No more witch hunts
Ezra Levant wrote:No more witch hunts
Persecuted sure to win reprieve from ridiculous, costly hate laws
For 34 years, Canada has had a disgraceful censorship law that violates our human rights.
In 1977, Pierre Trudeau rammed through the Canadian Human Rights Act — an Orwellian name for a law that actually destroys real rights.
The entire law is a corruption of justice — it creates a kangaroo court, run by non-judges, that does not follow the same rules and procedures of real courts, but has massive powers to punish and fine people who aren't politically correct.
But the worst part of the law is Section 13, the censorship provision. Section 13 creates a word crime — the crime of publishing or broadcasting anything that can cause hurt feelings.
Back in 1977, that law was focused on telephone lines and answering machines. But 10 years ago, it was expanded to include the Internet.
So it even covers things like whatever you post to your Facebook page. Section 13 says "it is a discriminatory practice ... to cause to be ... communicated ... any matter that is likely to expose a person ... to hatred or contempt."
So if you publish anything on Facebook, or on your cellphone voice message, that might make one person feel bad about another, you've just broken the law.
Truth is not a defence to being charged with "hate" under Section 13. Fair comment is not a defence. Religious belief is not a defence. Telling a joke is not a defence. The law has nothing to do with truth or the right to have an opinion. It's about whether or not you've offended someone or hurt their feelings.
Section 13 is an insane law. So un-Canadian, so contrary to our traditions of liberty that go back centuries, inherited from the United Kingdom.
It's no surprise that this law had a 100% conviction rate in Canada for the first three decades of its existence. This federal law was copied by provincial legislatures. B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan all have censorship provisions, too.
I found out about this the hard way. In February of 2006, I published a magazine called the Western Standard. We reported on the major news story that month — riots around the Muslim world purportedly in response to some pretty banal Danish newspaper cartoons of Mohammed. Those riots killed more than 200 people, and we wanted to show our readers what all the fuss was about. But a radical Muslim imam in Calgary named Syed Soharwardy complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
He said I violated his human right not to be offended. He wanted to ban the cartoons, and his hand-scrawled complaint even bitched about the fact that I dared to publicly defend my right to do so.
I laughed off that little nut-bar. I mean, get a life — you're in Canada now, not Saudi Arabia. But to my surprise, the Alberta Human Rights Commission took his complaint and ran with it.
The Alberta government, using its provincial version of Section 13, prosecuted me for 900 days, with no fewer than 15 government bureaucrats and lawyers. It spent $500,000 prosecuting me, before dropping the case — and leaving me with my $100,000 legal bill. But sometimes freedom wins a round.
Last week, the federal justice minister, Rob Nicholson, stood up in the House of Commons and answered a question about Section 13.
The question was about a private member's bill, put by Brian Storseth, an MP from northern Alberta. Storseth has introduced a private member's bill, C-304, to repeal Section 13. But private member's bills have little chance of passing without the endorsement of the government.
But Nicholson did endorse it. He called on all MPs to support it, too. Bill C-304, Storseth's bill, is now effectively a government bill. And with a Tory majority in both the House and Senate, this bill is as good as done.
No more witch hunts by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. No more persecuting their political and religious enemies.
This is the best thing the Harper government has done in five years. Freedom is on the march.
EZRA LEVANT, QMI AGENCY