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Free Speech Must Prevail


Shwa

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A very sensible editorial from the Star regarding a case before the Supreme Court. While I agree, in principle, with the idea of a Human Rights Commission, this editorial shines a light on a very big problem with them. I believe that this editorial represents the majority of opinion here, but feel free to disagree.

Free speech must prevail

Canadians who care about free speech and freedom of the media can only hope that the Supreme Court comes down hard on this mess, and instructs Saskatchewan (and other jurisdictions) to rewrite their laws in order to strengthen protections for freedom of expression. Hate speech should be defined as that which advocates, justifies or threatens violence. Publishing offensive material, however obnoxious, shouldn’t get people dragged before tribunals where they have to spend a fortune defending themselves, and face heavy penalties.

Odious as Whatcott’s views are, he has a Charter right to express them. And the rest of society has a right to tell him he’s despicable.

A little more background on Bill Whatcott from Wikipedia.

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How can you have free speech when language is in a state of mutation? Orient meant to the east - we can not call someone from the far east an "oriental" - and some guy that is shacked up to another guy calls himself "a husband" - There can be no free speech as long as politcal correctness - and public fear dictate that it is realistic to censor language - words - It's like forcing a painter to use certain colours...and insisting that red is now green...how the hell can we communicate freely when we are persecuted for speaking our true thoughts?

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How can you have free speech when language is in a state of mutation? Orient meant to the east - we can not call someone from the far east an "oriental" - and some guy that is shacked up to another guy calls himself "a husband" - There can be no free speech as long as politcal correctness - and public fear dictate that it is realistic to censor language - words - It's like forcing a painter to use certain colours...and insisting that red is now green...how the hell can we communicate freely when we are persecuted for speaking our true thoughts?

Are you a husband or the wife?

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While I agree, in principle, with the idea of a Human Rights Commission...tt"]Bill Whatcott[/url] from Wikipedia.

Well I don't. They are a violation of the notion of separation of powers. They are legislatively-created pseudo-courts. If we decide that certain types of speech must be prohibited (I disagree with that, short of the "fire-in-the-theater" prohibitions) then the courts should be the arbiter. We don't need to make pseudo-courts with "judges" of dubious credentials. We have real judges with real judicial independence who are equipped to weigh the law against our freedoms. And if someone's awful utterances are not deemed by the Crown to be egregious enough to warrant a trial, then so be it.

All these pseudo-courts do is create a very low threshold for complainants. The standards of evidence are so appalling low that these pseudo-courts more resemble the kind of justice one would expect in a banana republic.

Edited by ToadBrother
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Well I don't. They are a violation of the notion of separation of powers. They are legislatively-created pseudo-courts. If we decide that certain types of speech must be prohibited (I disagree with that, short of the "fire-in-the-theater" prohibitions) then the courts should be the arbiter. We don't need to make pseudo-courts with "judges" of dubious credentials. We have real judges with real judicial independence who are equipped to weigh the law against our freedoms. And if someone's awful utterances are not deemed by the Crown to be egregious enough to warrant a trial, then so be it.

All these pseudo-courts do is create a very low threshold for complainants. As we saw from what happened with that poor SFU swim coach whose career was almost destroyed by that maniac Rachel Marsden, the standards of evidence are so appalling low that these pseudo-courts more resemble the kind of justice one would expect in a banana republic.

I'm not sure it would be prudent to tie up the courts with employment equity issues, or minority accommodation issues that pop up all the time....

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I do see the need for administrative tribunals, as they exist for all kinds of things. That said, I think that provincial human rights codes go too far when it comes to speech that offends others. I mean really, why should government care about such things?

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I find the article confusing in itself, as it does not adequately define the issue. It meanders on about free speech and hate crimes and Criminal Code, but the real issue with HRCs is jurisdiction.

Hate crimes and hate speech are currently covered by the Criminal Code, and since HRCs are not part of the criminal justice system they have no business examining any complaints about these things. But they do get involved- which means defendants do not receive due process under the law- which in itself is clearly a Charter violation.

Several HRCs have demonstrated that they are unable to make this critical distinction, so it is long past time for government to make it very clear just what their mandates will be.

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Are you a husband or the wife?

Traditionalist - I the male husband the woman. Got a problem with that.....In your world that state practices animal husbandry on the people - which is fine with you I am sure. Oh to be honest - if the wife wants to pretent she is the husband and puts herself at the head of the table as mine did at Thanksgiving - I will gladly take the place of less honour as long as I don`t have to do the dishes.

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I do see the need for administrative tribunals, as they exist for all kinds of things. That said, I think that provincial human rights codes go too far when it comes to speech that offends others. I mean really, why should government care about such things?

I could give you an example. IF you have someone speaking and they make a comment against the Jews or Islam, now a days someone could get killed or hurt. By having a law against hate or speaking ill of someone or group, the government could avoid violence. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

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I could give you an example. IF you have someone speaking and they make a comment against the Jews or Islam, now a days someone could get killed or hurt. By having a law against hate or speaking ill of someone or group, the government could avoid violence. Am I wrong in thinking this way?

