Canada's Internet Hate Law Will No Longer Be Enforced

Now you can say and write what you think on many issues. The human rights tut-tutters who prevented open discussion on topics like immigration are now on the sidelines. Employees of the media never cared about high immigration levels because they don't compete with immigrants from Asia or Africa for jobs. They are lackeys of the capitalists who want higher immigration levels so they can get cheaper and cheaper labour.

Immigration levels of over 300,000 per year are way too high, I didn't vote for anyone to make Vancouver as Asian suburb. Yet it is. Plus the temporary permits for workers and "students" who sign up for ESL/EFL courses and quit right away and look for a job.

I think immigration levels should be set at 100,000 per year and student visas enforced. Not in school? Here's plane to get back home.

Canada's public sphere just got a lot more messy – and free - The Globe and Mail

Doug Saunders

Canada's public sphere just got a lot more messy – and free

Go ahead and yell something truly hateful this weekend. There's no longer anyone to stop you

At some point this weekend, you may want to pick up the phone and yell something truly hateful. Go ahead, as loud as you want. Maybe all your rage and contempt is directed at Jet-Skiers, but you could just as well be yelling something truly vile about a religion or an immigrant group or people with a certain skin colour or sexual orientation, because there's no longer anyone to stop you.

On Wednesday, an Ottawa official named Athanasios Hadjis quietly announced that section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, popularly known as the hate-speech law, will no longer be enforced.

The law prohibits the transmission on telephone or Internet of “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt” on the basis of “race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.”

Mr. Hadjis is an adjudicator with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which rules on discrimination cases. While he is not a judge, and therefore can't strike down a law, he is the main gatekeeper for the hate-speech law, and his decision was bold.

“I have concluded,” he said, that the law is unconstitutional under 2(b) of the Charter of Rights, which guarantees freedom of thought, opinion and expression. As a result, he declared that “I will simply refuse to apply these provisions” to the hate-speech case he was judging, and by extension to any future cases.

Suddenly, the place known as the public sphere looks very different. For the past three decades, Canada has tried to keep it clean and neutral by preventing the appearance of the sorts of words and images that are linked to discriminatory actions. Kathleen Mahoney, a University of Calgary law professor who advocates such laws, boasts that Canada has more laws limiting harmful speech than any other country.

But there is a strong sense, even if Mr. Hadjis's decision is overturned by the Supreme Court, that the era of hate-speech laws is coming to an end.
First, in practical terms, hate-speech laws have failed. Attacks on people based on religion or skin colour remain rare but occasional crimes in Canada, but their prevalence hasn't been affected one way or another by outlawing hateful speech.

The deeds, it turns out, do not follow the words.
To the extent that words actually can be damaging, there are far better laws, including those against incitement, against libel and slander and against conspiracy and racketeering.

Instead, the law has made incursions into the world of thoughts and beliefs rather than actions, an ambiguous and ever-shifting place where courts ought not to travel.

Second, politically, the tide has turned. When it was a simple matter of glassy-eyed mumblers such as James Keegstra telling children that Jews “created the Holocaust to gain sympathy,” the only people protesting hate-speech laws were civil-liberties purists.

Today there are quite a number of people, some very friendly with the current federal government, who want the right to engage in what the law defines as hate speech without being branded with that label.
Various conservative Baptist churches are opposed because they want the right to say certain things about homosexuals, and they believe (probably correctly) that the Bible itself would not pass a strict test of the human-rights law.

The Alberta publisher and provocateur Ezra Levant is opposed because he wants the right to print cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that some devout Muslims consider hateful and offensive.

The right-wing columnist Mark Steyn is opposed because he wants to maintain his right to publish rants about “Muslim tides” that are strikingly similar to the statements about Jews that got the whole thing started.
None of them have ever been prosecuted under the hate-speech law or faced any legal restriction on their words or images, and it's very unlikely they ever would (the law is heavily buffered with qualifications and limitations). But they've faced frivolous and vexatious complaints that have been embarrassing and time-wasting (if publicity-earning).

