06.07.2012 06:09 AM

Section 13 is dead

Why is it a mistake? Why is it a disgrace?

1. The Cons had no election mandate to do what they did.

2. In fact, until they got a majority, they’d always defended the section.

3. It now means our only tool to fight online hate is the Criminal Code. Criminalizing all hateful speech is going way too far.

4. It means we are the one of the only Western democracies without a cheap, non-criminal means to combat online hate.

5. It leaves minorities without any meaningful recourse when facing hate. Will they take the law in their own hands?

They might, and it’d be hard to blame them. Canada has declared you are now free to say whatever hateful thing you want about someone’s race, ethnicity, orientation, disability or religion online.

Welcome to Stephen Harper’s Canada. It’s ugly and about to get uglier.


  1. smelter rat says:

    You were right yesterday….there is no hidden agenda, it’s right out there for everyone to see.

  2. JamesHalifax says:

    I think the HRC’s brought this upon themselves when they started hearing ridiculous cases and passing down huge fines and order people to apologize.

    I personally, will be glad to see the end of Sect. 13…..

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Which cases do you specifically recall being rediculous and what fines do you object to? Blanket statements might follow some talking pionts, but let’s raise the bar here a bit.

      Or am I missing some point just by asking questions?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        I think the most aggregious abuse of the HRC was by Mohamad Elmasry going after Mark Steyn for his writing in Macleans, or after Ezra levant when he ran the Western Standard. Thankfully, the HRC’s didn’t want to go up against folks who could actually afford to fight back. They also went after the Comedien who responded to a couple of heckling lesbians.

        Another website “Free Dominion” was also harrassed in this way, but I think the fines were saved for that pastor who took out an ad about homosexuality being a sin. He was a bit of a nut, but that is for readers to decide, not a bunch of quasi-judicial activists. Remember, you don’t have to be found guilty of hate speech….the process is the punishment. Those bringing the complaint, can do so for free, but those defending themselves can go broke.

        The worst offender is a guy named “Richard Warman” who has made it his mission in life to root out speech he disagrees with…he’s made quite a few bucks running that racket. He even posted some of his own hate speech while he worked at the HRC. Bit of a conflict of interest there……and R. Warman is probably the main person most responsible for the tabling of this bill.

        Google…will show you a lot more.

        • GFMD says:

          Macleans won their case and no case was ever brought against Ezra. Not knowing what you talk about is a thing for you, isn’t it?

          • Brine says:

            Again, as JamesHalifax pointed out, it is the process itself that is the punishment. Would you want to be on the hook paying for a lawyer to defend yourself against ridiculous allegations and have to take time out of your life to answer to a fake court, while it costs the complainant nothing at all?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            See the link I have provided below.

        • smelter rat says:

          Oh dear, that’s quite a can of worms you’ve opened.

        • dave says:

          I remember reading Steyn’s stuff, sort of a ‘I have found the protocols of Islam’ rant. I thought it a good idea to have a half way group like human rights commish to hear the complainant. Levant goes out of his way to insult people, especially groups. He gets away with it as long as he does not speak about anyone in power.
          I also read the transcript of the, as you style it ‘a couple of heckling lesbians.’ It looked to me, and from the transcript, it appears to have looked to people who were witnesses, that the ladies had a complaint.
          A great thing about these sorts of half way commissions, or justice circles and such, it that the person complained against, gets to see and hear the impact of his words and actions on his fellow human beings. But, if the idea is to leap all the way to the criminal code, then I guess that is what we have to deal with now.
          Machiavelli, somewhere in his DISCOURSES, observes that sound governance ensures that people have an organized outlet for their grievances. He says, the grievances do not go away because there is no outlet, and that minus an outlet, those grievances will find unhealthy channels as outlets.

          Keep in mind that sometimes people just want to be heard, on something approaching a level playing field with their detractors. A half way organization like a justice circle, or human rights commish can fill this role. We do n ot get into the situation where people like Steyn, Levant, and the Vancouver comedian use the powers that they have to attack groups, and the groups, or indivduals from those groups use the powers that they have to strike back.

