I was originally going to post this in the religious tolerance thread, but it seemed to merit its own thread. I welcome anyone interested in this issue to read the Supreme Court of Canada case R. v. Keegstra, daunting as that may seem. (Apparently, our Supreme Court, always full of its own greatness, cannot express an idea in under 100 pages)
Chief Justice Dickson's judgement on the issue of hate speech is testament to the degree to which advocates of "tolerance" are willing to trample free speech to achieve their ends of a perfect multicultural society, where the government enforces right thinking through the criminal law.
Highlights include Dickson using a study on race relations from the 60's and then a study on specific hate groups in British Columbia to draw conclusions about all of Canadian society today, and more or less taking notice of the FACT that racially motivated violence is a widespread problem in Canadian society.
But the real genious of the decision is the way he perverts freedom of speech by shifting the point of view from the person listening, and the person speaking, to the mysterious 3rd party "victim" who need not even be exposed to said speech to be victimized by it. So from this reasoning, if I put an answering message on my machine that says something disparaging about group X, the government can come in a charge me with a criminal offense, and justify it as PROTECTING freedom of expression, (as well as equality) because shutting me up makes group X feel more included in Canadian society, and less inhibited to speak out, regardless of whether or not any member of group X ever actually heard my message. This, by the way, was precisely the fact situation in the case heard concurrently with Keegstra, though I regret that the name of the case eludes me at the moment.
If you read the decision through and through, I have no doubt you will be appalled, and will probably thank God that you don't live in Canada. (except for Zyne, who will probably be elated, and apply for Canadian citizenship this day)
For your amusement, here's a particularly interesting sample:
quote: The way in which I have defined the s. 319(2) offence, in the context of the objective sought by society and the value of the prohibited expression, gives me some doubt as to whether the Charter mandates that truthful statements communicated with an intention to promote hatred need be excepted from criminal condemnation. Truth may be used for widely disparate ends, and I find it difficult to accept that circumstances exist where factually accurate statements can be used for no other purpose than to stir up hatred against a racial or religious group. It would seem to follow that there is no reason why the individual who intentionally employs such statements to achieve harmful ends must under the Charter be protected from criminal censure.
I agree. We've gone too far with this. The multicultural experiment has been very successful at reducing expressed racism and intolerance over the last 30 years. However, the entrenchment of group rights will cost us over the next 50.
Posts: 1352 | Registered: Dec 2000
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While I generally like Canadian society's choices on gays, weed and socialism, I'm pretty much a free speech absolutist.
The idea that there is someone, somewhere that gets to determine what is OK for me to say and what isn't is just something I will not abide. Kind of my problem with religion, too, now that I think of it.
Maybe this is a vindication for slippery slope theorists, who are often justifiable whacked for logic-less cause-and-effects. If my limited knowledge of Canadian free speech law, or lack thereof, is correct, first they came for the pornographers and now for the racists and next, whom?
Well, in all fairness, pornography law in Canada is pretty liberal. Although the Supreme court has outlined an obscenity standard that could conceivably apply to just about any porn I've ever seen, it seems as though there has been no attempt to enforce the law according to this standard, (either that, or no attempt to interpret it in this way) as is evident by numerous porn shops you see throughout the big cities. (don't get me started on Quebec, LOL)
Not surprisingly, the government has been most pro-active in persecuting and harrassing gay and lesbian porn distributers, although this kind of discrimination was slapped down by the courts, most notably in the Little Sisters Book Store case.
In the field of child pornography, however, our government has made egregious laws vis a vis free expression. Current child pornography law renders works of the imagination (including fiction) illegal, although this was somwhat mitigated by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Sharpe. (It is now legal to possess your own works of imagination so long as you don't distribute them) Anyone serious about free expression values should be appalled at this barely veiled attempt at thought control.
The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly rejected this kind of criminalization of imaginative works in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which rejected the notion that "virtual" child pornography be lumped in with child pornography produced through the abuse of real children.
When it comes to free speech, I think you Americans are much better off, even though our Section 2(b) of the Charter is effectively identical to your First Amendment. It goes to show that a constitution is meaningless if the courts are stacked with judges dedicated to subverting it.
Posts: 7629 | Registered: Mar 2003
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quote: The idea that there is someone, somewhere that gets to determine what is OK for me to say and what isn't is just something I will not abide. Kind of my problem with religion, too, now that I think of it.