Free Speech in Canada

Canada is a democracy, with a proud long tradition of human rights, and free speech. Right?

Think again. One Canadian citizen, Mark Steyn, who is well known for his politically incorrect views on Islam, “Eurabia” and the threat Islamic fundamentalism poses to western civilization (I sometimes read the pieces he writes for the Investigate magazine, although I do not agree with everything he says), wrote the (in)famous book, America Alone: The End of the world as we know it, arguing that due to Islamic immigration and high birth rates, Muslims would take over Europe, turning it into “Eurabia” and leaving America alone as the only bastion of western civilization. A piece from the book was published in a well known Canadian magazine, Macleans Magazine, in an article avaliable here, entitled “the future belongs to islam”.

Not unsuprisingly, Muslims in Canada didn’t like what Steyn wrote. And not having learned about tolerance and free speech (to be fair to them, there is very little tolerance and free speech in the Muslim countries), one fundamentalist Muslim group, the Canadian Islamic Congress, took a complaint about the article to a “Human rights” commision in British Columbia. Unfortunately, the “human rights” protected by the human rights commision don’t include the right to free trial (there is a 100% conviction rate at the tribunals for complaints made, the comissars who run the trial have no legal training, there are no case law or precedents, no rules of evidence, and the fact the information may be truthfull and published with reasonable intent is absolutely no defence) or freedom of speech. Instead they are about the freedom from speech, and freedom from expression, for the left wing’s favoured minorities. Although the trial of Mark Steyn is still in progress, we have the results from other cases bought before these “Human rights” tribunals.

Mark Steyn isn’t the only Canadian to be bought before these Human Rights Tribunals for offending Muslims. Erza Levant, the author of the conservative magazine Western Standard was bought before the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commision for re-pubishing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, which had been printed in Denmark earlier. He was investigated, which included long questioning sessions on his views towards Islam, and why he published the cartoons.

Criticism of Islamic fundamentalism, isn’t the only type of free speech punished by these “human rights” tribunals. In 1997 Hugh Owens published an advertisement in the Saskatoon newspaper, the StarPhoenix arguing that homosexuality was morally wrong, and refering to (but not quoting) several bible passages on homosexuality (including one, Leviticus 20:13, about stoning homosexuals to death) The Saskawatchen Human Rights Tribunal upheld a complaint that the advertisement exposed homosexuals to hate, ridicule and belittlement, and ordered both Owens and the paper to pay $2 000 in fines. The paper introduced a policy of not running “anti-gay” advertisements.

Also that year, in London, Ontario, mayor Dianne Haskett refused to proclaim “gay pride day” or fly the rainbow flag on city property. The city council was fined $10 000 for its homophobic actions. Another Canadian city, Kelwona, British Columbia, issued a proclamation for gay pride day, omitting the word “pride”. The provinces Human Rights Tribunal called his action a “mean spirited” “insult” to homosexuals.

The following year, in Missauga, Ontario, printer Scott Brockie refused to print material for a gay rights group on the grounds that doing so would go against his religous beliefs. Sadly, the Ontario Human Rights Commission didn’t care much about his human right to practice his religion, and he was ordered to publish the material, after being fined $5 000.

Four years latter in Saskatchewan, Bill Whatcourt, and his Christian Truth Activists organization was found guilty of distributing pamphlets claiming homosexuals were born gay. In response, he was fined $17 500, and given a court order not to distribute pamphlets criticising homosexuality.

In 2005, Pastor Stephen Boissoin wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper Red Deer Advocate calling homosexuality immoral, dangerous, and saying it should not be promoted in schools. Two weeks after the publication of the letter, in the town of Red Deer, a gay teenager was physically assualted, but there was no evidence that the letter had anything to do with the assualt other than the timing coincidence. That was enough for the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal to convict Boissoin of hate speech against homosexuals.

Fortunately, nobody has gone to prison for free speech in Canada yet. The same can not be said about Sweden, which has similar hate speech laws. In 2003, Pastor Ake Green was sentenced to one month in prison for a sermon in his church, calling homosexuality “abnormal, a horrible cancerous tumour in the body of society”, and calling homosexuals “perverts, whose sexual drive the devil has used as his strongest weapon against God”. Although I agree that homosexuality is immoral, I do not share the hate views of Ake Green, and instead hold the belief that it is their actions (of having sexual relations with a person of the same gender, and whom they are not married to (and I don’t believe in gay marriage)) that are morally wrong, not merely being attracted to a person of the same sex.

However, regardless of ones feelings towards homosexuality, or Islam, one basic principle of democracy and freedom is free speech. And that includes the right to say things that may offend some people (such as homosexuals and Muslims). While we may be glad that we do not have hate speech laws in New Zealand, it may not stay that way. The Labour Government went as far as launching an inquiry into the issue, before it was stopped as part of it’s confidence and supply agreement with United Future. Although Labour looks set to loose the next election, who knows if when they return to power their disdain for free speech, that they showed in the Electoral Finance Act, won’t be shown in new hate speech laws. For the meantime, enjoy free speech, and the fact we live in a free society (except in election year), where one is free to express almost any political opinions one wishes. And lets hope it stays that way.

Explore posts in the same categories: Canada, Free Speech, Homosexuality, Islamic Fundamentalism

11 Comments on “Free Speech in Canada”

  1. vitaminbook Says:

    While I fully agree that freedom of speech has been severely diminished lately in a lot of places, I sometimes wonder if people aren’t a bit hypocritical when it comes to things like this.

    For example, what would be your opinion if everything you quoted above had been involving black people and racism? (Stopping people from distributing racist pamphlets, jailing a priest for giving a racist sermon, etc.)

  2. Black people and racism has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality and the debate about the homosexual agenda. The vast majority of African Americans find it appalling that their fight for freedom and equality is being paralleled with homosexuality. I shake my head every time I read such an offensive statement. Christian are not trying to subject homosexuals to segregation,

    Homosexuality is about a “behaviour” (there is no scientific evidence otherwise) and how that “behaviour” is promoted to young people. Darren Lund, who filed the complaint against me, was a teacher in my city when I wrote the letter in question. He was promoting a biased agenda, teaching his students that homosexuality is genetic and that one must accept it and to hold any other view is “wrong” and “immoral.” Lund even invited a pro-gay minister into the public school to teach what he claimed was the pro-homosexual view of the Bible.

    As I have stated over and over, my letter was not a baseless rant.

    Regardless of what side of this debate you or any person is on, please try to realize the ridiculousness of the most recent ruling. Over the last week it has been made public that the Commission awarded Lund $5000.00 personally and has ordered me to make a public apology to him “for my views” in the same newspaper that I submitted the letter in question to six years ago.


    Stephen Boissoin

  3. vitaminbook Says:

    I don’t see how you can say that discrimination against homosexuals is different to discrimination against black people. If a teenager realises that he or she is homosexual, tells people, and is discriminated against for it, how is that different to a black teenager being discriminated against for their race? What ‘behavious’ has the homosexual teenager displayed that deserves discrimination?

  4. As Stephen Boissoin said above, there are clear differences between criticising homosexuality (so long as you are condemning the action (sexual conduct), not merely having feelings towards another person) and racism, namely that noone chooses to be born black, while a homosexual chooses to engage in immoral sex outside marriage.

    Having said that, I oppose laws against holocaust denial, and would oppose imprisoning a pastor who gave a rascist sermon in the same way I oppose Ake Greens imprisonment.

  5. vitaminbook Says:

    In that case, we agree fully with regards to the content of the last paragraph! There are a lot of people who’ll scream about freedom of speech when someone gets in trouble for saying something nasty about gay people, but who will then backpeddle furiously as soon as you ask them if they also support freedom of speech for White Supremacists or fundamentalist Muslims.

    About the first paragraph: does this mean that you don’t have any problem with people of the same-sex who are attracted to each other and who have some sort of close relationship (we’ll say it’s ‘romantic’, I suppose) so long as they don’t actually have sex?

  6. I notice that I did not finish one of my sentences above. I am working on one computer and blogging on another. Below is the completion of my thought.

    Christians are not trying to subject homosexuals to segregation, slavery, a slave trade, forced labour, rape, forced breeding, harsh physical punishment and death. What we are trying to do, is to present our right to our religious views about homosexuality and to defend our view with what we feel are our doctrines and scientific evidence. We want the same right as every other citizen to do so in private, in our religious institutions and in the public square. We like some homosexuals, are not trying to have a annual parade where we stroll around naked or partially naked. We are not trying to have laws instituted that force children to accept what we believe and preventing them from learning an opposing view and we are not trying to force homosexuals or the public to believe what we believe. We are also not trying to persecute pro-homosexual people that disagree with with our view. Christians at large have made it clear, including me, that homosexuals are loved by God, valuable as human beings etc, etc.


    Stephen Boissoin

  7. vitaminbook Says:

    You might not be interested in persecuting or silencing homosexuals, but there are certainly people out there who are. You’re not exactly helping matters you talk about the ever-popular ‘Gay Agenda’ on your website and link to NARTH’s work as if it was legitimate therapy. The ‘Gay Agenda’ section of your site reads like a list of popular fears and paranoia over homosexuality – it’s not exactly an even-handed approach to the subject, is it?

    You talk about gay teacers ‘brainwashing’ children. How do you propose to deal with the problem? Do you think these teachers should be forced to not mention homosexuality in class?

  8. I agree with the content on my website. I agree with NARTH wholeheartedly and do not believe “their therapy” as you put it to be illegitimate. We may disagree with a lot of things that pertain to this issue and from my experience their is little benefit debating them.

    I’m not sure if your beliefs will allow you to see an important point.

    Millions of Canadians do not believe a person is born gay. They instead believe it is a behaviour and they back up this belief with their sources. They understand their are people that disagree and hold an opposite opinion. Many of these millions do not have a problem with educators teaching kids ‘tolerance’ towards those that feel they are homosexual. I say ‘feel’ because I have worked with literally thousands of teens, some who one minute claim to be gay or bi and then a year later claim to be straight and admit they were confused and experimenting. What many of these millions do have a problem with is how the tolerance agenda has been used as a platform to teach a biased unproven view that promotes homosexuality and tells a young person that may be experimenting with this behaviour that they were born that way.

    Furthermore, the same Alberta Human Rights Commission that prosecuted me gave a pro-gay group funding to teach young people that homosexuality is “normal, necessary, acceptable and productive and has been for thousands of years.” They issued this pro-gay funding before my case was brought before their tribunal. Considering this, how could I have ever had a fair hearing. I was guilty in their eyes before I started. What type of court or tribunal that rules on such important issues hands out grants to support controversial issues. These commissions have a 100% conviction rate when it comes to homosexual issues.

    This pro-gay agenda is clearly ‘social engineering.’ I have been told that I need to apologize for my views, views that my Bible proclaims. I am told, word for word that I need to be re-educated.

    My point is that you CAN and do have a different view and you CAN defend it. Don’t you think that I should have the same rights and liberties that you have?

    Stephen Boissoin

  9. vitaminbook Says:

    Of course you should, and I absolutely detest the kind of heavy-handed, forced political correctness you’re talking about. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be any less heavy-handed – you just fall on the opposite end of the spectrum.

  10. Today I am not any ‘less’ heavy handed I ask you to consider the following:

    Yes, I went on the offensive and wrote a letter to the editor in my local, small city newspaper. That’s all I did like many others were doing in my city and across Canada. I wrote that letter in the midst of many others in the middle of a nationwide debate at that time that included adding sexual orientation to the existing hate crimes laws, gay marriage, Supreme Court rulings that were siding with a pro-gay (anti-traditional) school curriculum, pro-gay books for kindergarten aged children in school, gay pride parades where some marchers went naked (were never charged) and even in my own community a public school teacher bringing a pro-gay minister in to teach public school student the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible.

    Since, I have had a Human Rights complaint filed against me. I have been threatened, slandered, call a hatemonger, a bigot, had my reputation tarnished in the media across Canada, been grossly misquoted, misinterpreted etc etc. It has cost tens of thousands to defend myself and will cost tens of thousands to appeal the recent ruling. Even if I win an appeal what has been done, the slander, the thousands lost, cannot be undone.

    I haven’t filed a Human Rights Complaint, haven’t imposed thousands in fines on anyone and haven’t slandered any particular person across Canada. I have not attempted to force a re-education upon any person or force them to publicy apologize for their deeply held religious convictions. I have not fined anyone for expressing their deeply held religious convictions in any amount, especially $7000.00. I have not called any particular person a bigot or a hatemonger, which the complainant still does in my own city’s newspaper where I live and work and parent.

    I have given my retirement saving to at-risk youth work. I have invited over 30 teens, even Dan, who was gay, to get off the street and live in my home. I fed them, clothed them and provided them with the means to get back in school or work. I have been a friend, a big brother and a father figure to numerous gay and or bi-sexual teens. Some have even spoke put to the media about me. see here

    So, how am I not any different?

    Stephen Boissoin

  11. US Economics Says:

    The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn.DavidRussellDavid Russell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: