Saturday, July 21, 2007

Free speech vs. hate speech

Very interesting editorial in today's National Post (Alberta's Thought Police), concerning the human rights hearing against Stephen Boissoin, a "former youth centre pastor who wrote to the Red Deer Advocate in 2002 to complain about the presence of literature about homosexuality in school libraries".

The item that appears to have been most objectionable was the statement that gay activists were "spreading a psychological disease" and are "just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities."

The complaint was filed by Darren Lund, a heterosexual professor.

Even more interesting is that the gay-rights organization, Egale is not supporting this challenge:

Apparently, EGALE, after 20 years of courtroom triumphs, does recognize limits to how far the law can or should be used to suppress opposing views. Not every interest group is so willing to stand behind higher principles when an opportunity for publicity comes along.


But is Egale in fact so principled, or is simply a matter of expediency?

Macleans filed this story yesterday - Why the country's leading gay rights group is sitting out a fight against homophobia:

...In 2005, the group declined to support Lund's human rights complaint, arguing instead for Boissoin's right to free speech...


However -
...In the two years since its original decision, Helen Kennedy, EGALE Canada's new executive director, says the organization's board of directors have changed and, were it up to her, EGALE would reverse its stance. “Based on the facts that I have seen of the case to date... I would recommend to the current board that we reverse that decision and that we support the professor in his quest," she says.


What’s stopping them? According to Kennedy: "We don’t have a board meeting scheduled in time to discuss this. Because of vacations, etc., we haven’t convened a meeting.”

Interesting.

Anyway, the Post appears to be of the opinion that this claim against Mr. Boissoin be dropped in the interest of freedom of speech.


...What may be most objection-able about Prof. Lund's complaint, however, is the way he is trying to use a single, unverified gay-bashing assault that happened in Red Deer two weeks after the letter's publication as evidence that Mr. Boissoin's declaration of "war" against the gay rights movement had the effect of inciting hatred. No charges have been laid in the assault, so this tactic creates the steepest kind of slippery slope imaginable.

It could lead to a critic of Islamist terrorism being held specially culpable for "hate speech" just because a mosque was, by chance, later defaced by drunken vandals. An opponent of the Pope who wrote an editorial against him would have to hope there were no unexplained fires in Catholic churches nearby for some indeterminate period...


If Lund wins this case, then the next logical step would be to ask what is the necessary waiting period wherein any related 'acts of hatred' occur, and within what radius of the particular paper's location, and do any charges have to be laid for it to be considered 'inciting hatred', etc.

Comments welcome.


* * * *
Update: More HR issues at Big City Lib Strikes Back - More on Free Dominion Human Rights Complaint. Watch this one folks. It involves cyberspace and could have implications for all of us.

BCLSB links to Big Blue Wave - Human Rights Complaint Against Free Dominion - Details!

Canada Free Press weighs in here - Free Dominions' Light Shines Strong.

Relapsed Catholic - Details emerge re: the secular fatwa against Canadian Conservative Website.

Kathy links to this great column in the Calgary Herald - Free Speech and the Charter of Rights.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Voldemort kills Harry, he is the 7th Horcrux.
Harry can't die as long as Voldemort still lives because Voldemort took Harry's blood.
Harry destroys Voldemort with Uberwand of Pwnage.

VOLDEMORT KILLS SNAPE, HARRY AND GINNY HAVE 3 KIDS, RON AND HERMIONE FALL IN LOVE, LUPIN AND TONKS DIES, MAD-EYE DIES, DOBBY DIES, HEDWIG DIES.

Cheers!

Joanne (True Blue) said...

And that would be an example of 'free speech'.

Cherniak_WTF said...

No joanne, that's a spoiler...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Is it o.k. for me to say that I hate Harry Potter?

Kingston said...

Heck no JJ. I am crushed. You do not like HP, my lord woman, think of your grand children, put on a brave face and read away,,lol

Joanne (True Blue) said...

put on a brave face and read away,,lol

Heh. Well, to be more accurate, it's all the hype that I'm hating right now. ;)

Cherniak_WTF said...

Is it o.k. for me to say that I hate Harry Potter?
That is up to you (it's your blog after all) but you may receive the wrath of "people who should really get a life"....

Personally I find HP to be an insipid little tale that repeats itself every book. A kind of copy/paste/thesaurus/boring book.
I’d prefer to watch Vegitales over Harry Potter (and I HATE the Vegitales) ….
That’s not to say that HP the cultural phenomenon does not have redeeming qualities such as encouraging kids to become couch potatoes by reading more (insert smiley here)

If you do state that you hate HP, be prepared for a possible onslaught of visitors..

Kingston said...

LMAO, CWTF, If your correct and she receives a bunch of people about that comment, I am giving up blogging, now to come clean in full disclosure, My daughters got me hooked on HP, I read a lot and for some reason, I enjoy the series immensely. Maybe because you do not have to do a lot of thinking, its totally imaginary. Who knows

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I admit that anything that encourages kids to read and gets them away from screens is probably a good thing (as long as the subject matter is not objectionable).

Anonymous said...

Harry Potter sucks and the people who read those books are stupid.

Sue me...

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon, I think you can say that as long as no Potter People have their windows smashed within the next two weeks.

Old and Grouchy said...

I am 76 years old and I must admit I enjoy HP. Use of my imagination reminds me of imanging Fibber McGee's closet when I was a kid and long before TV.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I read a lot and for some reason, I enjoy the series immensely. Maybe because you do not have to do a lot of thinking,
I’m not sure I’d be so brave to write that “I read because I don’t have to think much”… lol…
But I do understand what you mean. I’ll read for relaxation also.

Look one of my daughters is crazy about those books (and the Lemony Snickets), so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with them. HP is a matter of taste and obviously there is something that many kids (and others) really like about them.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Fibber McGee
Wow, it's been a longtime since I've heard that radio show mentioned...

Cherniak_WTF said...

Anon, I think you can say that as long as no Potter People have their windows smashed within the next two weeks.
I'd prefer is Anon told us why they were stupid...
It sounds like a statement that vacuous Paris Hilton would make and then rush off....

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Imagination is the key here. Books force use you use your imagination to picture what the author is describing. Television and movies do the work for you, so it's much less challenging. Good for kids to be exercising that part of their brain.

Moebius said...

I read a lot of SF in my youth, but found HP to be not particularly interesting. My young-un agrees.

I never like Lord of the Rings books either, but the movies were great.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read HP...but I agree with the point Joel made recently at PTBC...HP is a real distraction,gets way too much hype.Joel points out that HP got more 'press' than an interception of Russian fighters.
Proof in point...this comment section is far off topic!
Vicki

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki, good point. Maybe folks just want an escape from the real world. Better than using drugs, I guess.

liberal supporter said...

They killed Harry!

The bastids!

Cherniak_WTF said...

L.S. He comes back to life, fornicates and has children...

All is well.