Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Focus on the Family Canada edits radio show to adapt to hate crime law

In case you hadn’t heard, Obama signed a hate crime bill into law.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council responds in this Christian Post article.

Opponents of the bill, dubbed by some as the “thought crimes” legislation, argue that it is unnecessary because gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are already protected under existing state laws. They also say the bill could be used to prosecute Christian broadcasters and pastors who preach homosexuality as sin because they could be accused of inciting violence.

“This hates crimes provision is part of a radical social agenda that could ultimately silence Christians and use the force of government to marginalize anyone whose faith is at odds with homosexuality,” said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, following the bill’s passage.

I thought that I would remind my readers where these laws lead by looking north to Canada. In Canada, Dr. Laura was effectively banned from radio stations for being critical of homosexuality, and Focus on the Family has to edit programs in order to comply with federal hate crime laws.

Consider this post from LifeSiteNews.

Excerpt:

A statement from a director at Focus on the Family confirms that the major Christian organization has been editing its radio programs in order to accord with Canadian “hate crime” laws.

“In particular, our content producers are careful not to make generalized statements nor comments that may be perceived as ascribing malicious intent to a ‘group’ of people and are always careful to treat even those who might disagree with us with respect,” Gary Booker, director of global content creation for Focus, told WorldNetDaily.com.

“Occasionally, albeit very rarely, some content is identified that, while acceptable for airing in the U.S. would not be acceptable under Canadian law and is therefore edited or omitted in Canada.”

A representative from Focus told LifeSiteNews.com that the organization is not prepared at this time to expand upon the statement sent to WorldNetDaily.com.

In April 2004, Canada enacted Bill C-250, a bill that added “sexual orientation” to “identifiable groups” protected from communication that would incite hatred towards them. In the months leading up to its passage, many conservative thinkers and activists prophesied that adding “sexual orientation” to the hate crime laws would give homosexual activists the leverage needed to persecute those opposed to their lifestyle for nothing more than expressing disagreement.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, a person is not to be convicted of a hate crime if “he expressed or attempted to establish by argument an opinion on a religious subject.”

Despite the nod to religious conviction, however, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has already investigated and punished numerous individuals for promoting opposition to homosexual practices based on traditional Christian teaching.

In November of 2007, the CHRC threatened the Christian Heritage Party of Canada (CHPC) with legal penalties for material on their website. Printer Scott Brockie has also been found guilty by the Commission and fined for refusing to print pro-homosexual materials, as was Christian pastor Steve Boissoin, who wrote a letter to the editor outlining Christian teachings on homosexuality. Bishop Fred Henry was hauled before the Commission for speaking out against homosexuality, and recently a complaint was made against the Catholic magazine, Catholic Insight for similar reasons.

Advocating for the traditional family is a criminal activity in Canada, because it may incite violence and then you would be charged with a hate crime.

You can hear more about Obama’s hate crime bill in this current events podcast from William Lane Craig.

The silencing of Christians in the public square is now quite common in Canada and the UK.

Here are some stories from the UK:

Here are some stories from Canada:

And bad things are already happening the United States.

Something to think about, especially since a lot of “Christians” voted Obama because they supported wealth redistribution and the appeasement of terrorists abroad. I am sure that in time those same “Christians” will learn to redefine Christianity so that it complies with Obama’s hate crime bill, and then they will turn to demonizing authentic Christians who still think the Bible is authoritative on moral questions.

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Good news for the right to free speech in Canada!

Life Site News has the best post I’ve seen so far.

Excerpt:

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled today that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, Canada’s human rights legislation against hate messages, unreasonably limits the Charter right to freedom of expression.

[...]Popular conservative pundit and human rights commission critic Mark Steyn today said that the end of the hate speech legislation is near, calling today’s decision a “landmark decision.”  “This is the beginning of the end for Section 13 and its provincial equivalents, and a major defeat for Canada’s thought police,” he said. “It’s not just a personal triumph for Marc Lemire, but a critical victory in the campaign by Ezra Levant, Maclean’s, yours truly and others to rid the Canadian state of this hideous affront to justice.”

