February 9, 2009

Section 13 Debate


Brian Storseth, a Conservative MP, has asked the Commons justice committee to review Section 13 of the act, which contains provisions that deal with hate messages. Mr. Storseth also wants the committee to review the mandate of the commission itself.

He told the committee last week that "concerns have been raised regarding the investigative techniques of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the interpretation and application of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act."

Mr. Storseth's request echoes a similar motion brought by the Conservatives during the previous session of Parliament.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights will be debating the CHRC today (Monday Feb.9) from 3:30 - 5:30 Ottawa time. You can catch the webcast at the link.

Posted by Kate at February 9, 2009 10:20 AM

From the article: The controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act governing hate speech comes under scrutiny today when federal politicians decide whether to debate the limits it places on freedom of expression.

They're deciding whether or not to debate the subject... Kind of like a pre-pre-meeting to plan the pre-meeting in order to prepare for the meeting...

Posted by: Richard Evans at February 9, 2009 10:41 AM

What a bunch of gutless "conservatives" we have, all bark and no bite.

Posted by: Western Canadian at February 9, 2009 10:47 AM

Good point.
Ironic though that the HRC's don't have a problem with "pre-crimes."
You know, "likely to cause...."
What's happening to western democracy?

Posted by: Ghost of Ed at February 9, 2009 10:51 AM

There are two important questions to ask:
1) Is there enough Liberals to support this in the House (or abstain).

2) Will the Senate block this reform?

Unfortunately again, this may NOT get reformed until the Conservatives have a Majority in the Senate, so we may have to wait till 2010.

Posted by: Northern Raven at February 9, 2009 11:02 AM

"Longtime Ottawa radio host Lowell Green launched an 'uninformed and unfair' attack on the air, according to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council."*

Your freedom of speech is being shut down.

Your freedom to even have an "uninformed" opinion is being shut down.

The hammer/whip/bludgeon of political correctness has swung against Lowell Green.

But, this is not about Lowell Green.

This is about you and your freedom of speech.

The PET Cemetery holds the bones of PET; silent and dissolving to dust.

Will PET's Charter of Rights and Freedoms join him in the PET Cemetery?

Will the left-socialists succeed in burying freedom of thought and speech?

Will SDA be shut down?


Posted by: maz2 at February 9, 2009 11:05 AM

Wouldn't get your hopes up. Harper is still the PM and leader of the "Conservative" Party of Canada and has told us more than once stated that he supports the status quo, that he thinks the CHRC is doing a good job of regulating itself, that he sees no reason to amend the legislation, that Conservative "grassroots" are only one "stakeholder" among many and Conservative Party resolutions - even when they pass almost unanimously - are not binding on him so he can do whatever he wants.

Posted by: Ted at February 9, 2009 12:03 PM

"From the article: The controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act governing hate speech comes under scrutiny today when federal politicians decide whether to debate the limits it places on freedom of expression.

They're deciding whether or not to debate the subject... Kind of like a pre-pre-meeting to plan the pre-meeting in order to prepare for the meeting...

Posted by: Richard Evans at February 9, 2009 10:41 AM "

Exactly.If this had been put to the common Joe/Jane Blow on the street,instead of parasitic leechs called politicians,Kate would not even have this issue to debate/post about.

Posted by: Justthinkin at February 9, 2009 12:53 PM

"The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights"

And there is an oxymoron.How can they "stand" for anything,when they are bent over,kissing the a%%es of their favoured groups?

Posted by: Justthinkin at February 9, 2009 1:16 PM

I think that, as Prof. Moon says, Section 13 ought to be removed.

A key difficulty is that this section is embedded in an Act with an emotionally loaded title, (Human Rights) and that most parts of the Act have some functional use. The parts that are functional pertain to discrimination in housing and employment where decisions can be proven, empirically, to have been made for unfair reasons.

Section 13 refers to speech and as such, repressing this speech contradicts Section 2 of the Charter.

In addition, the process of evaluation of this speech is not focused on actual results but on speculated results. The Act itself refers only to 'is likely to occur'.

Plus, what is 'likely to occur' are emotions, not actions. It is not a human right 'not to be offended'. Being offended is totally subjective. Emotions cannot be objectively evaluated and therefore, no government has any business, or even ability, in making decisions about such imaginary and individually subjective results.

I suspect that changes to Section 13 will be made. Harper is allowing the changes to be 'grassroots' directed, and I suggest that for the NDP and Liberals to oppose these changes would mean that it would be made public by the grassroots they approve of the PROCESS.

This would mean that they would be tainted as approving of 'star chamber' processes in Canada. Processes that are subjective, without evidence of actual results, without truth as a defense, with the accuser hidden and paid by the government.

