If it prohibits free speech, is it an oppressive regime? (Canada)

Posted by Ginkgo100 | 9:00 AM

This post was originally published on Leave the lights on.

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THE CHARACTERS:
  • A government concerned with promoting its ideology, but not with protecting free expression.
  • A minority religious group with radical views.

THE SCENE:
Minority religious group expresses its radical views. These views are in opposition to government's ideology. Government intervenes to curtail religious group's expression of said radical views.

Can you guess where this drama took place?
    1. China
    2. Iran
    3. North Korea
    4. Canada


If you said Canada, you are correct! Here are the ugly details:

The minority religious group is the Concerned Christian Coalition and its leader, Stephen Boissoin. The ideologues are the Human Rights Panel of Alberta. Please do not be misled by the name; the Human Rights Panel of Alberta is not particularly concerned with promoting human rights, at least not as they are defined in the United States. The Human Rights Panel of Alberta is in the business of making sure nobody's feelings get hurt.

Enter a third character: Dr. Darren E. Lund. Dr. Lund's feelings did get hurt, as a result of Mr. Boissoin free expression of his radical views. The Human Rights Panel of Alberta does not call Mr. Boissoin's speech "free expression" or even "radical"; it calls it hate propaganda. And certainly, it may very well be the worst kind of hate propaganda; the published decision does not discuss the content of Mr. Boissoin's speech, so the commentator cannot draw her own conclusions.

The Panel does express a radical view of its own in ordering as follows:

That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.

Note that the defendants are not prohibited from publishing "hate propaganda" -- only from publicly making "disparaging remarks." The word disparaging means "insulting."

So our neighbor to the north has prohibited insults. Canada truly is a foreign country, since it holds to the concept, foreign to Americans, that protecting noxious speech is not a necessary part of protecting a free society.

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