Rights For Some . . .
Vol: 81 Issue: 27 Friday, June 27, 2008
One of the problems associated with protecting somebody from being offended by the callousness of an unthinking boor is that the definitions of both ‘offense’ and ‘boor’ are subjective.
What is offensive to some may not be offensive to others. And one man’s boor is another man’s comedian. If you didn’t like the late George Carlin’s humor, (I didn’t) he was both offensive and boorish.
If, on the other hand, you were one of George Carlin’s millions of adoring fans, then Carlin was one of the greatest comic geniuses of his generation.
Carlin didn’t spend much time in Canada — it was much too dangerous. What if he made a joke about being gay? But of course, Carlin never made gay jokes. He preferred to make jokes about the pathetic losers who believe in God.
You see, in Canada, Christians cannot be offended when someone makes light of their faith. In Canada, is it ok to call Christians “losers” or “Bible thumpers” or even to make up blasphemous nicknames for both God the Father and Jesus the Son.
In Canada, you can make jokes about people for their color (as long as its white) for their national origin (provided it is European [ie: white]) for their native tongue (provided it is English) or for their sexual orientation (provided it is straight).
If they are not white, of European stock whose mother tongue is English, or, and this most particularly, if their sexual orientation isn’t straight, making a joke about them is illegal.
A Canadian comedian is now under investigation by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for insulting two lesbians during his stand up comedy routine. (All ten provinces have their own human rights tribunals, plus there is a national version)
That way, if live in Ontario but are insulted by somebody who is in British Columbia, you get three kicks at him — two provincial and one national.
What is the difference between a Human Rights Tribunal and a Human Rights Court? Think of the Human Rights Tribunal as a sort of Gestapo or KGB. They are the ones who ‘investigate’ and gather evidence which they then turn over to a Human Rights ‘court’.
What do the Human Rights Tribunal and Human Rights Court have in common? Their shared disdain for human rights.
The Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, appropriately named Jennifer Lynch, announced earlier this month her intention to ‘crack down’ on Internet ‘hate’ sites.
“The current debate on how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages in the Internet age is an important one. We are confident that this review will provide insight into the issues and move the discourse one step further.”
The poor, defenseless and vulnerable Canadians. Not to mention stupid. Clearly, they must be stupid — otherwise they would have sense enough to do what everybody else does who stumbles on an offensive website.
Or maybe we should envy them. Without a nationally appointed net-nanny to protect them, other ‘net users are forced to decide for themselves what they find offensive.
And in most other countries that claim to value freedom of speech, if one is offended, the remedy is to go where one isn’t offended.
Canada isn’t one of those countries.
In Canada, if one person is offended, then the remedy is to punish everybody who offended him.
In the British Columbia case, that means the comedian, the nightclub that employed him, (and perhaps the unfeeling patrons of the club who had the bad taste to laugh at his jokes — who knows?)
Right now, Maclean’s Magazine (kind of like a Canadian national version of Newsweek or TIME) is defending itself before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a column it published. The offending column was written by American journalist Mark Steyn.
Maclean’s is being tried under the statute that makes it a crime to communicate anything electronically “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”
What does that mean? It means that, despite the absence of any evidence by the plaintiffs of anyone at all ever having been exposed to actual hatred or contempt, nor even any coherent argument as to why there is a hypothetical possibility of someone unspecified being exposed to theoretical hatred or contempt in the decades ahead, a commission can still deem such hatred or contempt “likely.”
That helps to explain why, in Canada, simply being referred to a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is the equivalent of being denounced to the Gestapo or KGB.
In the thirty-plus years since the CHRC system was created, not a single person ever charged under the relevant statutes has ever been acquitted. Defendants are guilty until proved innocent (and no person has yet to be proved innocent), and it is NO DEFENSE to prosecution that the offending statement is true.
Indeed, if one attempts to defend oneself by presenting evidence that the offending statement is factually accurate, that ‘evidence’ can be used by the court as compelling evidence of guilt.
Here’s the way Canada’s infamous CHRC legislation defines it:
“Messages that make use of allegedly true stories, news reports, pictures and references to apparently reputable sources in an attempt to lend an air of objectivity and truthfulness to the extremely negative characterization of the targeted group have been found to be likely to expose members of the targeted group to hatred and contempt.”
So defending oneself by providing news reports, reputable sourcing, facts, documentation, statistics, quotes, scholarly studies and so forth are all “evidence”. But not of your innocence. Evidence of your guilt.
What kind of ‘democracy’ can boast a 100% conviction rate over a thirty-year period — for criminal thought?
Lessee, there was the East German Democratic Republic, (but it’s gone now). There was Stalin’s USSR — but all good things must come to an end. Then there is the People’s Republic of China, (with whom Canada enjoys a close relationship).
Ever wonder why all those liberal morons who threatened to move to Canada if George Bush was re-elected didn’t pack up and head for the Great White North?
If Alex Baldwin had moved to Canada, then the voicemail message he left on his daughter’s answering machine last year would have resulted in his arrest for child abuse.
Tim Robbins would have to worry about one of his films offending one of Canada’s many protected minorities. Susan Sarandon would have to shut up altogether.
Maclean’s got into hot water with the CHRC for publishing an excerpt from American journalist Mark Steyn’s book, “American Alone.” Maclean’s and Steyn are now defending themselves against charges of ‘flagrant Islamophobia.”
As Jonathan Kay observed in the National Post, for an organization that is supposed to promote human rights, the HRC s agents seem curiously oblivious to basic aspects of Canadian constitutional law.”
“In one famous on-the-record exchange during the Lemire case, [CHRC lead investigator Dean] Steacy was asked; “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?”
Steacy’s reply? “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don t give it any value.””
Suppose, just for a second, that there was a subscription-only website that routinely published factual information that, under Canadian law, would be a prime candidate for prosecution under CHRC legislation. What should such a website do?
First, it would necessarily locate its servers inside the United States. Secondly, it would conceal any and all connections to anything Canadian — ie; the nationality of its operator, his physical location, etc.
Thirdly, it would seem logical to separate that website into a public entity and a private, subscriber-only entity.
But is that enough protection?
In an ongoing case in Ottawa, two CHRC investigators were unable to make a case against one Marc Lemire, whose website was suspected of having neo-Nazi leanings.
So they logged on to Lemire’s website and posted racist comments under assumed names, and then charged the site’s owners with hate crimes! I am NOT making this up!
So clearly, if the CHRC wants to nail a website, there is no way to stop them short of encrypting it.
So it would seem logical that our mythical subscription-only website should consider encrypting its subscriber content. That would protect both the website itself, and any Canadians who may inadvertently post something that the CHRC deems offensive.
Therefore, if any of you know any Canadian citizens who operate subscription websites, even those physically located inside the USA, especially Christian websites who remain faithful to Scripture on issues of sexual morality or the dangers posed by radical Islam, you should advise them to take steps to protect themselves.
Because freedom of speech is an American concept — and therefore is assigned no value by Canada’s Human Rights Gestapo. And if the CHRC wants you, they’ll get you.
Even if they have to invent the evidence themselves.