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Saturday, August 23, 2008

U.S. political scientists fear Canadian Human Rights Commission

The American Political Science Association--the largest association for political scientists in the world--is planning to host its 2009 annual conference in Toronto. That has some political scientists sufficiently concerned to start a petition to keep the event out of Canada.

What are they afraid of? According to an article by former Western Standard editor Kevin Libin, these political scientists are concerned that some of their fellow academics will get ensnared by Canada's Human Rights Commissions.

"Our belief is that most Americans--even APSA members--have no idea how precarious the rights of freedom of speech and conscience are in Canada," said Bradley Watson, professor of American and Western political thought at Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College.

Marquette Warrior has the entire text of the petition. A couple of excerpts:

"And whereas Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) have recently sought to suppress speech and impose legal penalties on speakers for expressing opinions on issues ranging from the morality of homosexual conduct and the question of legal recognition of same-sex unions to the threat to freedom posed by violent extremists acting in the name of Islam — speech that, according to all accounts, would be protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States;

"And whereas, while we know of no direct suppression of academic freedom that has yet occurred in Canada, yet the writ of Canada’s HRCs runs without evident limit to encompass any speech, academic or otherwise, to which potential complainants take “offense”— and whereas, the arbitrariness and procedurally unconstrained practices of the HRCs create an air of uncertainty regarding whose speech, on what subjects, before what audiences, will be targeted next;

"And whereas members of the Association ought to be able at the 2009 annual meeting to present research and argument on controversial topics, such as public policy concerning homosexuality or the character of and proper response to terrorist elements acting in the name of Islam, without fear of legal repercussions of any kind,

"THEREFORE we petition the Council and staff of the APSA to take all steps necessary to ensure that academic freedom and free speech, even on controversial topics such as these, are not threatened at the 2009 annual meeting, including soliciting legal advice and seeking the assurance of the Government of Canada and local authorities that the civil rights and liberties of members to free speech and academic freedom will be secure."

My thoughts: I am embarrassed by the Canadian Human Rights Commissions. That a group of academics would fear speaking freely in Canada on controversial subjects is outrageous. It is time for us not to look to fiddle with the Canadian Human Rights Commissions to make them work.

It is time to abolish this un-Canadian and humiliating organ of Orwellian state speech suppression. Not amend, not adjust, not "make reasonable changes," but abolish.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on August 23, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you realize it's time to get your act together.

Posted by: dp | 2008-08-23 2:56:12 PM


The Americans should be scared, but not as scared as we should be by these "political correctness police". We are no longer living in a free country and haven't been since Trudeau and his commies took the reigns. Even the Liberals before him would be ashamed of this so called Liberal Party. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it is time to purchase land in the United States. If I can't speak my ind without the threat of being sued, we are passed the point of "seeing where it goes".
Scared indeed.

Posted by: Boggy | 2008-08-23 3:01:15 PM


"And whereas Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) have recently sought to suppress speech and impose legal penalties on speakers for expressing opinions on issues ranging from the morality of homosexual conduct and the question of legal recognition of same-sex unions to the threat to freedom posed by violent extremists acting in the name of Islam — speech that, according to all accounts, would be protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States;"

No free speech? No freedom!.
End of discussion. The HRC supporters are the new Gulag Archipelago commidants.

You don't like that? Tough. Throw me in prison, then.

Bigots! Racists! Sexists! Ideologues!

I'm calling you out. Where are you? Cowards!

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-08-23 4:10:16 PM


Sadly, I think this action by the Americans will serve only to strengthen Canadians' support of the HRC, not weaken it, and thus erase the few small steps of progress we'd made in kicking out these kangaroo courts. It has nothing to do with the rightness or wrongness of what the Americans did; they have every right--and every reason--to boycott a country that dismisses free speech as an "American import."

Rather, it is the simple political reality that nothing confirms a Canadian more in the rightness of his chosen course than the disapproval of an American. Conversely, the approval of an American is enough to make a Canadian back oars. It really is pathetic that so many Canadians have no reason to exist other than to not be American, but that is a fact of Canadian life.

