In Canada, the criminalization of free speech

“Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”

~Dean Steacy, CHRC lead investigator

Mark Hemingway
Washington Examiner
11/30/2010

Except in a hockey rink at the Winter Olympics, our Canadian friends are well-mannered and polite neighbors. Americans rarely have a reason to pay attention to politics north of the border.

But it has become clear in the past few years that democracy in Canada is seriously threatened, and it’s time Americans spoke up. We had better, because Canadians can’t.

On Nov. 20, Canadian journalist Ezra Levant was ordered by an Ottawa judge to pay $25,000 for libeling Giacomo Vigna, a Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer. According to the judge, Levant “spoke in reckless disregard of the truth and for an ulterior purpose of denormalizing the Human Rights Commission across Canada.”

Despite the judge’s ruling, not only is Levant right to “denormalize” these commissions — they should be immediately abolished.

In 1977, the Canadian Human Rights Commission was founded “to investigate and try to settle complaints of discrimination in employment and in the provision of services within federal jurisdiction.” While this mandate was vague from the outset, even the CHRC’s founders admit that the organization was never meant to regulate speech — its mission was primarily to investigate discrimination in employment and housing practices where the federal government had purview.

Within two years, the CHRC was pursuing charges against white supremacist John Taylor Ross for spreading anti-Semitic messages. Ross’s case ended up before the Canadian Supreme Court in 1990…

…the state pays for the prosecution, while the defendant incurs all legal fees. Steyn and Maclean’s legal defense cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even though the charges were dismissed. In the cases brought before national human rights commission that go to full adjudication, the CHRC has an incredible 100 percent conviction rate.

Not surprisingly, Levant has also been brought up on “human rights” charges. Levant edited a publication that ran the Danish Muhammad cartoons — the epitome of the free-speech debate — and was dragooned. The charges were dropped, but Levant still ran up a six-figure legal bill.

Since then, Levant has written a book condemning the commissions, “Shakedown,” and is otherwise speaking up for free speech. This appears to be his real crime, as opposed to the recent and spurious libel charges…

Read the entire article at the Washington Examiner.

Read also John Stossel’s, I’m glad I live in America.

CAJ note: Our blogging ally to the north, Blazing Cat Fur, has also been hit by this “hate speech” witch hunt in Canada. If you have a few dollars to spare, please head to the site and Feed the Kitty to help pay the legal fees that Blazing is mounting in their defense.

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