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Stop All "Disparaging Remarks About Gays and Homosexuals,"

as well as against the university professor and self-described "activis[t] for social justice issues" who filed a complaint against you: That's what the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission ordered Stephen Boisson and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. to do in Lund v. Boissoin. The Commission had earlier found Boissoin and the Coalition guilty of "causing to be published in the Red Deer Advocate (before the public), a publication in which it was likely to expose homosexuals to hatred or contempt because of their sexual orientation"; I oppose bans on such speech that exposes groups "to hatred or contempt," but at least on their face they seem to be limited to relatively harsh criticisms that tend to arouse hatred or contempt and not mere disagreement or disapproval.

But in reaction to this, the Commission went beyond imposing financial liability for speech likely to arouse hatred or contempt, and ordering that Boissoin stop engaging in speech likely to arouse hatred or contempt. Rather, it expressly ordered that Boissoin apologize, and

That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals. Further, they shall not and are prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund's witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint. Further, all disparaging remarks versus homosexuals are directed to be removed from current web sites and publications of Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc.

This is a breathtakingly broad prohibition, which extends far beyond the terms of the (already troubling) statute. Boissoin and his group aren't allowed to saying anything "disparaging" about homosexuals, which presumably would even extend to statements such as "homosexuals are acting sinfully" or "The Bible, which I believe should be our moral guide, condemns homosexuality."

Nor can they say anything disparaging (not just anything false or threatening, but anything disparaging) about Prof. Darren E. Lund of the University of Calgary Faculty of Education, a self-described "activis[t]" for "social justice issues in schools and communities," and his witnesses, who include Prof. Kevin Alderson of the University of Calgary, and Douglas Robert Jones, a recently retired Calgary City Police Service officer who has been Liaison to the GLBT Community. I would have thought that activist university professors were proper subjects for discussion, criticism, and even disparagement — but the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission forbids Mr. Boissoin and the Concerned Christian Coalition from engaging in such speech.

Recall that the Supreme Court of Canada originally upheld the Canadian "hate speech" bans precisely because

[T]he phrase 'hatred or contempt', are sufficiently precise and narrow to limit its impact to those expressive activities which are repugnant to Parliament's objective. The phrase 'hatred or contempt' in the context of s. 13(1) refers only to unusually strong and deep‑felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification and, as long as human rights tribunals continue to be well aware of the purpose of s. 13(1) and pay heed to the ardent and extreme nature of feeling described in that phrase, there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section.

Well, it looks like the Alberta Human Rights Commission is no longer "pay[ing] heed" to the limits imposed by the law. Unfortunate — but not surprising.

William Oliver (mail) (www):
It's worse even than that. The defendant is also required not only to apologize for, and suspend, his *speech,* but he is ordered to apologize "for his views on homosexuality."

The HRC has not merely decided to do away with freedom of speech (an "American concept" they give "no value"), but they have also introduced "views" or thought crime as a punishable act in Canada.
6.10.2008 4:37pm
Swede:
Sounds like an American university nowadays.
6.10.2008 4:38pm
ejo:
so, I guess that means the slippery slope argument works again-I can't imagine anyone thought, once you began traveling down this path, that such a result was possible. after all, everyone is acting in good faith and would never go to such an extreme.
6.10.2008 4:38pm
Swede:
ejo,

Travel down that path far enough and the government starts putting up fences. Not to keep foreigners out but to keep citizens in.
6.10.2008 4:42pm
cboldt (mail):
-- there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section. --
.

Say it again, louder, this time for emphasis. That what the appellate system is for.

.

If that doesn't work, does Canada have impeachment or similar to deal with the miscreant who imposed the order?

.

No matter how weird the decision, a decent political system has a remedy for an off the wall decision. If not, we can keep laughing at Canada as a whole.
6.10.2008 4:45pm
pete (mail) (www):
So what happens if Boissoin refuses and goes right on talking?
6.10.2008 4:54pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Odd there is no link to the letter itself.

Once you've read it answer this question:

In Canada could you have written a letter this erroneous, vitriolic and accusatory about a race or religion and not have it deemed inappropriate and 'hate' speech?

A call to take "whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" - gosh why would any minority be concerned about that? :)
6.10.2008 5:00pm
Blue (mail):
The content of the letter is basically irrelevent--or should be. Guess Commissar Bob doesn't understand that.
6.10.2008 5:05pm
Haakon:
Rich Lowry writes in an article for the New York Post today describing Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal as “’verdict first, trial later’ justice.” He states that “[t]he national commission has never found anyone innocent in 31 years.” Can this be true? I am not a huge fan of Lowry, and the Post is always suspect, but the Canadian system is so fouled up that I’d almost believe anything about it.
6.10.2008 5:05pm
ejo:
come now, such a thing could never happen in this country, right? I imagine that no university administrator who ever issued a speech/conduct code ever dreamed of having power like this, right?
6.10.2008 5:09pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Welcome to the Candian Soviet Socialist Republics(CSSR). Buckle up comrades(tavarishye), because it's going to be fun!
6.10.2008 5:10pm
M:
To answer your question, Bob, apparently in Canada one cannot write a letter such as this about race or religion without being punished. In the U.S., I would say that one could write a letter this erroneous, vitriolic and accusatory about a race or religion and not be punished or forced to apologize by a government authority. I would sincerely hope and would predict that others would write to counter his views, subject his views to mockery and derision, try to get others to do the same, and if he were someone that I knew, I would stop associating with him.

Any minority should certainly be concerned about "whatever steps are necessary" language. Just don't presume that the authority of the government will always be weighing in on the side of the threatened minority. There is ample history to suggest otherwise.
6.10.2008 5:10pm
wfjag:
Bob VB: Here's what was found offensive:


2. On Monday, June 17, 2002, the Red Deer Advocate Newspaper, published a letter to the editor entitled “Homosexual Agenda Wicked”, written by Mr. Stephen Boissoin, executive director, Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. (CCC). On July 22, 2002, Dr. Lund, a professor at the University of Calgary, filed a formal human rights complaint against Mr. Boissoin and the CCC. Dr. Lund complained that the letter contravened the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act (2000) Section 3 on the grounds of sexual orientation and the area of Publications and Notices.



[Mr. Boissoin also runs an auto parts store]

Dr. Lung and witnesses called by him testified that the following parts of the letter were offensive:


My banner has now been raised and war has been declared so as to defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth, that you so eagerly toil, day and night, to consume.

With me stand the greatest weapons that you have encountered to date - God and the “moral majority.” “Know this, we will defeat you, then heal the damage you have caused.

Come on people, wake up! It is time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.

[The masses] Failure to stand against the horrendous atrocities such as the aggressive propagation of homo and bisexuality”

***

From kindergarten class and on, our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators.

***

Our children are being victimized by repugnant and pre-mediated strategies, aimed at desensitizing and eventually recruiting our young children into their camps.

Furthermore...children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.

***

“Will your child be the next victim that tests homosexually positive?”

***

“Come on people, wake up! It is time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.”

***

That gays are sick (suggesting their enslavement to homosexuality can be remedied), that they have caused far too much damage, that they are pedophiles, they recruit, they have done horrendous atrocities, they are wicked, perverse, self centered, morally deprived, they are compared to pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps and furthermore that they are “the enemy.”


Mr. Boissoin called an expert to testify on his behalf:


Testimony of Dr. Barry Cooper

109. Dr. Cooper was qualified as an expert witness entitled to give opinion evidence in the field of political science as it relates to constitutional and human rights law. Further, he was qualified to give opinion evidence on the issues of equality rights, freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

110. In October of 2005, Dr. Cooper wrote an opinion for Mr. Boissoin in regards to this complaint. On a broad level, he was to analyze the theory of human rights legislation and how human rights legislation interacts with freedom of expression, political debate and how the debate impacts on government. Further, his analysis provided an opinion on whether Mr. Boissoin’s letter was best described as political debate from a political scientist’s perspective.

111. Dr. Cooper reports through an historical analysis the question of limiting or destroying other people’s rights is extremely important in liberal democracy. Dr. Cooper analysis involved the UK, Canada and the United States in this respect.

112. Dr. Cooper points out that the premise of liberal government is that there is a difference between government protecting a right and the exercise of a right by individuals, and that in his expert opinion, the point of the right of free speech is the right to debate not to ensure agreement.

113. Dr. Cooper points out that freedom of speech is found in the United States and the Canadian Constitution, in Section 2(b) of the Charter and in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In his opinion the pragmatic rationale for both is the protection of free speech and the security that the government affords for individuals to make their opinions known, are necessary for democratic government. Dr. Cooper reports that Mr. Boissoin was engaging in exercising his right of free speech in conducting a public debate through his letter to the Red Deer Advocate. Dr. Cooper reports further that Dr. Lund is attempting to silence him rather than engaging directly in further debate, by alleging the promotion of hatred as a ground for silencing him.

114. Dr. Cooper reports that the letters that appeared in the Red Deer Advocate surrounding the commentary about Mr. Boissoin’s letter demonstrate evidence of democratic health.

115. Dr. Cooper reports that Mr. Boissoin’s rhetoric was certainly strong but in his expert opinion he does not believe there is any evidence of hatred.

116. Dr. Cooper reports that a large portion of Mr. Boissoin’s letter focused on the gay rights movement although it was not identified as such and this, by its very nature, is political commentary.

117. Dr. Cooper reports in his expert opinion that the letter of Mr. Boissoin when read in its entirety, amounts to political criticism with moral exhortation.

118. Dr. Cooper reports that in his opinion Mr. Boissoin was only peripherally concerned with homosexuality in writing his letter. Dr. Cooper reports that Mr. Boissoin was far more concerned with establishing the scriptural basis for his views on homosexual practices.

119. Dr. Cooper reports that what is critical is that the letter lead to a very spirited debate in the letters column of the Red Deer Advocate that concerned not homosexuality per se, but Mr. Boissoin’s views and his consideration of what is moral conduct.

120. Dr. Cooper reports that Mr. Boissoin is clearly engaged in political debate. Further, in Dr. Cooper’s opinion it is clear that Mr. Boissoin was not expressing hatred of homosexuals and that he further shows compassion with respect to people who are suffering from an unwanted sexual identity crisis and are further enslaved to this desire.

121. Dr. Cooper reports that although some people may find Mr. Boissoin’s letter offensive, that does not amount to hate or discrimination.

122. Dr. Cooper reports that Mr. Boissoin’s letter sparked a vigorous political debate. Mr. Boissoin pointed out that there were certain practices that he regards as immoral and that his beliefs are grounded on and founded in the Bible. Dr. Cooper points out that reasonable people can disagree about whether homosexual practices are immoral and they can further disagree about whether the Bible is authoritative. Dr. Cooper reports that this is the essence of what debate is all about.

123. Dr. Cooper states that if activists use tax payer dollars to promote homosexuality in public schools then Christians have a right to stand up and say they do not think it is okay.

