Canadians are uncomfortable even confronting what’s going on in their name. On last week’s letters page, Lauren Demaree of Windsor seemed closest to “mainstream” “moderate” Canadian opinion:
“Placing limits on free speech is a slippery slope, but that is not the only issue in play here. There is often a fine line that is crossed between opinion and hate propaganda and our laws need to reflect this more effectively. Where do we draw the line? When a group of people is harassed or when someone is beaten? How about killed? When your writer Andrew Coyne sits on a high horse spouting the ideals of free speech, he doesn’t stop and think about the consequences of his words.”
Who has been “killed” or “beaten” or “harassed” by Coyne-Steyn “hate propaganda”? The killings and bombings, as Ezra Levant pointed out, occur in countries without freedom of expression â€” because when you criminalize words the only expression left is action. How sad to see Canada pursuing, as the federal “human rights” commission puts it, “A Watch On Hate.” Not “hate crimes” or even “hate speech,” but just “hate” â€” thoughts, feelings. Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress is a world-class hater who thinks all Israeli civilians over 18 are legitimate targets for murder. Bully for him. Yet, in his pursuit of Maclean’s, Lauren Demaree sees the hater as the pin-up crusader who’ll abolish hate. No free society can do that. But it can certainly abolish, incrementally, freedom of expression and the presumption of innocence in relentless pursuit of such a banal happy-face chimera. The arbitrary absurdity of Alice-in-Wonderland’s queen yoked to the Cheshire Cat smile. This is your fight, too, Lauren, even if you don’t yet know it.
Because I’ve always been opposed to “human rights” commissions in theory (I like proper courts with things like “due process”), I failed to appreciate until Maclean’s present predicament how much worse they are in practice. These commissions were supposedly intended to investigate discrimination in housing and the like, but then came the very poorly drafted Section XIII, which makes it a crime to communicate anything electronically “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” “Likely,” eh? What does that mean? Well, according to the key determination, subsequently endorsed by the Supreme Court, in Canadian legalese “likely” now means “highly unlikely.” That’s to say, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence by the plaintiffs of anyone at all ever having been exposed to actual hatred or contempt, nor even any coherent argument as to why there is a hypothetical possibility of someone unspecified being exposed to theoretical hatred or contempt in the decades ahead, a commission can still deem such hatred or contempt “likely.”
In the three decades of the Canadian “Human Rights” Tribunal’s existence, not a single “defendant” has been “acquitted.” Would you bet on Maclean’s bucking this spectacular 100 per cent conviction rate? “Sentence first, verdict afterwards,” declares the queen in Alice In Wonderland. Canada’s not quite there yet, but at the Human Rights Commission, it’s “Verdict first, trial afterwards.” So I’m guilty and Ken Whyte’s guilty and Maclean’s is guilty because that’s the only verdict there is.