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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mark Steyn heralds the demise of the CHRA's hate messages censorship clause

Mark Steyn makes my day:

Before I attracted the attention of the thought police, I wasn’t entirely up to speed on state censorship in Canada, and I asked my friend Ezra Levant what he knew about this Section 13 business. He sent me a printout with the history of every single case. Two things stood out: first, while the plaintiffs had the costs of the case paid for by the taxpayer, almost all of the defendants had been too poor to have legal representation. That’s an inversion of basic justice. Second, one man had been the plaintiff on every single Section 13 case since 2002—Richard Warman. That didn’t pass the smell test.

The list had been compiled by someone called Marc Lemire, a man who’d been caught in the “human rights” crosshairs for half a decade. You might not care for his opinions, but that, as they say, is a matter of opinion. That he has been traduced by the Canadian justice system is a matter of fact. But he’s a dogged type, and he pushed back, and he got the goods on his abusers. He demonstrated that evidence exhibits were switched in mid-trial by the CHRC. He proved that Warman and CHRC investigator Dean Steacy were themselves members of and posters on white supremacist websites under various aliases. Indeed, in a remarkable conflict of interest, Warman, as the plaintiff, was permitted to stroll into the CHRC, the investigating body, and share passwords and Internet aliases with Steacy. [...]

This month the wheels fell off the racket. On Sept. 2, Athanasios Hadjis in effect acquitted Marc Lemire of all charges but one. This unprecedented verdict is, as Joseph Brean reported in the National Post, “the first major failure of Section 13(i)” in its history. Was Mr. Lemire the beneficiary of a unique dispensation from the CHRT? No. Judge Hadjis pronounced the accused guilty of a Section 13 infringement on one narrow charge—an Internet post headlined “AIDS Secrets” that (in David Warren’s words) “went on rather tendentiously about blacks and homosexuals” and was written by someone other than Mr. Lemire. Nevertheless, the court declined to punish the defendant even for this infraction on the following grounds:

“I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter.” [...]

For the moment, whatever Parliament or the Supreme Court does, Section 13 [of the Canadian Human Rights Act] is dead. The camel’s nose of liberty is under the CHRC tent. Now let’s give ’em the hump.

Go read it all. Ding-dong.

Posted by Kalim Kassam on September 17, 2009 in Freedom of expression | Permalink


one man had been the plaintiff on every single Section 13 case since 2002—Richard Warman. That didn’t pass the smell test.

How did the "mainstream" media not think thats worth a look. Of course... nobody in the MSM in the US ever checks anything out on the left side of the aisle. So much that 2 youths with a camera can maybe bring down the largest leftist 'community organizing' group in the nation.

Posted by: GeronL | 2009-09-17 5:56:40 PM

As reprehensible as is section 13, it is by far the most obviously vulnerable aspect of the HRCs. They are still morally lax and dangerous ideologues who run a kangaroo court. Their organization must be carefully examined and cut down to size.

Posted by: Timothy | 2009-09-17 6:19:25 PM

Warman's government sponsored personal harrassment vehicle needs to be crushed.
He and Lynch can do us all a favor and go back to their own planet too.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-09-17 8:38:33 PM

This appears positive, but as long as there exist a HR Act and CHRC/CHRT I see no reason to celebrate. The beast must be slain and declared dead in order to freedom to reign once again.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-09-17 9:01:08 PM

There is still no reason to celebrate because the provincial tenacles still exist and are unlikely to want to give up profitable turf.

It remains surprising why no disciplinary nor legal action against any of the main actors has occurred.

I can understand Harper not wanting to fire the Boss lady of the CHRC - especially in this time period (likely waiting for her term to run out) but it still not excuse Nicholson for not ordering an Inquiry.

Posted by: The LS from Sk | 2009-09-18 9:05:59 AM

Who could possibly question the legal analysis of Mark Steyn, the man who declared Conrad Black innocent?

Posted by: truewest | 2009-09-18 8:33:55 PM

So True west, you are then saying the HRC's are justified...or just slagging people off?

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-09-18 9:16:13 PM

Both. But really just pointing out that Steyn knows nothing about this law -- or any other.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-09-18 9:53:27 PM

So truwest - you know law?

What violations of the Criminal Code have employees, ex-employees of the CHRC as well as Intervenors commited?

Posted by: The LS from Sk | 2009-09-20 1:22:17 PM

What criminal code violations? None, as far as I can tell. But I'm sure you're going to argue otherwise. I wait with bated breath.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-09-20 10:06:50 PM

as long as the law remains, we are all still vulnerable. Honestly, I wonder what makes women like andreachuk, hall and lynch tick: are they angry at the world; do they equate free speech with the "patriarchy?" Are they simply bullies who went into the law in order to tyrannize over others? One thing i do know is that all three of these women are feminists and decidedly left of center - which is not surprising at all: the hard left you find in canadian universities and the feminazis you find in our english departments as well as in our law schools are the most censorious people you will ever encounter - even in the cloistered, blinkered world of academe. Until we as a society summon up the courage to fight back against these thugs - or until such time as beverly mclachlin gets hit by a bus crossing the street and can no longer pervert the constitution with her logic-chopping feminism - we will continue to labour under abominations like speech codes, section 13, and rancid political correctness.

Canadians are going to have to actually fight to wrestle back their rights from the statists.

Posted by: bk | 2009-09-21 3:46:36 AM

Umm. A non-ideological reading of Conrad Black's case would indeed lean toward innocence.

I also can sympathize with the thought, if not the actual deed, of Dick the butcher's exhortation in Henry the VI.

Posted by: BoomNoZoom | 2009-09-21 12:25:43 PM

Umm. No, it wouldn't.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-09-21 10:04:32 PM

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