Monday, March 25, 2013

Hate speech prosecutions now more difficult in Canada

After the failure of prosecutions under Human Rights law, hate speech prosecutions must now be brought under the criminal code.  Such prosecutions are at the discretion of the provincial attorney general

Among the loudest critics of anti-hate human rights laws was Ezra Levant of Sun News Network. He mocked a group of Muslims who complained to the federal as well as three provincial human rights commissions about what they thought was a hateful tirade against all Muslims in Maclean’s magazine. That complaint was rejected but the campaign by Levant and Co. continued.

Last fall, Levant did an on-air rant against the Roma. Theirs was “a culture synonymous with swindlers,” he said, while commenting on a crime ring operating in the Durham region involving some Roma.

“One of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging ... The phrase ‘gypsy’ and ‘cheater’ have been so interchangeable historically that the word has been entered into the English language as a verb: he gypped me. Well, the gypsies have gypped us. Too many have come here as false refugees.” And so on.

Gina Csanyi-Robah of the Roma Community Centre filed complaints with the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the Alberta Bar Association and also the hate crimes unit of the Toronto police.

The two broadcast regulatory bodies wrote to say they would await the outcome of the police probe. The bar association, of which Levant is a member, asked whether they could defer their investigation until after police had done their work, she said.

On March 11, Csanyi-Robah says police informed her that they found more than enough evidence to charge Levant under the Criminal Code, and the Crown attorney agreed. But then permission from the Ontario attorney general was not forthcoming, she says, adding that two detectives told her that was highly unusual — they had never seen such a rejection.

She was called to a meeting March 14 with Patrick Monahan, deputy attorney general. The detectives and the Crown attorney were there. So was Mark Freiman, lawyer for the Roma Centre, and two of its board members.

She recalled — and another person corroborated — that Monahan said there was evidence to proceed with the charge but that it could be “a challenging case.” Told that most anti-hate cases can be challenging, he said that Levant was a bully and that he’d turn it into “a bit of circus,” she says.

“They were intimidated about what he’d come out and say on the air,” she told me.

Four days later, Levant issued a rare on-air apology. He said he was wrong to have equated the actions of some individuals with an entire ethnic group. “I must admit that I did more than just attack a crime or immigration fraud problem. I attacked a particular group, and painted them all with the same brush.”

Csanyi-Robah found the apology insincere.


What Levant said about Gypsies is perfectly correct.  They are in general a plague on any community.  But there are exceptions to most rules.  Some Gypsies are no doubt decent.  The exceptions should not however stop us from making  broadly accurate generalizations.  Being aware of probable Gypsy behaviour is some armour against being ripped off by them.


Anonymous said...

"Some Gypsies are no doubt decent."

Name one.

Anonymous said...

"Name one."


Anonymous said...

Stereotypes have by definition some basis - and none more so than the world-wide Gypsies, aka Roma, Travelers, etc.!

Anonymous said...

Every rational person around the world, and that would obviously eliminate liberals, knows that gypsies are notorious thieves and con artists. This has been common knowledge for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Anonymous said...

about time