Open letter to the Honourable Robert Nicholson, Minister of Justice
By Fr. Alphonse de Valk
Hardcopy Issue Date:
Online Publication Date: Sep 9, 2009, 13:12
September 09, 2009
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
284 Wellington Street
Canada K1A 0H8
Dear Mr. Nicholson,
We believe that you and the staff at the Department of Justice are now well acquainted with the Wednesday, September 2, 2009 ruling of Mr. Athanasios Hadjis of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that:
“I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter.”
The same section of the code has also been used to penalize the expression of viewpoints based on religious beliefs, including the case against Catholic Insight Magazine http://www.ccrl.ca/index.php?id=4987.
It is welcome news that an adjudicator of the tribunal has found Section 13 inconsistent with the freedom of speech guarantee in the Charter, but we are looking forward to action by Parliament to strike down the provision.
Critics of Section 13(1), including many newspapers, regard it “as an unwarranted chill on our Charter right to freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression that imperils spirited public discourse.” (Toronto Star, Sept. 4)
This ruling strengthens the case for Parliament to get the CHRC out of the business of policing hate speech to the criminal courts.
As a letter to the editor put it: “In our zeal to become the most virtuous nation on the planet, we have enshrined a ‘justice system that is anything but just; that shuns many of the values we hold so dear—truth as a defence, due process, the presumption of innocence, etc” (National Post, Sept. 4).
The time has come for action. With the rest of the delegates at the last Conservative Convention you voted in support of a policy amendment to delete Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Therefore, first we expect you not to appeal the Hadjis ruling in an effort to resurrect this oppressive legislation. Second, we look forward to new legislation that will a) define hate literature much more restrictively and b) leave it to federal Courts to interpret that legislation.
As we pointed out in an earlier letter, in view of its horrendous anti-Christian bias—self-admitted in its own history published in January 2009—the CHRC and the CHRT should be abolished.
Rev. Alphonse de Valk,
Send your letter to the Attorney General and demand he respect the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the Lemire case, to find Section 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act unconstitutional