The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Politicians targetted too
We hear daily of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, but only rarely do we hear of some of the lesser publicized instances of journalists, politicians and others being targetted by censorious human-rights commissions.
Ron Gray, national leader of the Christian Heritage Party, reminds us today of the peril in which he and his party have now been placed by a human-rights complaint. Here's a link to the CHP website's background on the case. And here's the text, pasted below, of Gray's news release of earlier today (a release in which Gray also provides a good overview of other similar cases):
CHP warns of trend to fascism in abuse
of and by human rights commissions
LANGLEY, BC; Jan. 24, 2008 (CHP) — “If any magazine, journalist, or political party can be told by a government agency what it may or may not say, Canada will become a fascist state,” warns Ron Gray, leader of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada.
He was speaking about recent ‘human rights’ complaints against Maclean’s magazine, author Mark Steyn, former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant—and the federal political party he leads.
The CHP, the sixth-largest of Canada’s 16 registered federal political parties—next in size after the Green Party—with its leader have been targeted in three complaints made to the Canadian Human Rights Commission by an Edmonton man.
Those complaints cite articles on the CHP web-site that oppose same-sex “marriage” and other aspects of the “gay rights” agenda.
Ironically, the first of the complaints was about an article not written by the CHP, but by an American Internet news service, WorldNetDaily.com; that article reported extracts from legal and sociological commentaries in the quarterly Law Review published by Regent University of Virginia in April, 2002.
However, the complaint from Rob Wells of Edmonton to the CHRC didn’t come until December, 2007—more than four and a half years after the CHP had posted the report.
For 20 years, the CHP has maintained a policy that says:
“It should be beyond the power of any legislative or administrative body to recognize, affirm, condone or discriminate in favor of identifiable sexually aberrant individuals or groups.”
That policy underlies the CHP’s opposition to same-sex “marriage” and other legal recognition given to homosexuals in recent years, says Gray.
“While our policy is rooted in our commitment to biblical principles,” he adds, “there are sound secular reasons for it as well:
“The science is now very clear that homosexuality is not innate—every study that ever claimed to have found a ‘gay gene’ was discredited by subsequent peer review.
“Dr. Jeffrey Satinover—who taught psychiatry at Yale and is past president of the CJ Jung Psychological Institute—says homosexuality is a behavioral addiction whose nearest analogue is alcoholism: the more it is indulged, the stronger the addiction becomes.1
“The 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association to delete ‘homosexuality’ from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual—a decision that was far more political than medical, coerced by pressures including threats of physical violence made by homosexual advocates during the APA’s 1973 convention in San Francisco2 —has been repudiated by subsequent surveys of practising psychiatrists: a 1977 survey found that 69 percent of psychiatrists in North America still regard homosexuality as a treatable mental illness3; in a later survey covering both North America and Europe, 73 percent of psychiatrists agreed.4
“And a 2000 study in Vancouver, published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association and in the International Journal of Epidemiology, showed that the life expectancy of homosexual men is dramatically less than that of heterosexual men—from 8 to 20 years less; the life expectancy of a homosexual man in Canada in 2000 was about the same as the life expectancy of all men in Canada in 1871!5
“If journalists, politicians and educators continue to tell children ‘It’s OK to be gay,’ some of those children will be tempted to experiment; if they experiment, some will become addicted—and if they become addicted, those journalists, politicians and educators will be responsible for condemning those children to a miserable, short life and an early grave.
“That’s why the CHP opposes such legislation as the Liberals’ legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’—which their Justice Minister promised Parliament in 1999 the Liberal government would never enact,” says Gray.
He said the CHP published the WorldNetDaily article in 2002 because it contained information vital to the on-going public policy discussion about the “gay rights” agenda. “We felt then, and still feel, that the public is entitled to see the information from those academic studies,” Gray said.
