Sunday, June 1, 2008

Canada's "Human Rights Commissions" lead an assault on free speech

Anyone reading this enjoys the written word. Because you enjoy the written word, you should also cherish freedom of speech and freedom of expression, as it is the right that allows for an environment of many words to read and hear. If you cherish the freedom of expression, you should be concerned about the assault on those freedoms by Canada's Orwellian "Human Rights Commissions."

The Canadian Human Rights Commissions'
stated goal is thus:

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is empowered by the Canadian Human Rights Act to investigate and try to settle complaints of discrimination in employment and in the provision of services within federal jurisdiction. Under the Employment Equity Act, the Commission is responsible for ensuring that federally regulated employers provide equal opportunities for employment to the four designated groups: women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of visible minorities. The Commission is also mandated to develop and conduct information and discrimination prevention programs.

That's all well and good. Nobody likes discrimination, and I myself have been discriminated against on the basis of both race and disability. It's unpleasant. I don't see how censoring people's political speech plays into making sure employers don't discriminate against minorities, however. There is nothing in their stated goal about "hate speech," which is the loaded term the Commission threw at the Canadian conservative website Free Dominion last year:

OTTAWA, July 19, 2007 ( - Free Dominion, a Canadian conservative web forum, has been targeted via the Canada's Human Rights Commission (HRC) over allegations the conservative site promotes "hate speech."

"We have been waiting for six and a half years and the day has finally arrived, somebody is going to try to silence Free Dominion using the Canadian Human Rights Commission," Mark Fourier quipped in posting the letter. "Somebody has likely decided that because they can't defeat some argument presented by someone at Free Dominion they will instead try to silence the whole site. It isn't going to work."

The Commission has taken on other conservative writers, acting as some of sort of partisan law enforcement agent aimed at censoring those that disagree with them. The most high profile case has been Mark Steyn, the best selling author of "America Alone" (I wonder if his being a best selling author was part of the Commission's motivation?). After publishing "The Future Belongs to Islam," the magazine Maclean's recieved complaints of Islamophobia on the part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Ontario has a specific code in its Human Rights Code that "interfer[ing] with the freedom of expression of opinion," but this has not stopped the Commission, which in April said that it has a "broader mandate to promote and advance respect for human rights in Ontario, forward the dignity and worth of every Ontarian and take steps to alleviate tension and conflict in the community, including by speaking out on events that are inconsistent with the spirit of the Code."

This is really frightening stuff. There is a slippery slope that occurs when any government decides that it should step in and try to govern the free exchange of ideas. One minute a commission is filing complaints, and the next it could be imprisoning those with opinions its members differ with. Liberal democracy exists to oppose this kind of tyranny, and if we fall back into it the evolution and revolution from monarchy and dictatorship will have been a waste of time.

Add to Technorati Favorites

No comments: