06.09.2012 07:55 AM

In today’s Sun (early): what the end of s. 13 will mean


Don’t like that? Too bad.

Nigger. Faggot. Paki. Chink.

Don’t like those, either? Again, too bad.

As of last week, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made it a lot easier for you to be called any of those things — or any number of other racist, hateful epithets — when they killed a key part of the Canadian Human Rights Act. That part, Section 13, prohibited the communication of hate via the telephone or the Internet.

The section came into being in the ’70s because some neo-Nazi groups were using hate lines to communicate some pretty awful stuff.

More than a decade later, the Supreme Court told a litigious white supremacist the section was constitutional and a reasonable limit on his free speech rights. A decade after that, with the haters spending a lot more time on the Internet than on telephones, Parliament decided to expand the section to cover online attacks.

Then, just this week, a nobody Conservative MP was successful in getting Section 13 killed, making use of the Harper regime’s favoured sleight-of-hand, a private member’s bill. Section 13 was dead.


  1. CharleeT says:

    I think that this is a much needed breath of fresh air…

    As Faggot, I prefer to know where my true enemies lives and what their websites are telling?

    Bring on the next seculo-religious battle!

  2. kitt says:


  3. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    The wing nut contingent of Refooorm lives on……..rue the day I had anything to do with the bastids……..

  4. Jim Hayes says:

    And we all raisd nary a word. We let the Neanderthals win. Shame on us.

    • Nic Coivert says:

      It was stolen, no shame on us.

      • Philip says:

        Exactly. But there is shame on us, on every Canadian, if we let them get away with it.

        • JamesHalifax says:

          Sorry guys….check the numbers.

          compare how many voted Conservative…with the rest.

          Just because you don’t like the result, does not make it invalid. Even elections Canada’s report said so, though I’m sure Marc Mayrand will continue to do his best to make the current Government look bad.

  5. Steve T says:

    I would like to understand why there hasn’t ever been a move to make the use of racial epithets criminal. Perhaps because it is so difficult to pin down where the line should be drawn? Or perhaps because it would not survive a legal defense in a proper courtroom proceeding? Alternatively, why not allow these matters to be pursued in civil court? I imagine it is for the same reasons.

    So why is it acceptable for S.13 and the “Human Rights Tribunals” to exist? These kangaroo courts are the exact reason we have proper judicial system, with the right to a fair trial, the right to counsel, the obligation for the plantiff to pay for their case, etc… Why should we have a system that, in essence, prosecutes people for things that wouldn’t withstand our accepted court system?

    If we don’t like our judicial system for allowing these kind of things, then let’s change the judicial system. Or, let’s just allow the haters and idiots to prove their ignorance by speaking their “mind” (whatever mind they have). Things like S.13 just allow them to get on their soapbox and make their asinine views more widely heard.

  6. Sniffle says:

    This is just horrible. Imagine how many people are going to get their feelings hurt now.

    ; )

  7. bluegreenblogger says:

    Uhhhh, the article does not seem to be there. Did it get pulled or something?

  8. Dan says:

    Warren, if you think those kinds of insults are what “hate speech” laws are designed to protect us against, it’s no wonder the law was overturned.

    Those kinds of insults are offensive, but not to the same degree as REAL hate speech. The kind that incites hatred against a group, advocating or promoting genocide, or otherwise inciting some kind of “breach of the peace”. The kind of eliminationist rhetoric that group X has no right to exist and should be shot on sight. (Sorry to anyone who is a member of group X, that was just a hypothetical example.)

    I suppose it would happen under a Conservative government no matter what. But this should be a common sense position regardless of political affiliation. When you fail to distinguish between hurt feelings and actual potential for violence, you play into the hands of the right wing who try to say this isn’t about eliminating an entire category of people.

    (And there’s legitimate constitutional scholarship around this issue based in well-defined terms. So bigots shouldn’t waste their time making strawman arguments.)

  9. VC says:

    Calling someone a kike is much different than advocating for violence towards Jewish people. One is insulting, the other calls for violence. In the case of the latter, why would you not want the power of criminal prosecution? After all, uttering threats seems to be a criminal offense, why wouldn’t saying “Death to the Jews” be any different?

