Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Internet censorship and Section 13 blasted in Parliament

Internet censorship and Section 13 blasted in Parliament



Video is available online



YouTube versions are available [here]  and [here]



On Monday, October 5, 2009, journalist Mark Steyn and Blogger Ezra Levant testified before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.  During their hour long testimony, they blasted internet censorship and Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.


The testimony by Steyn and Levant was great and covered many of the abuses of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and their ilk.  There was some testimony about the Lustig (Ouwendyk) decision concerning Richard Warman’s actions, but it appears that there might be a misreading of that decision. 


At no point did Lustig made any determinations on the constitutionality of Section 13. The Tribunal in Ouwendyk ruled that Mr. Warman’s posting on Stormfront and VNN are “..both disappointing and disturbing.” Further Mr. Warman’s postings “…could have precipitated further hate messages in response.”


The only positive decision on the constitutionality of Section 13, was in the Lemire case.  Where Member Hadjis found that “that s. 13(1) infringes on Mr. Lemire’s freedom of expression guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Charter, and that this infringement is not demonstrably justified under s. 1 of the Charter.”


“I call on this Parliament to assert its oversight role and to compel a full inquiry onto the commission; its investigators, and their membership of nazi websites; their conflicts of interest; their contamination of evidence, and their relationship with Richard Warman. 


Section 13’s underlying philosophy is incompatible with a free society.   And its use by agents of the human rights commission has been corrupted and diseased beyond salvation. It is time for the people’s representatives in parliament to defend real human rights and end this grotesque spectacle.”

Mark Steyn



Bravo to Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant!





Human Rights Commission challenged over investigative powers

By Janice Tibbetts, Canwest News Service. October 4, 2009



Two free-speech crusaders appealed to a parliamentary committee Monday to do its part to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its power to investigate complaints of online hate, alleging that it is bad law that has been "corrupted and diseased beyond salvation."

Steyn asserted that "psychologically disturbed" employees of the commission have been influenced by a former employee, Richard Warman, who has filed just about all of the complaints that the commission has received involving online hate in recent years.



Steyn and Levant on free speech, and what MPs are thinking of doing about it

The free speech advocates testify before the House of Commons Justice Committee

by John Geddes on Monday, October 5, 2009.  MACLEANS



They put on the anticipated lively show as the committee launched deliberations on Section 13. At one point, Steyn called the human rights commission’s investigators “psychologically disturbed.” Levant catalogued allegations of outrageous entrapment techniques he says have been used by the commission in an “out of control” hunt for hate-speakers to drag before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

“I suspect that a groundswell of caucus support could likely move this matter onto the government agenda,” Rathgeber said after the appearance by Steyn and Levant.

The government’s willingness to move on the issue has been far from clear in the past. Early this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he had no plans to amend the act. Even if Rathgeber is right that Harper, and perhaps Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, would now be prepared to take action if enough MPs pushed them, there’s still the question of where the opposition parties stand.


They are pundits, hear them roar! – Liveblogging Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant at the Justice committee

by Kady O'Malley on Monday, October 5, 2009, MACLEANS



3:33:14 PM
A quick recap of the surprise decision by a CHRT panelist earlier this year, in which he wrote that the section in question may, in fact, be unconstitutional, and he then moves onto Richard Warman — the “rich white lawyer” – hardly, Levant points out, the archetypical minority that the CHRC ostensibly purports to represent and defend – responsible for so many S13 complaints.

The whole thing quickly turns into what is, to any regular reader of his screeds, a familiar diatribe against the aforementioned complainant, and, indirectly, the CHRC itself for previously employing him, and now “paying his expenses”.

3:36:05 PM
Wifi hacking! Scullduggery! More claims that ITQ doesn’t believe have been conclusively proven other way — yes, that’s true; Levant notes that the “official” status of the subsequent investigation is “unsolved”, but claims that the CHRC remains the main suspects.

Instead of cleaning up this “filthy mess”, Jennifer Lynch — the chair, who, he notes, was appointed by the Conservatives — *defends it*.




Even pundits have (human) rights

Mon, Oct 5 2009 | Ottawa Citizen


The opening statements were nothing new. Essentially, what was at issue was the status of the notorious s.13 , and a decision by a human rights tribunal earlier this year that suggested that the section in question may, in fact, be unconstitutional. Levant used the occasion to grind an old axe against Richard Warman, while Steyn quoted at length a passage from Michael Ignatieff's book Human Rights as Politics and Ideology, to the effect that free speech was the bedrock of freedom. After that, it was over to the committee for some Q&A. 

The subsequent discussion was bedeviled by two major difficulties. The first was that most members of the committee were either unprepared, or not really paying attention. Joe Comartin in particular didn't seem to realize what the argument is, while Marc LeMay of the Bloc appeared to have not listened to anything that had happened up till his turn, when he brought up an issue that had been dealt with at length earlier on. 


Human rights commission 'corrupted,' critics testify

Janice Tibbetts,  Canwest News Service  | National Post



Mr. Moon, in his report, acknowledged "potential drawbacks" to relying exclusively on the Criminal Code for hate speech investigations, including a higher burden of proof and the lack of police and prosecutorial experience and resources in pursuing hate speech online.

The commission responded earlier this year in a report to Parliament that recommended that the commission be stripped of its power to impose fines. The commission can also levy financial penalties of up to $10,000 for violators.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has signalled that he supports repealing the section that permits Internet probes, voting in favour of a resolution passed last fall at a Conservative party police convention


Writers call for probe into human rights commission

CBC News



Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn are also calling for the elimination of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which allows the commission to investigate allegations of hate speech.

"I think a very practical, doable thing for this committee and for parliament would be to repeal section 13 of the Human Rights Act altogether, to leave any hate speech prosecutions to the Criminal Code with its proper checks and balances, and frankly, to bring in a forensic audit to the Human Rights Commission to examine the allegations that I have made," Levant told the commission.

Levant is alleging that members of the commission belong to neo-Nazi organization, an accusation he made in July in a National Post column.