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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Whither free speech? Harper states support for section 13.

In an interview with Maclean's Stephen Harper states that the Conservatives have no plans to reform the commissions, and in fact, goes on to make a statement in support for their censorship powers.

Q: Will the government amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prevent unwarranted interferences in free expression by human rights commissions?

A: The government has no plans to do so. We’re certainly aware of the issue. My understanding—we’ve been monitoring this closely—I think you’ll actually see there’s been some modification of behaviour on the part of the Canadian human rights commissions. The most egregious cases right now are mostly at the provincial level. And it is a very tricky issue of public policy because obviously, as we’ve seen, some of these powers can be abused. But they do exist for valid reasons, which is obviously to prevent public airwaves from being used to disseminate hate against vulnerable members of our society. That’s a valid objective. It’s probably the case that we haven’t got the balance right, but I’m not sure the government today has any answer on what an appropriate balance would be.

Jay Currie says its time for "Plan B".

Warren Kinsella rejoices.

Posted by Mike Brock on January 8, 2009 | Permalink


When they use section 13 to shut down someone who supports affirmative action then I'll care. Oh and stop immigration if these people have different laws then me, we probably need less of them. Oh wait we don't need them at all that's why we have affirmative action.

But if we don't need or want them and the economy is crashing the important point is to bring in hundreds of thousands more to hurt the economy.

Posted by: dinosaur | 2009-01-08 10:55:38 AM

As KK stated, "It is the seizure of the coercive apparatus of the state by competing interest groups which sows social discord."

No surprise here.

Don't tug on Superman's cape. :)

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-08 11:22:43 AM

Good thing all those Conservatives worked so hard for so long to get P-203 passed.

Posted by: Janet Neilson | 2009-01-08 11:48:09 AM

It appears that Harper has abandoned any hope of victory for his party, since he still cannot see a major issue such as this. Sorry but monitoring will not wash!

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-08 12:24:09 PM

Is Harper a hypocrite?
He is on the Record as saying this:
“Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society,” says Stephen Harper, president of the National Citizens' Coalition. “It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.”

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2009-01-08 12:51:01 PM

As a voting member of the CPC it's time for plan R, repeal Harper. Being a spineless un-opinioned un-passionate placating leader doesn't lead to long term victories.

The Conservative party leadership under Harper has taken a disturbing position of ignoring the resolutions of the membership and it's time for them to go.

Posted by: Pete | 2009-01-08 1:31:38 PM

I'm just wondering if Ezra Levant's work to help get Harper elected counted against his choice by the WS as the year's top advocate for liberty. He obviously has had no influence with the government and was completely mute on the issue during the election. He didn't even try to make it an election issue. So he really did more harm than good for the cause. I think Mr. Whiskers should ask for the list to be revised!!! He was robbed!!!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-01-08 1:34:14 PM

The Harper Valley hypocrite comes to mind. How he can reconcile his lack of action with his earlier "belief" is beyond me.

Something is desperately wrong when Warren Kinsella supports Harper. Guess he had Stevie Dithers right from Day 1.

This man is not fit to lead Canada and especially the CPC whom (including a minister or Two)overwhelmingly endorsed the resolution to dump Section 13 at the Winnipeg convention. Even John Baird sent out letters saying he agreed.

He had the perfect opportunity to do something - anything but he listens to his own drummer and does a slow frog march.

A leadership review is indicated as he will not get my support from this day on. Oh how the CPC is starting to look like the Liberals.

Preston Manning for PM.

Posted by: The LS from SK | 2009-01-08 2:04:21 PM

One has to think that Ezra is really pissed off, even if he doesn't come out and say it. There's no way a sane man wouldn't be, and I have no reason to believe that Ezra isn't sane. Although I'm sure his detractors would say otherwise.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-01-08 2:21:02 PM

It's always about politics. Harper plays at politics very well. HRCs are a seriously intimidating political bludgeon. So are SLAPP suits. They are examples of political beasts chewing away at individual rights and freedoms. The eventual outcome, one can foresee, may well be against the philosophy of those who comment on this site. Your world will change for the worst because you do not have the will or global dominance to stop or reverse it. The trial of the Bountiful people is not the beginning, the end, or the middle. It is but a milestone on the road to the remaking of the world. Harper is caught up in this political maelstrom as is every western world politico. They either adjust or - well, look at the troubles at most places around the world that do not adjust to the power of the political beast.

Posted by: Agha Ali Arkahn | 2009-01-08 2:56:13 PM

Can any of you imagine the MSM if Mr Harper were to shut down anything called "Human Rights"?

