Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Canada repeals Section 13 law that criminalized politically incorrect speech

Canada Political Map

Canada Political Map

Sun News reports on some good news up north.

Excerpt:

An Alberta MP has succeeded in his bid to repeal a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act long seen by free-speech advocates as a tool to squelch dissenting opinions.

Conservative MP Brian Storseth saw the Senate give third and final reading late Wednesday to his Bill C-304 which repeals Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, an act that had been used to, among other things, attack the writings of Sun News Network’s Ezra Levant and Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn.

Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as “hate speech.” But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those accused had to prove their innocence.

With elimination of Section 13, producing and disseminating hate speech continues to be a Criminal Code violation but police and the courts will adjudicate rather than human rights tribunals.

Storseth drafted his bill in 2011 and enjoyed support from the highest levels in cabinet.

“Our government believes Section 13 is not an appropriate or effective means for combating hate propaganda,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in late 2011. “We believe the Criminal Code is the best vehicle to prosecute these crimes.”

Last summer, Storseth’s bill cleared the House of Commons in a free vote and, now that it’s through the Senate, it will get royal assent and Section 13 should soon disappear.

Brian Lilley comments: (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

To put it bluntly, the means you can’t take someone through the federal human rights apparatus over hurt feelings via a blog post or a Facebook comment.

Now the bill is passed and will become law but like many acts of Parliament it will not come into force for a year.

Still after a long hard battle to restore free speech in Canada, this is a victory.

Canada just became a little more free. Congratulations to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada for undoing a harmful policy enacted by the radical left.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Lesbian complains about Muslim barber to Human Rights Commission

This story from the Calgary Sun is from free speech warrior Ezra Levant. He’s talking about the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, which exist to censor offensive thoughts and offensive speech.

Excerpt:

Faith McGregor is the lesbian who doesn’t like the girly cuts that they do at a salon. She wants the boy’s hairdo.

Omar Mahrouk is the owner of the Terminal Barber Shop in Toronto. He follows Shariah law, so he thinks women have cooties. As Mahrouk and the other barbers there say, they don’t believe in touching women other than their own wives.

But that’s what multiculturalism and unlimited immigration from illiberal countries means. A central pillar of many immigrant cultures is the second-class citizenship of women and gays.

So if we now believe in multiculturalism, and that our Canadian culture of tolerance isn’t any better than the Shariah culture of sex crimes and gender apartheid, who are we to complain when Omar Mahrouk takes us up on our promise that he can continue to practise his culture — lesbian haircuts be damned?

He’s not the one who passed the Multiculturalism Act, and invited in hundreds of thousands of immigrants with medieval attitudes towards women and gays and Jews, etc. We did.

Mahrouk’s view is illiberal. But in Canada we believe in property rights and freedom of association — and in this case, freedom of religion, too.

But McGregor ran to the Human Rights Tribunal and demanded that Mahrouk give her a haircut.

In the past, human rights commissions have been a great ally to gay activists. Because, traditionally, gay activists have complained against Christians. And white Christians are the one ethnic identity group that human rights commissions don’t value, and that multiculturalism doesn’t include.

In recent years, Canadian human rights commissions have weighed a complaint about a women’s-only health club that refused a pre-operative transsexual male who wanted to change in the locker rooms.

They’ve ordered bed and breakfasts owned by Christian families to take in gay couples. They’ve censored pastors and priests who have criticized gay marriage. Gays win, because it’s a test of who is most outraged and offended.

But in the case of the Muslim barbers, the gay activists have met their match. If the test is who can be the most offended or most politically correct, a lesbian’s just not going to cut it.

Oh, McGregor is politically correct. But just not politically correct enough. It’s like poker.

A white, Christian male has the lowest hand — it’s like he’s got just one high card, maybe an ace. So almost everyone trumps him.

A white woman is just a bit higher — like a pair of twos. Enough to beat a white man, but not much more.

A gay man is like having two pairs in poker.

A gay woman — a lesbian like McGregor — is like having three of a kind.

A black lesbian is a full house — pretty tough to beat.

Unless she’s also in a wheelchair, which means she’s pretty much a straight flush.

The only person who could trump that would be a royal flush. If the late Sammy Davis Jr. — who was black, Jewish and half-blind — were to convert to Islam and discover he was 1/64th Aboriginal.

So which is a better hand: A lesbian who wants a haircut or a Muslim who doesn’t want to give it to her?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t support all the speech and thoughts that the Human Rights Commission finds offensive. But I wouldn’t use the power of the government to suppress ideas and speech that I disagree with. I’m not a fascist. I don’t like forcing other people to do things that they don’t want to do with the force of government.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By repealing section 13, Canada takes a baby step toward freedom of speech

What is section 13, you ask? Section 13 is the part of Canadian law that makes it illegal for Canadians to offend people on the left. The Conservatives now have a majority, so they’ve voted in the House of Commons to repeal it. But it still isn’t repealed.

