There's no monopoly on truth
Should a man be forced to pay $17,500 to four individuals who felt offended by the flyers he distributed?
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal will answer this question when it considers the appeal of William Whatcott this September.
In 2001 and 2002,
In response to complaints from four individuals whose feelings were hurt by the flyers,
Like the human rights complaints against
The Canadian tradition of tolerance for polemical speech, even if considered hateful or extreme in its context, predates the Charter. In 1951 the Supreme Court of Canada acquitted a Jehovah's Witness of seditious libel for distributing a pamphlet entitled Quebec's Burning Hate for God and Christ and Freedom Is the Shame of All Canada, which contained extremely offensive statements about Quebec society, the clergy and the courts. Even if some listeners perceive it as hateful, polemical speech plays a crucial role in public debate.
In R. vs. Zundel and other cases, the Supreme Court of Canada has made it very clear that the purpose of freedom of expression is to protect minority beliefs that the majority regard as wrong or false or offensive, and to prevent the majority's perception of "truth" or "public interest" from smothering the minority's perception. In Edmonton Journal vs.
In addition to freedom of expression, the Whatcott appeal also concerns freedom of religion, which the Supreme Court has defined as "the right to entertain such religious beliefs as a person chooses, the right to declare religious beliefs openly and without fear of hindrance or reprisal, and the right to manifest religious belief by worship and practice or by teaching and dissemination."
Religious teachings against adultery, fornication, common-law relationships and homosexual behaviour run afoul of human rights codes because some listeners can easily perceive the teachings as "discriminatory" or "hateful" on the basis of marital status, family status and sexual orientation. The Whatcott appeal highlights the direct conflict between religious freedom and restrictions on "discriminatory" speech in human rights legislation.
It’s time to end the censorship of the extremist Canadian Human Rights Commission!
Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act