124. Dr. Cooper admits under cross-examination his belief that the Commission would be misguided in agreeing that this debate is hateful.

125. Dr. Cooper admits in cross-examination that laws have been changed in our liberal democracy in one direction supporting the gay rights movement and that they in fact can be repealed. It is his expert opinion that Mr. Boissoin wants to repeal some of the human rights legislation that has advanced in this regard. Further, he states under cross-examination that Mr. Boissoin’s rhetoric in this letter is to prompt political action.

126. Dr. Cooper admits under cross-examination that he does not have a degree in psychology.

127. Dr. Cooper admitted under cross-examination that he was not asked to comment upon the psychology involved in the letter writing, or in the fall-out resulting in this assault on the 17 year old boy that followed Mr. Boissoin’s letter.

128. Dr. Cooper admitted upon cross-examination that he was not asked to make a psychological analysis in his report. In his comments upon the psychological estate of the young assault victim, Dr. Cooper reported that if this young 17 year old victim does not feel safe reading the letter, then he should not read the letter.

129. Dr. Cooper under cross-examination reports that any connection between reading a letter and not feeling safe does not make sense to him.


Apparently about 3 weeks after the letter to the editor was published, a 17 year old gay boy was attacked and beaten. Mr. Boissoin testified that he did not know the boy or his attackers. It appears, however, that the tribunal assigned a causative relationship to the letter and attack.

You have to wonder if it's safe to own a copy of Grand Theft Auto in Canada.
6.10.2008 5:26pm
Zed:
"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."
- Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1927
6.10.2008 5:26pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
The content of the letter is basically irrelevent--or should be. Guess Commissar Bob doesn't understand that.

Only if I thought could impose American standards on Canada. They don't have a first amendment right to free speech like we do here. They haven't for a long time. Such a screed has been illegal up there for years so what's the beef - that it was about gays or that it can occur at all? If the latter than its old news - shoot from just the line I quoted it stepped way across the established Canadian line of acceptable speech.

To answer your question, Bob, apparently in Canada one cannot write a letter such as this about race or religion without being punished.

And we can here in the US, sure great. I have my own opinions about religion I'd hate to have squelched though even I have never called for a campaign against it that would take 'whatever steps necessary to reverse the wickedness". Just what's the complaint - that it could happen at all (old news) or that Eugene thinks this somehow extends precedence? Is the demand to 'recant' the salient issue?
6.10.2008 5:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
(sigh). As a gay man, I hate to hear the diatribe's that come from the mouths of so-called Christians. Boisson's statements are wrong, inflammatory, and perverted. Probably also paranoid.

However, HE thinks he is telling the truth, and what's more, there are others of his ilk. You won't change his thinking by stifling his speech or demanding an apology -- it will likely engender more resentment, and more feelings of a persecution complex and so on.

The only real answer to bad speech is good speech. Let him rant -- he only makes a fool of himself. People like that, in the end, are their own worst enemies. And for those that agree with him, I'd rather have them come out of the woodwork so that I can see who they are and avoid them.
6.10.2008 5:33pm
therut:
Canada does not only not have 1st amendment rights but they have no 2nd amendment rights. Just what the left in this country want for all of US people. "Shut up and turn them in" would be a good bumper sticker for the left. I reply with my 1st amendment right "Molon Labe". I am so glad I am an Americian citizen. The most free place on the face God's green earth.
6.10.2008 5:36pm
ejo:
as a gay leftist, this is a dream come true-stifle opponents while having an arm of the government do all the heavy lifting. paranoid? you can't label someone as paranoid when someone is actually out to get you.
6.10.2008 5:40pm
MES:
As a gay woman, I second Randy R. Though this kind of speech is a near-daily aggravation, it is an aggravation I happily endure with the confidence that the marketplace of ideas will eventually select profitable ideas and discard irrational ones.
6.10.2008 5:46pm
Vanceone:
Bob Van Burkleo: are you seriously suggesting that there is nothing wrong with this ruling of the Alberta Human Rights Commission because that's the way things are in Canada?

Since when did Canada force pastors to state their religious views are wrong and make them apologize for them? If that's really the law in Canada, then what pretense does Canada have to being a free state at all?

This is an outrageous ruling, and I'm glad that the Pastor is giving them the finger. If they toss this guy in jail because he won't pay... then imagine the headlines: Gay Rights activists throw dissenters into prison to "reeducate them."
6.10.2008 5:49pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Bob Van Burkleo: The whole point of my post is that the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission is going beyond just the now-familiar Canadian speech restrictions -- it's now banning the defendants in this case from making any remarks "disparaging" either gays and lesbians or the university professors and former police officials involved in this case. So a supposedly "precise and narrow" speech code is now morphing into something much broader.
6.10.2008 5:49pm
ejo:
ie. a slippery slope from allowing such restrictions to where Canada is today. what a surprise.
6.10.2008 5:58pm
Vanceone:
Over on the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog, there are people who, when I mentioned this story, are cheering on the Human Rights Commission.

In other words, they really DO want to throw into prison anyone who is not for the gay rights agenda. Simply breathtaking.
6.10.2008 6:00pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Vanceone: I took a quick look at the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog and couldn't find the post -- could you by any chance post the permalink to the post, please? Thanks!
6.10.2008 6:12pm
CanadianBacon:
It is far past time that the people of Canada recognize that they possess unalienable rights granted to them by God. Whether the Canadian government acknowledges those rights is irrelevant to the existence of those rights.

If this nonsense were ever to occur in the United States, I would gladly exercise my God given right of self-defense in response to tyranny.

It's a pity that the Canadians refuse to do the same.
6.10.2008 6:16pm
Vanceone:
Whoops! Sorry, Professor Volokh! It was in this thread:

Here is the link

I made the second post, and it snowballed from there.

It's still snowballing, I think.
6.10.2008 6:16pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Since when did Canada force pastors to state their religious views are wrong and make them apologize for them?

Let's take an example that actually touches on a previous case - calling for homosexuals should be killed. Should someone be able to call for the death of members of some group or some other less specific 'whatever steps necessary' allusion in Canada? What would be your solution be under Canadian law?

And technically apologizing for the letter is not apologizing for its content - weren't you ever a lawyer? 7? ;)

And thanks for the clarification Eugene... I guess I'd want to know what they mean by 'disparaging' - does that imply inaccuracy or merely anything unflattering? In the case above the the person fined for calling for the death of gays was later able to publish a slightly altered rant that was deemed appropriate.

Though the Tribunal has the ability to order the perpetrator "(ii) to refrain in the future from committing the same or any similar contravention;" the wording of their ruling to possibly include all 'disparaging' remarks is definitely worthy of conversation and clarification.
6.10.2008 6:19pm
pmorem (mail):
I seem to recall that Western Civilization used to suppress heretical ideas. If I recall correctly, that period is often referred to as "The Dark Ages". The ending of that suppression was called "The Enlightenment".

Sometimes it seems to me that there are people who wish to return us to those days, albeit with a different orthodoxy.
6.10.2008 6:23pm
Vanceone:
Bob Van Burkleo: But you are taking facts not in evidence, aren't you? Boissoin DIDN'T call for Homosexuals to be killed, and even if he did, if there is enough of a credible threat to any particular person, existing laws such as assault or intentional infliction of emotional distress would be adequate--not "You can never ever ever say anything that might possibly be critical of that group ever again."

Yes, I suppose Boissoin could do a weasel "I'm sorry you were offended by my letter but I stand by it" statement, but you and I both know this court wouldn't accept such an 'apology'. It's not an apology, and I'm sure the Human rights counsel wouldn't let it fly. Remember, this is the same tribunal that a defendant has NEVER won a case in.
6.10.2008 6:26pm
CanadianBacon:
Vanceone, Why don't decent Canadians take a page of the activist's playbook. They should start using the HRCs against the homosexual activists.
6.10.2008 6:30pm
Nathan_M (mail):

This is an outrageous ruling, and I'm glad that the Pastor is giving them the finger. If they toss this guy in jail because he won't pay... then imagine the headlines: Gay Rights activists throw dissenters into prison to "reeducate them."


Administrative tribunals like this one can't put people in jail, and you can't go to jail for not being able to pay a judgement they award. I don't know the precise mechanics of the Alberta system, but if Boisssoin ends up in jail I imagine it will be for contempt of court. Which is unfortunate, because I imagine if he appeals this decision instead of ignoring it he's very likely to win. Administrative tribunals issue dumb decisions all the time.
6.10.2008 6:31pm
Randy R. (mail):
Canadian: "If this nonsense were ever to occur in the United States, I would gladly exercise my God given right of self-defense in response to tyranny. "

We hope that you will find something better to defend than Boissons' idiotic screed.

"It is time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.”

"Taking whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" can and sometimes is taken as a call to kill gay people. I think it's pretty clear that Boisson is calling for the elimination of this 'wickedness'. So how does one exactly eliminate it? Well, killing them off is one way to do it, no?

And if you don't believe me, there was a Frontline episode which interviewed men who were convicted of killing gay men. About half of them expressed no remorse whatsoever because they believed all the things that Boisson believes.

I'm all in favor of free speech, as I have stated. However, I must draw the lines at anything that could be seen as a direct call to violence of any sort.
6.10.2008 6:36pm
Vanceone:
Nathan_M: this WAS the appeal of the decision. Boissoin won on the first go-round, but Lund appealed. And Alberta's government intervened to try to convict Boissoin. I'm not sure if you can appeal any higher, but Boissoin isn't rich, and he I don't think can afford an appeal (though that may change).

As for using their own medicine and filing lawsuits against them, as far as I know, that's been tried some. But I've yet to hear of any success. Remember, the Human Rights commission goes out of their way to prosecute conservative political views, to the point they were caught forging evidence and changing official transcripts to better the case against conservative political figures. They have the power to dismiss complaints, and I'm sure that every Decent Canadian's complaint is dismissed out of hand.
6.10.2008 6:36pm
Juan Inukshuk:
He states that “[t]he national commission has never found anyone innocent in 31 years.” Can this be true? I am not a huge fan of Lowry, and the Post is always suspect, but the Canadian system is so fouled up that I’d almost believe anything about it.
Lowry is correct if you add "for people charged under Section XIII" (the section at issue).
6.10.2008 6:45pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
-not "You can never ever ever say anything that might possibly be critical of that group ever again."

But of course that's not what they said - you can say you think someone is doing something 'wrong' without being 'disparaging', e.g. that I think the superstitious shouldn't breed is very different from saying they are unfit to breed.

Is there a recognized meaning for the word 'disparage' in Canadian 'speech' rulings we can refer to that might actually limit the scope of this ruling?
6.10.2008 6:46pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's really amazing the confluence of many of today's threads on VC. On other thread, David Bernstein is upset because Brandeis University has a liberal bias, and everyone over there is complaining that our colleges are overrun with liberals indoctrinating our youth.

Context, as they say, is everything. If Boisson were a black professor at an American U., and he said the exact same things about whites as he says about gays, everyone here would be up an arms about the content of what he said. Proof? Go to that thread, and you will find just that case.

Of course, this is a bit of apples and oranges. As I say, context is everything. But if a black gay man in Canada called for violence against the white oppressors, would you all be so eager to defend his right to free speech? If a US prof taught a course about the superiority of the judeo-christian society, would you become enraged by the indocrination?

I'll believe when I see it.
6.10.2008 6:50pm
Vanceone:
Randy R. : Do you still think that people here would be calling for said Black Professor to be fined and gagged from ever saying anything on the subject (Or his accusers!) ever again?

And just where did Boissoin say, "Let's kill all the gays, Boys!" There's no evidence he did or has harbored violent intentions.

As for the superiority of the Judeo-Christian society, it IS superior, as compared to every other one. Or do you prefer Pol Pot and Mao's "Great Leap Forward?"
6.10.2008 6:56pm
Nathan_M (mail):
Vanceone - I haven't followed this case, and I'm not familar with Alberta procedure, but from the decision it seems the Commission is giving its order. There's nothing to indicate it is an appeal. Even if it's some sort of internal appeal, the final decisions of can administrative tribunals can be appealed to a court. In my province it is not at all uncommon for Human Rights Tribunal decisions to get reversed. Once the commission has reached a final decision Mr Boissoin can bring it to court.

Is there a recognized meaning for the word 'disparage' in Canadian 'speech' rulings we can refer to that might actually limit the scope of this ruling?

No.
6.10.2008 7:05pm
Nifonged:
"Do you still think that people here would be calling for said Black Professor to be fined and gagged from ever saying anything on the subject (Or his accusers!) ever again? "

Hey, he's a gay man, stop oppressing him!
6.10.2008 7:15pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Damn, every time I have a free speech post half drafted, someone comes along and blogs far better about the same thing.


Perhaps one sentence of this could be taken as a call for violence, albeit a vague one. That call would not meet American free speech tests requiring clarity and imminence.

What makes it inarguably wrong for me is the completely gratuitous and totalitarian ban on disparaging the university professor who brought the case. What possible excuse is there, in a free society, to prohibit the defendant from calling Dr. Lund a contemptible censor who has no business in the teaching profession?

But that's hardly new to Canada. Remember, that's where you can be sued for libel for calling a censor a censor, as Prof. Volokh has pointed out before.
6.10.2008 7:21pm
Blue (mail):
Randy R, do you really believe that being agitated about liberalism at a university Brandeis is similar in any way to being agitated about the government imposing penalties on speech?
6.10.2008 7:30pm
Javert:
Thank you Catharine MacKinnon.

See Supreme Court of Canada: R. v. Butler, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 452
6.10.2008 7:32pm
pmorem (mail):
BVB:
Disparage -
To express a negative opinion of; "She disparaged her student's efforts"
To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; belittle. See Synonyms at decry.
To reduce in esteem or rank.

I don't see any mitigation there at all.
6.10.2008 7:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

But if a black gay man in Canada called for violence against the white oppressors, would you all be so eager to defend his right to free speech?
Where did Boissoin call for violence against homosexuals? In any case, a call for violence against oppressors (regardless of color) needs to be pretty specific to lose the protection of free speech.

On other thread, David Bernstein is upset because Brandeis University has a liberal bias, and everyone over there is complaining that our colleges are overrun with liberals indoctrinating our youth.
There is a rather big difference between disapproval of indoctrination in a university and gay activists using the government to prohibit free speech by individuals. It is rather a good thing for homosexuals that American society in 1960, or 1965, or 1970, was far more tolerant of homosexuals promoting their sexuality, than homosexuals are tolerant of heterosexuals expressing disapproval.

The unwillingness to tolerate dissent is one of the more troubling signs that Boissoin is correct about the destructive effects of homosexuality on a society. Freedom of speech, widely accepted homosexuality: pick one.
6.10.2008 7:53pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

"Taking whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" can and sometimes is taken as a call to kill gay people. I think it's pretty clear that Boisson is calling for the elimination of this 'wickedness'. So how does one exactly eliminate it? Well, killing them off is one way to do it, no?
And so is transporting them all the Martian penal colony. Or giving them all prefrontal lobotomies. Or castrating them all. But you would have to be pretty paranoid to think that anyone (other than Rev. Fred Phelps) would consider that an appropriate step.

I read that "whatever is necessary" as, "Stop using the government to push the homosexual agenda."
6.10.2008 7:56pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Can you disparage a subset of a protected group safely in Canada, I wonder?

For instance, if you say "Some gays, Muslims, and members of other groups that are traditionally victims of discrimination seek to control what Canadians can say, write, publish (and, therefore, what they can read). That effort shows that that they are temperamentally suited for totalitarianism, not for a membership in a free people cherishing a liberal tradition of the right to dissent. I hold in contempt those who react to a history of oppression by seeking to censor others and, by extension, all of us."

I would be holding up certain protected group members for contempt, not all. But would that spare me? I suspect not.
6.10.2008 8:03pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
pmorem, that's correct the word can have broad meaning or a narrower one. My dictionary says 'represent as being of little worth' which would go with your 'belittle' definition. That is a pretty specific kind of criticism and would still leave many others. I personally would like to see a sane rewrite of the letter that expresses the concerns without the demagoguery and implicit violence references and see if it would pass muster. Force the tribunal to define 'disparaging'...

Clayton we are talking about a letter that says a group of people are after the reader's children no less than 7 times, compares the disparaged group to a number of criminals, the writer declares war, tells the readers the safety and welfare of their children is at stake, and you read a statement that calls for the readers to take 'whatever steps necessary' as being limited and precluding violence. Pretty convenient read if you ask me.
6.10.2008 8:39pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
I think people are missing the point here. Claiming that all gays are pedophiles is wrong and should be illegal, sort of like the libel that the Jews are poisoning the water.

Why?

A) it's not true
B) it's an incitement

Ironically, I believe homosexuality is a sin and agree that the human rights tribunals here in Canada are a sham, but I myself am fully aware that there is a BIG difference between homosexuality and pedophilia - many people aren't, partly because of hate mongers like Boissoin.

Incidentally, would we be having this discussion if Boissoin had swastikas on his arms?
6.10.2008 9:00pm
Waldo (mail):
Randy R:

While we'll disagree on SSM, I'll agree with you here:

The only real answer to bad speech is good speech. Let him rant -- he only makes a fool of himself. People like that, in the end, are their own worst enemies.

Boissoin's letter was inflamatory and wrong, but in this country, it should be protected speech. That we can agree on that is a good thing.
6.10.2008 9:02pm
Brian Mac:
BVB:

Do you see no problem with prohibiting him from making disparaging remarks about the man who brought the suit, however you wish to define the term?
6.10.2008 9:03pm
Brian Mac:

I believe homosexuality is a sin

I think that statement should be illegal because it stigmatizes and demonizes gays, and therefore:

a) contributes to their already desperately low life expectancies;

b) incites retribution against them.
6.10.2008 9:13pm
Russ (mail):
I'm all in favor of free speech, as I have stated. However...

This is usually the phrase that precedes someone thinking speech should be restricted.

Free speech is not there for popular speech with which you might agree. It is precisely there for the speech you would spend a lifetime fighting against.

The answer to bad speech is more speech, not less.
6.10.2008 9:15pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Yup. I will forever more believe people when they deny there is any slippery slope in the immediate future.
Always believe.
They wouldn't lie.
6.10.2008 9:22pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Brian Mac says:
Do you see no problem with prohibiting him from making disparaging remarks about the man who brought the suit, however you wish to define the term?

When I read that my first thought was 'I wonder what they had been saying on the site?" Was it like:

"Prof Lund is just harrassing me and trying to limit my right to free speech", or

"Prof Lund is wants to silence me because he is just another pedophiliac homosexual of the kind that want uncontested access to your children."

IF the Tribunal intended a limited meaning to the word 'disparage' I can see it if I understand the powers of the Act correctly. That's why it does all tend to eventually come down to what the Tribunal meant with its ruling - it really does need clarification. If its intention was to inhibit all expression than it should be wrong, even in Canada. But if it was merely to regulate a particular kind of expression than it might be justified. Really does depend on what was said and what can now be said.
6.10.2008 9:28pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
I believe homosexuality is a sin

I think that statement should be illegal because it stigmatizes and demonizes gays…


Only if they share the belief... I mean, I can't sin - it is 100% totally impossible for me to do so since that concept isn't even part of my religious paradigm. The statement above regulates the believer's potential behavior, not mine.

I mean I think that being superstitious is moronic, that doesn't mean I should think I can stop others from being superstitious in a nation where every person has a right to be a moron if they choose.

The reverend didn't say he thought homosexuality was a sin, he had very specific acts they desired to perform, some of them illegal, that he attributed to homosexuals.

You can see the difference, can't you?
6.10.2008 9:36pm
Jerry F:
Are these rulings appealable before the Canadian Supreme Court or some other appellate judicial body in Canada? Do Canadian newspapers and the current "conservative" government support this homofascism?
6.10.2008 9:47pm
whit:

I think people are missing the point here. Claiming that all gays are pedophiles is wrong and should be illegal,


in a nation that has no respect whatsoever for free speech, you mean. in a free society, it should not be illegal.




sort of like the libel that the Jews are poisoning the water.


which of course should not be illegal either.

but neither is really relevant to the main issue here which is that he can't even CRITICIZE homosexuality or homosexuals.

you can't say it's true or not true when you are saying
(for example) "homosexuals are subhuman pieces of garbage".

that imo, is an absurd opinion, and hateful. but clearly protected free speech IN A FREE COUNTRY.

of course, since canada ISN'T remotely a free country when it comes to speech, it's kind of irrelevant.



A) it's not true
B) it's an incitement



spare me that rubbish. there's a great way to quell free speech. if you disagree with an opinion, it's an "incitement".


Ironically, I believe homosexuality is a sin and agree that the human rights tribunals here in Canada are a sham, but I myself am fully aware that there is a BIG difference between homosexuality and pedophilia - many people aren't, partly because of hate mongers like Boissoin.

Incidentally, would we be having this discussion if Boissoin had swastikas on his arms?


i can't spend 5 minutes watching tv or listening to the radio without hearing untruths. so what? we are now using the power of the govt. to prohibit untruths and mean speech?

and i don't care if he's got multiple 8*10 glossy photographs of hitler, a copy of mein kampf under his arm, swastikas on his arm, etc.

it's 100% irrelevant.

of course he DOESN'T. he is espousing an opinion, and one that is no different than the kind of stuff routinely espoused by any # of "social justice" advocates.

i have seen leftists wearing t-shirts that say "kill the rich"

that is a much more overt threat (not that i think it should be criminal either) and incitement than "by any means necessary", which is NOT a threat or incitement despite your beliefs, and i don't propose criminalizing or banning "kill the rich" t-shirts either.

i am also disgusted by all the leftie blogs that routinely ignore or explain away the censorious actions of canada, while decrying the lack of freedoms in "bush's amerikkka"
6.10.2008 9:47pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):

I'm all in favor of free speech, as I have stated. However...

