The day many of us have been awaiting for a long time has finally arrived. On Wednesday, June 26th, Bill C-304 passed its third reading in the Canadian Senate. Having cleared the Senate, all the bill needed to become the law of the land was Royal Assent, which it received later that evening, when it was signed by Governor General David Johnston, the representative of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
Bill C-304 is a private members bill introduced into Parliament in September of 2011 by Brian Storseth, Conservative MP for Westlock-St. Paul, Alberta. The bill’s actual title is “An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (Protecting Freedom).”
It contains six provisions. The key provision is the second which states “Section 13 of the Act is repealed”. The first, third, fourth, and fifth provisions of the bill amend other parts of the CHRA to remove all references to Section 13. The sixth provision states that the provisions of the bill will come into effect one year after it receives Royal Assent.
Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is the notorious and infamous “hate speech” law. When Parliament first passed the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977 it read:
It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
This later became subsection 1, when Section 13 was amended in 2001 to include subsection 2, which reads:
For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies in respect of a matter that is communicated by means of a computer or a group of interconnected or related computers, including the Internet, or any similar means of communication, but does not apply in respect of a matter that is communicated in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking.
Bill C-304 passed its third reading in the House of Commons early last June.It had its first reading in the Senate on June 7th of last year and there it sat for over a year until it had its second reading on June 20th of this year. After the second reading the Senate referred the bill to a Committee which presented its findings shortly before the Senate heard the bill for the third time and passed it.
This is great news for Canada. It means that as of June 26th, 2014, Section 13 will no longer be part of the Canadian Human Rights Act. I am not sure exactly why it was thought necessary to include a one year delay in the bill taking effect. It hardly seems logical that a bill designed to abolish an unnecessary law that has been exceedingly abused would extend to the agency guilty of that abuse an opportunity for one last kick at the cat. Government, however, is seldom logical and we have reason to rejoice that, despite the temporary delay, the final death of Section 13 is assured. This Dominion Day we can sing with extra gusto the final word in the verse of our national anthem that describes our country as “the True North strong and free”.
For many in our great Dominion, the reality of the extent to which our traditional freedoms had gradually been eroded over the last four decades did not become clear until 2006 when Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard, re-published the Mohammed cartoons that had stirred up so much controversy overseas when they were first published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. A couple of organizations, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, filed a complaint against Levant and his magazine before the Alberta Human Rights Commission.The complaint was made, not under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, but under Alberta’s provincial equivalent.
That, by the way, is a reminder to us that the work of turning back the clock on progressive thought control is not completed with the abolition of Section 13. Each province has its own provincial equivalent and freedom will not be fully restored to our Dominion until each of these are struck down as well.
About the same time that the complaint was made against Levant, the Canadian Islamic Congress filed complaints with the Ontario, BC, and Canadian Human Rights Commissions against MacLean’s magazine and author Mark Steyn. The complaint regarded an excerpt from Steyn’s book America Alone that had been reprinted in MacLean’s under the title “The Future Belongs to Islam”. The complaint was that the article was hate speech that discriminated against Muslims as a group.
These were high profile cases that involved two widely read magazines. This brought greater exposure to the precarious state into which freedom of speech had fallen in our country. As they defended themselves in their own human rights/freedom of speech cases, Levant and Steyn brought another case to the public’s attention, one which otherwise might have attracted very little attention, the case of Warman v. Lemire.
Marc Lemire was the webmaster of Freedom-Site and a complaint had been made against him, under Section 13, by Richard Warman, the lawyer formerly employed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, who has filed the bulk of the Section 13 complaints over the last decade. The complaint pertained to posts that had been made – by others – on the Freedom-Site’s internet bulletin board. Lemire, in addition to defending himself and his site against this complaint, filed a constitutional challenge against Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (Section 54 is also amended by Bill C-304 to remove the elements which were problematic).
Over the course of Warman v. Lemire much material was revealed about the way in which Section 13 cases were started, investigated, and handled that cast the Canadian Human Rights Commission in a rather unflattering light. In 2009, Athanasios Hadjis, a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, dismissed most of the charges against Lemire and refused to pass sentence on the remaining charge, ruling that Section 13 was unconstitutional. This subsequently went into appeal and Lemire’s constitutional challenge was put on hold pending Parliament’s decision on Bill C-304 – which has now rendered the challenge moot.