These scholars might done better to embrace the HRC with open arms. That just might have been enough to get Parliament to pull the plug on these witch-finders.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-08-23 4:27:25 PM


You're right Shane. By the time this story gets any coverage, most people will think it's the church of scientology that's boycotting Canada.

Posted by: dp | 2008-08-23 4:46:01 PM


Is the MSM running this news?

Posted by: John V | 2008-08-23 5:19:36 PM


The National Post is covering it, John V. That's MSM in my books.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-08-23 5:39:55 PM


The headlines will look like:

American Political Scientists trash Canadas 21st century Human Rights Laws

Yankees attempt subjugating assumed rightless Canucks, SAME as 1812.

10's of millions in poverty, and Americans just Don't get Human Rights

Americans never cease attempting to reduce Canadians to RIGHTless subjects of their EMPIRE

Posted by: reg dunlop | 2008-08-23 6:57:36 PM


These academics should come to Canada and voice their ideas without reservation. Challenge the HRC's. Its called civil disobedience and this is the time and the place for it. If the "fit hits the shan" we will have another opportunity to go after the HRC's.

Posted by: DML | 2008-08-23 10:16:51 PM


I'm sympathetic with your suggestion, DML, but I think it's tougher to be civilly disobedient in a country where you don't have citizenship.

And I'm sure many American political scientists are more interested in things other than Canada's human rights commissions, and how they might help us abolish them...

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-08-23 10:29:00 PM


Of course they don't have citizenship but what will the HRCs do after the fact? If they try to put a ban on these academics from re-entering Canada for subsequent academic work the HRCs will stir up an American Hornet's nest.
They already have an idea that our HRCs need to be stopped. Your article proves that. The whole basis of academia is to stimulate dialogue and to hear all facets of an argument. Let the dialogue begin.

Posted by: DML | 2008-08-23 10:39:23 PM


I'm 100% in agreement, Peter.

Let's get 'em now while we've got the muscle.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-23 10:43:51 PM


It would be entertaining to watch what would happen if the human rights commissions tried to enforce hate speech laws against American academics visiting Canada.

Maybe the president would send in the army to liberate them. :-)

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-08-23 10:45:10 PM


I think it was a smart and prudent move if one remembers the religious group coming to Alberta and having it suggested that their agenda be submitted to the AHRC.

When provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan have lost their moral compass - what hope for free speech is there in Ontario and the Apartchik establishment of Barbie Doll Hall and Jennifer Lynchum.

It may have some political impact as "Stevie Dithers" (Election coming?) has been trying to cement Canada's position in the USA and the National Post article has made it's rounds across the world.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2008-08-24 6:03:11 AM


I think the Americans are doing the right thing, and yes, Canadians inflicted with knee-jerk anti-Americanism will miss the point. However there is no defence for having these HRCs or the HR Act and we deserve to be shamed internationally.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-24 12:32:19 PM


By Ezra Levant on August 24, 2008 11:04 PM
http://ezralevant.com/2008/08/hrcs-an-international-embarras.html

This is a fascinating story in the National Post, written by Kevin Libin. It details a move within an American association of professors to move their annual convention to a city other than Toronto, for the sole reason that Canada's human rights commissions are incompatible with the freedom of expression necessary for academic discussions.

It's unclear whether or not this movement will succeed in moving the conference; a conference of that size is not easily cancelled and rescheduled. But no matter; the point is already made. Canada is no longer considered a free country by those who value unbridled discussions over nanny-state censorship. Some excerpts:

...Bradley Watson, professor of American and Western political thought at Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College, said he will present a petition calling for the American Political Science Association (APSA) to re-evaluate its selection of Toronto for its 2009 conference at this year's annual meeting, taking place over the Labour Day weekend in Boston.

