Fright­en­ing hu­man rights law up north

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

Re: Tony Blank­ley’s Com­men­tary piece in the April 28 edi­tion ti­tled “Euro-Mus­lim ten­sion” (page 30), Mr. Blank­ley is in er­ror when he stated that the en­fee­bled Cana­dian of­fi­cials “promptly filed crim­i­nal charges” against Mark Steyn, the au­thor of the book “Amer­ica Alone.”

In fact, the com­plainant Mus­lim stu­dents and the head hon­cho of one of the Is­lamic or­ga­ni­za­tions in Canada filed what is called a “com­plaint” with the Cana­dian Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion and two other pro­vin­cial com­mis­sions.

Th­ese com­mis­sions promptly ac­cepted the com­plaints, deem­ing them to be le­git­i­mate, and have put Mr. Steyn et. al. to the test of show­ing cause why he and the mag­a­zine that ran the excerpts from his book and why they should not be pe­nal­ized be­fore the Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal for hav­ing com­mit­ted the of­fense of pub­lish­ing some­thing that was — now get this — “likely to ex­pose” the per­son or per­sons to “con­tempt or ha­tred.”

Think about that for a mo­ment. This law is en­shrined as Sec­tion 13 of the Cana­dian Hu­man Rights Act and ef­fec­tively says that if some­thing is pub­lished which a group feels is “likely” to sub­ject them to con­tempt, the onus is on the ac­cused to jus­tify that it just ain’t so.

There is no bur­den of proof on the tri­bunal or the com­mis­sion to prove their case. Once ac­cepted, the com­plaint casts the onus on the ac- cused to “dis­prove” the is­sue. More­over, the com­plainant need never show up there­after, even for the trial of the ac­cused, since the tri­bunal calls upon the ac­cused to jus­tify or oth­er­wise ex­cuse it­self, of­ten at ter­rific cost in le­gal fees and the like. There is ab­so­lutely no cost or con­se­quence to the com­plainant.

And this is what they call a “Hu­man Rights Act.” I can think of noth­ing more ironic than hav­ing an or­ga­ni­za­tion leg­is­lated into ex­is­tence which de­nies the ac­cused the right to have the case proven against him. That is the nub of this en­tire fi­asco cur­rently be­ing hotly de­bated in Canada. In main­tain­ing this cha­rade of a court against free speech and par­tic­u­larly free opin­ion, the left-wing branch of Cana­dian elitism is ac­tu­ally fos­ter­ing in­creased dis­like and con­dem­na­tion of the very peo­ple who file the com­plaints in the first place.

I re­fer Mr. Blank­ley to the blog of Ezra Le­vant, a pub­lisher who, in his video-recorded in­ter­view with the in­ves­tiga­tive branch of the com­mis­sion, sim­ply told the in­ter­viewer that nei­ther she nor the com­mis­sion was en­ti­tled to chal­lenge what he was think­ing, or what his opin­ion was about any mat­ter what­ever. Would that there were more Ezra Le­vants in Canada. Ger­ald Lan­glois On­tario, Canada

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