Minister Rob Nicholson finally weighs in on section 13
Finally, Rob Nicholson, the Conservative government's Justice
He's in favour of section 13.
Here's a 50-page legal brief (3
I would sum it up as follows:
1. The Conservative government believes that the constitutionality of section 13 has already been approved by the Supreme Court, and so it shouldn't be questioned again; and
2. In any event, section 13 is a reasonable limit on free speech.
1. In the 18 years since the constitutionality of section 13 was examined in 1990, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has taken a more and more abusive approach to its application, exceeding the narrow permission granted by the Supreme Court eighteen years ago.
2. The government's arguments that hate speech is the precursor to violence -- and that laws banning speech are necessary to prevent violence -- are absurd. They're logically false and they're historically false.
Read some of the junk history in the brief. Like paragraph 56, in which the government argues:
The triumphs of Fascism in
Take a moment to absorb that sentence, and then think for yourself.
But look at the second half of that sentence: tolerant, liberal societies can be fragile. First, the
It gets even more muddled. Look at paragraph 58:
...history teems with examples of times when lies, distortions and propaganda empowered groups like the Nazis to repress speech...
Read that again. The government is arguing that we should limit speech because we've seen how the Nazis could limit speech. Huh?
It wasn't propaganda that repressed speech. It was laws against speech that repressed speech. And those laws were passed by the
Paragraph 60 takes the cake. It's a list of examples of "violence" that the government says was granted "social acceptance" because of free speech. Black slavery in
But slavery existed not because of White propaganda, but because Blacks were not given their rights. To focus on the propaganda isn't just ridiculous, it ignores what the real problem was: a lack of civil rights for Blacks. All the propaganda in the world couldn't enslave Blacks; free Blacks in the northern states weren't spared hate speech, just as Blacks everywhere in
Read paragraph 61 of the government's brief:
black people would not have been the main victims of slavery in the antebellum American south without the support of extensive mass mythology about their alleged inferior qualities.
Really? Is that all it took to enslave Blacks -- "mass mythology"? And without that, they would have been free? The same crock is served up in paragraph 62: Hitler fomented "a mass delusion that Jews were responsible for bad times, and as a result, a Holocaust could be perpetrated against them without general opposition."
Is that what happened? Hitler hypnotized
If so, then why did Hitler have to pass the Nuremberg Laws? Why did he have to strip Jews of their real rights, if all it took to implement the Final Solution was some propaganda? Even medieval slave traders couldn't act without legal sanction -- the
So who is this nut the government keeps quoting?
His name is Alexander Tsesis, a professor at a middling
When the government lawyers do their own reasoning, they're even fuzzier. Try to make sense of paragraph 109:
Propaganda against different religions and cultural groups encroaches on the freedom of
What does that mean? That because someone says something mean about Scientologists, Scientologists are any less free to "entertain their own beliefs"? How exactly is one man's propaganda a "hindrance" to another person's faith? And how did the word "reprisal" sneak in there? We're talking about propaganda here -- mere words. We all agree that violence or other infringements on real rights should be illegal. So why is that in there, other than to scare people who don't know the difference between words and actions?
How about paragraph 113, where the government argues that censorship protects the "self-worth" of "the Jewish community". Really? Is that all it takes to give Jews self-esteem? And is giving Jews -- or anyone else -- self esteem the job of the government? And does that important goal trump someone else's freedom of speech?
Now let me state the obvious: the decision by the Justice Department to intervene was made before Rob Nicholson was the minister -- even before the Conservatives were the government. It was made when Irwin Cotler, the Liberal, was minister, if I'm not mistaken. Ever since then, federal lawyers have been beavering away in support of section 13, along with other tax-paid lawyers from the CHRC (and the gaggle of Jewish censors from the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith and the
Putting aside politics, if a previous Justice
There are probably hundreds of cases in the bowels of the Justice Department that are ongoing from previous administrations.
It is the worst of politically correct, historically inaccurate, junk sociology, dressed up as a legal brief. It's the kind of stuff that radical law professors love. And it's precisely the kind of thing that Stephen Harper has been good at rooting out -- such as the awful Court Challenges Program.
I simply don't believe that a single member of the Conservative government, let alone the Justice
"on a macro level, the general tone of society can affect the mind", and can lead to incivility and the "breakdown of community protection"
I don't even think the lawyers who drafted the brief even know what the hell that means. But they're just following old instructions, and they'll continue to do so until someone in the Conservative government yells "stop!"
I'd like to invite readers -- and fellow bloggers -- to go through the memo in detail. Give it a good fisking. Don't be intimidated by all the legalese; focus on the arguments, the logic, the history, the psychobabble, the plain old unintelligible political correctness of it.
And, if you happen to be a Conservative