Day by Day



17 June 2008

O Canada...


The most public case to date in the history of the Canada's Human Rights Commission is that of author Mark Steyn.  In this case, a Canadian magazine, Macleans, published an excerpt from Mark’s book America Alone.  The work is only controversial in that it points out uncomfortable facts about recent history, repeats public quotations from various figures and provides some postulations on the fate of world culture.

 

The Canadian Human Right Commission was founded by virtue of the Canadian Human Rights Act enacted in 1985.  This act is a supplement to the Canadian Constitution of 1867.  Canada has a Bill of Rights.  Despite the quotation by some in Canada that “free speech” is a uniquely American (meaning United States of America) concept.  It is codified in the Canadian Bill of Rights, adopted in 1960.  Additionally, a “freedom of the press” is also clearly detailed in the Bill of Rights, CDN. 

 

It would seem that the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) original construction was a rather straightforward approach to eliminating discrimination and providing equal opportunity to all.  Somewhere it’s enforcement arm, the Human Rights Tribunal, went horribly afield.  Individuals were summarily charged with “hate speech” and brought before these tribunals, which operate outside the normal realm of due process.  In fact, under the article creating the Human Rights Tribunal (HRT), the judge is specifically not bound by rules of evidence.

 

Rules of evidence

(9) In conducting an inquiry, the judge is not bound by any legal or technical rules of evidence and may receive, and base a decision on, evidence presented in the proceedings that the judge considers credible or trustworthy in the circumstances of the case.

 

Shocking? 

 

There are some in Canada who are actively campaigning to bring the CHRC and HRT into line.  Some may have ulterior motives and I am not able to judge the legitimacy of their claims.  However, the simple fact that MPs are taking up legislative action implies that things may have gotten out of hand.

 

In the United States, a single court system handles almost all civil and criminal cases.  Lesser administrative courts, those handling discrimination, are empowered at the state or federal level and subject to further judicial review.  What is most disturbing is the general lack of concern amongst our northern neighbors.  Although no Canadian will admit to being “just like America”, both nations share similar histories and demographics.  Each nation has been a haven for immigrants and our passion for freedom, at least on paper, are nearly parallel.

 

It should be a caution for how the constraint of speech can become a suppression of speech and thus ideas and thought.  It is up to the citizens of a nation to reject clearly inflammatory, idiotic and hateful rhetoric.  It is up to the government to protect its citizens from truly egregious acts, not petty grievances cooked up by ideo-political thugs.

 

I did not speak, for they did not come for me.

 

And when they did, there was no one left to speak for me.

 

 

3 comments:

sonicfrog said...

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Citizen Deux said...

right o

Valerie Guillaume said...

Your blog is insightful. There is a ban on freedom of speech in this country. This government will go after albeit covertly anyone who dares to make known its actions to the public. Corruption is the order of the day in Canada. Please visit my blog at http://valerieguillaume.blogspot.com for more information on human rights abuse in Canada