Canada’s mainstream media is alive with editorials and opinion articles denouncing the Canadian Human Rights Commission and demanded an end to the repression of Section 13. (Canada’s Internet censorship provision)
The editorials cross all party lines. From the National Post, to the Globe and Mail to the Toronto Star. Section 13 is the disgrace of Canada.
Sadly our elected officials are busy sitting on their hands and want to keep reviewing and studying the impact of a repeal of Section 13.
A political solution might come one day, but the first test, and a direct benefactor of the Moon report will be the Marc Lemire Constitutional Challenge, which is currently awaiting a decision from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, on exactly the same grounds that Moon studied.
Thanks for the Moon Report, Lemire’s constitutional challenge just gained huge momentum!
Please help the Marc Lemire Constitutional Challenge. The best chance to overturn Section 13!
Fighting the fanatics at the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission and defending freedom of speech for ALL Canadians is not an easy task. In particular, the final submissions which we've just finished consumed the most time and resources. This has meant sacrificing a lot of cherished things in my life that I used to take for granted such as spending precious time with my children. It's also very costly and has incurred heavy debts given that I'm facing a "Human Rights" juggernaut that has a limitless budget. It has already spent millions and is prepared to spent a lot more of your tax dollars to keep their thought control machine running.
Mainstream Media Editorials and Opinion Pieces on the Repeal of Section 13 in response to the Moon report
EDITORIAL: Common sense on free speech
“For too long, Canadians accused of discriminatory speech before a human rights tribunal have been denied any real defence. It is thus refreshing to see a report commissioned by the Canadian Human Rights Commission propose legislative changes that would divert at least some of such cases to Canada's courts, where proper defences exist--truth, fair comment and predictable rules of procedure to name but three.
Moon's report was commissioned after the CHRC's difficult spring. A controversial prosecution revealed several instances of what looked like Orwellian tactics by the CHRC -- commission agents provocateur posing as racists in chat rooms, for instance -- and the Canadian public further became aware of the CHRC's perfect score in obtaining convictions.
As simple justice requires an accused person be tried in a setting where the possibility of acquittal exists, Moon's conclusion that hate speech prosecutions be the exclusive province of the Criminal Code is welcome.
It is not everything free-speech advocates have been asking for. But it is far more than a baby step in the right direction.
Parliament should act on it.”
Calgary Herald - November 26, 2008, Page A-18
EDITORIAL: FREE SPEECH AND HATE SPEECH - Common sense on offence
“Allowing a human-rights commission to police the country's newspapers and magazines for their coverage of religious or other minorities is a terrible idea, yet that is the law, though most Canadians may not realize it. Now, an independent report requested by the Canadian Human Rights Commission recommends a repeal of the section on hate speech in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The report is a much-needed blast of common sense.
By accident more than design, the Canadian Human Rights Commission assumed responsibility over the news media. Initially, the anti-hate portion of the rights act covered telephone messages. After the Anti-Terrorism Act was passed in 2001, the human rights commission's responsibility extended to the Internet. Today, most news organizations operate websites. Hence, the commission is in a watchdog role that sits awkwardly in a free society.
The hate-speech provision of the rights act is much broader than the hate law in the Criminal Code. It requires only a likelihood that the speech will cause hatred or contempt, rather than an intent to promote hatred. The wording is broad enough to encompass written material that uses satire to achieve its aims, or that reflects stereotypes, or merely seems to. There is no defence of fair comment. It allows the commission (or people who complain to it) to take aim at those who give offence. Yet open debate in a democracy is grounded in the right to offend. "Any attempt to exclude from public discourse speech that stereotypes or defames the members of an identifiable group would require extraordinary intervention by the state and would dramatically compromise the public commitment to freedom of expression," says Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, in his report. "Because these less extreme forms of discriminatory expression are so commonplace, it is impossible to establish clear and effective rules for their identification and exclusion." Stick to banning expression that incites violence, he says, wisely, and leave it to the Criminal Code, rather than the rights act. (His recommendation that we need a mandatory national press council, if the voluntary provincial ones don't become more vigorous, would be a ridiculous way of enshrining what he objects to in the human rights act.)”
Globe and Mail – November 25, 2008
EDITORIAL: At last, common sense on free speech
“At last, someone with some authority has had the courage to state the obvious about the absurdity of the Canadian Human Rights Commission policing the nation's news media (or any other media) for offensive comments about particular religious or ethnic groups.
"Any attempt to exclude from public discourse speech that stereotypes or defames the members of an identifiable group," Moon wrote in a report commissioned by the CHRC and made public this week, "would require extraordinary intervention by the state and would dramatically compromise the public commitment to freedom of expression."
No kidding. The chief scandal here is that Moon had to write these words at all. Such a notion should have been glaringly obvious to the parliamentarians who wrote the law, the commissioners who enforced it and even the law students and lawyers who regularly abused it by pressing frivolous complaints. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are among the primary liberties guaranteed us in our constitution. That they should have been undermined by a body established for the very purpose of defending human rights is a travesty.
Unfortunately, the CHRC seems determined to cling to its powers. Chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch demoted Moon's recommendations to "suggestions," and said they would be part of a wide ranging public consultation on the commission's role. "We can envision Section 13 being retained with some amendments," she told the National Post.
What nonsense. Parliament should act on Moon's report without delay. Fundamental notions of free speech and free expression need no further consultation. Not in Canada.”
Montreal Gazette – November 26, 2008
EDITORIAL - Free speech, and hate
“Beyond that, does society need to cast additional chills on freedom of speech and spirited public discourse, to combat hatred? In the Star's view, no.
But a controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act does just that. Section 13 makes it a "discriminatory practice" to communicate "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" via the Internet. That can be interpreted to cover defaming or stereotyping, a wider net than inciting hatred. Unlike the Criminal Code, there's no need to prove intent. And the penalty is serious. The federal rights tribunal can order the offending party to desist, to smarten up, and to pay as much as $30,000 in damages and penalties.
Given Criminal Code protections, this needlessly chills free speech.
That's why Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government should heed the advice of Richard Moon. In a cogent report released this week, the University of Windsor law professor argues that Section 13 should be repealed.”
Toronto Star – November 26, 2008
EDITORIAL: Resisting the censors
“The right to free speech includes the right to argue and offend. You'd think this would be self-evident, yet it requires defending, here in Canada and internationally.
Professor Richard Moon, a constitutional expert, recently prepared a report for the Canadian Human Rights Commission about regulating hate speech on the Internet. Mr. Moon sensibly recommends the commission get out of the business of regulating what Canadians write and say.
In general, though, the state must not dictate which jokes cross the line, or which terms perpetuate stereotypes. Misguided attempts to safeguard religious groups from intolerance can ultimately have the opposite effect.
Canada has already spoken clearly at the UN. It can continue to lead the defence for free speech by repealing its own vestigial anti-blasphemy law, and by removing the Canadian Human Rights Commission's mandate to police expression.”
Ottawa Citizen – November 26, 2008
EDITORIAL: The Internet - No place for rights commission
“An independent report by the University of Windsor's Richard Moon says the Canadian Human Rights Commission should be stripped of its power to investigate online hate messages.
Moon's assessment of the true role of the human rights commission is correct, but nothing will change unless the government introduces legislation to repeal the commission's sweeping powers.
The will is clearly there. Just last month the Conservative party voted in favour of a resolution to eliminate the human rights commission's authority to "regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints" related to the Internet.
The ball is now in the court of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who oversees the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Nicholson says he wants the all-party justice committee to hold public meetings and report back to Parliament before any decision is made.
That's fair, but there's no reason to make this a long, drawn-out process. Hold the meetings, file the report, then accept the findings commissioned by the commission itself:
Internet hate messages should be investigated by police. The law must be amended to reflect that fact.”
Windsor Star – November 26, 2008
EDITORIAL: No need to hate free speech
This week's report advocating the repeal of the unfair and intrusive hate-speech provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act is a victory for common sense and free speech.