A GROWING THREAT
Gray listed sampling of recent cases in which human rights commissions have penalized Canadians for exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression—rights which are supposedly protected in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
• Most recently, Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine were the subject of a jet-to-be-adjudicate complaint for reprinting a chapter from Steyn’s book America Alone.
• Ezra Levant, founder and formerly publisher of Western Standard magazine, is currently being investigated by the Alberta HRC in connection with a complaint about his magazine publishing Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet, Mohammed.
• Catholic Insight magazine is currently the subject of a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission for material on its website critical of homosexual conduct.
• Steven Boissoin, a Christian pastor, faces punishment by the Alberta Human Rights Commission for a letter published in the Red Deer Advocate. The adjudicator alleged a “circumstantial causal connection” between his letter and an unrelated attack on a homosexual teenager in that city.
• John Di Cecco, a Kamloops city councilor, was fined $1,000 for by the BC Human Rights Tribunal when a complaint was brought in response to comments he made about homosexual conduct.
• Knights of Columbus of Port Coquitlam, BC, were fined by the BC Human Rights Tribunal in 2005 for refusing the use of their hall for a lesbian “wedding” reception.
• Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary was the subject of a human rights complaint in 2005 for articulating the Catholic Church’s teachings on same-sex marriage in a pastoral letter. (The complaint was later withdrawn after a meeting with the complainants, and substantial expense.)
• In 2002, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission ordered the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix and Hugh Owens to each pay $1,500 to three complainants because of the publication of an advertisement that quoted Bible verses on homosexuality. Four years later, this was overturned by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal after the court ruled that the message, though offensive, didn’t reach the level of inciting hatred..
• Bill Whatcott, charged with spreading hate against homosexual persons for the distribution of material objecting to an advertisement that ran in Saskatchewan’s largest newspaper for homosexuals, Perceptions, seeking boys for activities that specifically mentioned that their age was “… not so relevant”. The material distributed by Mr. Whatcott also objected to material promoting “gay” culture and beliefs entering into the Saskatoon Public School System and the University of Saskatchewan. The appeal by Mr. Whatcott to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench from his conviction and fine of $17,500.00 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal was denied by the Judgment of Mr. Justice F. Kovatch in a decision received on December 11, 2007.
• Chris Kempling, a teacher and counsellor at a public high school in Quesnel, was cited in May 2001 for “conduct unbecoming a professional” by the BC College of Teachers for letters published in a local newspaper during the summer. As punishment he was suspended from teaching for one month. He appealed his suspension all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in 2006 refused to hear his appeal.
CBC radio interviews in 2004 about his private practice as a counselling psychologist in Prince George were made the basis for a formal reprimand by the Quesnel School District; when Dr. Kempling complained to the BC Human Rights Tribunal that his liberties were being infringed, the Tribunal refused to hear his complaint.
Dr. Kempling was also penalized by his employer, the Quesnel School District, for a letter to the editor of his local newspaper announcing his candidacy for the CHP, and stating the CHP’s long-established policy on government approval of homosexuality.
• In 1999, Toronto printer Scott Brockie was ordered by the Ontario HR Commission to pay a ‘gay’ activist group $5,000 for refusing to print their letterhead.
Gray also commented on the political effect of the complaints against him and the CHP.
“Of course, such allegations probably hurt us politically in the short term,” Gray said. “The complainant grossly misrepresents us as ‘bigots’—which we’re not; but we understand that’s part of the give-and-take of a debate about public policy.
“But activists who want to use the power of the state to silence arguments they can’t answer don’t accept such a free interchange of ideas.
“Such attempts to use government authority to silence opponents are the very essence of fascism.”
1—J. Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1996) pp 31-40
2—R. Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagnosis (New York: Basic Books, 1981) pp 102-146;
3—”In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association decided to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disturbances. But, in 1977, a survey of American psychiatrists (cf. Lief, H. I., “Sexual Survey 4: Current Thinking on Homosexuality”, Medical Aspects Of Human Sexuality, 11  110-111) revealed that 69 percent of them continued to think that homosexuality was a pathological adaptation and not a normal variation.”
