Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why does Canada still have a hate speech law?

Hardly was there time to celebrate the demise of Section 13, the infamous provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibiting “communication of hate messages,” before we were reminded this was not the only unwarranted restriction on freedom of speech on the books.

Section 319.2 of the Criminal Code, for example, forbidding the “willful” promotion of hatred “against any identifiable group,” is currently getting a workout in a Regina courtroom in the case of Terry Tremaine, a sometime math lecturer and avowed neo-Nazi.

While Tremaine will have available to him the sorts of due process rights denied to those hauled before the human rights tribunals — the defence of truth among them — the end result is much the same: the suppression of speech society finds objectionable, for the sole reason that it is objectionable. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail.

The National Post, in an editorial, made the case that such prosecutions only provide a platform for the promotion of the very ideas that were supposedly so toxic as to require suppression. In the age of the Internet, moreover, only a tiny fraction of such material is ever likely to be caught in the state’s web, raising questions as to what, if anything, is being achieved.

To deprive someone of their freedom of speech is perhaps not so grave a matter as to deprive them of their physical liberty. But it is not that far off. It is defensible in certain limited cases, and only with the most rigorous justification. The harm asserted, therefore, cannot be vague or subjective. It must be of a kind that others can agree is harm. That is why the classical exceptions have tended to focus on individuals, and on the more tangible forms of harm.

More here

If you want to encourage tolerance,  being intolerant of some points of view is a strange way to go about it.  To encourage tolerance the first step is to BE tolerant.


Anonymous said...

What? Like tolerance of neo-nazism, islamic fundies, etc. Tolerance of intolerance = complicit intolerance!

Bird of Paradise said...

Im glad i dont live in CANDA their people are under socialism and that why we oppose the planned NORTH AMERICAN(SOVIET)UNION

Anonymous said...

It's only Canada. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

The State will decide what thoughts are acceptable. Those that do not conform to those standards of beliefs and thoughts will be prosecuted. When there are no more who think against the current standard, the line will be moved. The object is to make sure that the narrow beliefs of the State are the only beliefs that exist. All Hail Canada. Make sure you keep up with what is acceptable to think and what is not.

Anonymous said...

So the same applies when you have a State religion or when religions can influence the State so much as to produce a virtual theocracy - as has been the case in most western countries despite the claim that there are/have been "secular" democracies.

Anonymous said...

3:09 by democratic choice, so what's your pathetic point? We became an exceptional country with a majority of Christians voting.

Anonymous said...

2:04 PM Exceptional in what respect? - persecuting the indigenous population, institutionalizing slavery of Africans and their descendants?
And as for majority voting - voting was denied (or prevented) to said African-Americans and Native-Americans until the mid-20th century and even to women of any race until the early 20th century. When Christianity in all its diverse forms had political control what else would you expect?!