[...]The hate message section of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) has been the subject of growing criticism, having been accused of placing limits on the Charter right to freedom of expression.  High profile cases have been brought against conservative publisher Ezra Levant and columnist Mark Steyn, as well as numerous cases against Christians who have expressed their convictions against the homosexualist agenda.

The CHRC has admitted to using unethical methods within their investigations.  Notably, in a hearing during Lemire’s case, CHRC employee Dean Steacy testified that he and a number of colleagues regularly used an alias to post racist messages…  The CHRC was also investigated by the RCMP regarding allegations that they had hacked into a private citizen’s internet connection, though that case was dropped when it led the police to the American jurisdiction.

Until today, no respondent had won a human rights case brought to the Tribunal under section 13.  Further, about half of the section 13 cases have been brought by Richard Warman, and almost all of them in recent years.

Blazing Cat Fur has a huge round-up of blog reactions from the best Canadian blogs.

Here are some of the blogs from his round-up:

I took a look at the comments on BCF, and they are still pretty cautious, but excited.

This news was big enough to get picked up over at Hot Air by Ed Morrissey, who explains:

When government tells you what you can and cannot say in the political context, then free speech is essentially dead.  Section 13 created an enormously intimidating device for anyone who wants to argue their beliefs in the public square in Canada.  Even in just a “remedial” mode, it creates an atmosphere where people have to worry whether their speech will create a necessity to seek government approval, and the costs of defending speech become so onerous as to silence people.

The conservatives need to make this an issue in the next election, which is coming soon since the Liberals have announced that they are no longer going to back the Conservatives. Now is the time for bold action, Stephen Harper.

Further study

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What is the Chief of the Human Rights Commission like?

I was browsing on “The Blog of Walker”  and I found some links to a speech given by Jennifer Lynch, the head fascist at the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It’s interesting because she is exactly the kind of person that I would expect Obama to put in charge as the Free Speech Czar, given his record of suppressing dissent.

Take a look at his post:

First there was the speech.

…Now she’s actually going to go mano-a-chicko with Ezra Levant on the Roy Green Show! Well…sort of. I guess the excitement would be too much for her delicate constitution, so she’ll be on the show after Ezra’s had his say, or even before – it doesn’t really matter as long as she doesn’t have to deal with that icky fellow who’s been keeping her up at night with head-aches and upset stomach these past few months ( although I’m just guessing as to that).

Mark Steyn links to other responses to the the speech. But let’s focus on Ezra Levant’s response.

The speech given by Canada’s Chief Fascist

Here is a post written by free speech activist Ezra Levant about Lynch’s hate-filled speech:

On Monday, Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, gave a speech to her fellow censors at the human rights industry’s annual trade show in Montreal. It was such a grotesque speech, any self-respecting government ought to fire her for uttering it. It revealed Lynch’s complete misunderstanding of the nature of human rights, the right of citizens to question their government, and the government’s proper attitude towards peaceful criticism.

It was the speech of an angry bigot.

It showed Lynch to be temperamentally unsuitable for any public office, especially a prosecutorial office with powers similar to those of real police. She’s bitter, vindictive, paranoid and motivated by anger and vengeance. If she was a real cop, answerable to an internal affairs branch, she’d be put on leave and investigated for her rage-filled rant.

Lynch’s speech was that of a bureaucrat at war with Canadian citizens. It was a speech of a bully who seeks the power to destroy those who oppose her.

… Lynch’s speech, in which she catalogues her enemies and denounces them, was a formal, public utterance, vetted by the CHRC’s half-dozen PR staff. It was clearly written by Lynch herself – the personal venom of it just couldn’t be faked.

He then goes on to provide excerpts of the speech that are particularly hateful and bigoted.  Witness the secular-left in their full fascist flowering! Unhinged and unmasked. This is what they learn in university – that there way is the right way and that all dissent to their agenda proceeds from racism, sexism, etc.

