Monday, May 12, 2008

MARK STEYN: The Justice Minister speaks... (Reaction to the AGs support of Section 13 rolls in. Kathy Shaidle, Deborah PINGpong and others)


The Justice Minister speaks...





Monday, 12 May 2008

...and, to be honest, I wish he'd stayed in the Witness Protection Program instead of unleashing 50 pages of sentimental and ahistorical twaddle:

The triumphs of Fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany through audaciously false propaganda have shown us how fragile tolerant, liberal societies can be.

No Canadian who had a proper respect for the history of his country could write that sentence. Which is why it alone is a good example of why we need free speech. Nobody who gave it ten minutes' study would think that the Dominion of Canada, one of the oldest, peacefully evolved, constitutional democracies on the planet, is as "fragile" as the Weimar Republic or the Kingdom of Italy. So the most obvious "audaciously false propaganda" on display there is from the audaciously false propagandists on the Justice Department payroll. As to the general accuracy of the thesis, see my Maclean's piece on the proto-Trudeaupian "hate" laws of pre-Hitler Germany.

Ezra Levant dismantles the Nicholson Report pretty thoroughly. What he doesn't address is how the government's "audaciously false propaganda" strikes the fellows suing him and Maclean's and now The Halifax Chronicle. If you were Elmasry and his Sock Puppets, wouldn't you read the Justice Department's nonsense and feel the wind at your back? 

Next month the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, encouraged by the squish Nicholson and the polytechnic lite-Marxists his department "consults", will take unto itself the right to micro-regulate the content of Canada's oldest and biggest-selling news weekly. It will, thus, reward the "audaciously false propagandists" of the Canadian Islamic Congress for their thuggery. Kathy Shaidle is "pissed off", and you can see why. As I always say, the CIC lawsuits objecting to America Alone's thesis in fact confirm it - that in the long run free societies are at risk not from fellows flying planes into skyscrapers but from a misbegotten alliance between the likes of the CIC and bovine western "progressives" only too willing to sign away ancient liberties. 

I don't know why any self-respecting person would want to work in the "journalistic" environment Nicholson and Co are creating, a world in which audacious propagandists will be free to use "human rights" courts as a threat to browbeat the press into serving as spineless pliable propagandists. Personally, I'd rather be Eliot Spitzer's hooker. The principles are the same, but the hourly rates are higher.


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Five Feet of Fury


"[Alexander] Tsesis is a left wing kook -- but the Canadian government hangs on his every word"

So today The Ministry of Justice issues a long "shut up, we explained" style defense of Section 13.1 -- the "future crime/thought crime" section of the "hate speech" law.

A junk history-riddled, illogical and highly fiskable defense riddled with "scholarly" quotations from...

an American professor on Ted Kennedy's payroll.

You think I'm kidding.

Nope: Teddy's lawyer-friend has tossed our Feds, and fans of censorship everywhere, a life preserver. Too bad it's full of holes.

It will be hard to top Ezra Levant's incredible fisking of this pathetic document.

Nazism in Germany was odious not because of its "audaciously false propaganda", but because it murdered people by the millions. It's not the propaganda that killed the Jews; it was the fact that their property rights, their rights to self-defence, their economic rights, their mobility rights, their rights to life and liberty were taken away.

But look at the second half of that sentence: tolerant, liberal societies can be fragile. First, the Weimar Republic had within it the legal and constitutional seeds of Nazism, that Hitler exploited -- anti-hate speech laws being amongst them, and weak constitutional protections of real rights, too. But more importantly, what is the government's implication here? That tolerant, liberal societies are not strong? That, instead, we need the stern hand of a state political censor? Isn't that exactly the opposite of the lessons of Nazism?

It gets even more muddled. (...) The government is arguing that we should limit speech because we've seen how the Nazis could limit speech. Huh?

But he's asking other bloggers to try, so knock yourselves out.

What's sad, and frankly insulting, is that the Feds used a clearly biased American law professor to make their points about Canadian law and society. 

You see, Tsesis's writings are being relied upon extensively in this apologia for Section 13.1.

Tsesis's claims suggest that this "Minority Report" style law -- which makes, say, Mark Steyn liable for any "hate crimes" that might be committed, but haven't even necessarily BEEN committed, by persons unknown, some day in the far off future, because they claim they got the idea from reading Steyn's stuff -- is absolutely essential to preserve the security of the entire country.

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Deborah Gyapong


The government's support of Subsection 13 (1)

When I attended the March 25 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Hearing, I introduced myself to an attractive young woman in the hallway and found out she was the Dept. of Justice Lawyer, representing the government. Frankly, I wonder how she can live with herself after having a front row seat on what has been going on. For her political masters, I have even more harsh things to say, for after all, she is a civil servant doing as her political masters tell her.

What's important to emphasize here is that the Conservative government is not just remaining silent on the out of control "human rights" commissions, it is an active participant in a process that is flawed both in principle and in practice.

We need a Royal Commission to examine both, because the legal principles no longer resemble anything of the Western inheritance of inherent human rights and freedom that extend back 800 years.

The Act doesn't even resemble the Universal Declaration on Human Rights from 60 years ago. It seems to be some wonky concoction whipped up by left-leaning ideologues and social scientists who owe more to scientific determinism and Marx than the great philosophical and spiritual foundations of our freedoms and rights.

We need a Commission to thoroughly examine the logical consequences of this kind of thinking, one with the legal erudition and philosophical grounding to help get us back on our proper foundations. May I suggest retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Charles Gonthier as one of the commissioners? Canadian Civil Liberties Association general counsel Alan Borovoy as another?

Ezra Levant has obtained a copy of the government brief in support of Subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

He writes:

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.

My two general responses would be:

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.


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Dead Reckoning FUBAR


Letter to A-G re: Freedom of Speech

This is a copy of an e-mail I sent today to the Attorney-General of Canada. It would be nice if the Conservatives were in front of this issue instead of reacting to a Liberal MP.

Dear Mr. Nicholson:

For some months I have been following the unfolding drama of the human rights complaints against Maclean's magazine, Ezra Levant and by implication, Mark Steyn.

The guiding case in this matter is a 4 to 3 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, John Ross Taylor et al. v. Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General of Canada , 1990.

The key weakness in the majority decision is the following Polyanna utterance supporting the court's opinion that section 13 is a reasonable limit on the free expression guarantee of section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"The phrase "hatred or contempt" in the context of s. 13(1) refers only to unusually strong and deep‑felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification and, as long as human rights tribunals continue to be well aware of the purpose of s. 13(1) and pay heed to the ardent and extreme nature of feeling described in that phrase, there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section."

I have read Mr. Steyn's book, America Alone, an excerpt of which in Maclean's prompted these human rights complaints. I did not find him expressing "deep-felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification", unless one were to take exception to the truthful information he provided about the potential of Islam overtaking European societies; in short, if one doesn't like the fit of the shoe when one tries it on.

We have now been treated to the spectacle of the Ontario Human Rights Commission declining to pursue the complaint but issuing a condemnation of Maclean's in any event, without calling any evidence. Further, Barbara Hall, head of the OHRC has opined that, with only 2,500 complaints a year, there must be a lot more hatred in Ontario that has be rooted out. My own experience is that Canadians are generally not a hateful people and the thought that someone operating an intrusive government agency with that mindset bothers me. It should bother all of us who believe as I do.

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