Stephen Boissoin published a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate on June 17, 2002. At the time he was National Chairman of the Concerned Christian Coalition (now Concerned Christians Canada Inc (CCC). I have duplicated it in an earlier post, and also documented a bit of his background. It was a letter to the editor, not a call to arms (physically), but a call to people to stop the advancement of a homosexual agenda to indoctrinate children to an alternative to the heterosexual lifestyle that he believes as a committed Christian is God's call for mankind. He rendered an opinion, and the newspaper, as is their business, published his opinion.
But, a homosexual professor named Darren Lund took offence at the letter, and claimed that it promoted hatred of homosexuals. He filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against both Boissoin and CCC and the games began. In the short term (6 years in this case) the games would end badly for the Christians, and all of us who value free speech in Canada.
I wonder at what motivated someone like Darren Lund to file a Human Rights complaint. In a world not run amuck, and over governed, he could have written his own letter to the editor of the Advocate. He could have cancelled his subscription to the paper in protest. He could have confronted Stephen Boissoin directly.
Let us not be naive boys and girls here. Filing an HRC complaint is an act of significant violence. Only a fool does not know what will become of the Respondent to such a claim. When you file an HRC claim, you bring the full might of the HRC down on your adversary. The Respondent, in this case Reverend Boissoin had legal fees to pay, where the Claimant, Dr. Lund stands back and lets the province do the investigating, prosecuting, and then hold whatever hearings they want to get to the desired objective. The Respondent is guilty, until and even if he is proven innocent. If Reverend Boissoin had not been found guilty in the end of discrimination, it would have been only after years of government mandated and led harrassment, and intimidation.
Oh, and by the way, if the Claimant wins, there is a financial windfall that is tax free at the end, with possible other punitive insults to the Respondent.
Interestingly, Darren Lund was on his own here, except for having the Alberta government on his side, including in a strange bit of chicanery, bigger brother, the Alberta Attorney General intervening on his side. Lund tried to get EGALE, a gay rights organisation involved, wanting to give them a share of the proceeds of this debacle. They did not want any part of this blood money. Although they deplored Rev. Boissoin's words, they agreed with his freedom to express his opinion.
Rory Lishman did an examination of this case for the Interim, which I have excerpted below, but which can be read in total here. Here are some who spoke on Reverend Boissoin's behalf.
"Gerald Chipeur, one of Canada’s top constitutional lawyers, argued before this panel that by virtue of the guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom of expression in Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Boissoin has a constitutional right to publish the honestly held religious convictions on a matter of political debate expressed in his letter to the editor.
Barry Cooper, a distinguished professor of political science at the University of Calgary, likewise told the panel that “reasonable people can disagree about whether homosexual practices are immoral and they can further disagree about whether the Bible is authoritative … If activists use taxpayer dollars to promote homosexuality in public schools, then Christians have a right to stand up and say they do not think it is okay.”
Counsel for the secular Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) repudiated Boissoin’s opinions on gay rights, while defending his constitutional right to express them. In addition, the CCLA argued that the provinces have no authority under the Constitution of Canada to censor the publication of political opinions in a newspaper."But Charter be damned. Tinpot dictators are not bound by such things, and when you control the inputs and the outputs, you are really running a sausage machine, customised sausages maybe, but sausages none the less. So, on November 30, 2007 the Alberta Human Rights Panel under the able hand of Lori G. Andreachuk, Q.C, a divorce attorney from Lethbridge Alberta, Boissoin and CCC were found to be as the online summary of the case reveals "in breach of s. 3(1) of the Human Rights Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act by causing to be published before the public, statements which were likely to expose homosexuals, as a vulnerable group, to hatred and contempt due to their sexual preference, effectively making it more acceptable to others to manifest hatred against homosexuals. The letter’s content exposed homosexuals to contempt and reinforced existing stereotypes."
Homosexuals are a vulnerable group, but Christians aren't. This is kind of like endangered species isn't it? As a Christian, I can't wait until we are an endangered species so we can fight back. however, that would not be our chosen way to respond to being ill treated or perceiving that we were.
If you are having trouble sleeping and want to read the Human Rights Panel decision, it is here.
On May 30, 2008, the Panel reconvened to stick it to Mr. Boissoin, and his co accused where the sun doesn't shine - on his wallet. Their entire decision is here. But here is the meat, the pound of flesh that they extracted from Stephen Boissoin and the CCC.
"The Panel finds, and the Panel orders as follows:
a. "That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals. Further, they shall not and are prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund’s witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint. Further, all disparaging remarks versus homosexuals are directed to be removed from current web sites and publications of Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc."
Boy, would I like to have been a fly on the wall in some of Dr. Lund's little tete a tete's with his friends discussing their pyrhhic victory. I wonder if they said anything disparaging about those raging homophobes. Not that that would be actionable.
b. "That The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. and Mr. Boissoin shall, in future, be restrained from committing the same or similar contraventions of the Act."
Even if what what they were doing was not against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I muse about how provincial legislation gets to trump the Canadian Charter, but in a dictatorship, the dictator calls the shots.
c." That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate which was the subject of this complaint."
To the best of my knowledge this has not happened and will happen sometime after the moon turns to cheese. I believe that the Red Deer Advocate declined to be a part of this nonsense, and indicated that they would not be publishing anything more on this debacle. Mr. Boissoin made it clear that he would never make a false apology to Lund, and Lund appeared to make it clear that he did not want to receive a false apology.
d. "That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall request the Red Deer Advocate publish a copy this Order in the Red Deer Advocate and that they request their written apology for the contravention of the Act be published in the Red Deer Advocate."
e. "That Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall pay to Dr. Lund an award for damages, jointly and severally, in the amount of $5,000.00."
Dr. Lund got an award. Really he got the propellor. Boissoin got the shaft. This is blood money. I hope that it does not have the same effect on Dr. Lund that it had on Judas in an earlier time and place.
f. That Ms. Dodd shall provide a list of expenses incurred as a result of her testimony at the hearing to the Panel Chair for review and such sum shall be paid to her for her actual expenses associated with this matter up to the maximum amount of $2,000.00 as directed by the Panel Chair upon receiving her list of expenses. Such amounts so ordered by the Panel Chair shall be paid jointly and severally by Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc."
Anybody else out there short of cash.
The most important thing that Stephen Boissoin said in his letter to the editor was a quote from Edmund Burke: "All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Reverend Boissoin was referring to his battle against what he views as the evils of Homosexuality. What I mean here is the battle against free speech.
But in this case, Stephen Boissoin is a victim of the Alberta HRC. He was railroaded, but also the street kids of Red Deer Alberta lost as well. They lost their mentor, because he resigned from full time ministry due to the stresses and strains on his life.
He will survive because good ultimately triumphs over evil, though evil might have its season. Will the kids he was ministering to? Does anybody even care about the real victims of this travesty of justice?