My friend Andrew sent me an article from Canada’s National Post about her speech.

Excerpt:

Contrast such criticism, though, with the chill writers and other public figures feel knowing that if their words offend any minority favoured by a rights commission, the commissioners may, on behalf of the complainant (and at taxpayers’ expense), compel testimony, seize documents, search private offices and impose fines and other penalties. The CHRC, too, has a frighteningly undemocratic 100% conviction rate in hate-speech cases.

These laws were brought in by the secular-left in Canada. We just elected the secular left here in the United States. Can we expect the same kind of suppression of free speech from Obama?

Recall that the Democrats have already put forward a hate crime bill and a bill to criminalize blogging, with sentences up to 2 years. The hate crimes bill passed the House, while the blog-crime bill is still in committee.

Will Canada’s Chief Fascist debate?

Ezra “debated” her on Saturday on the radio. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

But she would not go against him head-to-head. Instead she wanted to speak after him, so that she could not be corrected or rebutted. There you see the full expression of the left – they cannot stand that you are allowed to talk back to them, and they want to silence you – regardless of evidence.

This is how Darwinism and Global Warming are being put through by the secular-left right now. Stifle dissent, choke off debate, malign your opponent’s motives, coerce them with the force of government.

I will update this post with Ezra’s reflections on the “debate”.

Further study

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Free speech in Canada, the United Kingdom and Cuba

My friend Jojo writes to inform me that I must blog about the state of free speech in Canada, so I will do it. But I am worried that my readers do not like to hear about other countries, like Canada. Just last week I blogged about Stephen Harper traveling to visit the Canadian troops in Afghanistan, and did not see a big hit count on that story, even thought I thought it was awesome!

Here is Jojo’s article on free speech. In the most Conservative province of Alberta, the “conservative” Ed Stelmach that they elected in the primaries is blocking HRC reform, and increasing the HRC budget! Since only the Conservatives can win in Alberta, all the Liberal and NDP (socialist) people vote in the primary and they end up with the equivalent of Arlen Specter as the Conservative nominee!

I had blogged about Ezra Levant’s support for Stephen Boissoin before, and about Lindsay Blackett’s intent to reform the Alberta HRC. But it looks like Stelmach is going to block Blackett’s effort to reform the Alberta HRC!

And here is the excerpt for Alberta:

Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, oversees Alberta’s Human Rights Commission. He announced plans to reform the human rights code and commission. He disparagingly called the commission a “Kangaroo Court,” and hinted at the likelihood that the government would repeal the censorship provisions in the provincial human rights code so that the commission could not be used as a weapon against free speech.

Bu Premier Stelmach sent his black Culture Minister to the back of the bus. The government’s set of amendments to Alberta’s human rights industry is preserving the censorship provisions.

Not only that, but professing Christian Premier Stelmach is rewarding the anti-Christian bigotry of Alberta’s HRC by giving them a raise – a budget increase of $1.7 million – in the middle of a recession – in a deficit budget.

Note to conservatives: have some sort of ideology test for delegates. And then we move to Ontario, where one the 4 candidates I blogged about before is promising to abolish the Ontario HRC entirely:

The fight against human rights commissions moves to Ontario with Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Randy Hillier advocating the elimination of that province’s Human Rights Commission. Mr. Hillier’s leadership campaign platform includes a number of freedom-oriented and private property rights entrenching proposals. Mr. Hillier recognizes that the Human Rights Commission is guilty of serious violations of Ontarians’ fundamental freedoms. Additionally, defending his proposal to abolish Ontario’s HRC, Mr. Hillier said that real human rights are so important that they should be defending in real courts, not delegated to Kangaroo Courts.

To vote in Ontario’s provincial PC leadership campaign, you need to be a member of the PC party by May 14th.

I haven’t heard any pro-freedom comments from the other three leadership candidates, especially in reference to human rights commissions. In fact, there seems to be a real paucity of tangible policy proposals from the other three candidates, so I don’t know where they stand, or what I can hold them accountable to, if any of them become the next leader of the Ontario PC Party.