          • Brine says:

            In all of the cases cited above, it was simply someone who was OFFENDED. Guess what, lots of things offend me, but I don’t run off crying to the HRC. The Commissions were supposed to be about protecting real rights, not hurt feelings.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          Do you have another, real case, or are the fictional ones good enough for you?

          • mhb says:

            Umm, how about these:

            – the Toronto plastic surgeon targeted by the HRC when he declined to operate on the ill-wrought genitalia of a post-op transsexual, as he was concerned he’d botch the job and (s)he’d sue

            – the owner of Gator Ted’s restaurant in Burlington, almost bankrupted by the HRC when he didn’t allow some dope smoker to light up in the restaurant, as the toker used “medicinal” maryjane. Ted was concerned that this would cause him to lose his non-smoking business, and his liquor license was threatened by his allowing smoking in his facility.

            – the owner of a St Catharines gym who was also nearly bankrupted by a pre-op transsexual, who demanded (s)he be allowed to use the ladies’ changeroom. Of course the women objected to somebody sporting a full ice cream cone with two scoops changing alongside them, and they threatened to leave the club. After a couple of years of HRC hell, the issue was dropped by the complainant who got the operation and left the club

            – the BC HRT that pilloried the Knights of Columbus, set up by a lesbian couple who lied about their wedding and insisted on a reception at the K of C hall. Once the K of C discovered it was a same-sex wedding, they offered to find another hall and reimburse the couple for expenses, but like good left-wing fascists, they insisted in using the HRC to punish the Knights

            – google “Scott Brockie” and his running afoul of the HRC when he declined to print sexual materials for a homosexual event

            Are those enough for you?


    • Brine says:

      Hear hear, this is wonderful news! Long overdue. No more phony “right” not to be offended!

      Oh, and Warren… did Martin have an election mandate to bring in same sex marriage?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        Brine, the day we need an election to give equal rights to all Canadians……

        is a bad day indeed.

        • Brine says:

          I’m not disagreeing, but I think that’s the case with getting rid of s.13 as well. It’s funny how those who disagree with a government’s particular decision are always quick to claim that the gov’t “had no mandate” to act, but stay silent when it’s a course of action they favour. Complete hypocrisy.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        Same Sex Marriage was the law in many provinces as found in those several provinces by their superior courts. It was costing too much to challenge each province’s findings at the courts of appeal in those provinces. Legal is some but not all provinces was creating uncertainty in the law. Martin’s actions was 9one of the only) examples of him acting decisively and in the interest of good governance. The “peace, order and good government” clause and the Charter demanded no less.

  3. Bryan says:

    The government is making it quite clear that I’m not protected from the likes of anti-gay Catholics and crazy-ass Baptists. I suggest we follow the lead of the anti-racists and those folks who hunted down Magnotta for the kitten videos. Playing within the rules is only getting us this crap and I’m tired of getting pushed around.

  4. Peter Mumford says:

    Does this automatically have the same result at the provincial level, or do they get to keep their own equivalents of Section 13 in place?

  5. GFMD says:

    This is one of Canada’s saddest days

  6. Levon says:

    I think speech that doesn’t rise to a criminal offense should be protected. That is a truly liberal position. Let’s have the backbone to hear free speech.

    • GFMD says:

      I find your support of defamation such as libel slander puzzling and unnecessary.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        We already have laws in place for slander and libel.

        Ask Warren, he’s a lawyer.

        The HRC’s don’t go after hate speech, they go after politically incorrect speech, or speech they disagree with. That’s the problem.

        Personally, I’d rather know the person by what they say, not by what they are allowed to say.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          I don’t see how speech which can offend s. 13 can be libelous speech too. Libel requires specific, inaccurate, non-privileged defamation of a person, not a group, to be actionable.

          “All lawyers are horse thieves” may be offensive, hateful and accurate, but it cannot be libelous.

          “No Jews died in concentration camps” may be offensive, hateful and accurate, but it, too, is not libelous.