This is usually the phrase that precedes someone thinking speech should be restricted.


Has this argument ever worked in a case of libel?
6.10.2008 9:50pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton we are talking about a letter that says a group of people are after the reader's children no less than 7 times, compares the disparaged group to a number of criminals, the writer declares war, tells the readers the safety and welfare of their children is at stake, and you read a statement that calls for the readers to take 'whatever steps necessary' as being limited and precluding violence. Pretty convenient read if you ask me.
Or someone is paranoid. Look, we can't even get the courts to uphold constitutional amendments to limit governmental power in support of homosexuality, and you're worried about this guy trying to kill you all?
6.10.2008 9:51pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
whit, find a legal dictionary and go look up the definition of libel please.
6.10.2008 9:52pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The reverend didn't say he thought homosexuality was a sin, he had very specific acts they desired to perform, some of them illegal, that he attributed to homosexuals.
It's not like NAMBLA used to march in gay pride parades or anything. I mean, why would anyone think that there was an overlap between child molesters and homosexuals?
6.10.2008 9:53pm
whit:

whit, find a legal dictionary and go look up the definition of libel please


libel IS NOT A CRIME

hth

furthermore, this whole concept of libelling GROUPS is stupid.

so, if a guy makes a website that says "cops are all racist thugs", that's actionable libel?

spare me.

that's about as dumb as saying that somebody who says "homosexuals are pedophiles in disguise" should be sued, let alone prosecuted or tried by human rights tribunals.

get real
6.10.2008 9:58pm
Zoe E Brain (mail) (www):
The HRC by this ruling has done far more to cause GLBT people to be held in hatred and contempt than any number of letters. I think no reasonable person could dispute that.

This is not just unjust, it is manifestly so.

I'm glad a number of Canadian GLBT groups are now publishing the original letter, along with editorials affirming the right of anyone whatsoever to say these things, no matter how much we may disagree with them. In fact, it's because we disagree with them that we should so strongly affirm that right.
6.10.2008 9:58pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
Clayton Cramer:


There is a rather big difference between disapproval of indoctrination in a university and gay activists using the government to prohibit free speech by individuals.


As a point of information, I've read that gay groups in Alberta wanted nothing to do with Professor Lund's action against Rev. Boissoin. I'm not even sure Prof. Lund is gay, and would assume he is not given the Commission admitted that no harmed party could be identified.

Rev. Boissoin, for his part, has said he will refuse to abide by this decision.
6.10.2008 9:59pm
Jerry F:
Randy: Self-proclaimed black leaders make racist speeches against whites all the time, see, e.g., Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan. I have *never* heard any conservative -- even conservatives who are well to the right of the mainstream Republican Party and hang out on Freerepublic.com or Vdare.com -- arguing that blacks should not have the right to make racist, bigoted comments against whites or that they should be punished by the government for doing so. As for this blog, all bloggers have been consistently pro-homosexual (and I seem to recall that a former guest blogger was kicked out of the VC for expressing concerns with homosexuality) so it is fairly clear that the posts denouncing Canadian homofascism are made in spite of, not because of, the content of the speech for which Canadians are being persecuted.
6.10.2008 9:59pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
t's not like NAMBLA used to march in gay pride parades or anything. I mean, why would anyone think that there was an overlap between child molesters and homosexuals?

Not any sane person who has bothered to do the research on the subject, no. What kind of idiot looks at a group representing 1/100th of one percent of an larger group and draws an association between them? Talk about moronic.
6.10.2008 10:03pm
Jerry F:
Zoe: "The HRC by this ruling has done far more to cause GLBT people to be held in hatred and contempt than any number of letters. I think no reasonable person could dispute that."

As a moderate social conservative, I would love to believe that this is true, but is there any evidence for this proposition? Have mainstream Canadian newspapers denounced/ridiculed the HRC decision?

I do believe that homosexuals who want to push for their agenda at all cost have much to gain for endorsing homofacist policies: First, many individuals will indeed be deterred from speaking out their views for fear of punishment. Second, by moving the debate to the issue whether people should have the right to express criticisms of homosexuality, they make anyone who disagrees with more moderate elements of the agenda appear as if they were right-wing ideologues. (Conservatives have inadvertently helped liberals on this: by focusing the debate in the U.S. only on homosexual marriage and related issues rather than on the propriety of homosexual acts, conservatives are doomed to lose the debate. If there is nothing wrong with the lifestyle, it really isn't such a big deal to allow for homosexual marriage.)
6.10.2008 10:12pm
DangerMouse:
Not any sane person who has bothered to do the research on the subject, no. What kind of idiot looks at a group representing 1/100th of one percent of an larger group and draws an association between them? Talk about moronic.

Gee, Bob, should Clayton be thrown in jail then?

Anyone who supports this opinion by the Canadian tribunal is a thug.
6.10.2008 10:14pm
Jeffersonian22 (mail):
It kinda reminds me of a quote attributed to Huey Long and was to the effect that when fascism comes to America, it'll be called anti-fascism. Canada, in its persecution of unpopular opinion, seems to be blazing the trail.
6.10.2008 10:20pm
Randy R. (mail):
"This is usually the phrase that precedes someone thinking speech should be restricted. "

We certainly do restrict free speech. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater unless there is indeed a fire. Nor can you incite anyone to violence. Ever make a statement that you want to kill Bush? You might get a visit from the secret service.

So yes, I believe in free speech. But Boisson is clearly making a call to arms by declaring war, and using whatever means are necessary to eliminate our threat. If he had said the same thing about jews or muslims, we wouldn't even be debating whether this is a call to violence.

And yes, of course I know the difference between gov't action and the universities. That's why I was careful to say that context is everything. But I just wish people were a little more consistent in their suppoed outrage of things. And yes, I'm just as guilty as everyone else.

"As for the superiority of the Judeo-Christian society, it IS superior, as compared to every other one. Or do you prefer Pol Pot and Mao's "Great Leap Forward?"

thanks for proving my point about intolerance. But no, there is not a choice between us and communism. For instance, one of the most tolerant and advanced societies was Spain under the Moors, otherwise known as the muslims. The Moors ruled a peaceable kingdom of jews, christians and muslins. It was also a great place of learning and enlightenment, and it lastest for several hundred years. the buddhists of Nepal and Tibet have had a wonderful society for several hundred years as well. I think many people there would consider their society superior.

Oh, and I would love to know what was so tolerant in the 60s and 70s, Clayton? As I recall the era, it was a time when gay bars were routinely raided and there was no such things domestic partner benefits, and few gays were out.
6.10.2008 10:25pm
Leonard Krank:
Welcome to the new fascism.
6.10.2008 10:26pm
Ben Franklin (mail):
Every man has a right to express his hatred and contempt for his fellow man. Otherwise we would have to accept any foolishness that someone gets up to without comment. The proper role of government is to try to limit that expression to speech... not to limit speech. If speech is limited then there are much more effective ways of expressing the same sentiment and they become much more attractive being they are the only alternatives left.

When a government such as Canada's acts in such a manner as these "Human Rights" tribunals then it loses all legitimacy. We have always had men of low intellect and character who wish to dominate and control others, even down to what they say or think. When these people get in power, history has shown it often takes a good deal of violence and bloodshed to get them out. We owe a tremendous debt to our founding fathers that they left us with a constitution that goes a long ways towards innoculating us from this type of foolishness.

While Canada flirts with fascism we will gladly accept Mark Steyn and any other political refugee that wants to come our way... and be the richer for it.
6.10.2008 10:26pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
Whit, groups have been subjected to libel in the not so distant past, like my Jewish ancestors over in Europe, for instance. Maybe they wouldn't have had much luck suing for damages under the current US system, but I don't necessarily think that's proof they wouldn't have had legitimate beef against their detractors. But I suppose you do.
6.10.2008 10:27pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
At some point we'll be hit by terrorists operating from Canada, who will almost certainly have been fostered by Canada's lax national security system. The most likely reaction will be temporary border closure. Canada will need every bit of American goodwill they can get at that point.

I doubt any Canadians have considered how leftist crap like this is not merely reducing that goodwill, but convincing a considerable American faction that Canada is becoming a threat to freedom.

President Porfirio Diaz of Mexico once said, "Poor Mexico. So far from God and so near the United States."
6.10.2008 10:33pm
whit:

Whit, groups have been subjected to libel in the not so distant past, like my Jewish ancestors over in Europe, for instance. Maybe they wouldn't have had much luck suing for damages under the current US system, but I don't necessarily think that's proof they wouldn't have had legitimate beef against their detractors. But I suppose you do.


every group under the face of the sun has been subjected to group libel . so frigging what? i have plenty of jewish ancestors in europe, too. again, so what?

the issue is not "legitimate beef"

the issue is when the government has the power to tell people they can't use disparaging language towards groups, any remote semblance of free speech is gone.

when the govt. is the ultimate arbiter of what is "true" and speech that is in line with the state, again - canada has already lost.

for pete's sake. all this is, is defense of the indefensible. i don't care how hateful boisson's comments are/were. a free society deals with bad speech by countering with good speech. period. that's a grammar school civics lesson and its astounding that we have adults and lawyers here (those terms aren't always mutually exclusive) :) who will try to twist this decision into anything but an abomination.

again, should cops be able to sue somebody who makes a website that says "all cops are just racist thugs", or how about rich people suing people who wear "eat the rich" t-shirts and say that capitalism is a crime against humanity, or bell hooks for longing to kill an anonymous white man on a plane, etc. etc.
6.10.2008 10:35pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
I don't see a problem with claiming that the homosexual agenda needs to be aggressively countered, and I agree that the tribunal is a sham. However, I strongly feel that society needs to protect oppressed minorities from libel, for the same reasons we protect individuals.
6.10.2008 10:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
MeandasloME:"I don't see a problem with claiming that the homosexual agenda needs to be aggressively countered"

yeah, because unless we stop those gays, we'll all be forced to sing showtunes. The horror!
6.10.2008 10:44pm
whit:

However, I strongly feel that society needs to protect oppressed minorities from libel, for the same reasons we protect individuals


and of course lovely government becomes the great arbiter of TRUTH (tm) and which groups are "oppressed minorities", which inevitably means its perfectly ok to criticize SOME groups - cause like they have "power" and control the "hegemony" and aren't "oppressed" but other poor, innocent, feeble oppressed minorities can look to big mommy/daddy to help protect them from people who say mean things about them.

and again, we are back at the soft bigotry thang. personally, as an "oppressed minority" member myself, i want government to leave me the #A$(#( alone, and let the marketplace of ideas handle it.
6.10.2008 10:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Do the Canadians have elected parliaments at national and provincial levels? Do those parliaments pass and repeal laws? Apparently the people of Canada have chosen this for themselves.
6.10.2008 10:54pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):

personally, as an "oppressed minority" member myself, i want government to leave me the #A$(#( alone, and let the marketplace of ideas handle it.


