Sunday, May 4, 2008

LEVANT: On the Intervention of the Anti-Racist CCF

Breakthrough: Anti-racism public interest law firm intervenes against CHRC

I'm delighted to learn that my old friends at the Canadian Constitution Foundation have requested intervenor status in Marc Lemire's constitutional challenge to section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 13 is the thought crimes provision that has also ensnared Maclean's magazine for publishing excerpts of Mark Steyn's book, America Alone.

My own human rights battle at the Alberta commission is under that province's version of section 13, which happens to be section 3 under the Alberta act. If the federal section 13 is struck down by the courts, the provincial law under which I'm charged (and others, like Rev. Stephen Boission have been convicted), would immediately be of dubious constitutionality, too.

You can see the CCF's application for intervenor status here.

The CCF's mandate isn't just anti-racism -- they have intervened for patients' rights, as well. But their founding case was taking up the cause of a Nisga'a Indian chief, James Robinson, also known by his Nisga'a name, Chief MountainMore recently, the CCF intervened on behalf of Japanese Canadian fishermen who were being discriminated against on the basis of their race. In other words, the CCF's anti-racism credentials are impeccable.

I suspect that the CCF's intervention will be the first of several. I think it's likely that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, or one of its affiliates, will join the constitutional challenge, too. And the Canadian Association of Journalists has expressed their willingness to intervene in my case and in Maclean's, too. I'm grateful for their offer of help -- but intervening in this direct constitutional challenge could be a way to defeat the legislation itself -- a more productive use of their legal resources than fighting individual cases under the legislation.


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