Online hate law tested against Charter
The upcoming appeal of Section 13, Canada's online hate speech law, "pits one set of rights -- human rights -- against another set of rights -- charter-guaranteed rights," according to a request for intervenor status by the African Canadian Legal Clinic.
The hate speech case against webmaster Marc Lemire, brought to the Canadian Human Rights Commission by activist lawyer Richard Warman, is to be reviewed in Federal Court, after a tribunal last year decided that Mr. Lemire did violate Section 13, but that the law itself is an unconstitutional limit on free speech.
The Federal Court's decision "will seriously impact the ability of African Canadians to seek recourse for this type of offensive and damaging yet non-violent speech. Because of the potential for a far-reaching, negative impact on the African Canadian community, the ACLC ought to be present at the judicial review to protect the community's interests."
The Federal Court approved three Jewish groups as intervenors, plus the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the BC Civil Liberties Association.
The ACLC's position is that Section 13 be preserved, "albeit with some substantive and procedural modifications."
Mr. Warman said he will consent to the ACLC application. Mr. Lemire said he would oppose, calling the affidavit "long on self-promotion, short on any substance."
"African Canadians do not -- and have not in the 34 years of this law -- ever relied on the censorship of Section 13. This shows that taxpayer funded grievance hustlers like the ACLC do not even understand the community they purport to represent," he said.
Here are the full comments I gave to Joe Brean (National Post Reporter)
The ACLC's submissions are long on self-promotion, short on any substance. They provided no new arguments on the constitutionality of Section 13 at all, but rather make bizarre submissions about wanting “substantive and procedural modifications” to Section 13. [Para 37] They also are asking to make “recommendations on how the provision [Section 13] should be modified to align with the remedial focus of the Canadian Human Rights Act.” [Para 38 of ACLC submissions]
This is a judicial review of a decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, not a parliamentary committee. The Federal Court does not have the ability to tweak or make “substantive and procedural modifications” to the existing legislation. The Court is being asked to make a decision on if the provision – as it is currently written – is constitutional or not. Courts can not re-write legislation to make busy body tax-payer funded race hustlers happy.
The ACLC’s submissions look more like a press release than legal submissions. They do not offer any arguments on the actual constitutionality of Section 13, but rather just keep repeating – without any evidentiary basis - how Section 13 is needed, and striking the law down would have a “serious impact” on “African Canadians”.
Since 1977 the ACLC has never used Section 13 even ONCE, which makes a mockery of their claims that “a decision of this Court on the issues in this case will have a serious impact on the African Canadian community…” [Para 12] and “will seriously impact the ability of African Canadians to seek recourse...” [Para 31]
Not a single “African Canadian” has EVER used Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act in over 34 years. It is beyond suspect for this 100% tax-payer funded organization to claim that Section 13 is needed for the “African Canadian” community.
Section 13 is pure censorship, and the Federal Court striking this horrible law down as unconstitutional will not harm the prosperous African Canadian community in Canada one bit. Unlike other ethnic/religious groups who constantly run to the state to fight their battles, African Canadians have demonstrated they can handle the marketplace of ideas perfectly fine.
African Canadians do not – and have not in the 34 years of this law – ever relied on the censorship of Section 13. This shows that tax-payer funded grievance hustlers like the ACLC do not even understand the community they purport to represent.
I plan to oppose the African Canadian Legal Clinic’s attempt at intervention. They bring nothing of substance to the court challenge.
And lastly, I find it quite surprising that one-time Section 13 critic – Ed Morgan is representing the ACLC. He is the former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, a rabidly pro-censorship organization which has already been granted intervener status in this case.
PS: There was one Black person who used Section 13 back in 1988 against Terry Long. But he never identifies himself as an “African Canadian” nor even filed a Section 13 complaint about blacks. (He complained about “Vietnamese, Tamils, Sikhs”). Nealy complained about messages on an answering machine. There were 5 complaints in total for this case. Nealy, and 4 others, three were identified in the complaint as “employees or members of B’Nai Brith, Canada” and the fourth as a “Jew”. The Jewish interveners totally carried the case. Nealy was not even represented by a lawyer, while the other three had David. MATAS, Esq.