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Monday, June 29, 2009

Ontario conservative leadership race highlights intellectual freedom

Civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant writes:

I should have devoted more attention to the leadership contest for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Four candidates ran in that election -- Tim Hudak, Frank Klees, Christine Elliott and Randy Hillier. And -- amazingly -- reform of Ontario's out-of-control human rights commission became the central policy debate of the race.

Stop for a moment to reflect on how incredible that is. That simply wouldn't have happened two years ago, or perhaps even a year ago. That is a testament to the denormalization of Canada's HRCs, and how politically-aware Canadians (particularly those of a conservative stripe) have taken a keen interest in the subject.

As I noted in April, it was Randy Hillier, the great libertarian MPP, who first raised the subject, with his simple call for the abolition of Ontario's HRC. I loved his motto: real justice, real judges.

Tim Hudak saw the common sense of Hillier's position -- and its political appeal -- and dittoed Hillier's position. He had a few phraseological nuances -- he'd simply refer such matters to real courts, and get rid of the more obscene counterfeit human rights, like the "right" not to be offended. I wrote about it here.
I noticed the Toronto Star freaking out over Tim Hudak yesterday. I wrote about Hillier here

Usage notes: I use the term "intellectual freedom," not "free speech" because the latter suggests a drunk yelling profanities on a street corner. Legal, perhaps, but not important. It's the big ideas that today's censors want to suppress. Like, is gay marriage right or wrong? And, by the way, on that particular subject the censors are all alone out there. The gay people are not asking for censorship of opposing views.

Also, I use the term "civil rights" rather than "human rights." Civil rights are the rights of citizens (and landed immigrants and all lawful occupants of this country). They have a history. We can explain in detail why they are what they are. "Human rights" seem, by contrast, to be whatever a human rights commissioner makes up as she goes along.

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