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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

This just in: Infamous Section 13 hits a wall

From Mark Steyn: A landmark decision
He explains here.

Can a Charter challenge be far behind?

Maybe these HRC people can now quit playing spy and Nazi, and go back to doing a useful job. Racists are despicable figures, but better they be despised than the Canadian Human Rights Commission head.

Now that head Jennifer Lynch has succeeded in making racists heroes and martyrs, I guess we should give her the Order of Canada?

Oh, and especially for forcing a number of hard-working Canadian media people to devote a large part of their time to attempting to draw attention to her Commission's scandalous behaviour? And the huge, crippling expense to the accused? Who better to be rewarded with high honours than a civil servant with such acumen?

I also propose that Jennifer's Nazis all receive the Hogan's Heroes Award.


- civil rights lawyer Ezra Levant on the fact that judge Hadjis has undergone something of a conversion in this matter:
Two years ago, Athanasios Hadjis was a human rights hack, sitting on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal full of other hacks. He mindlessly rubber-stamped the censorship litigation oozing from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its complainant of fortune, Stormfront member Richard Warman.

Here’s a section 13 censorship case, less than two years ago, where Hadjis happily condemned a young woman to a lifetime publication ban, ordered her to pay Warman $3,000 for his hurt feelings (tax free to him), and then fined her another $1,500. That’s a heavy punishment for a woman earning just above minimum wage, and too poor to hire a lawyer.

(It’s been a while since I practiced any criminal law. I’d be curious to know what kind of criminal conviction these days would yield a $4,500 fine and no time in custody. Would a first offence for an assault with a weapon get that heavy a penalty? If you’re a criminal lawyer who knows, tell me in the comments section.)

Hadjis didn’t mind his lifestyle one bit. He was part of the human rights industry – near the top of the food chain, actually – and it was easy work. No-one really cared about the people he sentenced for thought crimes. 90% of such victims were too poor to have lawyers there, and only murderers and rapists get legal aid – not people who write rude things on the Internet. The news media sure didn’t give a damn about the petty racists Hadjis bravely brought to, uh, justice.

What a difference a couple of years makes.
[From Denyse: What a difference determined civil rights fighters make, of whom Ezra is one of the best.]

- Blazing Cat Fur has more, plus lots of links.

- Joseph Brean, “Hate speech law unconstitutional” (National Post, September 02, 2009):
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that Section 13, Canada's much maligned human rights hate speech law, is an unconstitutional violation of the Charter right to free expression because of its penalty provisions.

The decision released this morning by Tribunal chair Athanasios Hadjis appears to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its controversial legal mandate to pursue hate on the Internet, which it has strenuously defended against complaints of censorship.

It also marks the first major failure of Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, an anti-hate law that was conceived in the 1960s to target racist telephone hotlines, then expanded in 2001 to the include the entire Internet, and for the last decade used almost exclusively by one complainant, activist Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman.
[From Denyse: That it took so long to shut down this monster is a ruddy disgrace.]

- Here’s Jay Currie:
As truewest points out in the thread below, “Hadjis distinguishes Taylor on the grounds that s. 54 of the Act, which provides for fines of up to $10,000, payable to the state, for breaches of s. 13, was not part of the legislation when Taylor was heard and that, as a result of this penal consequence, s. 13 no longer meets the minimal impairment leg of the Oakes test and is unconstitutional.” I think that is about right.

Now, this has an interesting result. If the CPC does nothing – does not repeal s. 54 or s. 13(1) – the reasoning in Lemire means that s. 13 is a dead letter and the CHRC is out of the censorship business. The proceedings against Topham should cease immediately as should all other proceedings under. s. 13.
[From Denyse: Let us hope so. We already have hate crime legislation in the Criminal Code. We don’t need vigilantes operating from commissions and tribunals. I hope this sends a message to the other 13 “human rights” systems in Canada: Stick to employment and housing. Get out of supervising religions and media.]

Here is Scaramouche:

A sudden--and shocking--renunciation of Thought Police-type thinking by a card-carrying member of the Lynch mob: What’s the country coming to when one of the Queen Censor’s commissars favours a purveyor of “hate speech” over a much-honoured “Nazi hunter” who's the most successful CHRC complainant of all time?

Nothing that can’t be reversed by an Iggy victory in the next election.

[From Denyse: Oh, I don’t know. Would Iggy really want “Hogan’s Heroes” Nazi impersonation award winners working for him? Fallout city - he’d end up needing one of those shelters we built in the Sixties.]

- Deborah Gyapong on why it’s only half a loaf - the decision dealt only with constitutional issues as such and not with the abuse of process.

[From Denyse: But you can make a lot of sandwiches with half a loaf. The decision opens the way for a constitutional challenge of the next moonbat decision, free for the complainant and ruinous for the defendant.]

- Kathy Shaidle (Five Feet of Fury) writes:
Nobody’s ideal free speech poster boy, Marc Lemire of Warman vs. Lemire used to head the allegedly neo-Nazi Heritage Front. That there are more Nazis in the average Hogan’s Heroes rerun than in all of Canada didn’t deter the HRC from investigating Lemire, without warrants, and employing those other dubious “drive-by Wi-Fi” techniques described above — techniques that not a few observers of Tuesday’s kangaroo court have dubbed, well, “fascist.”

As Jonathan Kay observed in the National Post, “for an organization that is supposed to promote ‘human rights,’ the HRC’s agents seem curiously oblivious to basic aspects of Canadian constitutional law. In one famous on-the-record exchange during the Lemire case, [CHRC lead investigator Dean] Steacy was asked ‘What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints? — to which he replied ‘Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.’”

[From Denyse: But Dean, you are a civil servant not a civil master. Enough Canadians do give the concept value that you were bound to get reined in eventually. I just wish there had not been so much road kill, so many “other losses”.]

- Meanwhile, Franklin Carter at the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee reminds me,
The Weimar Republic in which nazism developed was as keen as Canada in 1985 to repress hate literature. It had laws in place that forbade the Nazis to meet, disseminate their opinions and publish their views. This attempt to drive the odious teachings of the Nazis underground may well have contributed to Hitler’s march to power. Try and bury an idea and you give it a power it may not have had when held up to scrutiny.

Barbara Amiel

Censoring One, Censoring All (1985)

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