These cases received wider discussion in the media than previous hate/free speech cases, due to the involvement of high profile figures like Levant and Steyn. They also received wider exposure because the development of the internet and of political blogging had created a way for people to get around self-imposed mainstream media blackouts. It also added a new dimension to the legal battle over freedom of speech.
As previously mentioned, in Warman v. Lemire much material had come to light that was unflattering to the Canadian Human Rights Commission. That same material was also unflattering to the plaintiff, himself. In early 2008, he launched a defamation suit against the National Post over an article that made reference to testimony from Warman v. Lemire that suggested that Warman himself was the author of one of the contested posts on Freedom-Site, one that contained some rather rude remarks about a female Canadian Senator. Warman also named as co-defendants the author of the article, Jonathan Kay, bloggers who had made reference to the article such as Kathy Shaidle (Five Feet of Fury) and Kate McMillan (Small Dead Animals), and Mark and Connie Fournier, the founders and administrators of the small-c conservative message board Free Dominion.
This was not the first time Warman had launched a defamation suit against his opponents. He had sued British author David Icke in the early 2000’s over remarks Icke had made about him in one of his books. Icke is a New Age, environmentalist, type who specializes in conspiracy theories about reptillian shape-shifters from outer space. Nevertheless he was justifiably unimpressed when he was accused of anti-semitism in the late 1990s, which accusations became part of the basis for a campaign to have his speaking tour of Canada cancelled and his books removed from Canadian bookstores and libraries. Warman’s involvement in that campaign was the reason for the remarks which were the basis of the lawsuit. In 2007, Warman sued Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression for libel over remarks he had made about Warman on the internet.
Warman launched multiple lawsuits against Mark and Connie Fournier of Free Dominion.In addition to the National Post lawsuit previously mentioned, he also filed another defamation suit against the Fourniers and eight members of Free Dominion over remarks they had made about him. Since the eight members posted under internet pseudonyms, they were named as “John Does” in the suit. The lawsuit therefore centred around the issue of the right to anonymity on the internet. After the National Post and Jonathan Kay settled with Warman, he became the owner of the article in question, and then sued the Fourniers over copyright infraction for reposting the article on their site!
I have encountered people who appear to believe that this is a legitimate use of the court system. I do not. In my opinion it is a shameful abuse of the legal process and it is a disgrace that the courts allow this to go on. Now that Section 13 has been taken care of, badly needed reform of Canada’s defamation laws would be an excellent next step to consider in securing and protecting the rights of Canadians to freely express their thoughts and opinions.
The passing of Bill C-304 is a significant victory for those who have been fighting to restore freedom of speech to the Dominion of Canada. The events referred to above only cover the last few years of what has been a very long battle. The Canadian Human Rights Act with its Section 13 was signed into law in 1977. I was one year old at the time. In the 1980s, when I was growing up, freedom of speech and what, if any, legitimate limitations on it ought to exist, was a matter of public discussion.
The discussion centered around two high profile cases, neither of which, interestingly, was a Section 13 case. Ernst Zundel, a Toronto graphic artist who also published pamphlets that argued that only thousands rather than six million Jews died in World War II and that the deaths were not part of an orchestrated plot of genocide on the part of the Third Reich but a consequence of the realities of war, was charged with “spreading false news” twice under a law that was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada. James Keegstra, a high school teacher and at the time mayor of Eckville, Alberta was charged with spreading hate for teaching his history class that the Jews were behind a global conspiracy against Christianity. The law he was charged under was the hate speech provision which had been added to the Criminal Code by the Trudeau government a few years prior to the Canadian Human Rights Act. In fact, Section 13 had been added to the Canadian Human Rights Act because it was considered too difficult to obtain a conviction under the Criminal Code where the prosecutor was required to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The Crown managed to do so in the Keegstra case.
These two cases were widely discussed in the news and in the classroom.After that the mainstream media went curiously silent on the subject of freedom of speech until the Levant and Steyn cases. There were a few exceptions. One or two writers in the Sun newspaper chain occasionally discussed a freedom of speech case. Doug Collins of the North Shore News reported on the decay of freedom of speech, and was eventually himself brought before the BC Human Rights Commission on charges of “hate speech” by Harry Abrams of the Binai B’rith. The Report newsmagazines (Alberta, Western, BC) of the Byfield family had a number of writers and editors, such as Kevin Michael Grace, who faithfully reported on these matters. Very few others would do so.