4—(Stanton L. Jones, Ph.D., Provost of Wheaton College, and Mark A. Yarhouse, Ph.D., Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate, pp. 97-98)
5—Robert S. Hogg et al., “Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men”, International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 65
Contact: Ron Gray (604) 534-3319
The facts behind three CHRC complaints filed against the CHP, its Skeena EDA, & Ron Gray
Jan. 24, 2008 — The story behind this case actually begins in California in 2000, when the two co-editors of The Stanford Law Review decided to devote an edition to legal issues surrounding the ‘gay’ agenda . They solicited articles from more than a dozen recognized legal and sociological authorities representing both sides of the issue; but when the Review was published in Spring, 2001 it contained only the politically correct pro-’gay’ essays. One of the co-editors had censored the articles that questioned the validity of the ‘gay’ agenda.
The other co-editor took the excluded essays to Regent University Law School in Virginia, proposing that they be published in the Regent Law Review in order to present “the other side” of the issue to legal scholars and the interested public.
The Regent Law Review published those essays in April, 2002; when that issue of the Regent Law Review and the story behind it came to the attention of WorldNetDaily (the world’s largest independent Internet news site), they ran a story which summarized some of the censored essays. In the interests of balanced journalism, before publishing the story WND showed it to PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)—and their comments were included in the story.
When I read that story on WorldNetDaily, I felt the information was important to the public policy debate raging in Canada (this was still before Parliament had passed Bill C-250, the ‘hate crimes’ amendment to the Criminal Code, or Bill C-38, legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’). So I reproduced the WorldNetDaily story on the Christian Heritage Party’s web-page. That story was also reproduced on the web-page of the CHP’s Skeena Electoral District Association (EDA).
From its inception, the CHP has had a policy which states:
“It should be beyond the power of any legislative or administrative body to recognize, affirm, condone, or discriminate in favor of identifiably sexually aberrant individuals or groups.”
The CHP remains the only federal political party in Canada that opposes same-sex “marriage” or civil unions, and/or teaching children that homosexuality is “normal” or “an acceptable alternate lifestyle.” We contend that, since homosexual behaviour shortens life expectancy by as much as 20 years (some experts say more), it is demonstrably unhealthy, and its recognition and acceptance should not be promulgated in schools or by public events like “Gay Pride” parades.
Publishing the WND article on the CHP web-page was merely a means of making articles by experts available to the Canadian public, to provide academic support for our long-established policy.
I first learned of the three complaints by an Edmonton activist in December, 2006 when the CHP’s Skeena/Bulkley Valley Electoral District Association faxed me a copy of a letter they had received from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, informing them that a complaint had been filed against them for reproducing the WND article (from the CHP’s main web-site) on the Skeena EDA web-site. Subsequently, in January, 2007, I was informed by the CHRC that the same man had also filed complaints against the CHP National Office; and against me, personally.
As National Leader of the CHP, I exercise editorial authority (with the assistance of the CHP’s Publications, Communications and Education Committee) over everything published by the Party.
The first contact was an invitation by the CHRC mediator for us to enter into mediation with the complainant. I contacted the mediator and said I could alter my travel schedule to come to Edmonton for mediation on Feb. 26, 2007. The CHRC mediator, Mr. Bob Fagan, said he would contact the complainant and let me know.
By Feb. 19, the day when I had to leave for meetings of the CHP National Board in Lethbridge, Alberta, I had not yet heard from Mr. Fagan; so I called him to say that it was now too late to re-schedule my travel. I asked that he and the complainant propose an alternate date for mediation, and said I would try to accommodate them to the extent that my work and travel schedule allowed. I asked permission to have an observer from the Skeena EDA accompany me.
To this date, I have not heard back from either of them.
At the same time—Feb. 19, 2007—I wrote to Mr. Richard Tardif, Deputy Secretary-General of the CHRC, telling him that I do not recognize the jurisdiction of the CHRC over a registered federal political party, and asking him to explain why he thought the CHRC would have such jurisdiction.
To this day, I have not had any response from Mr. Tardif.
The next communication from the CHRC was June 7, 2007, when Mr. Michel Paré, Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services Division of the CHRC, informed me that “since both parties have refused mediation”, the case was being turned over to Investigations Branch. (It would seem to me that if the complainant has rejected mediation, the complaint should be dropped.)
I wrote to Mr. Paré, reviewing the history of the three complaints, and correcting his misunderstanding that I or the CHP had rejected mediaton. We were (and are) willing to enter mediation, but have heard nothing at all from the mediator. I also sent him a copy of my letter to Mr. Tardif, raising the issue of jurisdiction.
I received a letter from Mr. Paré, dated June 29, 2007, simply stating that the complaints had been referred to the Investigations Division.
However, June 25 the Skeena EDA of the CHP had already received a letter from an investigator for the CHRC—which they faxed to me. I called the investigator and explained to her that I had not received answers to any of my communications with the CHRC, and that I was still ready to meet with the mediator. She told me they had previously experienced similar difficulties with the Mediation Branch, and she asked that I fax her copies of all the previous correspondence—which I did. .
The next communication I received from the CHRC was an e-mail from the investigator—dated June 25, 2007, but only received by ExpressPost at my home in Langley, BC on July 13, 2007—asking me four questions. I replied that I did not believe I should ‘attorn to jurisdiction’ by answering her questions, until the issue of jurisdiction had been settled.
I have told the investigator that if the complainant truly feels that we are motivated by hate, he should file his complaint with the RCMP under Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code.
I had also mentioned to the mediator, when speaking to him Feb. 19, that it seems to me an abuse of the Canadian Human Rights Act to use it as a weapon with which to censor ideas with which one disagrees; his response was astonishing:
“The Human Rights Act is about censorship!” he answered.
I have retained a lawyer—Mr. Ron McDonald of Lethbridge, AB—who has prepared an extensive brief and forwarded it to the CHRC investigator.
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Politicians targetted too:
A valid point of which I was already aware. The kangaroo tribunals find Biblical quotations pertaining to sodomy hate speech. In fact anyone disagreeing with the "life style" is considered the same. Just more confirmation that the whole HR industry needs to be put to rest if we want to maintain our traditional rights and freedoms.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-01-24 3:01:26 PM
In the list of cases Gray gives where a HRC dealt with cases says were about free speech, he has included cases that were not about speech at all. The refusal to rent a hall or refusal to print letterhead, whether you agree with their right to do so or not, are not cases of speech being restricted. So he misstates the degree to which speech is under attack. He likely does this because what he cares about is not free speech.
It is interesting that he only includes in his list cases where not only the principle of freedom is in issue, but where he agrees with the defendant. If you REALLY believe in free speech, then you should be just as outraged when those whose speech you hate is restricted. In 2008 there have been two HRC decisions so far, one against BC White Pride for hate speech. They and other racists who have been taken to HRCs need to be included in his list if he wants anyone to believe that he really cares about speech at all.
Like Ezra, Gray only talks about the speech he approves of. That does not make him an ally of FREE speech, it makes him merely a defender of his OWN speech.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-24 3:04:40 PM
Fact Check- That is total bullshit.
I, and many others I know don't give a rat's rectum what other people say. White Pride, Gay Pride, NAMBLA, Cross-Dressing dogs and cats... who really cares?
To misquote the Bible .. By their words ye shall know them. That's good enough for me.
Speech is either free or it isn't. Pick a side.
Posted by: atric | 2008-01-24 3:54:56 PM
Fact Check: Usually, I am impressed with your criticisms, and take them to heart. In this case, however, I think you may have gone a little awry.
In order to publicize and defend freedom of speech, for everyone, you needn't, in your marketing, advertising, recruitment, and so on, mention literally every case, or even those cases which are tainted by being vile. The CHP, and Ezra, are making a decision about what strategy to use in order to best defend freedom of speech.
Strategy and marketing decisions are perfectly legitimate, in my mind. If someone raises the issue to Ezra (as it was in a few videos I've watched), he doesn't shy away from saying that vile people ought to get freedom of speech as well. For instance, Ernst Zundel was brought up once, and Ezra said he should be free to say what he wants as well. In fact, Ezra pointed out that Zundel was a hack with a tiny group of morons cloistered around him until the Canadian courts made an international story out of him.
The purpose of their advertising this new violation of freedom of speech is to recruit supporters, and to participate in what I think is a groundswell of opposition to the HRC and their mandate. That purpose is best served by highlighting the most egregious and sympathetic cases, while dealing with the less sympathetic cases when asked. Not otherwise.
Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-01-24 4:50:58 PM
I think you conclude too quickly that the decision here is one of strategy. It could be, but it is hard to know the difference between strategy and not really caring about others speech. Even with Ezra, it could just be lip service to free speech for others.
To tell the difference, I use a couple of tests. First, has Ezra ever done ANYTHING to suggest he takes the speech he hates seriously as being worthy of freedom? When David Ahenakew was convicted in 2005, did Ezra try to raise money for his defense and publish a cover story demanding his release? Nope. Especially given that Ezra is Jewish, such a move could ONLY have been seen as one made on principle. I am sure it would have gotten a LOT more media attention than his current case has.
As I am sure you are aware, old Papa Kant taught us to be suspicious of when people do the right thing when it is what they want. Moral credit, says he, only goes to those who act CONTRARY to what serves themselves. I (like most people) think he overstates this, but he has a point. If Ezra wants us to really believe he cares about free speech he will be loudest about it when it clearly is speech he abhors. He also does nothing for his credibility by currently suing FFWD and Merle Terlesky for saying nasty things about him. You can't stand for free speech on odd days and against it on even ones.
The second test I use is to look at the ground they choose to defend. Does the Gray really think that there are enough people willing to support hate speech so long as it is directed against homosexuals to use that as a spring board into a general case for freedom? Does Ezra think the same about anti-Muslim rhetoric? If so, both are idiots with a sure-fire losing strategy. If their choice were STRATEGIC, then I would think they would start with speech they DON'T like to make it clear that they are not acting on self interest, but out of principle.
So, Jaws, it is not that I did not consider the possibility that their choices were strategic, I just see no reason to think they really are. But I DO see lots of reasons to see self-interest as a motive in both cases. Beware of the false prophets. Ezra and Gray seem like two of them to me. I would be pleased if either of them could get hate speech laws repealed, but I don't think that is their real motive. I think it is much more about themselves than that.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-24 6:47:36 PM
Peter Worthington comments on Ezra Levant’s “Thought Crimes Inquisition”
Posted by: JC | 2008-01-25 2:29:29 PM
Worthington's article is awful. Overall, it's a meandering hodge-podge, but Worthington makes it clear he is no friend of free speech. The defence of Ezra he offers is that what Ezra did does not constitute hate speech. But to say that is to suggest that if it HAD been hate speech, then the proceedings would be justified. Which is just to say that he does think that the content of the speech matters.
Worthington makes his position on hate speech even more clear when he declares that he has contributed $1000.00 to help Ezra's defence, then immediately afterward mentions David Ahenakew's legal battle, but does not see fit to announce a similar contribution. If free speech were the goal, both would be equally worthy of helping. But if merely standing up for speech he likes is the goal, then his move makes sense.
As a final note, I find it odd that he refers to Shirlene McGovern as "the female human rights officer". Why specify that she is female? She's also a blonde, but he did not call her "the blonde human rights officer". She's also white, but he did not call her "the white human rights officer". Does Pete have a problem with women? It sure seems like it.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-01-25 3:34:33 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.