          “Harper does not have the mandate to revoke that clause” is offensive to Cons, hateful in my heart, and accurate, but it, too, is not libelous.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, please confirm your comment:

            ““No Jews died in concentration camps” may be offensive, hateful and accurate, but it, too, is not libelous.”

            was in error, and that you meant to type “inaccurate”

            Otherwise, you reveal yourself. Which, by the way, is why people should be allowed to speak their mind wehter one finds it offensive or not.

          • GFMD says:

            OK I’ll explain.

            The guy above said speech below the criminal threshold shouldn’t be penalized and praised backbone for free speech.

            Since defamation is below criminal he, to be intellectually honest, is against defamation laws too. Obviously, people should be allowed to say what they want and the truth will out, right?

            NOT an invitation to make silly distinctions – just pointing out there are reasonable limits to free speech.

          • Tim Sullivan says:

            Even if the comment was accurate, or innacurate, it is not libelous. Please don’t miss any points here. Let’s follow the argument here, JamesHalifax. Libel and hate speech are not cut from the same clothe.

          • JamesHalifax says:


            Your response to whether Jews dying in the Holocaust was accurate or inaccurate shows the value of free speech.

            It gave you the freedom to expose yourself for what you are. Given the past research done by the owner of this site, I’m sure he would disagree with your point of view.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          I’m not sure JamesHalifax knows what he’s talking about. How about some facts.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, forgive me for assuming you may have some background knowledge of the issue being discussed…as you apparently wish to contribute.

            The facts are all around you, just do some simple research. The link I provided is just a small sampling of the problems associated with Sect. 13.

            Simply because you are unaware of the issue is not reason enough to think there is no issue.

          • Tim Sullivan says:

            Thanks for the facts again, JamesHalifax. I’m sure they are somewhere.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            No problem Tim,

            In fact, I”m sure that you would not allow any number of facts to get in the way of what you believe.

            Frankly, if you can write that Jews dying in the Holocaust was not an accurate statement while the evidence surrounds you……then why bother?

      • Brine says:

        GFMD, this does nothing to affect the law of defamation. You can still sue, just as before… but now you will actually have to pay for your own lawyer, convince a real judge, and be exposed to cost consequences for frivolous lawsuits. Oh, the horror!

  7. Tiger says:

    I think the HRCs should be abolished, period. (For the fair housing issue, create a tort at the provincial level.)

    So s. 13 going is good, but not nearly as far as I’d like to go.

    • VC says:

      To be fair, though, Tiger, you must agree that some of the prosecution by HRCs is reasonable? In cases, for instance terminating employment because you find out an employee is a homosexual, should not be permitted and prosecuted by some court? Perhaps the punishment doled out in such cases is comparatively lighter than if it were a criminal offense. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking your position (which is oftentimes very reasoned), just looking for your view on other matters of human rights and the role of HRCs.

      In terms of s.13, I agree with the Moon Report which recommended that hate speech be dealt with under s.320 of the Criminal Code.

      More generally, it is not a matter of hurt feelings or being offended when an expression advocates, justifies or threatens violence against membes of an identifiable group.

      • Tiger says:

        Given the history of the HRCs, I’d create torts with legislation (provincial level — property & civil rights) and have the civil courts deal with it.

        So if you’re fired because you’re gay, or of a different ethnic background, you sue.

        And I’d make the law society allow contingency fees — allowing lawyers to take on cases for no money up-front, taking a cut of the proceeds if they win, thereby taking care of most of the access-to-justice issues.

        The reverse onuses imposed by the human rights legislation made sense in the days when discrimination of this sort was rife; nowadays, they’re unjust.

        • GFMD says:

          The only “reverse onus” is the one about proving discrimination in hiring policy and it exists because only the employer can show why they chose not to hire somebody.

          Ezra is playin’ you, dude.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          Which law society does not permit contingency fees? I thought Ontario was the last. I could be wrong.

  8. JamesHalifax says:

    Here’s a pretty good link for those interested. Please note, some prominent Liberals have also raised concerns about section 13, including the man responsible for first establishing the HRC.


    • Jason King says:

      And we have a new Tulk! Citing wikipedia… really?