    Also, does Citizen-Based Advocacy groups etc. have the same access to resources that the state does? The targets of some of the most pernicious racism do not necessarily have the capacity, financial or social mobilization for instance, as their oppressors to pursue such Citizen-Based Advocacy. This was, in large part, the justification of the Court Challenges Program. Now, if you happen to be the target of racism and, sadly, you are broke, you don’t have much choice but to put up with calls for your death based on the colour of your skin, your religious background, sexual preference, creed, gender, whatever.

  10. Tony says:

    The only thing that we can hope for now at this point is that Harper’s 11 seat bare majority is knocked out during the next election. Even if the Harp wins another minority he could be forced to revive section 13. One thing I will give Harp is that he’s pro-choice, anti capital punishment, he supports marriage equality and has recognized Quebec as a nation within a nation.

    I do hope the NDP under their new leader gets elected cause we certainly need a house cleaning in Ottawa.

  11. Geoffrey Laxton says:

    Statement on Private Member’s Bill C-304 by MP Brian Storseth in the House of Commons, calling on MPs to vote for freedom of expression by repealing Section 13.


    Who benefits with Bill C-304.


    Does the B’nai Brith want their gold medal back yet?


  12. Danny says:

    It is about freedom of speech. Now you can use those terms and you are no longer a criminal. You are a racist, a boor, a low life. Fill your boots.
    It is about less government being better government. We don’t need a quasi judicial body of government appointed bureaucrats tellling us what we can say, read and hear. The people of Canada are intelliegent enough to spot a racist when they see one. We all knew that Ernst Zundel , in his construction helmet, denying the Holocaust, was a kook. And if what he said was criminal, he should/could/and still can be sent to prison.
    It is better to bring these kooks out into the light of day. Sunshine and fresh air kill germs, and public scrutiny will kill off these low lifes.
    The other end of the spectrum is where Governments decide what we can and cannot talk about. In China talk of Democracy or Falun Gong will land you in prison. In a previous time, talking about the Earth not being at the centre of the Universe landed Galileo in a Inquisition hell hole. In both cases, and many more, it is the Government deciding what we can talk about. Best to not let Government have that power at all. Ever.

  13. Kalford says:

    We interrupt the hysterics for a moment of rational calm. . .



    nuff said. . . carry on with the hysterics.

  14. Geoffrey Laxton says:

    Looks like this is the green light Harper got for this piece of work… http://openparliament.ca/committees/justice/41-1/32/frank-dimant-1/only/

  15. Sean McGowan says:

    Thank your pal Richard Warman for bringing down Section 13. He single-handedly caused its removal from the Canadian Human Rights Act.

    In the past he has been accused of being a neo-Nazi. Perhaps this is true.

    At least with the Criminal Code, truth is a defence, unlike with the Human Rights Act.

    • JamesHalifax says:


      Richard Warman’s abuse of the system is what brought it into the public realm. Conservative bloggers went to town describing his antics and his abuse of the system, WHILE he was working for the HRC. He made a sizeble chunk of change in the process.

      It was quite a nice racket he had going to…..he would sign up to a website under a fictitious name, post something racist, and then in his capacity as an employee of the HRC, start an investigation, pointing out the “hateful” speech…that he himself posted. Result: numerous victories..and numerous multi-thousand dollar awards for his hurt feelings.

      Yes…Richard Warman should get the credit for the end of Sect. 13.

      By the way, both the Toronto STAR and the Halifax Chronicle herald both agree with the Private Members bill to eliminate Sect. 13….hardly bastians of Conservative support.

  16. Tiger says:

    There’s a reason why “mere insults” were never part of tort liability.

    Hate speech laws in the Weimar Republic didn’t stop the rise of the regime that followed.

    It’s useful to know who the bigots are. Let them speak freely, but take notes and publish them widely.

    Wasn’t a delegate to the ’08 policy convention, but if I had been, I’d’ve been part of the 98% who voted in favour of deep-sixing s. 13.

  17. Geoffrey Laxton says:

    The link moved here. Was the Sun trying to break links in the Social Media by moving it?


  18. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Lorne Gunter is spot on…


    A 100% conviction rate over 3 decades??? WK, you’re a lawyer. Certainly you know there’s something absolutely wrong about that.