There is no place in a democracy that values robust debate for a Big Brother-style bureaucracy policing expression that some deem to be offensive.
In the Internet age, such an approach is impossible.
It's welcome news that Moon recommended that hate speech should be handled by the Criminal Code alone -- and only if it involves extreme expression that advocates, justifies or threatens violence. Censoring speech that stereotypes or defames minority groups isn't practical, Moon explained.
What a breath of fresh air. Stop trying to clamp down on the media -- and anyone else engaging in the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of expression -- and focus on the real hate-mongers. In a real court.
Over to you, Rob Nicholson.
London Free Press – November 26, 2008
EDITORIAL: Moon’s Spin on Hate
“My hero is a guy called Richard Moon. Other people have their Sidney Crosbys or Beyoncés, but I want Richard Moon’s autograph. I’m thinking of mounting his picture on my office wall. He’s the man.
Who, you ask, is Richard Moon? Well, he’s a professor at the University of Windsor who has written a report, released this week, recommending that the Canadian Human Rights Commission no longer investigate complaints relating to hate speech.
Who cares about that, you snort? You should, as the Human Rights Commission and all its little provincial sprouts make it their business to monitor your every thought, word and deed and decide whether or not you’re playing by the rules.
The only problem is the commissions make the rules with zero input from me or you and they have a tendency to get zealous in their defence of the allegedly offended.
But in this social networking age, every errant thought is posted on the Internet and the thought police are wearing themselves ragged trying to stem the tide.
So instead of trying to shut down hate-filled stupidity wherever it rears its head, destroying free and honest expression in the process, Moon offers the following common sense approach: “Find ways other than censorship to respond to expression that stereotypes and defames.” Argument, debate, discussion, dialogue: Whatever you want to call it, it beats the kind of kangaroo court justice practised by human rights commissions.
Now, let’s just hope someone doesn’t complain to the human rights commission about Richard Moon.
Metro News (Ottawa) – November 26, 2008
A victory for free speech: With the release of the Moon report, Parliament has no excuse not to kill the censorship powers of the Canadian Human Rights Commission
“The fact that the CHRC continues to cling to its censorship powers -- even after Moon's dramatic rebuke -- shows how out of step with Canadian values the CHRC has become. When it was created in 1977, the CHRC was designed to be a shield, protecting the civil rights of Canadians. A generation later, they've mutated into a sword, violating our freedoms. And their Kafkaesque conduct violates our norms of natural justice, too.
It's no longer even a matter of serious debate in Canada. The entire political spectrum has rebelled against section 13, with critics as diverse as Egale, the gay rights lobby, PEN Canada and the Toronto Star joining the National Post, the Canadian Association of Journalists, Noam Chomsky and even TV's Rick Mercer calling for section 13 to be repealed. The only people who don't seem to get it are those with a personal stake in censorship -- the bureaucrats and lawyers who make a living off the law; as well as the ethnic lobby groups that support them, such as the Canadian Jewish Congress and Canadian Islamic Congress.
It's Parliament's turn to act. A Liberal named Keith Martin and a CHRC consultant named Richard Moon both support repeal of section 13 -- the Conservatives should make it unanimous and non-partisan, and just do it.”
National Post – November 25, 2008
Kill section 13
'The principal recommendation of this report is that section 13 be repealed so that the censorship of Internet hate speech is dealt with exclusively by the criminal law." We can't recall the last time reading 28 words gave us such an exquisite frisson.
However welcome Prof. Moon's report recommendations are, there are signs the CHRC is already seeking to undermine them. Rather than sending the report directly to Parliament, the commission has called for public consultation followed by its own set of recommendations sometime in the middle of next year. This sounds too much like an attempt to water down Prof. Moon's conclusions.
What is to prevent the commission from using its consultations as a way to marshal special interest groups to oppose the report? Indeed, the commission is eager to keep its role as speech cop. And special interests are similarly eager to keep using the commission to intimidate their critics into silence.
The government needn't wait. It should use the occasion of Prof. Moon's report to axe the CHRC's power to limit free speech now.”
National Post – November 25, 2008
Jonathan Kay on censorship, press councils and hate speech: Three observations on Richard Moon's CHRC report
“(1) Give Richard Moon credit: He is the first person (to my knowledge) who has properly articulated the fundamental tension between the concept of human rights and the regulation of hate speech. He does so in Section 4(b) of his report, which I would urge readers to peruse carefully — especially this part: "The principal recommendation of this report is that section 13 be repealed so that the censorship of Internet hate speech is dealt with exclusively by the criminal law. A narrowly drawn ban on hate speech that focuses on expression that is tied to violence does not fit easily or simply into a human rights law that takes an expansive view of discrimination and seeks to advance the goal of social equality through education and conciliation. For reasons discussed in the next part of this section, the process established in the Canadian Human Rights Acts (CHRA) for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination is poorly suited to section 13 complaints. More generally, there is a tension between the general purpose or ethos of the CHRA and the narrow definition of hate speech adopted by the CHRT and, with some refinement, supported in this report."
This is an important insight, and one that critics of the CHRC (such as me) would do well to appreciate. As Moon writes (in not so many words), the CHRA is a touchy-feely document designed to address every imaginable psychic threat to minority communities. It is therefore understandable that bureaucrats tasked with upholding the CHRA would bring this all-encompassing mission to every aspect of their labours — including censorship. The result, Moon notes, is "a tension between the general purpose or ethos of the CHRA, and the narrow definition of hate speech adopted by [Moon himself]."
This, more than anything else, explains why Section 13 can't be fixed with tweaks: It is not the statute per se that is the problem, but rather the conflict between Canada's free-speech constitutional tradition and a CHRC bureaucracy whose mission in life is statutorily guided by bleeding-heart political correctness.”
National Post – November 25, 2008
Keith Martin: Time for Parliament to take action on free speech
“While Prof. Moon’s report is excellent, the actual power to implement his recommendations, or any others that relate to the CHRA, resides not with the commission but with Parliament. It is the nation’s elected representatives who are ultimately responsible for the act. Therefore the ball is, as they say, now in Parliament’s court.
Last year, I introduced two initiatives to protect our freedom of speech. The first was a motion to remove section 13.1, the most noxious part of the Human Rights Act. The second initiative involved a request put to members of the House of Commons’ justice committee to conduct a public study of the CHRA, and by extension, the activities of the commission.
In an open and liberal democracy, we have a right to be protected from hate speech, but we do not have a right to not be offended. Canadians laid down their lives in two world wars to give us the cherished right of free speech. It is now the duty of Parliamentarians to stand up and protect it.”
National Post – November 26, 2008
Steve Janke: Who will correct damage already done by CHRC?
“So what of the people who have paid thousands to defend themselves in front of these tribunals? What of the thousands that have been doled out as fines by people found guilty by a tribunal that is not a court of law?
Worse yet, what of the people who have been humiliated by the CHRC, forced to pen apologies or more. By more I mean forced to go beyond apologizing for a specific incident, and instead promising to not speak again on a given subject.
Using the Moon report to fundamentally redefine the CHRC is a great first step, and I'm hoping we'll see action on it soon.
But I think there has to be a look back as well. Incompetence at the CHRC has inflicted a lot of damage. If a crown attorney or a judge was found to be corrupt or incompetent, every case touched by that person would be subject to review. And yes, in all likelihood, people who deserved to be punished would go free because of the taint that could not be scrubbed off. But we'd accept that for fear of the hurt suffered by innocent people because of this corruption or incompetence.
I think we ought to do the same here. Yes, it'll be expensive. Yes, some bad people will benefit. But I think any judgment or decision handed down by the CHRC in which Section 13 played a role ought to be reviewed by a proper commission made up of members of the legal profession.”
National Post – November 26, 2008
As of Nov 26, 2008 @ 10:00pm – 122 news articles in GoogleNews
It’s time to end the censorship of the extremist Canadian Human Rights Commission!
Stop Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act