      • JamesHalifax says:

        The source doesn’t matter if the materiel is accurate.

        In fact, I’m sure you occassionaly say something that is true………

        I just haven’t seen it happen yet.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          How do you know it is true if the source, accurate or not, is not credible?

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, if you are so concerned about my sources, please try google…..

            I have neither the time nor the desire to go to the HRC website and copy the results of their findings on Warren’s website.

            As I wrote earlier, you aren’t looking for FACTS….you’re simply making lame excuses to remain ignorant.

            You need to work on that.

          • Tim Sullivan says:

            I’m not concerned about your source. I’m calling out your bullshit. I’m not doing your research for you, but if you want to sputter BS on this site, by all means. Just don’t think the intelligent ones here buy what you’re selling.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, I”m not asking you to do my research. I don’t need to do it….I’ve already done it. You were the one asking for citation.

            what do you want me to do…..write everying out here for your ease of use?

            Sorry…if you want to stay mis-informed and delusional, be my guest. You’re managing that well enough on your own…I don’t think you need my help.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          You may not have picked up on it yet, JamesHalifax, but the level of discussion on this site might be slightly higher, more insightful and more critical than you might be used to among your politically-inclined friends. Sophistry and talking points, not to mention the personal putdowns, don’t really pass as convincing here.

          It gets tired, pretty fast, because it is so easy to discredit, ignore and mock.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, the fact you cannot follow my level of discussion confirms my suspicions of your level of critical thinking. In fact, I would say you are about as complex as an onion with one layer.

            As for my personal putdowns, please note…you make it easy with your illogical and ill-informed arguments. Come up with some points that actually address what is being discussed, and I’ll respond in kind. I don’t suffer fools gladly, but in your case I’ll make an exception.

            As for the “FACTS” you question…..please do some checking before you dismiss them. They are found on other sources, but I wanted somehting a little more concise.

          • Tim Sullivan says:

            Do you want me to do your research for you? You want me to prove your point? Sorry to have put you out andasking that you back up your claims with come credible evidence. I will try to be less circumspect next time when BS and bafflegab/talking points are uttered by the ideological-minded.

            My bad.

          • Tim Sullivan says:

            You must certainly be a man of integrity and conviction, sometimes.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, sometimes facts are just facts. You can look them up if you want, or ignore them as you wish. Frankly, I don’t really care about what you have to say…because everything you’ve managed to say to date has been a waste of my time. You refuse to accept what is written if you disagree with it..then you demand facts and citation….and ignore if for the same reason. Sorry Tim…not wasting my time trying to enlighted a burned-out bulb such as yourself.

            for the record. 2+2 = 4.

            that is a fact. Sorry…no citation available.

  9. Lyndon Dunkley says:

    To me the question comes down to what is the true ultimate goal – is it eliminating hate or punishing hate?

    From my perspective, HRC’s (and by extension Section 13) punish hate but don’t really do anything to eliminate it. One of the cases I remember from the Ezra/HRC showdown heydays was the Red Deer priest who I believe was fined and banned from ever speaking of homosexuality again. Did that ruling change his attitude? Lessen his perceived hate for homosexuality? I don’t know the priest in question so I can’t truly answer but intuitively I would think not. So then what did the case really resolve? Are we a less hateful world because of that ruling?

    Punishing opinions we do not hold is likely a secret fantasy we have all held at one point but utimately the net benefit to society’s discourse is superficial at best.

    • Jason King says:

      Citing your “facts” is also a good idea if you want your anecdotes to be taken more seriously

      • Lyndon Dunkley says:

        Which facts would you like cited?

        What the reverend (I apologize for calling the individual nvolved a priest in my initial post) did?

        Six years ago, Rev. Boissoin wrote a letter to his local newspaper, Red Deer Advocate, expressing his opposition to “the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s” (for the full text of the letter, see http://canadianpastor.blogspot.com).

        Or his punishment?

        The Alberta Human Rights Commission has ordered Rev. Boissoin to pay $7,000 to the offended party, to write a public apology for publication in the Advocate, and never again to say or write anything critical of homosexuality in any public venue, including the Internet—a lifetime gag order.