Here it is:

“It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
– Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

Here is an example of what Canada did to people with unpopular opinions: (H/T Binks)

Among the more high-profile targets of Canada’s “human rights” zealots was journalist Ezra Levant, who spent 900 days and $100,000 defending himself against “hate speech” charges. As editor of the Western Standardmagazine, Levant in 2006 published some examples of “Muhammad cartoons” to illustrate a news article about the worldwide firestorm touched off by the cartoons when they were originally published in a Danish magazine. A Canadian imam filed a “human rights” complaint, and Levant was dragged into the meat grinder.

“Section 13 has had a brutal effect on free speech in Canada,” Levant told Chalcedon. “It’s not that the number of prosecutions under Section 13 was ever that large. But it made examples of people, and inspired tremendous self-censorship. But now we’re free, and we can say things that are politically incorrect.”

But how free? The “human rights” legislation in Canada’s thirteen provinces is still, so far, intact.

“The provincial human rights machinery remains,” Levant said, “but this, the federal repeal, has got to cast a shadow over those. [Journalist, author, and commentator] Mark Steyn, for instance, was charged in three different jurisdictions for the same ‘offense.’ But now we’re seeing the censorship being challenged in Saskatchawan, and questioned in some other provinces.”

Section 13 over the years, he said, “has attracted bullies to the ‘human rights’ system. Ninety percent of the defendants charged under Section 13 can’t afford a lawyer. And because countersuits are not allowed, there’s no way to recover your legal expenses.”

In Canada’s “human rights” system, the government pays all the plaintiff’s legal costs, but none of the defendant’s. Nor is there any “double jeopardy” rule to prevent a defendant from being tried multiple times for the same incident.

“Except for me – I’m a Jew – no non-Christian has ever been prosecuted by a human rights tribunal,” Levant said. “And the federal Human Rights Commission really enjoyed Section 13! They had a one hundred percent conviction rate over thirty-two years.

A 100% conviction rate!

This something for us to think about. When you meet a secular leftist who complains about being offended by your speech, you should ask yourself the question “how far would he go with that?”. Because in Canada, the secular went very far, indeed. And similarly in the UK and in some European countries.

We should be grateful that we have the first and second amendments, because a lot of people don’t.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , ,

Canada’s state run broadcaster fights back against probe of finances

From the Toronto Sun. (H/T Andrew)

Excerpt:

The CBC — the mega-corporation that is demanding yet another $1.1-billion bailout from taxpayers this year, just like it demanded a $1.1-billion bailout from us last year — is panicking.

For weeks it’s been sweating about a parliamentary investigation into its bad behaviour, including its violation of the Access to Information law. That’s an important law to allow taxpayers to scrutinize how government agencies spend our money.

The non-partisan information commissioner has given the CBC a grade of “F” for its secrecy — but it still violates her order for it to disclose the truth. It’s spending millions in legal expenses to hide how it’s spending billions in other expenses.

This bad behaviour was coming to a head last week when Parliament was going to turn over some rocks and see what was going to go scurrying.

And so it panicked.

On the eve of the Parliamentary inquiry, it used part of its $1.1 billion — money that is supposed to go to journalism — to launch a crazy, personal attack on the president of Quebecor and QMI Agency, Pierre Karl Peladeau, one of Canada’s most successful private-sector media entrepreneurs.

Unlike the CBC, Peladeau built his company honestly and with his own efforts. He took a newspaper company started by his father, Pierre Peladeau, and turned it into Quebec’s most successful media company, Quebecor — and then joined with English-Canada’s biggest newspaper company, Sun Media Corp. And then he built the Sun News Network.

All without a billion-dollar-a-year bailout.

And so last week, the night before Peladeau’s testimony to Parliament, the CBC freaked out.

In an unprecedented move, it issued what can only be called an attack ad against Peladeau. It wasn’t a news story. It was a false and defamatory attack on our company, as vengeance for our questions about how the CBC spends taxpayer money.

If any other government department had done something like this, whoever responsible would be fired immediately. It wasn’t just unprofessional. It wasn’t just outside of its mandate of what it is given its government money for. It was an attempt to destroy a private-sector competitor.

Why is this interesting? Because it shows what happens when the government oversteps its bounds and starts to compete with the private sector in areas that are totally unrelated to its enumerated powers and specific responsibilities. Not only will you find corruption in nationalized corporations, but massive waste as well. Private sector companies face competitive pressures that government monopolies do not face. That forces them to root out corruption and waste, because there is always the firm next door looking to serve the customer better – with higher quality and at a lower cost.

We need to be very careful about handing money to people in government who simply don’t care as much about the needs of their customers. Do you think that the CBC could ever favor tax cuts or spending cuts or even more choices for taxpayers? Of course not. They have to tell people whatever causes them to vote for bigger government, because that’s where their money comes from.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ezra Levant interviews Mark Steyn on Sun TV

Blazing Cat Fur uploaded this new video featuring free speech warriors Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. It also has funny Canadian commercials!

They talk about Mark Steyn’s new book “After America”.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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