Third, and most important, the approach to offensive speech has fallen out of step with the Supreme Court's line on another set of potentially offensive ideas – those held by devout religious believers.

If the approach to discriminatory political ideas is to create a clean, neutral public sphere by banning inequality-promoting words, the approach to discriminatory religious ideas is exactly the opposite. Unlike France, Turkey or the U.S., where the courts use laws to enforce a rigidly secular, religion-free public space and let religion flourish behind closed doors, Canada is doing the reverse.

Eight years ago, in its Trinity Western University decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Canadian school boards have to accredit teachers trained at fundamentalist-Christian universities that ban homosexuality and teach all manner of deeply discriminatory ideas.

Last year, in its Bruker v. Marcovitz decision, the court went a step further by allowing judges to rule on decisions made in rabbinical, clerical or sharia-law tribunals. That ruling, involving an Orthodox Jewish divorce, had the merit of giving courts a way to act against the sexual unfairness and discrimination implicit in most religious divorces and family adjudications.

But it also therefore recognized religious divorces as legitimate in civil law (where they'd been officially non-existent before), thus allowing religious authority to enter the public sphere with the full force of law.

Religious freedom, guaranteed in Canada, has two dimensions: Freedom of religion, and freedom from religion; more of one usually means less of the other. Our courts have overwhelmingly chosen the former: a messy, noisy, chaotic public sphere in which ideas are allowed to jostle against one another.
But in another realm, those same courts have chosen freedom from very controversial ideas over the freedom to hold them, in defence of a cleaner, less noisy public sphere.

Our approach to one set of potentially offensive ideas was the precise opposite of our approach to another. On Wednesday, those two worlds finally began to converge.
Well, that is excellent news.

The only better news would be that the section had been repealed.
How often was open discussion about anything interfered with? Isn't this stuff overblown?
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

How often was open discussion about anything interfered with? Isn't this stuff overblown?

Not really. People have been fined thousands of dollars for frivolous comments and even put in jail. Check out Ezra Levant's web page and read about some sad and terrible stories. They put an 80 year old man in jail. They pay the legal fees of the complainant against you, and if a complaint is made against you or your business, it costs thousands of dollars, win or lose.
I see a bunch of ranting on that web site, but don't see any statistics. Looks like he's been talking pretty freely for a while.
Human Rights Commissions should really be abolished. To have govt tribunals deciding on editorial content is more appropriate for dictatorships. We already have adequate libel laws.

Here's a good interview with Mark Steyn on Mike Duffy on all this.

YouTube - Mark Steyn on Mike Duffy

Like he said, half of all complaints to the commission have come from one guy. So all in all not a lot of complaints. I have no problem with the law. Don't feel we need to have a commission policing though.
enforcement is the key without it you have anarchy
Quote: Originally Posted by LiberalmanView Post

enforcement is the key without it you have anarchy

Without it you have chaos. Anarchy, as a political movement, is not chaos as federalists would have us believe. It just places the highest authority on the community.

Unfortunately, strict enforcement of the law is fascism.
Well, the problem is jurisdiction. Although it might be illegal via the criminal code to publicly stand up and advocate that everybody should hate jews, it is not a crime to invite people to go to your website or call up your telephone service and deliver the same message to them.

This puts as right back at square one: the criminal code defines a crime when committed in public which is no longer a crime if a person is invited in public to view a message, delivered via telecommunications, which would be criminal if delivered on the spot.

Although it is not the case for child pornography, the legal analogy would be it being a crime to distribute child pornography in public but not over the computer.

People like to complain about the puny fines that the HRT can hand out, the alternative is the huge fines and jail sentences the criminal courts can dish out when they get jurisdiction.

And no, the HRT cannot hand out jail terms. This can only happen when somebody is in contempt for not paying the fines.

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