  10. Russel says:

    I hate you…..you hate me…..we’re a hateful family!!!

  11. dave says:

    Looking at the comments here, it crosses my mind that critics did not like the levels of sanctions that the commission was empowered to mete out. Perhaps a more useful approach here would have been to deal with the bathwater, rather than throw out everything.

    • Brine says:

      Sorry Dave, but it’s more than just the level of sanctions that the HRCs could impose. I don’t want some tinpot bureaucrat, or Randall Garrison, or you, or Warren, or anyone else telling me what I can or cannot say.

      If it’s criminal speech, there are provisions for that. Anything else amounts to just hurt feelings and it should not be up to you, or me, or the government to regulate politically incorrect speech. If someone feels defamed they can always sue and try to convince a real court – on their own dime.

  12. Peter Jay says:

    The future of the Liberal party should be classic liberalism — Wilfrid Laurier style (which will separate Libs from social democrat Dippers and “law-and-order” Cons). Section 13 was an offence against liberal principles and the primacy of individual rights.

    If Libs want to look like Dippers in red, looks like you’re succeeding in spades — on this and everything else. Irrelevant.

  13. JamesHalifax says:

    You’re too late Peter Jay…there is already a Party that meets the definition of “Classical Liberal”……

    Today, we call it the Conservative Party of Canada.

    • Peter Jay says:

      I’m mostly just messing with Liberals, they’re not going to change b/c they don’t know their own history prior to Trudeau era, they don’t know the meaning of the word “liberal” and they’re going keep trying to be Dippers in red anyway.

  14. Jim Hayes says:

    Bottom line is that those who support the elimination of s13 have bitten off their nose to spite their face.

    So now all matters of hate speech will be dealt with by criminal law. Instead of dealing with human Rights Officials on hate speech (many of which cases get tossed early because they are frivolous)’ now you will be hauled into a police station read your rights have to hire a high-priced lawyer and wind your way for years through the Court system.

    Tens of thousands of dollars later you may or may not get off. If you are found guilty, instead of an order to cease and desist, you can be fined thousands more dollars or end up in jail for 2 years. And when it’s all over you end up with a criminal record.

    Good luck with all that…

    • GFMD says:

      The hope and the likelihood is that that police just won’t care about hate speech and won’t even bother. But if they actually do as you say, then absolutely the screechy speechies will have no idea how good they had it.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Jim, if anyone says anything that can be classified as true “hate speech” under the current criminal code….then that’s where it should be dealt with.

      The HRC’s don’t go after hate speech…they go after speech they disagree with. To date, every single victim of the HRC has been white and Christian. There are numerous examples of Muslim’s inciting actual hatred against jews and infidels…and the HRC’s always dismiss them.

      Sect. 13 has to go.

  15. George says:

    My favorite were the two lesbians in BC who took the knights of Columbus to an hr tribunal for declining to rent a hall to them for their wedding.KC lost and had to pay the gals $2000 because the ladies claimed they were unaware the kc was affiliated with the catholic church.

    • GFMD says:

      The Knights WON and didn’t have to rent their church to any minority they didn’t want to. The fines were costs for the extra wedding plans and being dicks about it.

      SEE? This is the level of knowledge on the topic informed people have to contend with – essentially zero.

      • smelter rat says:

        Cons hate facts.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        GFMD…it is not the end result that is the problem. It is the process…that is the main punishment. Ezra Levant had to pay over $100,000 in legal fees…..before the case was dismissed. The muslim fanatics who brought the case…..paid nothing.

        If you are looking at levels of knowledge…start with yourself, as from what I can see on this board, only you and Tim Sullivan seem to consistently miss the point.

        • GFMD says:

          legal proceedings aren’t easy and that’s unfortunate. The tribunal system makes it easier and more accessible to everyone.

          I’m all for a true discussion about access to justice and cost in all areas of law. But when Ezra pretends that only human rights commissions involve time and expense, and people believe it, it really bugs me.