Well that's rational, at the moment.

Fortunately you don't have to worry about your risk of getting assaulted going up everytime there is a terrorist attack, unlike some of our brothers and sisters from the house of Abraham...or people who look like them.
6.10.2008 10:57pm
Keith in Dallas (mail):

That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.


Taken literally, Boissoin and TCCCI are prohibited from saying something like "[Insert name of gay person] really sucks at hockey." The quote does not limit the ban on disparaging remarks about homosexuals to their homosexuality. So if they publicly disparage a gay person for ANY reason, they violate the letter of this order.

Just the latest in a LONG line of examples of "progressive and enlightened" groups coming up with utterly moronic and indefensible decisions/policies.
6.10.2008 11:01pm
htom (mail):
Can I make disparaging remarks about the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission? Is asking that question disparaging? Oh, it's not? Curses, foiled again!
6.10.2008 11:07pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
Perhaps one of the commenters who thinks that the reverend shouldn't be allowed to say what he said but should be allowed to express his beliefs will give us some examples of acceptable ways to express said beliefs.

If there isn't an acceptable way to express said beliefs ....
6.10.2008 11:24pm
whit:

Fortunately you don't have to worry about your risk of getting assaulted going up everytime there is a terrorist attack, unlike some of our brothers and sisters from the house of Abraham...or people who look like them.



how do you know my race, or if i appear muslim?

btw... two words for those that fear assault: concealed carry.

i also note that despite much handwringing and worrying just after 911 the incidents of perceived muslims being assaulted due to hate crimes stemming from 911 has been very very low. yes, there have been some incidents, but simply put - we are better than that.
6.10.2008 11:41pm
Elmer:

Taken literally, Boissoin and TCCCI are prohibited from saying something like "[Insert name of gay person] really sucks at hockey."

Any interference with hockey speech would result in the disbanding of the HRCs.
6.10.2008 11:44pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):
Gee, Bob, should Clayton be thrown in jail then?

Well first, hopefully Clayton doesn't share the opinion he attributed to the good Rev. second who is talking about throwing anyone in jail?

"The Panel also agrees with the submissions of Mr. Boissoin when he states that this is not a criminal case. It would be inappropriate to punish Mr. Boissoin for his actions…"

Where is anyone getting the 'jail' concept out of this judgement?
6.10.2008 11:49pm
Russ (mail):
So yes, I believe in free speech. But...

Thanks for, once again, proving that some believe that opinion should be outlawed.

Your example of fire in a movie theater is absurd. Such an instance is regarding public safety in a way that people would either have to react by storming out of the building or risk the shout being real and burning to death in a fire.

The incitement in this instance is no worse than a group at Columbia University shouting "death to America" or someone wishing for "a million Mogadishus." That also inspires towards war and killing.

However, we sane people recognize such stuff as idiotic and counter with our own speech in the arena of ideas.

If you ban speech now that you find offensive, even so offensive you would spend your life trying to defeat it, don't be surprised when those well intentioned souls come after your speech next.
6.10.2008 11:54pm
Russ (mail):
Where is anyone getting the 'jail' concept out of this judgement?

Let's turn that question on its head and look back a few years:

Where is anyone getting this "free speech will be outlawed" concept out of this Canadian Supreme Court ruling that defines hate speech?

The view from the top of the slippery slope is spectacular, isn't it?
6.10.2008 11:57pm
JohnMc (mail) (www):
Roll it all up and this is the culmination of what is wrong with Parliamentary forms of government. Your rights as an individual are only as valid as those in powers' view of an orderly society and reasoned dissent view it.

The US system is a bit more structured. But that still does not prevent deviant rules of law from occurring. Consider that several States now possess 'hate crimes' statutes and multiple universities have speech codes/zones that would not past muster in a court of law.
6.11.2008 12:09am
RBG (mail):
Where is anyone getting the 'jail' concept out of this judgement? So true. In that light, what the hell's wrong with censorship? It's not like the censors put anybody in jail or anything. At least not on a regular basis. One wonders what Locke got all worked up about when he noted the irony that "dettors and delinquents may walk abroad without a keeper, but unoffensive books must not stirre forth without a visible jaylor in thir title."

I usually do a pretty good job of suppressing negative feelings for my ideological opponents, but this is one position that, in a liberal democratic state, I find utterly despicable. If there is one freedom that should be sacrosanct - and indeed that has been made sacrosanct by the human suffering that gave birth to it - it is the freedom to think what one will and to say what one thinks. To deprive a free man or woman of that liberty is to make him or her unfree, and the suggestion that the absence of physical imprisonment somehow renders the spiritual and intellectual imprisonment - not to mention financial and reputational destruction - imposed by this decision of little or no consequence should call forth the repugnance and utter disdain of every free person.

This is true Liberty when free born men
Having to advise the public may speak free,
Which he who can, and will, deserv's high praise,
Who neither can nor will, may hold his peace;
What can be juster in a State then this?

- Euripides, as quoted by Locke
6.11.2008 12:22am
Hoosier:
I'm assuming that it is illegal to be Sarah Silverman in Canada?

"
President Porfirio Diaz of Mexico once said, "Poor Mexico. So far from God and so near the United States.""

Yeah. But he was wrong. If Mexico were any father from the United States, all the Mexicans would have a hell of a time getting here.

Randy R.: Look, I don't want to sound threatening. And as I've pointed out before, my closest friend—and former grad school roommate—is gay. So I'm not generally hostile to gays and their lifestyle.

But so help me, I'll take you ALL down before I'll sing SHOW TUNES!
6.11.2008 12:23am
RBG (mail):
I do hope any censors that are installed by our betters at least keep me from blogging after midnight - as I was brushing my teeth, I realized with horror that I was quoting Milton, not Locke. His Areopagitica, to be precise. I often confuse my Johns (yes, that was intended as a politically incorrect poke in the eye that I hope offended some right-thinking person, preferably north of the 48th parallel). Please change to "Milton" all references to "Locke" in my post above.
6.11.2008 12:34am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
Whit, I agree, we are better than that - here in Canada as well. Also, I don't know what you look like - agreed.

But my point is this: If I publish a series of accusations claiming that you are a pedophile, and you're not, then you'll sue me for damages (you'd probably lose your job, for starters) But if I publish series of accusations that all gays are pedophiles (like Boissoin), and 10 gays lose their jobs as a result, they have no recourse?? All because he didn't single out a specific person??

How is that justice?
6.11.2008 12:39am
CDU (mail) (www):
Bob Van Burkleo wrote:
Only if I thought could impose American standards on Canada. They don't have a first amendment right to free speech like we do here.


Free speech is a fundamental human right. It exists everywhere, whether a country's government recognizes it or not. Those governments that do not are human rights violators and should be condemned as such.
6.11.2008 12:45am
whit:

If I publish a series of accusations claiming that you are a pedophile, and you're not, then you'll sue me for damages (you'd probably lose your job, for starters)



fwiw, i doubt i'd lose my job because some(wacko) published accusations. we have this wonderful thing in the US called due process... unless you are a duke lacrosse player :)


But if I publish series of accusations that all gays are pedophiles (like Boissoin), and 10 gays lose their jobs as a result, they have no recourse?? All because he didn't single out a specific person??


they have a recourse against the person that wrongly fired them.

i can point to any # of websites and people who claim that all cops are racists and thugs.

so, if some moron treats me differently based on what some ninny said about my group (cops in this case), i should be able to sue the guy who made that claim?

cmon.
and to make this more specific, the person who claimed "all cops are racist thugs" once found responsible by a tribunal for this egregious offense can now be prohibited from ever saying anything disparaging about cops, or me!

that's the parallel.

if somebody in a feminist blog says that men who buy girls gone wild tapes are "equivalent to pedophiles", should that be actionable? of course not, i guess because men are not (according to leftists) oppressed minorities? they are definitely a "group" subject to disparaging comments.

if some moron says that all gays are pedophiles (fwiw, i have heard a lot of anti-gay rhetoric but none that claims that), then the counter is to present evidence that this is not the case.

i am sure i could find a website somewhere that says equally untrue and hateful things towards - jews, christians, muslims, etc. etc. etc.

should all those website publishers be subject to a human rights tribunal etc.?

get over it.
6.11.2008 12:52am
Johnny44 (mail):

I think people are missing the point here. Claiming that all gays are pedophiles is wrong and should be illegal, sort of like the libel that the Jews are
poisoning the water.

No, saying that a group is stupid or contemptible is political speech entitled to the highest degree of First Amendment protection, see Collin v. Smith, 578 F.2d 1197, 1202 (7th Cir.1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 916 (1978).
Furthermore, courts have held in the tort context that the of and concerning requirement is constitutionally required,lest that First Amendment protected criticism of groups in the public eye are stifled, Blatty v. New York Times Co., 42 Cal. 3d 1033, 1044, 728 P.2d 1177, 1183 (1986),cert. denied, 485 U.S. 934 (1988), cert. denied, 485 U.S. 934 (1988), American Booksellers Association Inc. v. Hudnut, 598 F. Supp. 1316 (1984),

Why?

A) it's not true

Under the actual malice rule first enunciated in Sullivan and subsequently extended in Garrison v. Louisiana to all criminal libel laws, plaintiff must establish that the libelous statements are false and made with reckless disregard for whether the speech is true or false a group libel law modelled on the Canadian Human Rights ordinances or Criminal Code S.319 would be flatly unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court in Gertz extended the actual malice requirement to punitive damages awarded to nonpublic figures, and in Hepps even held that matters nonpublic figures must establish fault and falsity when the defamation is on a matter of public concern.

B) it's an incitement

Are you kidding? Incitement has a very definite meaning in American law, Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969 and this has nothing to do with libel or supposed group libel.
Libel is proscribable because is proven falsehood, where incitement to violence is proscribale if it poses a danger of imminent violence.
But even accepting arguendo that a group libel standard could be made constitutional under current First Amendment law, the Canadian human rights ordinance is different.
The Supreme Court of Canada held in Taylor v. Canadian Human Rights Commission (1990), 75 D.L.R. (4th) 577.
that truth is no defense to a claim under Section 13 of the federal Human Rights Act, and in its earlier decision in R. v. Keegstra, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 697 upholding the constitutionality of the more narrow criminal code provision S.319 held that the onus may constitutionally be put on the defendant to establish truth of the matter.
6.11.2008 12:59am
MeandalsoMe (mail):

if some moron says that all gays are pedophiles (fwiw, i have heard a lot of anti-gay rhetoric but none that claims that)


Well I happened to hear some moron say that very thing. His name is Stephen Boissoin and this post is about him.



they have a recourse against the person that wrongly fired them.


Do they have any recourse against the people in their community who refuse to hire them because of the published accusations?


i can point to any # of websites and people who claim that all cops are racists and thugs.