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-25 6:34:42 AM


Part of the take-over of Canada and the U.S. by fundamentalists with twisted minds by our free-country standards - isn't taking place just in far off wars in the middle east but from within. And Canadian Human Rights Commissions funded by the taxpayers are allowing suprious legal challenges to promote Islam and suppress free speech. This is but one small example of their message of hate toward the western world that they seek to control Mark Styen says it all in American Alone (should also read Canada Alone). Don't shoot the messenger(s) time will prove that the authors of the petition are right. We are having our freedoms abused and used by those that agendas that should frightne all. Remember 911. Seems many have forgotten or are in collective denial.

Posted by: Catherine | 2008-08-25 6:56:20 PM


Of course it's the right thing to do for a group of professors to attempt to dump Canada because of it's totalitarian Zionist crafted anti-free speech laws. It helps to wake up other academics to our plight.
The point I take issue with is their failure to go to the root of the problem by not drawing attention to Paul Fromm, Barb Kulaszka and Doug Christy in the case of Marc Lemire.
Marc, and more pointedly, his helpers, have, by an exponential measure, taken quite literally I might add, the BLOODY BRUNT of the "flack" in this battle.
Yet, nary a single mention, except by Ezra Levant, has almost ever been made of them.
Why?
Because they have stood up to the Zio-Commie-Atheists for decades in the defence of Ernst Zundel and other Revisionist Historians.
If those professors, who can hardly dodge criticisms with claims of ignorance, really cared about freedom of speech, and not their own careers and comparatively paultry salaries, they would have taken the bull by the horns and given credit where credit was due. Instead they half heartedly complain about limits to expression using the politically acceptable "Zio causes du Jour" of Islamophobia and Christophobia instead of feeding those who are battered, bloodied and starved from manning the trenches of freedom loving Canadians for decades!
Shame on them! Pathetic Johnny come lately cowards all of them! Yes I run the risk of being taken to task for criticizing professors who are largely aiding us in our fight for justice, but Ernst Zundel has received the Equivalent of 12 years plus in jail in 3 Zio-occupied countries. In doing so a slew of well established Laws were broken. And all for expressing his God given rights to freedom of expression. Yet all these profs can muster is to promote McLeans Magazine, Mark "the Zionist" Styne and Catholic and Islamic controversies. I'm sorry, but I can't swallow that pill without gagging.

Posted by: roy albrecht | 2008-08-27 11:00:49 AM


Of course it's the right thing to do for a group of professors to attempt to dump Canada because of it's totalitarian Zionist crafted anti-free speech laws. It helps to wake up other academics to our plight.
The point I take issue with is their failure to go to the root of the problem by not drawing attention to Paul Fromm, Barb Kulaszka and Doug Christy in the case of Marc Lemire.
Marc, and more pointedly, his helpers, have, by an exponential measure, taken quite literally I might add, the BLOODY BRUNT of the "flack" in this battle.
Yet, nary a single mention, except by Ezra Levant, has almost ever been made of them.
Why?
Because they have stood up to the Zio-Commie-Atheists for decades in the defence of Ernst Zundel and other Revisionist Historians.
If those professors, who can hardly dodge criticisms with claims of ignorance, really cared about freedom of speech, and not their own careers and comparatively paultry salaries, they would have taken the bull by the horns and given credit where credit was due. Instead they half heartedly complain about limits to expression using the politically acceptable "Zio causes du Jour" of Islamophobia and Christophobia instead of feeding those who are battered, bloodied and starved from manning the trenches of freedom loving Canadians for decades!
Shame on them! Pathetic Johnny come lately cowards all of them! Yes I run the risk of being taken to task for criticizing professors who are largely aiding us in our fight for justice, but Ernst Zundel has received the Equivalent of 12 years plus in jail in 3 Zio-occupied countries. In doing so a slew of well established Laws were broken. And all for expressing his God given rights to freedom of expression. Yet all these profs can muster is to promote McLeans Magazine, Mark "the Zionist" Styne and Catholic and Islamic controversies. I'm sorry, but I can't swallow that pill without gagging.

Posted by: roy albrecht | 2008-08-27 11:01:21 AM



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