          And there’s no way he spent $100,000 on legal fees. I’m calling him on that. Prove it, Ezzie.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            True GFMD, legal proceedings aren’t easy…….but in the case of the HRC’s and the use of Sect. 13, it is very easy; for the person bringing the complaint. The defendent has to pay all costs, the plaintiff just has to bring in the complaint. That’s one of the patently unfair issues of the HRC’s, and is why certain identity groups or activists insist upon using them. It punishes people who disagree with the plaintiff.

            As for justice…sorry, the HRC’s and Sect. 13 have nothing to do with justice, it’s all ideology. That’s why every single defendent of these cases is white and christian. You have never seen a Muslim taken to the HRC’s, even though they openly espouse hatred and contempt for jews, or “infidels”. This hatred (and it’s real hatred and incitement to violence) has never been an issue with the HRC’s, because the folks who work there don’t want it to become one.

            The HRC’s have become a farce, and even the guy who helped create them agrees.

            At the end of the day though…..complain all you want. Sect. 13 is toast…and good riddance.

          • GFMD says:

            But nobody gets made at Employment Standards Tribunals when they do the same thing. Ezra is just playin’ y’all.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          Nice, gratuitous slam. Just because you don’t answer my questions or provide any credible evidence does not mean that I miss the point.

          How do you know Lavant paid that much in legals? Show us the proof that he paid that, and that it was reasonably incurred.

          Must have been important to him to spend that much, if he did. I don’t believe he would incur that much, but legal fees are high. I’m not saying that as though it is a bad thing, BTW.

          • JamesHalifax says:

            Tim, as has been demonstrated on numerous occassions….you aren’t looking for facts or evidence, as when they are provided….you simply ignore them as you see fit.

            Maybe if you got off your ass and tried to keep yourself informed….you wouldn’t be so dependent on someone else doing it for you.

            As for Levant….it’s been posted on various sites, and he’s stated it on National Television on more than one occassion. If you are really desperate, perhaps you can ask Warren to confirm it for you the next time he’s on air.

            As for the case being important to him……give your head a shake. It should have been important to anyone who actually cares about free speech.

  16. JOn says:

    Sad sad day to see democracy dying! Without human rights, and basic ones at that, we are all doomed. Now the very people who came to Canada because they sought a better life and because we had laws that protected them from discrimination, well guess what? There are now second class citizens.

    Remember how Hitler started by passing laws that made gypsies and vagrants subjected to hatred and contempt? Yeah well this government is doing the same thing only by eliminating the laws that are suppose to protect disadvantaged persons.

    • Brine says:

      Ah, Reductio ad Hitlerum… it was just a matter of time. You lose – Godwin’s Law (q.v.)

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I remember that well. The parallels are everywhere, but it takes a good deal of reading to see them. Mind you, any one of us who stayed awake during history class will either remember that history, or live in denial–the ol’ “it can’t happen here” syndrome.

      And who wants to believe that it *can* happen here? The realisation quite often brings on a feeling of nausea. Not nice.

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Well….looks like we found another one.

      Hey JOn….shouldn’t you be protesting something? Breaking windows……demanding free stuff..etc..etc….

  17. JamesHalifax says:

    One more thing JOn…

    You wrote: “Yeah well this government is doing the same thing only by eliminating the laws that are suppose to protect disadvantaged persons.”

    No, JOn, you are wrong. The Government is not eliminating laws that protect the disadvantaged…they are eliminating the ability for the perpetually aggrieved to punish people who say things the perpetually aggrieved disagree with. Big difference.

  18. Michael says:

    Only Leftist speech should be censored, not non-Leftist speech. Leftism is an ideology of relentless hate and destruction, and there is no value at all to allowing people to express Leftist opinions. Leftists are always inciting hatred and even violence against other people (they applauded when that stupid New York comedienne called for Sarah Palin to be raped by her “black brothers”), and the Occupy Movement, a den of rape, assault and murder, was the perfect embodiment of Leftism in action. Better to ban this ideology for a period of time rather than expose vulnerable people to violence.

  19. George says:

    Where was I incorrect?kc paid the gals 2k that’s all i said spinmeister.

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