There was a reason for this. Collins, Grace, the Byfields, and virtually everyone else who defended freedom of speech against “hate speech” laws, including the late Doug Christie, the founder of the Canadian Free Speech League and the lawyer for both Zundel and Keegstra, were accused of being racists.
Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, in a speech given early in the Trudeau premiership, later published in the book Those Things We Treasure, recalled an earlier time of more civil discussion when one could disagree with the Prime Minister without being accused of prejudice. By the time Peter Brimelow wrote his book about American immigration, Alien Nation, in the mid 1990s, he could accurately say that the new definition of a racist was “someone who was winning an argument with a liberal”. Liberals, capitalizing on the disgust generated by the revelation of the horrors of WWII, had turned “racist” into a powerful weapon, an epithet that could ruin a person’s reputation, career, and life. It was a weapon they did not hesitate to use against their enemies.
Ironically, the pet projects with liberals used that weapon to protect, were themselves racist projects. This was not immediately recognizable because the targets of the racist projects were white people.
Think about it. If you were to say that your community or your country is “too black” or “too Asian” or “too fill-in-the-blank-with-any-race-but-white” you would be immediately denounced as a racist. The denunciation would be even more immediate and severe if you proposed doing something about it. The same, however, is not true of people who say that their community or country is “too white”. Indeed, such people are lauded for saying this sort of thing. This makes no sense from an ethical perspective. If racism is wrong, and racism is prejudice against people because of their race, then it is as wrong when it is directed against white people as when it is directed against any other group of people. If thinking that a community is “too black” is racist, then thinking that it is “too white” is also racist.
Yet the idea that our country is “too white” is recognizably the idea behind the liberal policies pertaining to race, culture, and immigration that have been enacted since the 1960s. When liberals talk about promoting diversity they never mean making black communities less black, or aboriginal communities less aboriginal, and they certainly never mean making any kind of non-white community more white. “Diversity” is clearly a euphemism for “less white”.
An objection might be raised to this reasoning in that most liberals are themselves white. All that proves, however, is the truth of Robert Frost’s observation that a liberal is someone “who is too polite to take his own side in a quarrel”.
Liberalism’s accusations of racism against those who dissent from its policies of self-hatred – or those who recognize and dare to point out that its policies are racist against white people – is a self-defense mechanism that has proven remarkably effective. It by itself has protected against criticism many policies that would not be able to withstand scrutiny. For the longest time our insane policy concerning “hate speech” was one of those policies.
“Hate speech” as defined by laws like Section 13 is not necessarily speech that expresses actual hatred. Statements like “I hate you”, “I despise you”, “I utterly detest and loathe you” and “I curse the day you were born” simply do not fall under the category of “hate speech”. Yet expressing the view that significantly less than six million Jews died in the Nazi concentration camps in World War II, which is an opinion about historical facts, albeit an unusual and perhaps nutty one, apparently does.
Clearly “hate speech” laws are not about hatred in any literal sense of the world. “Hate speech” laws, like all anti-discrimination laws, are based upon anti-white racism. When anti-discrimination laws were first introduced there was growing opposition to laws that were themselves discriminatory. The basis of this opposition was the idea that the law should be the same for all citizens, a modern version of the ancient concept represented by justice wearing a blindfold. It is one thing, however, for government to strike down laws that favour one group of citizens over another, and declare that it will administer the law justly. It is another thing altogether, for government to pass a law prohibiting its citizens from discriminating against each other. Not only are such laws unduly intrusive into the personal thoughts and feelings of citizens, history has demonstrated that such laws cannot themselves be administered justly. Laws which prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, for example, are enforced against white people who are accused of discriminating against other kinds of people. They are seldom, if ever, enforced against people who discriminate against white people.
This is glaringly obvious in the case of “hate speech” laws. Countless examples could be given of speech, directed against white people, which is actually hateful and even violent, which has never caused those uttering it to be charged with “hate speech”. The defendants are almost always white, the only time anyone else is charged is when his “hate speech” is directed against a group that enjoys a greater degree of protection than his own. The justification given for this unjust administration of the law is that the law exists to “protect vulnerable minorities”. This, however, is merely a euphemism for “the law applies to one group differently than it applies to another”.
Thankfully, the government has finally done the right thing and abolished the abhorrent Section 13. Let us pray that the rest of the racist, anti-white, liberal house of cards, will come crashing down after it.
My Last Post
7 months ago