Now on to the UK, where things are definitely taking a turn for the worst! The Australian has this report about Britain.

This is scaring the snark out of me:

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government’s anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: “If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you.” Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: “If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings.” It took him five years to clear his name.

And this is worse still, because she just a child:

In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher’s first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: “It’s racist, you’re going to get done by the police!” Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: “An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form.”

The article is filled with anti free speech madness:

A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to “celebrate diversity”, the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.

Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.

And naturally, Christian lambs are the target of atheist wolves:

There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

Maybe things are different in the UK, which may explain a recent exchange I had with a British atheist about a recent audio debate regarding that nurse. Read the exchange and consider how far gone the UK must be when the mere fact that a non-Christian hears something they don’t like is grounds for removing fundamental rights to free speech and freedom of religious expression.

I also noticed some comments from Ed West, who blogs for the UK Telegraph here, talks about the SECULAR THEOCRACY or ATHEOCRACY.

Excerpt:

Lib Dem MP Evan Harris felt very smug about overturning Britain’s long disused blasphemy laws last years, and was made “Secularist of the Year”, even though Britain hasn’t been in any way an Anglican theocracy since the early Victorian era. This – arresting people for having unfashionable views, however objectionable – is a real theocracy. If you want to fight for freedom, Dr Harris, fight for the peoples’ right to be racist or sexist or Islamophobic or simply rude.

This atheocracy derives from the incredibly liberal but also incredibly intolerant anti-discrimination morality that spread through Britain’s universities in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

It became known as “political correctness”, which itself became a tedious cliche because we journalists overused it…. The point of political correctness was that it closed down debate. Political correctness sought – in true Orwellian fashion– to make contrary ideas utterly verboten.

Everyone is so surprised to find out that atheist rule is totalitarian. Excuse me? Who do you think killed 100 million people in the 20th century alone? (Hint: It was wasn’t followers of Jesus, who are obligated to love their enemies). Atheism leads to fascism! Wake up!

Where on the planet are atheists in charge of states? Well, there’s North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela… Hey! What’s going on in atheistic Cuba? (H/T Mere Rhetoric)

Cuba is further limiting access to the World Wide Web for its citizens, in what many believe is an effort to rein in a small but increasingly popular group of bloggers who are critical of the government. In a move seen as aimed at anti-government bloggers, Cuba is further limiting access to the World Wide Web Only government employees, academics and researchers are allowed their own Internet accounts, which are provided by the state, but only have limited access to sites outside the island. Ordinary Cubans may open e-mail accounts accessible at many post offices, but do not have access to the Web. Many got around the restrictions by using hotel Internet services. But a new resolution barring ordinary Cubans from using hotel Internet services quietly went into place in recent weeks, according to an official with Cuba’s telecom monopoly, hotel workers and bloggers.

What does Santayana say about those who are ignorant of the lessons of history?

UPDATE: Just a reminder that the Democrats are trying to pass a hate crime bill and a bill to criminalize blogging as well, in the USA.

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Conservatives in Ontario defend free speech

Political Map of Canada

Political Map of Canada

BC isn’t the only province where conservatives are fighting back against progressive threats to fundamental rights. Ontario, (contains Toronto and Ottawa), has one of the other really bad provincial Human Rights Commissions, and provincial representatives Lisa MacLeod and Randy Hillier on the case in that benighted province.

Here’s an assessment of MacLeod and Hillier from free-speech superhero Ezra Levant: (H/T The Western Standard)

Hillier, along with fellow PC MPP Lisa Macleod, have been leading the charge to reform Ontario’s HRCs. They were the ones who pressed for public hearings at which Tribunal appointees would be grilled — which led to some scary revelations about the censorious instincts of that panel. And he also was part of the team (led by Macleod) who brought Mark Steyn to Queen’s Park to testify about the kangaroo court nature of the OHRC.

Levant is referring to her questioning of Mark Steyn regarding the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The full transcript is here, courtesy of Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs. This is about as strong a defense of free speech as you’ll ever see, folks. And it’s a warning to the consequences of electing progressives who do not trust you to exercise your own free will, lest you hurt someone’s feelings.