    HRCs have made themselves, largely on the back of Section 13, into abominations, exploited by activists and/or wingnuts with axes to grind at literally no cost to themselves, while inflicting massive financial burdens through legal defense costs and the virtual certainty of punitive consequence, not to mention reputations being dragged through the mud. The censorship of political correctness taken to the nth degree. HRCs got handed their own version of absolute power, and clearly it corrupted them absolutely!

  19. dave says:

    I guess we want freedom of speech; I think,too, we want people to be responsible for the consequences of what they do and say.
    Could be that here we simply got rid of one of the consequences of what a person might do or say.
    There will be other consequences, though.

    Here is a small story from our history. When we drummed up a brigade to sacrifice, for the Empire, in Hong Kong in October and November of 1941,the survivors were, predictably, captured several weeks later. One of the Japanese army guards who was hardest on the Canadian POW’s was a young man who had grown up in Kamloops. He apparently felt justified in his harsh treatment of his fellow Canandians because of the way that he had been treated when he lived in Kamloops.
    I know, kind of an extreme example, but, when slurs happen, there are consequences.

  20. Kre8tv says:

    The way they did this adds one more piece to the argument that Parliament is increasingly an irrelevant relic of previous age. If they can skip debate and consultation on a matter as important as this, why bother electing MPs at all?

    • Michael says:

      We had an election about respect for democracy and contempt of parliament, and no one cared. Instead the voted for “a strong, stable majority”

      As much as it pains me to say this, we get the government we deserve.

      • frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

        Well said Michael……the “sheeple” spoke…….

      • kre8tv says:

        Sad but true, M. If they want peace and order but screw good government, because it just gets in the way of getting things done, maybe we should just get rid of the sham of electing a bunch of MPs who each pretend to vote according to the wishes of the people. Folks seems pretty content to have this unprecedented concentration of power in the Executive branch of government. No need for check and balances.

        I’m only half-serious here, of course. But this latest chapter is just one more in a series that undermines what used to be a pretty compelling case for parliamentary democracy.

      • Nic Coivert says:

        This is BS, it really is, the majority was stolen.

  21. Barb says:

    More communism dismantled……and Waren Kinsella is crying about it….awww too bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael says:

      Can you please explain how Sec 13 led to the common ownership of the means of production?

    • Kelly Oh says:

      Might you be so kind as to explain how this relates to communism?

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Barb….I don’t think your communism analogy makes much sense here….

      However, if you were to compare the HRC’s and their abuse of Sect. 13….you would have a close comparison to (politically correct) GROUPTHINK.

      Problem is….only a certain group is allowed to have a voice apparently.

  22. Michael says:

    What a great opportunity we have, now that the Left have been defanged, to turn the tables and actually start banning different forms of Leftist expression. Leftism is a worthless ideology that only brings hatred and violence (see the murderous Occupy movement) and banning it will cost our society nothing. Better to take sensible precautions.

    • Derek Pearce says:

      Er, is this parody? The murderous Occupy movement?

      • JamesHalifax says:


        I don’t think murder is an accurate description, however, the “occupiers” do seem to have a propensity for attracting certain elements that think smoking dope, sexual assault (formerly known as rape), and drug overdoses are a legitimate form of protest.

        I also think this has a lot to do with the fact that local police forces were telling the homeless and shiftless that occupy camps were a good place to get a free meal and place to sleep. Sneaky.

  23. Section 13 has not been useful in stopping the Muslim Brtherhood groups in Canada.

  24. Pete says:

    Like most far leftists, you are all in favour of freedom of expression—as long as you approve of the views being expressed. You don’t even know the meaning of the term. This amendment wouldn’t have been possible without the abuse of Section 13 by your fellow traveller, Richard Warman.

  25. Janice says:

    Freedom of speech is coming to Canada whether totalitarian creeps like you like it or not. This wouldn’t have been possible with the assistance of your “dear friend” Richard “The Censor” Warman. Free thinking Canadians will never bow to the likes of you. The socialist “Liberals” and NDP showed their true colours to Canadians by voting against this long overdue amendment. Too bad, creep!

    • Brine says:

      As we speak, according to Hedy Fry…

    • JamesHalifax says:

      Actually, Warren, brine has a point. The funny thing though, is that when Hedy Fry made that comment, the last cross she burned was the one she herself set alight in front of a Catholic church. I think she was the president of the NAC for the status of women at the time…but I’m not sure.

      That being said, it was a dumb comment….and she took the hits for it.

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