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Friday, November 14, 2008

Voices for intellectual freedom in Canada

... breaking breaking breaking breaking breaking ...

P 2o3 - ABOLISH infamous Section 13 passed. Freedom does NOT evolve. It revolts!

... breaking breaking breaking breaking breaking ...

Here's civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant's take:
But it doesn't matter whether P-203 makes it to the second vote, because the message is already clear: the party's grass-tops activists -- the people who knock on doors, raise funds, lead the local campaigns, etc. -- support freedom of speech and thought, and now see the Canadian Human Rights Commission for what it is: a violator of rights, not a protector of them.

I'm delighted.
Who knows - we could end up giving lessons to our American friends in resisting tyranny.

But, as a friend writes, we have a long way to go:

Resolution P-203 received overwhelming support at a plenary session – and still has to be voted on in full convention session tomorrow. Even then, it is still a party policy resolution, not an imperative of government.

Even if we get the whole CPC on board, we need more than 244 votes to get legislation through. We need more than just two Liberals to support a Bill removing Sections 13 and 54. We need the CPC + 11 more votes for a bare minimum. Really, we need at least 264 committed votes to be sure a Bill will pass.

There is a lot of lobbying and arm-twisting ahead of us to get the legislation we want through the House and Senate.

Some other interesting new developments ...

Landmark ruling finds no defamation in hyperlinks


VANCOUVER -- In one of the first court decisions in Canada on defamation on the Internet, a B.C. judge has ruled that a website is not liable for defamatory material on a link to the site.
Unfortunately, you'd have to buy this Globe and Mail article to find out what your rights are.

However, Franklin Carter, of the Freedom of Expression Committee at the Book and Periodical Council (to whom hat tip) advises,
In one of the first court decisions in Canada on defamation on the Internet, a B.C. judge has ruled that a website is not liable for defamatory material on a link to the site.

The lawsuit, which drew international attention, was initiated by Wayne Crookes, the Green Party of Canada campaign manager, in 2004. He alleged that Internet site posted a link to U.S. sites openpolitics and usgovernetics that included defamatory statements. He asked the court to rule that posting hyperlinks to websites containing defamatory material was the same as publishing the defamatory words.

However, Mr. Justice Stephen Kelleher of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit, comparing the hyperlinks to a footnote or reference to a website in a newsletter.
Here's more.

And the Mighty Ez discusses the resolution at the Conservative party convention to get rid of infamous Section 13 in our human rights laws: "Conservative convention: resolution calls for
de-fanging the Canadian "human rights" Commission."

He makes some really good points, including
I'm proud of the grassroots party members who have seized this cause. But I'm also hopeful that some Liberal grassroots will do the same thing in their party's convention in Vancouver next spring. That's because it's important to me that freedom of speech, and repeal of section 13, are not characterized as partisan issues. In other words, while I would hope that every Conservative would support the repeal of s. 13, I would hope that Liberals and NDPers don't oppose it merely to be different. I don't want it to become a partisan wedge issue. In fact, true progressives should reflect on the fact that people who are powerless often have no other tool except for free speech -- offensive free speech, that deliberately upsets the status quo -- to get reforms. The cases of women's suffrage, black civil rights and the decriminalization of homosexuality come to mind.

Luckily, it was Martin the Liberal MP who really got the ball rolling with his private member's motion, and other Liberal MPs have chimed in with support, as have many traditionally non-Conservative organizations, ranging from PEN Canada to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to the Toronto Star.

I put all of the above in the category of "denormalizing" the HRCs -- building a demand for political change.

Here's the thing: I think that 90% of the people in that convention hall would be opposed to the CHRC for reasons of principle. The only question is: are they convinced that repealing section 13 would be a political winner? That is, are they worried that doing the right thing would hurt them politically?
Hey Ez: Canadians, whether Liberals or Conservatives, are not so far gone that all we want is for government to ram PC crap down our throats. Freedom is still a winner. Remember, Chariots of Fire - as in Fire. All. The. Nannies. Who. Specialize. In Nannying. Adults:

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