Canadian “hate speech” provision overturned

I don’t understand the legal issues yet, but this looks big. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has declared that Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the provision under which the various Canadian Human Rights commissions have been prosecuting individuals for hate speech, is unconstitutional: “[T]he restrictions imposed on the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression are not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter.”

Questions: (1) Will this mean the end of hate speech prosecutions? (2) Will the many people who have been prosecuted for hate speech over the last ten or 15 years get restitution from the state? (3) Does this mean the end of the inspections of and restrictions on literature mailed into and purchased in Canada? And (4) is it conceivable that Canada may be on the path to becoming a free country?

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Leonard D. writes:

The decision was made by a court called the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. That name, by itself, should chill any right-thinking anti-progressive. Now look at their website:

The purpose of the Canadian Human Rights Act is to protect individuals from discrimination. It states that all Canadians have the right to equality, equal opportunity, fair treatment, and an environment free of discrimination. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) applies these principles…

Ah, yes, the “right to equality”. No, Canada is not about to be freed by this Tribunal.

What you are seeing is merely an intra-left dispute, a consequence of the contradiction between the older liberal (libertarian) idea of free speech, and the newer progressive idea of goodspeak. That the libertarians seem to have won a round is nice, but it slows the avalanche only a bit.

LA replies:

But isn’t Human Rights Act an embodiment of the newer, progressive idea of goodspeak as opposed to the older liberal idea? And therefore by finding Section 13 to be against the Canadian Charter, isn’t the Human Rights Tribunal undermining both the Human Rights Act and its own existence?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 02, 2009 03:25 PM | Send

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