Would rather hear the culprit speak than not - and commit the violence in secretive silence.

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Traditionalist - I the male husband the woman. Got a problem with that.....In your world that state practices animal husbandry on the people - which is fine with you I am sure. Oh to be honest - if the wife wants to pretent she is the husband and puts herself at the head of the table as mine did at Thanksgiving - I will gladly take the place of less honour as long as I don`t have to do the dishes.

Maybe you boyfriend would disagree. Why don't you ask him if he wants to be the husband or the wife and that would straighten it out for you both?

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I'm not sure it would be prudent to tie up the courts with employment equity issues, or minority accommodation issues that pop up all the time....

No, do the political thing & make a committee (no sunset date) to study this subject and spend a few more million on something that HAS to result in court action if the law are to have any teeth or meaning. The guy sounds, acts, smells & IS a nutcase--- let him continue like a nut at the gay pride parades he'll only get laughed out of town anyway.

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Not much to argue with their IMO.

So you agree with Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn?

BD, you are like the Toronto Star. You both arrive late to the fight.

You should be able to say whatever you want about someone without fear of getting charged... unless you're slandering said person

If you hate gays or people of other races or even the toronto maple leafs and make your opinion known you're just a douchebag

Easy to say now. Where were you a decade or two ago?

----

olp1fan, BD: you strike me as fair weather friends. When the going gets tough, on what side will you be?

Edited by August1991
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If the comments lead to violence, then the problem probably doesn't lay with the person making the comments, but rather the person engaging in violent acts.

calling a identifiable group pedophiles is clearly inflammatory and meant to incite hatred, violence will inevitably be a byproduct... one flyer shown on cbc quite clearly stated "kill homosexuals"...what's next on freedom of speech "kill metis", "kill muslims", "kill jews"...
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calling a identifiable group pedophiles is clearly inflammatory and meant to incite hatred, violence will inevitably be a byproduct... one flyer shown on cbc quite clearly stated "kill homosexuals"...what's next on freedom of speech "kill metis", "kill muslims", "kill jews"...

If it was inevitable, then what murders of homosexuals were attributed to that flyer? Any?

I agree that hate speech law has a place, but it already exists in the Criminal Code and ought to be deferred to the courts, not a Human Rights Commission.

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All these pseudo-courts do is create a very low threshold for complainants. The standards of evidence are so appalling low that these pseudo-courts more resemble the kind of justice one would expect in a banana republic.

For the most part I agree. What I see is HRC's as in administrative tribunals to keep the weight of the number of complaints from clogging up the courts even more. Maybe it should be run by Justice's of the Peace or something...

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If the comments lead to violence, then the problem probably doesn't lay with the person making the comments, but rather the person engaging in violent acts.

What if the comments lead to someone commiting suicide?

WWWTT

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You should be able to say whatever you want about someone without fear of getting charged... unless you're slandering said person

If you hate gays or people of other races or even the toronto maple leafs and make your opinion known you're just a douchebag

Why?

Why should it ever be allowed to let people/interest groups/organizations be vocal against people of a different lifestyle,color,race,religion,etec,etc, that are just minding their own business and not harming anyone?

WWWTT

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Why?

Why should it ever be allowed to let people/interest groups/organizations be vocal against people of a different lifestyle,color,race,religion,etec,etc, that are just minding their own business and not harming anyone?

WWWTT

Because either we have free speech, or we do not. The value of allowing all debate in the commons is sufficiently great that it means we have to suffer speech, at times, that does not inherently add value.

Besides, apart from the fact that we can all agree there are toxic and wicked ideas out there, do you actually want the state to have the power to decide what is acceptable versus unacceptable speech? Has history not given sufficient examples of how such a power ultimately is misused?

I do not feel I have the right to silence you. Why do you feel that you should have the right to silence me?

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If it was inevitable, then what murders of homosexuals were attributed to that flyer? Any?

I agree that hate speech law has a place, but it already exists in the Criminal Code and ought to be deferred to the courts, not a Human Rights Commission.

If a homosexual man commits suicide over something like that would you care then?

Or would you still argue that there is insufficient evidence to prove such actions were in any way a contributing factor?

WWWTT

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For the most part I agree. What I see is HRC's as in administrative tribunals to keep the weight of the number of complaints from clogging up the courts even more. Maybe it should be run by Justice's of the Peace or something...

If it were to remain fundamentally a "human resources" tribunal of some kind, which many private companies have, I have no problem.

But creating legislatively-enabled pseudo-courts who can actually produce what amount to judicial decisions on private citizens, no, that is bad. If the problems that such tribunals attempt to solve are so serious that we need courts to do it, then kill the tribunals and use the money to pay some judges, whose powers and independence isn't based on legislative whim and fiat.

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