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Free Speech Win In Canada

By Harmony Grant
9 July 2008

The Canadian Human Rights Commission just did something it never did before—it dismissed a hate speech complaint. On June 27, CHRC dismissed the complaint against Maclean’s magazine, which was accused of anti-Muslim hate speech. The Muslims’ disappointed lawyer said the defeat was not a surprise. He cited “inappropriate political pressure” and a political climate where hate speech laws and commissions are themselves under attack. One word comes to mind at this point…yahoo!
Think about it. The commission had convicted everyone else ever hauled before them. It exists to prosecute and punish “hate speech” and “hate crimes,” to doggedly track down the politically incorrect and their “hurtful” bias. Yet, CHRC had to throw out this case, and it wasn’t even a surprise. It was expected because “the international controversy sparked by this case has prompted many in Canada to question the very basis of the so-called “hate speech” laws,” as a columnist put it.
This event is a break in the wall. It offers incredible hope. Canada’s speech police, for the first time ever, dismissed a complaint because of pressure against hate laws. This pressure threatens to fracture the entire foundation of these freedom-stealing, politically based laws. Could America’s northern neighbor return to fair English law and throw out hate speech laws and tribunals? Stranger things have happened. We just celebrated July 4, an independence won by the sacrificial heroism of a patriotic minority. If enough Canadians and Americans care about saving freedom, this battle could be won.
Canada’s National Post reported June 18 that the besieged CHRC was going to review itself and its speech-punishing ways, particularly how it reviews internet “hate.” The Post said the commission has been the focus of “a divisive national debate.” People are realizing you can’t punish “hurtful words” without destroying freedom of speech, fundamental to democracy.
We’ve been praying for this. “Anti-hate” laws are advanced with the argument that people should be protected from discrimination and hurtful speech. But you can’t remove those things from society without removing liberty, too. The government must police citizens’ behaviors, words, and ultimately our thoughts. This turns into insane, scary tyranny very fast. (Example: It’s absurd that a government agency in the UK is saying toddlers should be rebuked for racism if they turn down spicy food or call each other names. But you could laugh only if it weren’t real. This tyranny of government is just one of the mind-boggling results of empowering people in office to decide what other people are allowed to say, think, feel, or believe.)
Canadian MP Keith Martin, a liberal lover of free speech, introduced a measure in February to completely repeal Canada’s hate speech law (Sec. 13(1) of the Human Rights Act). A Post article in early June reported that nine MPs had publicly criticized the CHRC and one introduced a motion calling for its review. Post said outrage at the hate speech tribunals “has come from across the political spectrum -- from white supremacists on the far right to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on the left.” The article explains that current “anti-hate” law in Canada allow for convictions even if the “criminal” didn’t intend to spread hatred and even if his or her speech was perfectly true! This is outrageous.
Even as early as May, the outcry against hate laws was so strong that the Canadian Jewish Congress, “a leading advocate of powerful anti-hate laws” in Canada, told the Post it might support changes to Canada’s hate law.
The Post staunchly defends free speech and calls for Sec. 13(1) to be completely repealed. It says, “Christians don't get a veto on words or images that blaspheme God and his prophets. The same must be true of Islam -- not to mention Judaism, Hinduism and every other faith. No matter what your faith, the trade-off for living in a society that honours free speech is the requirement to grow a thick skin.”



Harmony Grant writes and edits for National Prayer Network, a Christian/conservative watchdog group.

Let the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith teach you how they have saddled 45 states with hate laws capable of persecuting Christians:
Learn how ADL took away free speech in Canada and wants to steal it now in the U.S. Congress. Watch Rev. Ted Pike's Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians at Purchase this gripping documentary to show at church. Order online at for $24.90, DVD or VHS, by calling 503-853-3688, or at the address below.
TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike on this topic. Call (503) 631-3808.

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