It's not illegal to be racist or a thug. I'm talking about being accused of things that are illegal.

Those were too easy. Do you have any arguments that might be a little tougher for me to shoot down?
6.11.2008 1:05am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
Johnny44, this all took place in Canada, not the US. I know you guys are very proud of your legal system and all, but unfortunately it cannot be applied on Canadian soil. Sorry.
6.11.2008 1:11am
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
MeandalsoMe:


It's not illegal to be racist or a thug. I'm talking about being accused of things that are illegal.


Wait a minute. Aren't you arguing that it is, and should be, illegal to be a racist? Which is it?

Do they have any recourse against the people in their community who refuse to hire them because of the published accusations?



In Canada, yes -- if people refuse to hire them because they are gay.
6.11.2008 1:18am
Johnny44 (mail):
@MeandalsoMe (
I am fully aware that Canada is a SovietSocialist Republic at least with regard to free speech, my reply was a rebuttal to the claim that Canada's hate speech regime would not be so unfamiliar to American libel law and by implication not so bad.
6.11.2008 1:25am
Matt Caplan (mail):
Nathan_M, Vanceone, and Jerry F:

Mr. Boissoin can appeal to the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta, as long as he does so "within 30 days after the date the appellant receives a copy of the order of the human rights panel." See §37 of the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act.

From what I understand, the Court of Queen's Bench is Canada's comparable of a district court in the US system (i.e., there are two levels of review above it).
6.11.2008 1:45am
Matt Caplan (mail):
Er, make that "version of" rather than "comparable of."
6.11.2008 1:47am
Albertan:
Thomas Somebody wrote:

"At some point we'll be hit by terrorists operating from Canada, who will almost certainly have been fostered by Canada's lax national security system. The most likely reaction will be temporary border closure. Canada will need every bit of American goodwill they can get at that point. "

"I doubt any Canadians have considered how leftist crap like this is not merely reducing that goodwill, but convincing a considerable American faction that Canada is becoming a threat to freedom."

Yeah, I hadn't really considered it from that perspective. I guess I just thought this was an oddball decision written by a third-tier patronage appointment to a relatively unimportant provincial commission that is empowered to enforce law that is becoming increasingly controversial in Canada, and that the goofy remedies will probably be neutered upon judicial review.

But apparently what this decision was *really* was doing was convincing a good chunk Americans that we Canadians are a threat to freedom Freedom. But hey, I appreciate the continued goodwill. It's nice that you let us, you know, exist and everything.
6.11.2008 2:00am
MeandalsoMe (mail):

Wait a minute. Aren't you arguing that it is, and should be, illegal to be a racist? Which is it?


If you'll take a few moments to scroll up, you'll see that I have spoken out (a few times in this post) in favour of Mr. Boissoin's undeniable right to publish his own opinion - even to go as far as stating his belief that the homosexual agenda should be aggressively challenged. I believe that's his God given right. If he feels this way about blacks or Jews, fine as well. However, stating that all gays are pedophiles is not an opinion - it's a falsehood. This is the only part of Boissoin's letter that I've taken issue with. People should have the right not to have stuff published about them that is clearly not true.

Where do you have me stating that I feel it should be illegal to be racist?


In Canada, yes -- if people refuse to hire them because they are gay.


Actually, being a pedophile can keep you from being hired as a teacher, at least in Canada.
6.11.2008 2:01am
TomInAK (mail):
MeandalsoMe: You set a pretty low threshold for what speech should be prohibited. If "someone might not get hired" is your standard, then you effectively criminalize most political discussion. Should I be able to silence anyone who has accused me, indirectly and based on my political philosophy, of being as "fascist", a "murderer", a "moron", etc? That sort of rhetoric, if taken seriously, could certainly prevent me from finding employment in certain situations. Do you allow for hyperbole and metaphor, or should the government hover over every discussion and bring down the hammer on anyone making any statement that could remotely be construed in a manner which might expose someone to "hatred or contempt" if taken literally?
6.11.2008 2:01am
one of many:
I'm glad a number of Canadian GLBT groups are now publishing the original letter, along with editorials affirming the right of anyone whatsoever to say these things, no matter how much we may disagree with them. In fact, it's because we disagree with them that we should so strongly affirm that right.

Dang I wish I was a Canadian. I'd file suits against those groups, since the publication of hate speech is prohibited under the same laws (even in an editorial manner) and the letter has already been ruled to be 'hate speech'. Free money, while it would have the advantage of pointing out the absurdity of the laws it might be a little tough on the GLBT groups who'd probably have to settle for a few thousand each or risk a major payout. Hmm, glad I'm not a Canadian as the temptation might prove too much for me and then I'd feel bad about it.
6.11.2008 2:02am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
Johnny44,

I see. Thanks for clarifying. Actually I was referring neither to US or Canadian libel law, but rather my own personal sense of justice. That's why I said it should be illegal. If you had read it a bit more carefully you would have saved yourself all that research.
6.11.2008 2:10am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
TomInAK:
You wrote:


You set a pretty low threshold for what speech should be prohibited. If "someone might not get hired" is your standard, then you effectively criminalize most political discussion.


No, that's not my standard. Publishing something that the publisher knows full well is false and gets me into hot water with my community is my standard. I believe US libel laws are much the same.


Should I be able to silence anyone who has accused me, indirectly and based on my political philosophy, of being as "fascist", a "murderer", a "moron",


None of those carry the same stigma as "child molester". If I published an accusation that you were a child molester, you would surely sue me for libel.
6.11.2008 2:20am
Johnny44 (mail):
@MeandalsoMe (
Thank you for the clarification, but how would you argue that the falsity of a statement is going to assessed as either true or false without the of and concerning requirement -- that the claim must identify a specific individual or small group of individuals?
It seems that accusing a large and unspecified class of something is different from making the accusation of and concerning a plaintiff. First, it can seldomly be proven that the libel is true or false, since some Jews are stupid, some homosexuals are pedophiles, and some Blacks are thiefs.Second, you can't establish causation between the false statement -- assuming that falsity could be established and the plaintiff with standing -- that the plaintiff himself suffered any actual damage from the libel, which would give any of a million Jews with an act to grind an indefinite number of opportunities to sue for any criticism of Jews without having to prove actual damage. This is -- apart from the argument over the questionable constitutionality of group libel laws -- precisely the reason why group libel laws would also be bad as a matter of public policy.
The definitions in many group libel laws tend to restrict more than deliberate falsehood by invokation of vague and viewpoint based terms such as hatred, contempt or degradation. US law limits the impact of this vagueness in libel law by distinguishing between truth and falsity, and by precluding libel suits for speech about large groups which could otherwise chill much public discourse.
6.11.2008 3:01am
Freedom Fighter (mail):
The ultimate thrust of most posts seems to be on one hand that "good and evil" exist, and the other that governments should be secular and NOT involved in morality. I believe that good, evil and morality do exist and government should do all possible to not INTERFERE with those who believe in them. Secularists should not be able to use government to eliminate views of those who are "religious." The best solutions is to accomodate both views by compromise. If compromise is not possible, "separate but equal" should be sought rather than exclusion of the religious. It is a most slippery slope to let government decide what is good and what is evil then use their power to force ALL citizens to accept the governmental view. If one secularizes ALL governmental actions will it ultimately lead to elmination of morality? A related question to ponder - are good and evil absolute or relative?
6.11.2008 8:39am
Jerry F:
MeandalsoMe, whit, Johnny44: If Boisson and his colleagues had indeed made a statement like "all homosexuals molest children" I and others in this thread would be far less inclined to defend their speech. But they never said this. They were merely emphasizing the conservative argument that pedophilia is more prevalent among homosexuals than among other people, an argument that has also been made repeatedly by U.S. pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council.

A statement taking the form of "Members of Class A do X" is often more reasonably read as meaning "Members of Class A are, on average, more likely to do X than people who are not members of Class A" rather than "Every single member of Class A does X."
6.11.2008 9:06am
Mark Buehner (mail):
I think its important to remember that this is a political committee made up of appointees (activists ultimately). That, I think, radically impacts the context. Even IF the purview theyve managed to carve out for themselves is a legitimate area of government oversight (which is crazy), the idea that untrained, unvetted, unconfirmed appointees have been granted this kind of power is madness. You are guaranteeing that this will be used as a political witchhunt.

Notice the HRC hasnt dragged any Sharia-preaching Muslim Imams before the council to explain their stance on homosexuality or women's rights. These committees can pick and choose which cases they pursue with zero oversight. If you look down the list, the political slant is impossible to ignore.

I dont think its possible to understand the depths of madness these HRCs have stooped to without really looking into it- they have engaged in things i find hard to imagine by a government entity including: allowing a former employee to file the majority of cases, allowing said employee direct and unsupervised access to evidence, employees literally posting 'undercover' to 'hate' websites to incite actionable postings, using an unsuspecting civilians IP address to do this. And, as mentioned, they have a 100% conviction record, including a case holding a fast food restaurant liable for forcing employees to wash their hands.
6.11.2008 10:03am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MeandelSome is arguing for the status quo.
That is, he wants the government to have the same power as the tribunals have, but to be run on a more reasonable basis (according to his idea of reasonableness).
I don't see the diff.
6.11.2008 10:18am
wfjag:
I'd bet that the Gang of 88 wishes that Duke was located in Alberta, Canada.
6.11.2008 11:00am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
wf. I guess they'd feel immune to any HRC complaints.
And any statements in defense would probably qualify as causing somebody to be upset with somebody. Complaining about the Listening Statement would make minority professors the object of derision. Slam dunk.

Which brings up an issue: At what point does complaining about the HRC become actionable itself? Seems to me that to make a point, you'd have to have a case to discuss, which means discussing the feigned offense of one of the accredited victims' groups. Then what?
6.11.2008 11:06am
Plumb Bob (mail):
Even more frightening to me as a layman than the clear free speech restrictions, is the portion of the decision announcing that this is not a criminal case, and the goal of the Human Rights and Citizenship Commission is not punishment, per se, but rather an attempt "...to ameliorate the effects of the discrimination insofar as is possible and to denunciate the actions which were the subject of the complaint with a view to educate and hopefully prevent actions of this nature in future." (Decision, section 9) They then proceeded to publicly humiliate Mr. Boisson and to fine him $5,000, plus make him pay $2,000 of expenses for one of the witnesses.

Some attorney with more detailed knowledge of jurisprudence and the Canadian system should correct me, here, but it seems to me that the Human Rights Commission has carved out for itself a parental function somewhere between torts and criminal law. This is not a tort, so the plaintiff does not have to demonstrate actual harm. This is not a crime, so the defendant does not have any specific rights. No... this is "an attempt to educate." With a stiff fine.

I would have assumed that I don't understand Canadian criminal law and left it alone, except we've seen something similar here in the States regarding parental rights. State-run Child Protective Services organizations all over the country are ruling regarding the rights of parents to even see their children, let alone raise them as they see fit, in a para-court setting in which parents have no specific rights.

Is Canada doing the same here? and if so, are we all entering a Soviet-Union-like era of state-endorsed "medical care" in which enemies of the state get treated for mental illness, pumped full of psychotropic drugs and kept in state hospitals as drug-numbed zombies? I ask, because when the Court says "This isn't a crime, and we're not punishing," but then proscribe behavior as though it were a crime and punish it as though it were a crime, that's the slippery slope onto which I see us strolling.
6.11.2008 11:09am
Mark Buehner (mail):
but it seems to me that the Human Rights Commission has carved out for itself a parental function somewhere between torts and criminal law.


Essentially yes, but its actually much worse because the tribunals have no requirement to uphold common jurisprudence. They operate free of rules of evidence and basically make their judgments on the spot, arbitrarily, and on a case by case basis. Again- there are NO rules of evidence.

Anybody with time to burn or in look of a good laugh should check out the live blogging of the Stein trial by a MacCleans columnist with a law degree. Im not a lawyer but even i know something is terribly wrong here.
6.11.2008 11:27am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Plumb. Anybody who talks about a slippery slope is paranoid. It never happens. Just read VC. They'll tell you it's absurd.
Although, to be fair, one VC commenter did liken the situation not to a slippery slope but to a ratchet. It goes one way only, a click at a time, and it doesn't take very many clicks--the earlier ones now being an immutable part of the landscape--and you're where you don't want to be and the proponents assured you you'd never be.
6.11.2008 11:28am
whit:

It's not illegal to be racist or a thug. I'm talking about being accused of things that are illegal.



fine. i;ve seen websites that claim all cops lie in court

that's illegal. (lying in court, not claiming that we do)

so, that should be actionable?

get real
6.11.2008 11:37am
ejo:
you are right-no slippery slope ever exists. to even raise the point might require re-education. why, even if it looks like a slippery slope, you are either a liar or insane if you point it out-because it isn't based on our saying it isn't.
6.11.2008 11:37am
Paula (mail) (www):
BobVB said " I have my own opinions about religion I'd hate to have squelched though even I have never called for a campaign against it that would take 'whatever steps necessary to reverse the wickedness". "

That's because you have no moral basis on which to do so, without religion. In an atheist world, might makes right and mob rule is the order of the day.
6.11.2008 11:40am
whit:

If Boisson and his colleagues had indeed made a statement like "all homosexuals molest children" I and others in this thread would be far less inclined to defend their speech. But they never said this. They were merely emphasizing the conservative argument that pedophilia is more prevalent among homosexuals than among other people, an argument that has also been made repeatedly by U.S. pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council.

A statement taking the form of "Members of Class A do X" is often more reasonably read as meaning "Members of Class A are, on average, more likely to do X than people who are not members of Class A" rather than "Every single member of Class A does X."



correct. 1) he didn't say (as far as i can see) that all homosexuals are pedophiles/molest children

and 2) as you correctly point out there is a huge difference between saying John Smith is a pedophile, and "the group (racial, career, whatever) that John Smith belongs to are all a bunch of pedophiles"

the latter is just rhetorical crap.

it's like saying "whitey are all a bunch of murderers"
6.11.2008 11:42am
Shouting Thomas (mail) (www):
Something within the nature of homosexuality makes this result inevitable.

Although the preacher stated it badly, he's essentially right. Corporate and institutional America and Canada are actively encouraging homosexuality and promoting it to preferred status.

Something within the nature of homosexuality is evil. The folk wisdom of the Bible is absolutely correct. The Bible also tells us that every generation gains an imagined level of "sophistication" that leads it to believe that it is exempt from this evil.

We've fallen for it again. You will continue to see homosexual activists leading us to the brink of fascism and self-destruction, because that is the nature of the beast.
6.11.2008 12:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
"fwiw, i doubt i'd lose my job because some(wacko) published accusations. we have this wonderful thing in the US called due process..."

In most states, you can be fired for being gay, and there is no recourse.

"They were merely emphasizing the conservative argument that pedophilia is more prevalent among homosexuals than among other people, an argument that has also been made repeatedly by U.S. pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the Traditional Values Coalition and the Family Research Council. "

You failed to mention that these 'pro-family' groups are also very anti-gay, and that their arguments have about pedophilia among gays has been disproven again and again.

Just to keep the record clean....
6.11.2008 12:25pm
Smokey:
Bob Van Burkleo:
Where is anyone getting the 'jail' concept out of this judgement
That's the next step, can't you see it? Or is it that you just don't want to believe it? Maybe the HRC wants to go only this far, and no farther, huh?
6.11.2008 12:40pm
Shouting Thomas (mail) (www):
So much of this discussion was born out of a lie generated by the gay activist community: that violence against gays by heteros is common and that it is a dominant factor in gay life. These assertions are a lies.

The gay community suffered tens of thousands of fatalities in the past several decades, but not as a result of violence. Gay men died en masse as a result of AIDS, i.e., their own sexual behavior. Much of the hysteria about the purported tide of hetero violence against gays can be attributed to psychological projection. Gays have sought to relieve themselves of their own guilt in the AIDs epidemic by blaming it on hetero men. They have many allies in this game.

Gay men are legitimately concerned with violence... the violence they fear from other gay men as a result of the way they live. Sleep with 400 strangers a year, and you've got a legitimate reason to fear violence.

The propaganda campaign is phony, phony, phony.

As I said, fascism and self-destruction are just part of the beast. There is something wrong with homosexuality. It isn't just another "equal" choice, and, no, for the most part it isn't innate. It's chosen.

Go ahead now, and spit out the lies beaten into you by several decades of indoctrination. As I said, corporate and institutional America now prosetilyze for homosexuality. Why? I can't answer that.
6.11.2008 12:42pm
GMS:
Meandalsome: "stating that all gays are pedophiles is not an opinion - it's a falsehood. This is the only part of Boissoin's letter that I've taken issue with. People should have the right not to have stuff published about them that is clearly not true."

If it's "clearly not true" that all gays are pedophiles, then what's the harm from some crankpot spouting off in a letter to the editor? The thing about things that are clearly not true is that they are recognized as being not true by everyone who doesn't already believe them. It's not like there's a large class of people who would say, "You know, I didn't have any strong views about gays before now, but this letter to the editor says they're all pedophiles. Guess I better go find a gay guy and beat him up." Do we really need to drag the government into this? Isn't the better response just to say, "Wow, what a crank"?

Furthermore, almost by definition, a statement that "all" gays are pedophiles is a statement of opinion. It's not like the speaker is saying he personally knows every single gay person, and has witnessed them in acts of pedophilia. Rather, he is asserting that homosexuality is the equivalent of pedophilia, or leads to pedophilia, or whatever, and that is clearly an opinion.

It would be different if someone said, "John Smith is a pedophile." That statement is not "clearly not true," and may suggest to the reader that the author has some inside information about John Smith. But, as you acknowledge, a statement that "all gays are pedophiles" is clearly not true, and will be recognized as such by everyone who does not already believe that all gays are pedophiles. So why is this a matter for the government to get involved in? Why not just write another letter to the editor saying, "That guy is nuts"?
6.11.2008 12:54pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
wfjag quoted excerpts from the letter, in which Boissoin claims:


That gays are sick (suggesting their enslavement to homosexuality can be remedied), that they have caused far too much damage, that they are pedophiles, they recruit, they have done horrendous atrocities, they are wicked, perverse, self centered, morally deprived, they are compared to pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps and furthermore that they are “the enemy.”


I was in agreement with the majority here until I read that. I still believe the tribunal has messed this up and I'm sure that Boissoin will win on appeal, as he should. But he has lost my support because of the pedophile remarks.
6.11.2008 12:55pm
whit:

You failed to mention that these 'pro-family' groups are also very anti-gay, and that their arguments have about pedophilia among gays has been disproven again and again.



correct. the thing is i believe in free speech, therefore the remedy when people make false claims about gays, cops, or whatever is to counter that with evidence

HRC and other speech-commissars want to squelch speech that they see as incorrect. one of the biggest problems with this is in a free society govt. is not the "decider" as to what is truth. the marketplace (of ideas) is.

is the marketplace, the CW, the majority wrong? yes. quite frequently. but a government of citizens relies on its citizens to determine truth through a marketplace of ideas. a govt. of subjects imposes the official truth (party line) from on high

i know which i prefer
6.11.2008 12:56pm
whit:

Furthermore, almost by definition, a statement that "all" gays are pedophiles is a statement of opinion. It's not like the speaker is saying he personally knows every single gay person, and has witnessed them in acts of pedophilia. Rather, he is asserting that homosexuality is the equivalent of pedophilia, or leads to pedophilia, or whatever, and that is clearly an opinion.


correct.

similar comments i have seen "all cops lie in court", "white people are a cancer" (susan sontag iirc), "white people are all racist", "frat boys are all rapists", "irish are all drunks", etc. etc.

only a speech-commissar would want to make such claims actionable by any govt. body. statements such as above deserve condemnation, scorn, and refutation. none are true. and i agree anytime anybody says (and did Boisson ACTUALLY say "all gays are pedophiles?" i want to see the axctual quote) all X (referring to any group) are Y, that's rhetoric. period


It would be different if someone said, "John Smith is a pedophile." That statement is not "clearly not true," and may suggest to the reader that the author has some inside information about John Smith. But, as you acknowledge, a statement that "all gays are pedophiles" is clearly not true, and will be recognized as such by everyone who does not already believe that all gays are pedophiles. So why is this a matter for the government to get involved in? Why not just write another letter to the editor saying, "That guy is nuts"?


correct. i agree that statements about an individual should be subject to libel claims. statements about GROUPS, no. people who believe in the latter are falling into the identity politics crap.

furtermore, statements about groups are inherently political/ideological speech. that's supposed to be protected. we also give more latitude to statements about individual public figures for the same reason. you can spout "george bush does X" with impunity. as you should be able to .

you cannot have a free marketplace of ideas if you cannot make comments about groups - whether political, racial, religious, or whatever.

and note that the HRC etc. bans speech that is NOT demonstrably false/true. yes, saying "all gays are pedophiles" is demonstrably false. all you have to do is find one gay who isn't, and it's disproven. but it's RHETORIC.

otoh, saying "all gays are abominations before god" or whatever type of claptrap is an opinion that cannot in any way be proven true or false, and such statements have also been suppressed in canada, the UK, etc.

govt. there wants to be the decider as to OPINIONS even.
6.11.2008 1:04pm
Smokey:
The original post begins:
STOP ALL "DISPARAGING REMARKS ABOUT GAYS AND HOMOSEXUALS,"...
But why the one-way street? These posts constantly repeat the "homophobic" calumny. We see it all the time, don't we?

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and all the whining about name-calling of gays means nothing, and is in fact hypocritical and self-serving, so long as they engage in the same behavior.

I'm not 'homophobic' and I don't know anyone who is. The term is just name-calling against a group that gays happen to dislike. We don't deserve being insulted any more than they do.

