02.27.2013 11:55 AM

The Supremes strike the right note on speech

They were expected to toss out the hurt feelings stuff, and they did.

They were also expected (by sane people) to preserve non-criminal prohibitions against actual hate, and they did that too:

“Hate speech is an effort to marginalize individuals based on their membership in a group.

Using expression that exposes the group to hatred, hate speech seeks to delegitimize group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society. Hate speech, therefore, rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable groups that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide.

Hate speech also impacts on a protected group’s ability to respond to the substantive ideas under debate, thereby placing a serious barrier to their full participation in our democracy.”

Good balance, good decision. A uniquely Canadian compromise. Bravo, Supremes.


  1. bigcitylib says:

    Wonder if this will effect Bill C304’s passage in the Senate

  2. smelter rat says:

    It will be interesting to see how the Senate reacts to this vis a vis the private members bill they are currently studying.

  3. Ed Frink says:

    The conservatives should be impeached as hate criminals for going against the will of the Supreme Court, who always has the final word. If conservatives pass a law in the house of commons to allow hate speech, this will be an affront to democracy.

    • john morse says:

      Conservatives are an affront to democracy.

      • Phil says:

        Having read the post, especially the line “Hate speech is an effort to marginalize individuals based on their membership in a group.” does the comment “Conservatives are an affront to democracy.” fall under hate speech? Just asking.

  4. Pipes says:

    Ya man, it is a good decision. Now if we can just get them to give up their Santa Claus suits 🙂

  5. GFMD says:

    I wordsearched through the decision for the phrase which was struck out and the court seemed to be pretty clear its not like HRCs or courts had been using that part anyway, and they had been specifically using a higher bar than the expunged portion seemed to set (rightly so). is there any evidence in the judgment or elsewhere that ridicule and other elements had formed the basis for any decisions where hate itself was not shown?

  6. Max says:

    Warren are you asleep today ! :

    Stephen Harper Tough on Crime?

    Stephen Harper’s pal Dr. Porter is now a wanted man alleged to have accepted a payment or benefit from former SNC-Lavalin executives. Wednesday’s warrant includes six additional charges against both Messrs. Duhaime and Elbaz: fraud, conspiracy, fabrication of false documents, defrauding the government, offering secret commissions and laundering the proceeds of crime.

    Porter also quit a month as chairman of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee after the National Post revealed his dealings with Ari Ben-Menashe, a notorious international consultant/ arms dealer.

    These are the people protecting the Canadian Nation.


  7. Elizabeth says:

    I agree, good decision. Jon Kay’s column suggested that religious groups have a right to expect the act of homosexuality to be separated from being a homosexuality. I think that’s what he was saying, which makes no sense at all.

  8. Graham Wilson says:

    seems to me, if you really believed this you would boycott the Catholic Church:

    “In support of this judgment, the Church points not only to the intrinsic order of creation, but also to what God has revealed in Sacred Scripture. In the book of Genesis we learn that God created humanity as male and female and that according to God’s plan a man and a woman come together and “the two of them become one body.”10 Whenever homosexual acts are mentioned in the Old Testament, it is clear that they are disapproved of, as contrary to the will of God.11 In the New Testament, St. Paul teaches that homosexual acts are not in keeping with our being created in God’s image and so degrade and undermine our authentic dignity as human beings. He tells how homosexual practices can arise among people who erroneously worship the creature rather than the Creator:

    Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.12

    St. Paul listed homosexual practices among those things that are incompatible with the Christian life.13 ”


  9. Publius says:

    Can hatred be privately and legally promulgated in churches, mosques, synagogues, kingdom halls, all in Canada?

    Moderate muslim Tarek Fatah told Ezra Levant on SUNN that imported imams within Canadian mosques are openly preaching outright hatred of the infidel. Assimilation is forbidden with fear of honour killing. Then there is homegrown terrorism.

    Is private hatred okay as long as it’s not in public? Can a minority promote vicious hatred of the majority if it’s shielded in houses of worship? How far is too far?

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