Monday, June 2, 2008

CATHOLIC INSIGHT: Freedom of expression and the "Conservative" government


Freedom of expression and the “Conservative” government
By Stephen J. Gray
Issue: June 2008



"The Attorney General of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and B'nai Brith Canada will be intervening in the Lemire case in support of Section 13, arguing that it is a reasonable restriction on freedom of speech." ( Canadian Constitution Foundation Letter of April 28, 2008 to Mrs. Carol Gray)



Editor's Note: "The Lemire case" mentioned above refers to a constitutional challenge of Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act launched by Marc Lemire and his legal team in November 2005. The motion seeks to toss out Section 13 as a violation of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom of conscience. On May 1, 2008, the Calgary-based Canadian Constitution Foundation applied for interested party status to support this constitutional challenge (The B.C. Civil Liberties Association did the same on May 20, 2008). It argued Section 13 is nothing more than a quasi-criminal statute without any of the protections of criminal legislation. As well, it said Section 13 is vague and impossible to apply unless the trier of fact speculates as to the cause and effect of speech. Lemire reports that closing arguments in the constitutional challenge are "fast approaching."


          Freedom of expression is a right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, yet, “The Attorney General of Canada” along with others is an intervenor in the Lemire case. Free speech is either free or it is not. Are not politically correct words like “reasonable restriction on freedom of speech” weapons used to suppress what people can say? (We already have laws of libel and defamation, so is there any need for “reasonable restrictions?”)

            We may not like what people say, but in the words of Voltaire: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In Canada today, we are seeing the death of free speech. Anything you say may be taken down and used against you and reported to unelected, appointed Human Rights Commissars (HRCs). Those dragged before these Stalinist tribunals have to pay for their own lawyers and their own defence. Meanwhile their accusers are given a free ride. Therefore, one has to ask, has freedom in Canada become subject to the approval of certain powerful groups who appear to be able to have their way with governments?


            “What a strange place Canada is in 2008,…where fundamentalist Muslims use hate-speech laws drafted by secular Jews,…”

  (Ezra Levant, Globe and Mail, January 21, 2008.)


Mr Levant, who is Jewish, went on to say in the Globe and Mail article that the people taking him to the HRCs were “using the very precedents set by the Canadian Jewish Congress.”        

Which makes one wonder why would a powerful organization like “the Canadian Jewish Congress” not realize that the very “laws” that they “pressed Canadian governments to introduce” could also be used against Jewish people. After all, what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, as the saying goes.

But not only Jewish people are being dragged before the HRCs. Before they came for the Jews, the HRCs came for Chris Kempling, Scott Brockie, the Knights of Columbus, Stephen Boissoin, Bishop Henry and others. Now Catholic Insight magazine, the Christian Heritage Party and Maclean’s magazine are under the guns of the HRCs. Nobody is safe from these appointed interrogators of totalitarian bent. So what can be done to return freedom of speech and freedom of expression to Canadians?


The role of government 

Governments appointed these  HRCs, therefore government could disband them. But will they? Witness, the “Attorney General of Canada” is an intervenor in the Lemire case, on the side of the government, i.e., in defence of the HRC’s The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), in its letter of April 28, 2008, had this to say about its own potential intervenor status in Lemire “ By intervening in support of the application put forward by Marc Lemire, the CCF would not be endorsing the content of his message, but supporting the rights of all Canadians to say and write whatever they believe, without fear of violating a law such as Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.” Amen to that!


A Lifesite news article of February 12, 2008, by John-Henry Westen had this to say about the Conservative government’s stand on Human Rights Commissions. “Internal Memo tells Canada's Conservative MPs to be noncommittal on Human Rights Commissions”It specifies that Conservative MPs are not to stand up publicly for freedom of speech for Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.”


The article stated: ‘An internal memo to Conservative MPs sent last week will be sure to disappoint freedom-loving Canadians. The memo, confirmed by as legitimate, originated from the office of the Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson. The "talking points" memo directs Conservative MPs to remain noncommittal on support for Liberal MP Keith Martin's motion M-446, which would put an end to the growing and dangerous abuse of human rights commissions….’(see full article at:


These HRCs have become a weapon to suppress and oppress the people of Canada. Yet, a “conservative” government is an intervenor against free speech. Is this why they sent out a memo about being “noncommittal” about, “Liberal MP Keith Martin's motion M-446 which would put an end to the growing and dangerous abuse of human rights commissions….?” Are they political hypocrites who say one thing and do another?          

Compare this with an earlier statement by Stephen Harper before he was the Prime Minister:


“Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society … It is, in fact, totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.” [1]


Stephen Gray writes from Vancouver, BC.



[1] Endnote: Stephen Harper quoted from article by Gerry Nicholls at: