Thursday, October 22, 2009

Well, Well, Well

Thanks to Dust's comment over at Lex's, I turned to my good friend Google to see whatever happened to that pastor who was ordered by the Alberta Human Rights Commission last year to desist from expressing his views on homosexuality in any sort of public forum. And pay the complainant $7,000 in damages.

Turns out the good Reverend is a fighter.
Today, however, he is in Alberta Court of the Queen's Bench, appealing the conviction of hate speech that resulted in the above penalties. That conviction was based upon a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate, in which Boissoin expressed his opinion that homosexuality is immoral and dangerous, and called into question new gay-rights curricula permeating the province's educational system.
Personally, I'm rooting for a victory for Rev. Boissoin. Because, as I've said before on more than one occasion, I'm a firm believer that Canada has went too far with some of the "hate speech" provisions in our various Human Rights Acts.

And, lo and behold, apparently some progress is being made on that front.
OTTAWA, Ontario, September 2, 2009 ( - The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled today that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, Canada's human rights legislation against hate messages, unreasonably limits the Charter right to freedom of expression.
You might protest that the Commission's decision in this matter is self-serving. A last ditch effort to save itself. And you may (or may not) be right. But either which way, it's the result that matters to me. And this is a result I strongly agree with.

It's not that I feel such cases shouldn't be brought forward where appropriate. It's just that it strikes me that a court of law (with all the substantial and procedural protections that applies) is the forum for such cases to be litigated.

Because although I firmly believe in free speech as a constitutional right, I also believe that it, like all rights, has to be subject to such "reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society".

And that’s why I feel these matters shouldn’t be dealt with by human rights commissions. The balancing involved is too important, too critical … it needs to be done in a court, not by a quasi-judicial tribunal. Where there is too much potential for abuse.

So. Onward and upward, then.

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