As well the Liberals and Dippers are on the same page. Let them rant on, I'd have no part of it.

It's best ignored, the people with a thought process beyond a turnip can see through these commissions and decide for themselves.

Posted by: LizJ | 2009-01-08 3:04:32 PM

LiszJ, I think that line of reasoning has been discredited by pretty much every editor of every major newspaper in the country coming out against Section 13.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-01-08 3:43:48 PM

Would someone please tell me what the philosophical difference is between the Liberal party and the Conservative Party, and why I should care who wins the next election? I can't see any difference on this issue, or on most others, for that matter....

Posted by: BillBC | 2009-01-08 4:00:33 PM

I wonder why Joe Clark preferred Paul Martin over Stephen Harper a few years back? Mr. Harper is looking more and more like a Clark-Mulroney pink Tory each day.

Posted by: Cory D. Schreyer | 2009-01-08 4:16:00 PM

Inside the brain of Stephen Harper the thinking goes something like - lets see, do I risk pissing off Ezra, Steyn, Coyne and the minority of true conservatives along with all 46.5 libertarians in Canada or do I piss off the CBC, the CTV, every academic institution and unionized civil servant and risk the SH-racist talking points I'll be hearing constantly from the Video Professor and Ignatieff and the MSM. I think I want to be PM more than I want to be true to libertarian principles so f... you Ezra! Besides, who else are they going to vote for.......

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-01-08 4:48:33 PM

What makes this so appalling is that there is (contrary to what some earlier posters argued) support for repeal across the political spectrum. When the editorial board of the Toronto Star is in favour of axing section 13, a Conservative PM should be able to muster the political courage to do so.

Apart from his craven lack of principle, Harper also doesn't know his rear from a hole in the ground. It is most emphatically not the case that most of the abuses have been in the provincial commissions as anyone who has been following this issue could have told him.

We all need to write letters to the PMO and our local MPs about this!

Posted by: Craig | 2009-01-08 5:47:37 PM

Besides, who else are they going to vote for.......

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-01-08 4:48:33 PM

That's pretty much the picture I've had for a while John. And for a while now I've saved a couple of bucks on gas every election day.
I supported Harper financially and cheered Bush when he raced of to the Midlle East.
Like a tool, I actually believed in them.
They were the great conservatives of the new millennia. And what Bull s**t that turned out to be. Both these guys have been behaving as if a marionette is doing all the driving. As Ali said, they "adjust" don't they?
It was this realization that put me 42 on the list of 46.5 Libertarians ;)
Its about the only thing I can see that's right of centre any more.

Its time Canadians get "really" pissed off and get all over their MP's so we finally see some "bottom up" change. Its overdue.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-08 7:51:50 PM

Without a majority Harper will continue to try and please everyone....thereby pleasing no one. The inmates will continue to run the asylum and we will continue to be hammered by activist driven agendas that nibble away at freedom, funded by our tax dollars. Don't rock the boat is the new mantra. Welcome to 2009.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-08 8:07:16 PM

I think the 'who else are they gonna vote for' line is silly. First, a lot of us who are not socons could stomach voting for iggy. Or we could not vote at all, which, in certain key ridings, would be in effect a vote for the Liberals.

Also, John Chittick's comments are, to put it mildly, ill-informed. To repeat: every major newspaper in the country has called for the repeal of section (that includes the Globe and the frickin Toronto Star). So has Margaret Attwood, John Ralston Saul, Alan Borovoy, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Rex Murphy at the CBC. Liberal MP Keith Martin even has a private members' bill which would remove section 13 from the CHRA. To top it off, Richard Moon, the CHRC's hand-picked investigator, has also called for section 13 to go!

Would the lying jackal cry foul? Sure, but how cares. Repeal of section 13 can be sold politically. And it is the right thing to do.

Posted by: Craig | 2009-01-08 8:23:08 PM

Can I take my vote back? Harper can go frack himself - fracking Nazi. First a 30 billion deficit, now this. Why did he abandon the PC party? What a jerk. Screw him.

Posted by: Faramir | 2009-01-09 12:06:51 AM

Well, that's the straw that broke the camel's back, isn't it?

Why vote at all? It just gives another politician $1.95 of your tax dollars every year.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2009-01-09 12:10:03 AM

Sorry peterj I do not buy that Harper needs a majority before being able to deal with this. What was the point of the latest convention if Harper thumbs his nose at policy decisions made there? Furthermore as already mentioned by others this is not a partisan issue, since there are also Liberal MPs supporting the repeal of section 13.