Here is a little of Mark Steyn’s opening speech from the hearing:

Mr. Mark Steyn: The present Ontario human rights regime is incompatible with a free society. It is useless on real human rights issues that we face today and, in the course of such pseudo human rights, as the human right to smoke marijuana on someone else’s property or the human right to a transsexual labioplasty, in the course of those pseudo-rights it tramples on real human rights including property rights, free speech, the right to due process and the presumption of innocence. Far from reducing racism or sexism, the Ontario human rights regime explicitly institutionalizes racism and sexism through its inability to view any dispute except through the narrow prism of identity politics. It’s at odds not just with eight centuries of this province’s legal inheritance, but with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Canada likes that one so much, it sticks it on the back of the $50 bill, even though Ontario’s human rights regime is in sustained, systemic breach of article 6, article 7, articles 8 to 10, 11, 12, 18, 19, 21 and 27 of the UN declaration. The good news is that Ontario’s not in violation of as many articles as Sudan or North Korea.

All are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. That’s article 7. It’s not true in Ontario. Last year, the Ontario Human Rights Commission effectively gave Maclean’s and myself a driveby verdict. They couldn’t be bothered taking us to trial but they decided to pronounce us guilty anyway. That neglects the most basic principle of justice: Audi alteram partem, hear the other side. Chief commissar Barbara Hall didn’t bother hearing the other side; she simply declared us guilty. That is the very defining act of a police state: an apparatchik announcing that a citizen is guilty of dissent from state orthodoxy.

But here’s the point: Maclean’s and I have no fear of Barbara Hall, the commission or the tribunal. You’re welcome to try and do your worst to us. We have deep pockets, we pushed back and we filled the newspapers with stories about all these wacky cases that Barbara Hall and others are so obsessed about. Like all tinpot bullies, the commission couldn’t take the heat and backed down. But if you’re just a fellow who happens to own a restaurant in Burlington, the Ontario human rights regime will destroy your savings, your business, your life for no good reason. The verdict’s irrelevant; the process is the punishment.

He is saying this about a tribunal run by fascist progressive inquisitors hell-bent on ramming their values down the throats of individuals. And here is an excerpt from MacLeod’s questioning of Steyn:

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Welcome to our committee Mr. Steyn. During the summer, this committee convened to interview and review the 22 vice-chairs and the 22 members of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and throughout that process your case, Maclean’s vs. the Ontario Human Rights Commission, as well as what happened in British Columbia to you as well as what happened federally to you was front and centre on our minds. Consistently throughout that process I asked questions of the deputants, those seeking to be appointed to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, if they believed free press trumped discrimination or vice versa. One of the deputants actually responded. Today, earlier, I asked the same question to the chair of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. He responded and said that neither trumps either. I would like your view on that, because it follows sort of a logical set of questions that I have which are next with respect to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Mr. Mark Steyn: With respect to the witness this morning, that has become a standard equivocation at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Whenever tribunal judges take away individual human rights they do so under the guise of what they call balancing competing rights. So for example, going back to the Scott Brockie case, they claim to be balancing his right to freedom of religion with the right of the gay people seeking printed materials to be free from discrimination. In practice they almost never balance those rights. They always defer to collective rights, group rights in favour of individual rights. I’m an absolutist on this. I agree with the view that the ultimate minority is the individual and classically, historically, common law has been entirely antipathetic to group rights, because who can speak for a group? Who can speak for a group? The notion of group rights should be an abomination to a settled democracy as old as this province.

As an aside, Lisa MacLeod is also fighting polygamy in Ontario. (H/T Blue Like You)

I hope that the Canadian conservatives at every level of government turn this into an election issue, in order to draw libertarians away from the other parties. These Human Rights Commissions are the darlings of secular left-wing politically correct fascists, and they can’t stand the idea of their totalitarian censorship seeing the light of day.

This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s article about free speech efforts in British Columbia.

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