What we are seeing is government moving into a people-powered process, rather than a top-down process. This is happening in many areas.

After all, this whole focus on the HRCs started via blogs; the public has been informed of these HRCs, which most had never heard of, via blogs. This has finally moved into the MSM - and the HRC's attack against Maclean's helped this expansion into the public eye. It then moved into the Conservative Policy Agenda. And has been moved in the House by both sides (Keith Martin, Liberal was an important first step). It is fascinating to watch how the people, via,internet are moving into the government.

Posted by: ET at February 9, 2009 1:30 PM

"They're deciding whether or not to debate the subject... Kind of like a pre-pre-meeting to plan the pre-meeting in order to prepare for the meeting..."

That's right Richard. It reminds me of Stephan Dion's econommic plan to discuss a plan for 90 days.

Posted by: Indiana Homez at February 9, 2009 1:32 PM

Wow! the Parliamentary Justice Committee. Isn't this the one that Art Hangar chaired during the last session - the one that became so dysfunctional that he walked out on it?

The past year has brought to light more than enough information to warrant a full blown investigation into all aspects of the Federal HRC/HRT - not just these watered down versions we have had (mickey mouse RCMP and the Privacy Commish) with very little or no mandate to get at root causes of what really ails the CHRC.

No will in the PMO about sums it up - delay, offer a few niceties, but no major investigation much less an overhaul.

AB has just taken the same course - a new Chief Commish at about $185k with a budget of about $5M per year - no doubt likely to be increased as he is studying the ON and BC methods of operating their HRCs/HRTs.

He was alluded to have said something like he was no participant of kangaroo courts while on the bench (a former judge) and now will not be part of any kangaroo court from the chair (of the AB HRC). Well guy - you are now chairman of one of the more out-of-control kangaroo courts in Canada. What are you going to do about it? Nothing is not an option.

Posted by: Calgary Clippper at February 9, 2009 1:43 PM

When I started to read the article, I thought it was something from the archives until I realized that Brian Storseth just woke up.

Posted by: Steve at February 9, 2009 1:47 PM

'section 13' strikes again. SMU women's center threatening to file suit against campus chaplain for booking room for prolife event! They're having a = gasp- emergency mtg about it!

Posted by: lwestin at February 9, 2009 4:15 PM

Well, their "discussion" lasted a whole 67 seconds...

Audio here:

Posted by: Richard Evans at February 9, 2009 5:48 PM

ET......You got me thinking that this is one of the problems with our system.We worry about the WORDING,and not what the actual wording entails.Words like "might',"may",could".Cripes,I "could" get up from my nap,and I "might" feel like killing my supper,and that "may" involve something other then Chicken of the Sea from Stupidstore.
So am I quilty of a crime,because I chose the deer out back,instead of the PC all ready dead meal??
Am I guilty for beating the crap out of the sh*&head that cut me off and caused an accident? Or only if said sh*&head happened to be green with pink polka dots? Because my "fear" of pink polka dots "incited" me to violence,not the fact said polkadot caused an accident,I should be charged with a hate crime?

Posted by: Justthinkin at February 9, 2009 6:13 PM

Thanks for the audio Richard.

67 seconds to say 18 seconds worth of purple piffle.

Posted by: bluetech at February 9, 2009 7:45 PM

I would love to see it gone. Unfortunately this is not how Parliament works. Members need committees to boost thier profile. Sometimes this is very bad as in the hockey player incident. For this to work PMSH needs support of the Liberal Party and they are not giving that away. The committee could be seen as a chip to be played at a later date. I'm one that thinks minority governments are just expensive.

Posted by: Speedy at February 9, 2009 8:15 PM

Too many head cases in this country.

And the Liberals just encouraged them to whine and cry about their hurt feelings or some other imaginary ailments.

But worst of all, the nanny state Liberals happily financed this artificial BS with tax
Straight from the old Liberal Party Playbook.
Create a problem and then pretend to fix it.
Can you say Gun Registry?

Fire them ALL.

Posted by: rockyt at February 9, 2009 10:47 PM

Liberal and NDP justice critics are against. Wow! I never thought they were that far gone.

Posted by: pete e at February 10, 2009 3:57 AM

To those who think Harper is going too slow, may I remind you: the goal is NOT for the federal government to again allow free speech. The goal is to restore free speech in every province.

The process is to investigate, expose and embarrass to bill at the federal level so that any jurisdiction that doesn't follow suit looks as oppressive and backwards as it is. A sure way to stop that process is turn the federal case into a close fought battle along partisan lines.

If you are free at the federal level but unfree in every province, you are still unfree.

Posted by: pete e at February 10, 2009 4:14 AM