The Calgary Herald notes that the Alberta HRC is back on its heals at the moment (my choice of word), due to recent court cases on free speech and backed off on the Herald/ Edmonton Journal Complaints for a 2002 editorial on the Middle East.
The article here cited the following:
The case involving the Herald and the Journal arose from an editorial published in April 2002, which catalogued several allegations of duplicity, manipulation, atrocity and hypocrisy on the part of Palestinian leaders in their dealings with Israel.
At the time, reports of terrorist activity came almost daily, interspersed with the late Yasser Arafat's protestations that all he wanted was peace: The matter was top of mind, and ripe for public examination. However, Muslim advocates complained that it was "likely to expose to hatred or contempt Palestinian Arabs and Muslims," though there was no proof of that whatsoever and it was certainly not the intent.
My bold. Telling statement that last one, and where the abuse of power of the HRCs is most profound. As I have stated in another piece, here, there are no boundaries or terms of reference for how one decides on "Likely to expose to hatred or contempt." It is all in the minds of the Complainant, and some bureaucrat with the appropriate HRC who takes up his cause.
If I tell you that something is likely to expose me to hatred and contempt, and you Mr. HRC employee believe me, we have a quorum of two, and it is now a fact, even if we are the only two people in the world who believe it. In these cases, that drag on forever, there is no effort to see if the particular offending materiel actually did expose anyone to hatred or contempt, where time is on the side of being able to categorically prove that it did or did not. At least, it would be if the whole phrase "likely to expose to hatred or contempt" were not just a throw away phrase with no possibility of being factually verified. People are having their lives turned upside down by this phrase in our country and have been for years. We didn't care when they were basement Nazi sympathisers, because they too were throw away members of our society, whose rights of free speech, even if they spoke stupidity and mindless hateful drivel, that no one but a few of their friends ever heard, were being denied.
Frankly, the HRCs got used to the taste of blood on "likely to expose to hatred and contempt", and as there was no real, fake Nazi blood around anymore, they had to get the blood lust slaked somewhere. So, what did you expect to happen? None of the cases that have happened in the last several years should come as a surprise to anyone in Canada.
Bad things happen, because good men say nothing. Edmund Burke did not say it, but he meant it.
This battle is not over. Here is the Herald conclusion:
While the Herald is busy patting itself on the back for fighting the good fight, their role has been nominal. Those really fighting the good fight are those who can ill afford to fight it, the Stephen Boissoin's, Ezra Levant's, Alphonse De Valk's, Marc Lemire's, but must for their own sanity and for their beliefs, and the need to tell the truth that they know in their hearts.
It seems much has been won by the determined resistance of free-speech advocates, like this newspaper, to nationwide commission encroachments on a right to criticize people, organizations and governments that goes back in Canada at least to 1835, when Joseph Howe took on a corrupt provincial government, and won.
We salute them all, if not for their opinions in every case, at least in their tenacious defence of their right to publish them--a right that has cost so many of our best and brightest their very lives.
Premier Stelmach, when even your own human rights commission has changed its mind, you must act: Tear down the offensive section of Alberta's human rights law.
The fat lady is far from singing on this issue.