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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Intellectual freedom in Canada: Recent news notes

Britain seems to be catching up to us for sheer nonsensical stupidity. As Spiked Online's Mike Hume notes,
... free speech needs defending in an urgent way today. Something has changed. In the past, the free speech wars tended to be about ideas or arguments considered too subversive or dangerous to be allowed public expression. The recent controversies have gone way beyond that. The backlash against the likes of Prince Harry, Thatcher or Clarkson focuses not on ideas, but on words that nobody is apparently allowed to use in any circumstances, whatever they meant by them, and regardless of whether they are spoken in public or private – or even inside somebody’s own head.
Basically, some people would rather work in the bureaucracy than in the kitchen or the pit. Controlling what their neighbours think, say, or do suits them very well indeed.

Note: Here is commentator Mark Steyn's testimony to an Ontario legislative committee on the Ontario Human Rights Commission. It's dead on the mark.
Civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant reports that Xtra, Canada's gay mag, has come out against "human rights" commission censorship. He enlarges:
I've noted many time, with admiration, that Egale, Canada's largest gay lobby group, has opposed section 13, the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Here's Egale's chief, arguing against censorship, even against anti-gay "haters".

Egale even went further; in the abominable case of Lund v. Boissoin, where a busy-body activist complained against a Christian preacher, and the Alberta human rights commission sentenced Rev. Boissoin to a lifetime ban against him preaching about sexuality, Lund had originally requested that Boissoin be fined, and that the fine by paid to Egale.

When Egale heard about this, they advised Alberta's HRC that they were utterly against such censorship, and would not accept the blood money. (Lund then chivalrously requested it for himself, and the commission happily agreed.)
I think the gay culture has got this one by the right handle. For one thing, the flirtation of the hard left with Islamism - which includes fronting Islamist complaints to human rights commissions - could see walls of all kinds falling, and you would not want to be stuck under one of them. So, like Ezra, I commend Canada's gay people for the good sense to oppose the spread of authoritarian government in the name of "human rights."

Authoritarian government is authoritarian government, whatever it chooses to call itself.

My friend Kathy "Five Feet of Fury" Shaidle, was the target of a recent campaign to keep her off TV Ontario, by a senior aide to the Liberal Party's leader. He
... had objected to some of Kathy's spicier comments, especially about multiculturalism. I think Kathy would probably agree that sometimes her choice of words is rude -- I think that's often her deliberate choice. It's her style, and people can take it or leave it. But whether TVO, or the CBC, or any other news organization, public or private, chooses to interview her is their own independent editorial decision. For the senior advisor to the Leader of the Opposition to demand that a news outlet declare anyone a non-person is outrageous. It's un-Canadian for politicians to tell us what we can or can't hear.

Is this a sign of how Ignatieff and the Liberal war room will operate during the campaign? Will they try to bully and harangue reporters who dare to report news that Ignatieff doesn't like?

Will they e-mail producers and editors lists of who are approved people to speak with, and who are on blacklists?

Will they attempt to use levers of government power -- as Kinsella did here by contacting TVO's responsible MPP in the Ontario government -- to force journalists to comply with Ignatieff's demands, if the reporters and producers, like Paikin and his producer Dan Dunsky, are too non-partisan to take their marching orders from any political party?
Many people find Kathy's style hilarious - a key reason is the free vacation from political correctness. (But do click on her PayPal button now and then, will you?)

And lastly, this again from the EZ (Levant), Barbara Hall, head of Ontario's "human rights" commission, wants control over the Internet:
In healthy democracies, the media is a watchdog over the government.

In the soft tyranny of Canada's human rights commissions, the government is the watchdog over the media.

More eye-opening reporting from Joseph Brean, the MSM's most prolific HRC-watcher:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission is calling for Parliament to force all Canadian magazines, newspapers and "media services" Web sites to join a national press council with the power to adjudicate breaches of professional standards and complaints of discrimination.

The council would have the power to order the publication of its decisions and "would help bring about more consistency across all jurisdictions in Canada," reads an OHRC report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Human rights commissions are obsolete; the battles for equality of the sexes and races were won decades ago; the number of HRC complaints in Ontario has actually fallen year over year, despite that province's population growth. Think about that: the most ethnically diverse province in Canada has a declining number of human rights complainers, according to their own annual reports. That's good news to normal people -- but to those who need to stimulate and manufacture grievances in order to maintain and grow their bureaucratic empires, that's very bad news indeed.
Hall will control the Internet about the same time as the 'Zoids from Planet Zongo invade Earth. Not before. In the meantime, all she'll really do is give authoritarians a chance to persecute democrats.

This news post is courtesy of Fire. Them. All. News Services.

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