Section 13, the controversial hate speech provision in the Canadian Human Rights Act, should be repealed, according to an independent review by University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon.
“The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression — that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group, even if the violence that is supported or threatened is not imminent,” Prof. Moon writes in the review, released today, five months after it was commissioned by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
“Less extreme forms of discriminatory expression, although harmful, cannot simply be censored out of public discourse… Censorship of expression that stereotypes or defames the members of an identifiable group is not a practical option and so we must, as a community, develop other ways to respond to this expression,” Prof. Moon writes.
… the sooner they can get the public scrutiny to go away, the sooner they can go about prosecuting their less well-heeled targets, people who can’t afford Canada’s best lawyers and command the attention and affection of the country’s literati.
What we need to is to shut down all institutions of thought-control in this country, period. There’s nothing like free and open debate to sort out truth from falseness, and good from evil.
Andrea adds: And that’s the truth of it–the HRCs can now go and target the little guys with the wrong opinions. Some day that might be us. And that’s just fine by me seeing as a lawsuit against me means someone could come into possession of a very fine hybrid bicycle. I ponder the limitations on freedom of speech often enough. Just recently had a conversation with a well-read individual in a position of power who declared one of the most tumultuous and ongoing debates of our time (over the definition of marriage) to be a “closed question.” I’ll not get into details here, but that’s another way to stymie free speech–to declare unpopular debates closed and decided.
In recent news, not so much abortion but morality, particularly the kind or morality — or lack thereof — found in today’s movies. The artistic community has its nose out of joint in light of a new bill that would give the federal Heritage Department the power to deny funding for films or tv shows it considers offensive. At least, that’s what the CBC tells us. Driving with the radio on, I was treated to much weeping and gnashing of teeth from concerned artists promising a descent into China-styled censorship and the end of audacious, creative movies — by which they must mean movies that cannot get a message across without repeated appeals to sexually graphic images, gratuitous violence and other delicious morsels of entertainment.
When they say “deny funding” what they mean is deny a tax credit. A tax credit worth 11% of salaries paid to Canadian employees in the making of the movie. What this means, really, is that offensive movies will still be created, produced and distributed in Canada, only that offensive movie-makers will have to do it on their own dime. Which they already did, strictly speaking, since a credit reimburses money already spent on salaries.
China is not around the corner. Not because of this bill, in any case.
Rebecca adds: … but why expect Canada’s chattering classes to grasp this rather unsubtle difference? After all, the suggestion that we not use taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions inevitably results in protests that evil conservatives want to create a world of back alley abortions, in which doctors and women in desperate straits are thrown in jail. Just as the body politic increasingly wants everything undesirable to be criminalized, so it wants everything legally permitted to be federally funded.
The University of Calgary pro-life club president Matthew Wilson and treasurer Leah Hallman made this statement to media after their own university censored their display on campus. Wish I had their courage when I was a student. (I didn’t.)
We are here today because abortion is here. If abortion was already recognized as what it is, the killing of an unborn human being, there would be no need for ‘notices to vacate,’ or suppression of constitutional freedoms or scare and bully tactics used by the university on its own students. In their ‘notice to vacate,’ which was handed to members of the Campus Pro-Life yesterday at 3:30pm, the University clearly stated that it did not want pro-life activities to be done on campus. In stating that ‘students registered at the University of Calgary may remain on campus for their classes and other regular activities not connected to Campus Pro-Life’ the university proved that it is not a matter of graphic signs, security risks, or any other rhetoric that they have employed in the past.
The issue simply boils down to the fact that they do not want our message on campus, period. It is worth pointing out that even in Russia, where human freedoms are still beginning to make their way back into everyday life, [pro-lifers] experienced no problems in erecting the same display that the University of Calgary has found so unacceptable.
We are not radicals or extremists, unless trying to promote dialogue on an important, controversial issue can be misconstrued as such. We are simply students who want to express our beliefs that human life has dignity from the very first moments of fertilization. Never in our history have we been violent, demeaning, or rude. Rather, we have always tried to use our convictions as students in a marketplace of ideas to promote the philosophical and scientific position that the unborn are worthy of life. We do not know how the university will react to our actions today. We hope that we will be allowed to display our exhibition as we have done for the last several years and that the University will recognize our right to be there, regardless of whether they like our message or not. We are not seeking trouble. We are seeking to be a voice for those who have none; yet, even our voices are being stifled by those who do not believe, in the words of Voltaire, though ‘I disagree with what you say…I will fight to the death for your right to say it.’