Intellectual freedom in Canada: Boissoin freed from "human rights" kangaroo court by real court - but doubtful victory, insiders say
Seven years into his "lifetime speech ban" and - basically falling down a black hole as far as his life was concerned - Stephen Boissoin has been acquitted. His Alberta "human rights" Commission conviction has been overturned. Civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant explains:
Late last week, the Court of Queen's Bench overturned the Alberta Human Rights Commission's "hate speech" conviction of Rev. Stephen Boissoin for writing a letter published in an Alberta newspaper, opposing the gay lifestyle.Levant goes on to explain how the Alberta "human rights" inquisition is in fact being rewarded for its misdeeds by an increase in tax funding. So, nice sortie, guys, but back to the trenches.
Long-time readers of this blog, and readers of my book, will know the case of Rev. Boissoin well. He was a youth pastor who wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 that was critical of the "gay agenda". You can read that letter in full here. He was sentenced to a lifetime speech ban, barring him from ever saying anything negative about gays again, in public or private, for the rest of his life. Oh -- and he had to write a false letter of apology, renouncing his faith on the matter.
So here we are, more than seven years later, and Rev. Boissoin has finally been acquitted. And that's if his tormentor, the anti-Christian bigot Darren Lund, doesn't choose to appeal this new ruling.
So lesson number one here is that the process is the punishment.
Rev. Boissoin had seven years of his life wasted -- seven years in which he bore the stigma of being called, by the state, an illegal "hater".
Yes, yes, I agree with my friend Mark Steyn (who is quoted by the judge on pp. 33-34, if I recall) and Colby Cosh when they point out that the real courts have rebuked the fake courts. But how does that help the 90% of the HRCs' victims who succumb and accept a plea bargain without even a hearing, and the 98% of the rest who are convicted but lack the funds to appeal?Well, dear reader, can you spell ROAD KILL?
Here's Mark Steyn: Lifetime speech ban lifted.
The Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta has now struck down this outrageous decision. Mr. Justice Wilson's ruling could not be plainer. He rejects all the Tribunal's punishments as "illegal," not least the speech ban:For the rest, go here.
[ ... ]
The cravenness of the politicians is depressing, but Ezra and I and a few others have helped to change the climate — and, for the moment, rendered these disgusting laws unenforceable.
Cravenness of politicians? Well, it is easy to explain, and I have said it before: They do not dread perpetrating or maintaining injustices nearly as much as they dread the image that also haunts me:
... smug, stupid, upper middle class mothers displaying their toddlers in adorable little tees, featuring the logo: “I [heart] my Human Rights Commission”, on the front page of the Toronto Star, accompanied by earnest editorials and misleading columns, casting aspersions on those who defend civil liberties.Welcome to my nightmare.
The horrible truth is that Ms. Smug and Ms. Stupid don’t need civil liberties. They never think anything they don’t read in Chatelaine or Canadian Living, or hear on earnestly fatuous legacy TV. Unless they are cashing in that stuff for a newer fatuity.
Here are some other views, to which I will add, as I get notice:
From Boissoin's lawyer:
The decision of Justice Earl Wilson of the Court of Queen's Bench in Boissoin v Lund will have a significant long term positive impact on religious freedom in Canada:Meanwhile, here's the gay lifestyle view, supporting free speech, and the anti-gay lifestyle view, also supporting free speech.
1. The decision established a very high threshold for the conclusion that a publication is in violation of the "hate" provisions of Alberta's human rights laws. The prosecutor, Dr. Lund, told the Canadian Press that "If the language contained in the letter does not meet the threshold of hateful, I am not certain what possibly would." If Dr. Lund is right, then there will be no further prosecutions. The decision of the Alberta Human Rights Commission to withdraw from the case suggests that the Commission learned from Dr. Lund's mistake. There is no place for thought control in a free and democratic society.
2. Dr. Lund told the Calgary Herald that the decision of Justice Wilson "takes away the tools at our disposal". He is correct. The tools of censorship should not be available to prohibit freedom of expression in Canada. There is no circumstance in a free society where limitations on political or religious debate can be justified.
3. While the decision did not strike down Alberta's "hate speech" laws, it significantly limited the application of such laws. Justice Wilson properly pointed out that a province may not duplicate the federal Criminal Code rules outlawing hate crime. Furthermore, Justice Wilson interpreted the provision in question as only prohibiting hateful words that lead to discriminatory activity under the provincial human rights legislation. Justice Wilson found that Stephen Boissoin's letter to the editor was not hateful and did not cause discriminatory behaviour. It is difficult to conceive of a political or religious debate that would meet the two part test established in the legislation. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that in the future no religious or political debate will be found to be in breach of the current text of Alberta's human rights laws.
Gerald Chipeur, QC
What? They both do? Yes, because Canada was born a free country and will remain so, and the people who should be packing their bags are the sneaks, snoops, spies, spooks, and social engineers. Youse guys, the Taliban needs you. We will pay your way.
Here's Steve Paikin on The Agenda, on Censorship and Forbidden Reading. Also, Lorne Gunter, in Edmonton Journal, "Commission gets judicial thrashing (December 06, 2009).
Here's a big union weighing in on the side of snoops, sneaks, and tinpot Torquemadas:
More recently, there has been a concerted campaign by right-wing pundits and media to entirely discredit the role and the need for human rights commissions in Canada, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Act under the guise of defending free speech. Their attacks picked on certain decisions by the Commission and Tribunal around section 13, the hate messages clause, of the Act. However their often malicious criticisms expand beyond these specific cases and have the intent of turning public opinion against the human rights commissions, which they have variously labeled as the “thought police” or compared to violent dictatorial regimes. Attacks against the commissions have not been isolated to the federal level but have also been directed towards the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other commissions all across the country.Sorry, guys, this won't work any more. The "human rights" commissions have made the classic thug mistake of scaring everyone in town, not just a few identified victims. Finally, people decide that just getting rid of them is the answer.