How “Liberty” is eviscerated by Canada’s Courts.

A golden opportunity to kill human-rights censorship :: Canadian Constitution Foundation

A golden opportunity to kill human-rights censorship

With the Whatcott case, a 20-year-old Supreme Court precedent may finally be overturned

Karen Selick
National Post, November 3, 2010

«Whatcott v. Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal» «CCF Publications» «Court of Appeal Judgement» «Press Releases» «CCF Factum» «Related Audio»


The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to reconsider 20-year-old jurisprudence that limits free speech. The case under appeal is The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission vs. William Whatcott.

Back in 2001 and 2002, Whatcott, a social conservative activist, distributed flyers in Regina and Saskatoon bearing headings such as “Keep Homosexuality out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools” and “Sodomites in our Public Schools.”

He was hauled before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for having “exposed to hatred, ridiculed, belittled or affronted the dignity” of gays and lesbians, and was ordered to pay compensation totaling $17,500 to four complainants. That decision was upheld on its first appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench in 2007. But in February, 2010, three members of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned it.

While the Court of Appeal’s decision was a victory, of sorts, for free speech, the court had to twist itself into contortions to reach it. On any objective reading of Whatcott’s flyers, he did ridicule and belittle gays — and he probably even exposed them to hatred. What rankles free-speechers is the more fundamental question: Why should this be against the law? After all, don’t we have a Charter of Rights that guarantees freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression?

But the Court of Appeal declined to strike down the offending portions of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code as inconsistent with the Charter. The problem lay in the fact that in 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada had considered similar human rights legislation and had decided that those censorship provisions were permissible despite the Charter’s free-expression guarantee.

That case, known as Taylor, attempted to set some guidelines or standards as to when censorship laws designed to deter “hate speech” would be acceptable. Hatred or contempt, wrote then-chief justice Dickson, “refers only to unusually strong and deep-felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification.”

Then, with inexplicable confidence in the niceness of the universe, justice Dickson opined that so long as human rights tribunals paid heed to the extreme degree of hatred necessary

to justify censorship, there would be “little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness” would trump free speech.

But events over the last few years have demonstrated that the danger characterized by justice Dickson in 1990 as “little” is anything but. Accusations of anti-Muslim hate-mongering have been levelled against Maclean’s magazine for Mark Steyn’s commentary on immigration policy; and against Western Standard magazine and its publisher Ezra Levant merely for printing the notorious “Muhammad cartoons” as part of its news coverage.

Even B’nai Brith, a Jewish organization known for supporting the anti-hate provisions of human rights legislation, has been hit with a complaint.

While the complaints against Maclean’s and Levant ultimately were dismissed, the accused parties had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars upholding their innocence — money they’ll never get back. Worse yet is the chilling impact those prosecutions have had on less stalwart souls than Steyn and Levant. The risk of being put through such an ordeal, even if one is ultimately vindicated, undoubtedly has diverted many a commentator into less hazardous topics of discussion.

Even the history of the Whatcott decision itself demonstrates how subjective justice Dickson’s test is. Of those who have sat in judgment on Mr. Whatcott’s comments to date, two have said he violated the law while three have said he didn’t. That’s hardly a demonstration that the standards are crystal clear.

See the rest of the story here.


The last bastion of free speech has been silenced, the Rick Howe Show is Gone!

May 30/08
Dear Editor,
The phone in talk shows are the last bastion of free speech and now it’s gone too. We, the people no longer have a voice. We are not allowed to present in the Legislature or the House of Commons. Our MLA’s and MP’s are inaccessible, the Ombudsman has no power to expose the very people we need to complain about. Rick’s show was the last and only way a person could call in and complain, usually about the government. It was not censored.
Oh, yes, we still have the voice of the people, however, you have to be chosen and you can be censored or edited. The section is very small compared to a whole section on mindless fashion, fluff and entertainment. FM radio should immediately continue Rick’s Howe’s talk show. CTV, Global and CBC TV should have a political panel allowing PEOPLE to voice their opinions. Canada is not a Democracy. It is a Dictatorship and it’s getting worse every day! You wonder why people don’t vote. I’ll tell you why. The politicians don’t listen and don’t fix what’s wrong. There’s no accountability.
There is no whistle blowers act for the people, only for government by government.

Here’s my stand…

No equality = no Votes for any party.

Put people’s rights first or you are out! Pass it on.

Live Free, (What a concept?)
A short farewell to Rick Howe in video above.
Connie Brauer
Phone 902.798.5267
Falmouth, NS, Canada

For Howe the bell tolls
Popular phone-in radio host cut adrift as Halifax loses yet another AM station

’This is tougher than I thought it was going to be,’ veteran Halifax talk radio host Rick Howe said Thursday after announcing to listeners that the Hotline, the show he has hosted for 10 years, has been cancelled. (CHRISTIAN LAFORCE / Staff)

Veteran Halifax talk radio host Rick Howe announced to listeners Thursday that the Hotline, the show he has hosted for 10 years, has been cancelled. (CHRISTIAN LAFORCE / Staff)

THE HOTLINE has gone cold.

Veteran Halifax talk-radio host Rick Howe took his last calls Thursday as CJCH makes plans to move into the FM market.

“It is with a great deal of sadness that I tell you this hour about the future of this radio program and my own,” Mr. Howe told his listeners shortly after noon.

“This will be the final hour of the Hotline, and after today, CJCH will be flipping to the FM dial, and the Hotline will not be part of the format.”

The affable host seemed to get bogged down in tears several times during the broadcast.

“This is tougher than I thought it was going to be.”

The show aired weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on AM 920 CJCH.

….for the rest of the story, click here.