by Kathy Shaidle | February 2, 2008 9:36 am
As most of you know by now, Mark Steyn is charged with “flagrant Islamophobia” for what he wrote in America Alone, while Ezra Levant is accused of “exposing Muslims to hatred and contempt” by publishing the “Mohammed” cartoons.
(The great Lee Harris analyzes the Steyn/Levant situation in the Weekly Standard, here.)
Neither of these charges would be possible were it not for Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Act makes it a crime to “communicate” in a way that is “likely to expose” protected groups to “hatred and contempt.”
Now, anyone who has seen Minority Report is thinking: hmmm, that sounds familiar. “Likely to expose” — but not necessarily?
How can someone be charged with a theoretical assault that hasn’t occurred yet, simply for uttering a forbidden combination of words? How can the basic notion of “cause and effect” just be tossed out of the legal system, just because some protected groups feelings might be hurt?
Well, welcome to Canada in 2008, where thought-crime and pre-crime accusations are now being fought by Steyn, Levant — and some Christian activists laboring and suffering in obscurity.
However, late last week, a Liberal Party (!) MP tabled a private members motion (it’s a Parliamentary thing…) calling for that “likely to expose” clause to be removed from Section 13.
Now, you’d think people who call themselves “Liberals” would welcome a motion that makes “free speech” easier.
You’d be wrong. Some Liberals have gone so far as to call MP Keith Martin a “Nazi sympathizer”, the logic being that now Canadian Nazis (all 10 of them) will have the right to write anti-semitic stuff on websites (which they already do anyway.)
(No, I’m not linking to the idiots making these accusations, which are particularly egregious considering the fact that Mr. Martin is himself a visible minority.)
Well, shouldn’t even Nazis get to post crazy stuff online? “Free speech” is supposed to protect speech you find vile.
At least, that was the understanding throughout the Enlightenment until about 20 years ago, when Political Correctness and Speech Codes took over.
Anyway, Mark Steyn has a great response to these misguided Liberal critics.
And ever the tactician, Ezra Levant ponders what to do next, to “keep the snowball rolling.”
I’ll be back next week with another update, but you can follow the cases at my blog and at FreeMarkSteyn.com.
(Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new e-book, Acoustic Ladyland, has been called a “must read” by Mark Steyn.)
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