Thursday, August 07, 2008
Time to fight...
B-Double created the "I support Mark Steyn" button to show our solidarity with Mr. Steyn and his fight against the various Human Rights Commission, and I have been following the trials and tribulations of Ezra Levant.
I haven't contributed anything on this topic, because I believe that others are expressing their distaste for this sort of totalitarian censorship much better than I.
However, I believe in freedom of expression and I believe that I have the right to offend.
I also believe that I should stand up and be counted among those who think we should
Fire. Them. All.
I don't agree with Q on this one. Sure, I'm for free speech and the right to offend. No question. However, I don't think the Human Rights Commissions are useless in and of themselves. They have a purpose when there are obvious violation of human rights, discrimination, racism and the like. However, the way things are right now the provincial and federal HRCs have become an incestuous club that is rapidly expanding its activities beyond its original mandate.
Reform is needed.
I actually like the proposals put forward a few weeks ago by B'nai Brith, which - if the House of Commons has any interest in making these Commissions work - should be adopted immediately.
Some of the highlights:
- Commissions cannot become avenues of harassment in which complaints are simultaneously made in several jurisdictions;
- Investigators must be rigourously trained to always be able to distinguish between hate and protected political speech; and
- Costs must be levied against those whose clear aim is to abuse the system by launching attacks designed to harass bona fide respondents.
I would also add that they need clearly defined rules of evidence, which is something the Macleans/Steyn show trial clearly lacked.
If they continue to be a kangaroo court for sock puppets to run to every time they don't get a 4,500 word article and cover art published, then they need to be scrapped. But if the HRC can run itself more like an actual court, then they can be an effective tool against racism and prejudice.
Q keeps it going:
I am not adverse to reform. My feeling is that the culture of the current crop of HRCs will prevent meaningful reform.
Should such reform be undertaken, I stand by the Fire. Them. All. approach and start again from scratch.
I would say, however, that the reforms being proposed above are covered in normal legislation and do not require a separate tribunal to deal with.
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