints to that of a court registrar, meaning it has neither the ability nor the duty to make legal findings of fact.

"The challenge is identifying Canadian jurisdiction over hate on the Internet and who put it there," she said.

She denied that her investigators have ever posted bigoted comments on the Internet, or engaged in entrapment, as has been frequently alleged.

"We have not done that and I would not tolerate it," she said.

But she acknowledged that many of the CHRC's investigatory strategies were developed before people realized the full impact of the Internet revolution and how it would affect human rights law.

She said the commission is doing "a superlative job" of weeding out the frivolous or vexatious complaints, as evidenced by the fact that not a single hate message complaint referred by the commission to the tribunal has been overturned on judicial review.

She has "no discomfort level" with the prominence of former CHRC employee Richard Warman, who has brought more than a dozen complaints under section 13-1, including Mr. Lemire's, and boasts a 100% success rate.

"I have pride and respect for the work that's done by commission members," she said, and she expects that it always "adheres to the principles of natural justice."

Prof. Moon's study will be the first major analysis of section 13-1 since the Supreme Court examined it in 1990, in the case of neo-Nazi phone-line operator John Ross Taylor. The court determined, by a vote of 4-3, that the section placed a "reasonable limit" on the Charter right to freedom of expression.

At the time, the section only applied to telephone communications, but it was expanded to include the Internet as part of the security response to 9/11. In the process, and because of the rapid expansion of the Internet, the scope of section 13-1 was drastically widened to include everything from individual bloggers to mainstream media.

"I don't think that's what was intended, but now that most media have [Web sites], suddenly they do fall within the scope of it," Prof. Moon said yesterday.

Prof. Moon, whose expertise is in constitutional law as it relates to freedom of speech and religion, said his mandate is to "think broadly" about whether section 13-1 is necessary and whether it should be adjusted.

He said the scope of his review is necessarily limited by the tight deadline. His mandate is to provide a detailed plan by July 4, and a final report by October 17.

National Post

 

 

 

 

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=35cbe8bc-216b-4a77-9a7b-07ee7a69cd14

 

 

Rights commission to review Internet hate laws

 

Don Butler

Canwest News Service

 

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

 

OTTAWA - Amid mounting public and political controversy, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has launched an independent review of the way it deals with hate speech on the Internet.

Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch announced Tuesday she has asked Richard Moon, a leading constitutional expert at the University of Windsor, to conduct the study. His report, expected this October, will help shape the commission's position on whether Internet hate laws should be changed, she said.

Last December, the Canadian Islamic Congress and a group of Muslim law students used Internet hate sections of federal and provincial human rights acts to file a series of complaints against Maclean's magazine for articles they said fostered hatred against Muslims.

British Columbia's Human Rights Tribunal completed a five-day hearing into one of the complaints earlier this month, but has not yet released a ruling.

Ontario's Human Rights Commission dismissed the complaint, saying it lacked jurisdiction over printed material, while the federal Human Rights Commission is still investigating.

The Maclean's complaints have sparked a furor over whether laws on Internet hatred unduly restrict freedom of expression.

Earlier this year, Liberal MP Keith Martin introduced a private member's bill calling for the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The section makes it illegal to use the Internet or telephone to disseminate messages likely to expose identifiable groups or individuals to hatred or contempt.

Martin followed that up last month with a motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to hold public hearings on the matter.

Around the same time, Conservative MP Rick Dykstra asked the Commons justice committee to examine the human rights commission's mandate and how it interprets Section 13.

Lynch played down the controversy stirred up by the Maclean's complaints or the ensuing parliamentary manoeuvres as triggers for the review.

"We've been working on this for a long time internally," she said, adding she identified it as an issue last summer, soon after taking over as chief commissioner.

That said, she conceded that the "velocity" of the public debate "took all of us by surprise. It's clear the public want to have the debate. Our job really is to animate and lead on the debate."

Lynch said she isn't "the least bit concerned" that the current law blurs the lines between hate speech and speech that is merely offensive.

So far, she pointed out, there have been no rulings that water down free expression.

Like any court, her staff simply receive and process complaints. "A registrar of a court doesn't take a statement of claim, read it over and say, 'Go away - we won't give you a file number.' "

It's "absolutely possible" that the review will lead to changes to the current law, Lynch said.

When Section 13, which originally dealt only with telephone hate messages, was amended in 2001 to include the Internet, print media were just starting to make widespread use of the new technology, she noted.

"I don't think it was ever contemplated at that time that media would start posting text on the Internet such that it would then come under our jurisdiction. As the Internet matures, we need to have a look at this."

It's conceivable that legislative changes may not be necessary, Lynch said.

The Human Rights Act allows the commission to draft binding guidelines - similar to statutory regulations - that can set out the application of the act.

"We have learned how to work within our legislative mandate and modernize," she said.

"If it's possible to do so, it's more practical not to have legislative amendments, because that takes a long time to do."

Moon is one of Canada's leading experts free speech law, and is the author of a seminal work, The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression.

As part of his review, he will look at Section 13 and consider the mandates of human rights commissions and tribunals, along with other government institutions involved in addressing hate messages on the Internet.

He'll also consider whether other government or non-government organizations could play a role.

In a brief interview Tuesday, Moon said the public debate over the Maclean's complaints is evidence that such a review is needed.

"I don't think anybody could pretend that there isn't a serious issue to be considered here."

At this point, he said, he is "reading comprehensively" and will meet privately with people on all sides of the issue to hear their perspectives.

He doesn't plan to accept written briefs or hold public hearings.

© Ottawa Citizen 2008

 

 

http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/06/fed-censorship.html

 

Fed censorship powers to be reviewed

Well, well, well! MP Keith Martin's motion to review the censorious Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act may get nowhere, and the Commons' justice committee's review of the section may be bogged down forever, but it still looks like there's light at the end of the tunnel.

That's because the Canadian Human Rights Commission announced today that it has launched "a comprehensive policy review of how best to address hate messages on the Internet. Leading constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor will conduct an independent study as an important part of this review."

Moon is to begin work immediately and report back by the fall. And lest you think a "no action needed" result has been predetermined, consider this statement from Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch: "Legislation must evolve - when necessary - to respond and reflect changes in society."

One big reason for optimism is the fact Moon "is a prominent expert on freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and religion, and the structural aspects of constitutional rights protection. He is the author of the seminal book, 'The Constitutional Protection of Freedom of Expression'."

See the CHRC's entire release here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on June 17, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink