Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Pivotal Point in Canada's History

Canada is at a pivotal point in its history. Canadians must decide whether Free Speech is truly a right -or- just something they like to talk about but, when push comes to shove, don't really support. Failure to speak out is exactly the same as saying, "I don't care that much about my Free Speech rights. Feel free to take them away."

In this interview with CHQR's Rob Breakenridge, Alberta lawyer Ezra Levant discusses some troubling recent events that are most clearly taking us down a very slippery slope.

On a personal note, I'm absolutely convinced that this issue has little to do with Muslims vs. non-Muslims, Gays vs. Bigots, or Whites vs. Minorities. Rather, it has everything to do with how we're going to collectively get along and deal with each other in the future.

It's very easy to say "I believe in free speech" and "I'm open minded". These are catchy phrases that everyone spouts off all the time. But the test of your convictions is when you encounter people who you vehemently disagree with and maybe even deeply offend you. When this happens, you have three choices:

  1. Try to get in a reasoned debate with them.
  2. Ignore them.
  3. Shut them up through the force of the government.
I fully realize that the last option is most tempting, especially when it comes to those people whose views seem absolutely repugnant to you. Fully understandable! And this inclination has a lot to do with what we've been taught since we were young, namely don't fight back through violence but instead go to an authority figure to get justice - a parent, a teacher, a policeman, a judge.

BUT Free Speech is an entirely different matter. To truly believe in Canadian values, to truly be open minded, you must be willing to be offended. It's absolutely that simple.

Unfortunately it has been complicated by the fact that long ago politicians allowed Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) to venture into the arena of Free Speech, not paying attention to the wise maxim, "The path to Hell is paved with good intentions" or acknowledging the so-called Law of Unintended Consequences. It has further been complicated by Jewish groups using HRCs to silence and punish Neo-Nazis. All of these were mistakes but what kind of reasonable person would spend the time & energy to defend a Nazi? Civil Liberties Groups did. I criticized them for defending these horrible people. I was wrong and so was everyone else like me.

Canada is at a tipping point. If you truly believe in liberty & freedom then now is the time to speak out. Write the Attorney Generals and Premiers of your province. Write the Federal Attorney General and the Prime Minister. Even if you're not Canadian, still write. Their e-mail addresses are easy to find.

Finally, don't forget that there are Hate Crime laws both provincially and federally in Canada. So there will always be full protection for all of us. But such lawsuits will be held in front of a real judge, with real rules of order, where facts and truth are a defense. Such novel concepts are beyond the understanding of the HRCs!

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