No, this smacks of Trudeau style arrogance and I won't have it from any party.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-01-09 12:30:44 AM

Well, some groups, no doubt are happy.

"Jewish groups weighed in instantly Monday, objecting to Moon's primary proposal.

"We certainly are somewhat concerned, even alarmed really, at the call for repealing Section 13," said the CJC's Bernie Farber.

"We don't want to be in a situation in this country where we lose that sense of protection for vulnerable minorities."

Farber said Moon's recommendation would further "criminalize" hate speech and punish offenders. The CJC prefers leaving some authority over cyber hate with human rights tribunals, which Farber said are more accessible to the public and help educate people about "codes of conduct . . . in a free and democratic society."

Similarly, B'nai Brith Canada said repealing Section 13 would be "a step in the wrong direction."

Both groups supported Moon's alternative proposal to amend the section.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have largely ignored the issue until recently. At a national policy convention earlier this month, Conservatives -- including Justice Minister Rob Nicholson -- voted almost unanimously in favour of a resolution to eliminate Section 13.

However, Farber doubted that repealing or amending Section 13 will be a top priority for Harper's minority government, which is focused almost exclusively on managing the fallout from the global economic crisis."

Posted by: DJ | 2009-01-09 12:43:35 AM

Harper no longer merits my support. He has deserted conservative principles in favour of retaining power at any cost. He is just another grasping politician anxious to protect his pension and perqs above all else.

Good riddance I say.

Posted by: Blazingcatfur | 2009-01-09 7:14:48 AM

Dedicated to the "leader"

“Friends,” I Need Your Vote
By Stephen J. Gray

This poem is dedicated to all the “friends” out there of "conservatism."

“Friends,” I need your vote
The politician cried
To move us forward
From the great divide

“Friends,” there will be no more talk of stopping abortion
“Friends,” my colleagues are muzzled on this silly notion

“Friends,” we intervened against free speech
“Friends,” we let the Human Rights Commission teach

“Friends,” no more talk of banning same-sex marriage
“Friends,” we never used the not-withstanding clause to stop that miscarriage

“Friends,” I need your vote to get a majority
“Friends,” then all my promises could be history

“Friends,” we are all the same under the skin
“Friends,” just politicians who want to win

“Friends,” will we do and say anything to get elected?
“Friends,” are we all as you suspected?

“Friends,” our party made Quebec a nation
“Friends,” now we need your affirmation

“Friends,” we ditched that party called Reform
“Friends,” Political Correctness (PC) is now the norm

“Friends,” we need you to give us the power
“Friends,” please don’t vote for that other shower

“Friends,” the polls have us running ahead
“Friends,” it’s clear by us, you want to be led

“Friends,” the promised land is almost here
“Friends,” at voting time we hold you dear

“Friends,” fixed election dates are for the birds
“Friends,” whoever heard of a politician keeping his word?

Stephen J. Gray
September 28, 2008.

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2009-01-09 10:50:36 AM

Stephen Harper is a continuing source of disappointment.

That is all.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-01-09 5:31:33 PM

Amen to that Terence. Real conservatives should be asking the questions. Why? Despite ALL the Liberal scandals and AdScam he could not get a majority? Dion was a disaster for the Liberals, and still Harper could not get a majority? Despite all the largesse to Quebec, he still could not get a majority? Does Harper have a credibility problem? And does all the evidence confirm this?

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2009-01-09 5:49:19 PM

Harper is just another liberal hiding in a so called Conservative Party, the latest polls have him tanking and I say good. He doesn't deserve my vote or support. I don't consider his lack of morals and principles a loss however, I intent to provoke and offend the SS Canadian your have no human rights SScommisses as often as I can. I will not bow before an arm of the government that better represents Saudi culture and values than Canadian culture and values.

He didn't win, he lost his grass roots supporters. I won't be voting for the Liberal Elite Party either, I'll run as an independant if one isn't running in my riding. No matter what happens hence forth I won't believe a word that comes out of Conservative MP's mouth.

The difference between a liberal and a Conservative is we have principles, or we did then Harper came along and boom we are just another leftard party who panders to minority groups to get elected.

Posted by: Rose | 2009-01-09 6:15:46 PM

I can understand Harper's caution; his government is in a rather precarious position right now and we all know that if the Liberals were to axe Section 13, it would hardly be noted in the press. Liberals, in seems, can get away with a lot more in this country than Conservatives. This is not so much the fault of Harper and the Tories as it is with central Canadian voters and the double standard they've created.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-01-09 6:35:52 PM

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