OK, can we kiss and make up now?
6.11.2008 1:05pm
GMS:
Meandalsome: "If I published an accusation that you were a child molester, you would surely sue me for libel."

But if you said, "All white guys are child molesters," I'd just say, "What an idiot," and go back to my morning coffee. Ditto if you said, "The Jews were behind 9/11."

It's a good thing Canada has experts to figure this all out.
6.11.2008 1:06pm
The Oracle of Syracuse:
The name of this commission is deeply Orwellian.
6.11.2008 1:20pm
whit:

But if you said, "All white guys are child molesters," I'd just say, "What an idiot," and go back to my morning coffee. Ditto if you said, "The Jews were behind 9/11."


note also that under the canadian school of thought, it effectively becomes impossible to make any disparaging/negative statements about groups without risking running afoul of HRC.

one is pretty much ok if one makes positive comments, no matter how obvious false. for example "all gays are great people", "all white guys are gifts from god", "all lesbians are kind, caring, and love kittens".

none of those are true (obviously), but HRC is not gonna get all crazy on you for spouting such opinions about groups.

it's only the NEGATIVE comments/stereotypes etc. that are subject to scrutiny (not to mention we all know these HRC principles will be slectively applied to protect "victim" groups that are politically correct) and censorship.

so, there is absolutely NO way you can have a free society when you can't spout negative rhetoric about any favored group. you effectively elminate the negative spectrum, and only the positive.

needless to say this hurts the search for truth, for justice, for debate, etc. it's frigging absurd.
6.11.2008 1:20pm
qbobserver:
Matt Caplan @ 12:45am:

From what I understand, the Court of Queen's Bench is Canada's comparable of a district court in the US system (i.e., there are two levels of review above it).


Close, but not quite. It would be better to see it as a cross between a U.S. (federal) district court and a U.S. (state) trial court like, say, the California Superior Courts.

Queen's Bench, in Alberta, is a generalist court of record which handles everything under provincial and federal jurisdiction not assigned by statute elsewhere (e.g. smaller criminal or small claims cases, which go to the Provincial Court, or immigration or copyright, which go to the Federal Court). Larger and more complex criminal cases (more serious than, say, theft under $5k), civil cases that don't fit into small claims, appeals from administrative and regulatory bodies, appeals from specialized courts (e.g. Provincial Court), and the like all go there. Appeals from QB go to the Alberta Court of Appeal (best analogy is a cross between a circuit court and a state supreme court), and thence to the Supreme Court of Canada. All judges from QB and up are appointed by the feds until age 75.
6.11.2008 2:21pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Randy - your point that someone could be fired for being gay is a non sequitur. The argument was that people would be fired because somebody made a statement that all gays were pedophiles. For that to have any bearing, the employer would have had to already know the employee was gay, not intend to fire him, but change his mind and fire him because somebody made the statement that all gays are pedophiles. That idea is laughable.
BTW, what was your opinion as to Michael Pfleger and the remarks about sunffing out gun store owner Bill Roggio?

Nick
6.11.2008 2:50pm
wfjag:
MeandalsoMe: Full disclosure -- I cut and pasted from one of the tribunal's decisions -- based on the way it was presented in the opinion, it appeared to be a quote from the letter. I have not seen the letter itself, and so don't know whether the HRC was quoting the letter, or whether it was editoralizing on what it had decided that the letter to the editor "really" said.

Query: Does anyone have a copy of the letter that they can post? It could be interesting to compare the language of the letter with what the HRC implies was the language of the letter.


Which brings up an issue: At what point does complaining about the HRC become actionable itself?


Actually, Richard, my remark about the Gang of 88 was prompted by the fact that the person who brought the complaint, Dr. Lund, was a Professor -- so you wonder who the protected class really is (i.e., socially prominent and well-connected people like professors, vs. the hoi poli).

Your question, however, raises an important point about the HRC's powers under Canadian law -- does it have something akin to common law criminal or civil contempt powers, so that a "disparaging" comment about the HRC could be actionable by the HRC as contempt? (That could be an interesting issue for VC's Canadian commentators).
6.11.2008 3:14pm
grendel (mail):
Only if I thought could impose American standards on Canada. They don't have a first amendment right to free speech like we do here.

If you mean Canadian courts have been somewhat more willing to impose limits on free speech than US Courts have, that is true, but the statement seems to imply Canadians do not enjoy any constitutionally protected right to free speech, which is not correct:
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
Section 2: "Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication ....."

of course, that has to be read in context with Section 1: "The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it, subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and deomcratic society."
6.11.2008 4:24pm
dick thompson (mail):
Interesting subject. BTW check today's NYT for the article by Adam Liptak which suggests that the US needs to restrict its First Amendment Rights to be more in line with the Canadian and European free speech laws. That suggests that we need to look into having the US equivalent of the Canadian HRC courts here.

At the same time the NYT also wants the journalists to have their own rights to the point that they can just ascribe their thoughts to some mythical or real individual and the courts cannot force them to provide the source of what they print. That somehow seems to beg the question that they were talking of in the first place.
6.11.2008 5:51pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
Dick Thompson, where are you seeing that article? I don't see it on the NYT web site.
6.11.2008 8:44pm
ReaderY:
It's sad to here that the Alberta Human Rights Commission has seen fit to speak disparagingly about Concerned Christians and to engage in speech which tends to demean their reputation and expose them to ridicule. One would have hoped the good commissioners would have conducted themselves more civially and politely, and not used their office to engage in disparagement of other people's political, moral, and religious beliefs.

Surely there is a remedy against this kind of disparagement under Canadian human rights law?
6.11.2008 9:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Reader Y.
Not if the complaint is submitted on both sides of the paper.
6.11.2008 9:47pm
dick thompson (mail):
Ex-Fed,

American Exception
Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech


Article Tools Sponsored By
By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: June 12, 2008
6.12.2008 12:42am
qbobserver:
wfjag @ 2:14 pm:


Your question, however, raises an important point about the HRC's powers under Canadian law -- does it have something akin to common law criminal or civil contempt powers, so that a "disparaging" comment about the HRC could be actionable by the HRC as contempt? (That could be an interesting issue for VC's Canadian commentators).


Decisions by the Alberta HRC can be filed with Queen's Bench and have the same effect as QB court orders, per section 36 of the act (http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/Documents/acts/H14.CFM).

As it's not a court, it has no contempt powers, except for obstruction (s. 42) being an offence, which could lead to prosecution in the same way as any other criminal or quasi-criminal offence would. That would require a provincial prosecutor to lay a charge, have a trial in QB, and have the full range of procedural protections.
6.12.2008 1:55am
Mike Frazier (mail):
I am not a Christian; and, while straight, I support gay rights. I do not agree with the pastor's views. That being said ...

I am outraged at this so-called Human Rights Commission, which has ordered a man to publicly recant his religious beliefs. Unless the verdict is watered down somehow, I see no alteratives open to him other than apostasy or martyrdom. If he chooses the latter, he will be a martyr for religious and political freedom, as well as for his own faith.

I am appalled at this man's beliefs about gays. But I am even more appalled at this so-called HRC. In a livelier era, these tyrants would be horsewhipped for their presumption. What fun that would be.
6.12.2008 6:21am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
It appears Ezra Levant (one of Canada's most vocal free speech champions and a defendant of a HR tribunal himself, for the hate crime of publishing the infamous Danish cartoons in his newsletter) has decided to risk his freedom and publish Boissoin's letter on his website.

6.12.2008 11:39am
MeandalsoMe (mail):


here is the link
6.12.2008 11:40am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
6.12.2008 11:42am
MeandalsoMe (mail):
that's annoying. Just type in Ezra Levant, you'll get it.
6.12.2008 11:42am
whit:
teh comments about boisson claiming all gays are pedophiles is also FALSE. a mistake, or a lie. take your pick.

read the article.

he says no such thing
6.12.2008 12:20pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
whit, I got it from this post, scroll above to see what I mean. wfjag got the excerpts from reading the tribunal's decision and posted them here when discussion was still quite new. After I quoted the excerpt, wfjag qualified it by saying we can't be sure if it's editorializing on the part of the tribunal or not. It now appears that's likely the case, but it was impossible to find the letter online until now to verify. I certainly do take back everything I said, but sometimes you have to take a quote at face value.
6.12.2008 1:27pm
wfjag:
MeandalsoMe - thanks. Nice to know, also, that I'm not the only one who has problems with the VC hyperlink function.
6.12.2008 1:39pm
wfjag:
MeandalsoMe - I apologize for misleading you. I'm used to when a tribunal says that a letter or document states, and then indents/single spaces the text following that, that what is indented and in single space is a quote.

Obviously, one cannot assume that the Alberta HRC believes that it need not editorize as to what a letter or document says. And, since documents' contents can be determined objectively by reading them, but the contents of testimony cannot, that raises a lot of questions about the accuracy of the Alberta HRC's representations and findings of fact.
6.12.2008 1:45pm
MeandalsoMe (mail):
wfjag, don't worry about it, you were mislead by the AHRC as I imagine many were. The AHRC was likely intending to sway public opinion in the aftermath of the decision, because there clearly wasn't enough evidence in the letter to suggest that it's hate speech, even under Canadian law.

BTW, Ezra's site has examples of other instances where HR tribunals in Canada has acted with complete disregard for human rights of Canadians. There's an ongoing RCMP investigation into allegations that a Ontario HRC employee hacked into a private citizen's computer. The allegations were made by the ISP.

Some things to consider for you Americans, as there appears to be a movement to set up these commissions in the US as well.
6.12.2008 2:01pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mean.
Yeah, but ours won't grow to be like that. Nope. Not in the plan. Uh-uh. Just ask the proponents.
6.12.2008 2:45pm
whit:
MeandalsoMe,

props for acknowledging your (quite understandable ) mistake.

for the internet, that's quite remarkable :)
6.12.2008 3:07pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Boissoin can't defend himself from the editiorializing by citing the original letter, can he?
Jeez. These guys are evil.
6.12.2008 4:13pm
whit:
richard, this is canada.

in previous prosecutions of this kind, you can't even use TRUTH as a defense.

iow, even if the disparaging words you use can be proven to not be true, it's not a defense. established in the keegstra case iirc (could be wrong on when that was established. might have been another case).

not to mention that clearly what boisson is spouting is opinion about a group of people, so it's just rhetoric.
6.12.2008 4:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
whit. Maybe we're looking at the wrong border. Rather have illegal aliens leaking in than Canadian jurisprudence.
6.12.2008 11:38pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
whit. I meant that Boissoin can't even cite his letter as the original to prove the HRC didn't misstate what he said. He's precluded from defending himself.
6.13.2008 10:00am
wfjag:
MeandalsoMe &whit: Thanks for the info. The legal regime you're living under is scary. Are Canadians allowed to read books like 1984 and Animal Farm?
6.13.2008 11:25am