Musings —11.21.2011 09:10 AM—
As predicted, when Harper’s gang finally achieved their majority, they’d go after section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. They didn’t campaign on a pledge to do that – it was never mentioned, as I recall – but they’re doing it. In fact, before 2011, their position was always to defend the section.
Why is it a mistake? Two reasons:
- We are now going to see a dramatic increase in the number of hate expression cases where the Criminal Code is involved. The Human Rights Act, which is non-criminal, is a much better route than the Code, which is.
- If skittish Attorneys-General decline to grant permission for Code prosecutions, as I expect they will, the affected communities will grow frustrated (as happened in Citroen v. Zundel) and, in some cases, seek justice outside the judicial system.
Offensive expression is offensive – but it isn’t always criminal. The idiots in the Harper government have now created an environment where targets of hateful expression will be obliged to use the criminal law to defend themselves from hate.
I hope the Minister of Justice has the budget to hire many, many more prosecutors. He’ll need them.