Saturday, January 26, 2008

Free Speech In Canada

Let's jump right to the fun stuff - religion and politics. I'll write about the latest American Idol maybe next time.

Just kidding. Unless it's outright mockery, you can count on never seeing anything about American Idol on here. Unless I want to try getting some more search engine hits through gratuitous use of the phrase American Idol.

American Idol American Idol American Idol American Idol. There, that should do.

Today's topic is Free Speech in Canada. Yep, that's rapidly becoming an oxymoron. Although the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the closest thing Canada has to the American Constitution, only all soft and vague - you know, Canadian) supposedly protects freedom of speech, in practice courts have repeatedly ruled that "Charter Rights" are only protected as far as judges want them to be. In particular, if two rights are in conflict (or supposedly in conflict), the judge resolves it by doing whatever gets them accolades from the craziest leftists (i.e., a positive mention on the CBC).

Most of these conflicts (that I've noticed) have occurred when someone's freedom of expression runs into (or, again, supposedly runs into - I'll explain the qualifier shortly) someone else's freedom of religion. That is, when someone's religious sensibilities are offended by someone else's speech. The Canadian trend is to squash the speech to avoid hurt feelings.

The problem here is that there's no problem here. No one can or should have the right to never be offended. I'm a conservative Christian. I disagree with lots of what I see and hear in the course of a day. Sometimes I debate, sometimes I turn off the TV, sometimes I close the Firefox tab, sometimes I decide to stop buying a magazine, sometimes I just let things slide. Trying to get the State to shut the offender up never occurs to me, as it should never occur to any civilized person.

So, if you say something that offends my religious sensibilities, well, too bad for me. Luckily, I don't have to be your Best Friend Forever, so there's no real problem here. You aren't "violating my freedom of religion" if you say you don't believe in Christianity, or even if you say, as loudly and coarsely as you like, that you don't like Christians. I'll disagree with you, and I may or may not bother discussing it with you, but you can go ahead and say it. You may even have some good points to make, and I may wind up changing my mind about something as a result.

Now, if you're in my house, or commenting on my blog, then you may be invited to leave. Private property is the sanctum sanctorum. My home is the one place that I don't have to listen to dissent if I don't want to. Same goes for you - I won't drop by your house for an argument and expect to be invited to stay for supper.

In the public square, though, it's a whole different matter. We can both choose to say what we like, respond as we like, and - this is important - take our ball and go home whenever we like, leaving the other to continue to rant to an ever-dwindling audience.

There are plenty of folks in Canada who don't get this. Unfortunately, some of them are in positions of authority for some reason. I consider freedom of expression so critical, so integral to all other freedoms, that I don't think anyone who doesn't get it is qualified for any position of authority. That's OK, the world needs fry cooks, so there will always be a place for the NDP apparatchuk.

This lengthy preamble is all to say that you should go to Start with the What's This All About post if you're not already familiar with the situation, and get good and indignant. When you calm down enough, send him some money for his legal defence fund.

If you want to download a nice permanent copy of the first seven videos, check out this torrent:

Ezra Levant HRC Hearing Videos

Created and uploaded by a guy using the screen name Zirbert. Quel coincidence.

After watching these videos - and from here on I'll assume you have too - I want this guy put in charge of everything. I want his face on our currency. His verbal smackdown of a system that's gone completely off the rails is a thing of beauty to behold. I'd like to think that one day, kids in history class (if they still have time for those after spending most of the school year putting condoms on various produce) will be learning about Ezra Levant. I just hope they'll be learning about him as a hero, and not as an irritating minor bump on the slide to oblivion. I'm optimistic, but not overly so.

I also want these commissions gone. Not revamped, not reviewed, not overhauled - gone. We have civil courts for those very few cases where legal action is actually needed.

Specific to the Levant case, I would also like the plaintiffs deported back to whatever fascist theocracies they came from. They clearly liked the way things worked back there, and they just as clearly aren't prepared to come play with the big kids in the civilized world, so back they go. If any of them are Canadian-born citizens - well, first of all that would speak volumes about our educational system. We'd have nowhere to send them back to, but surely we could put them on a boat and let them browse the globe for a locale more hospitable to their delicate sensibilities. An occasional public beheading is a small price to pay in exchange for not having to hear a Jew disagree with you, right?

There are other affronts to free speech going on in Canada, and worse things happening on this issue elsewhere in the world, and I hope to address some of those in future posts.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of a chain-link fence (in closeup).

1 comment:

some_other_usedtobe_techie said...

" I also want these commissions gone. Not revamped, not reviewed, not overhauled - gone. We have civil courts for those very few cases where legal action is actually needed " interesting thought - we could redirect all of the funds they spend back into the justice system - I'm sure it would be much more bang for the buck.