Saturday, December 08, 2007

Apparently Nigel Hannaford Didn't Read The Legislation

According to Nigel Hannaford, the Alberta Human Rights legislation is only supposed to address discrimination in matters such as employment or residency:

First, human rights law was intended to deal with housing and employment issues, and was never meant to restrict political debate on public policy.

I'm afraid, that Mr Hannaford needs to read Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights Legislation, and perhaps the preamble in section 2.

Discrimination re publications, notices

3(1) No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that

(a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a class of persons, or

(b) is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt

because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.

Worse for Mr. Hannaford's argument, he seems to have lost sight of the fact that a secondary complaint relating to the republication of those letters and discussions of the case on Chandler's Freedom Radio Network resulted in Chandler being obliged to remove the offending literature from his websites - presumably to avoid an even more damaging ruling under the Canadian Human Rights Commission's auspices.

The argument that the Boissoin letter should have resulted in charges under the Canadian Criminal Code is similarly flawed reasoning on Hannaford's part, as the publication of the letter itself predates Bill C-250 passing into law by 2 years, and it is extremely rare in Canada for a law of that nature to be retroactive.

Mr. Hannaford's analysis that the Boissoin decision is an unreasonable infringement on political debate is rooted in a failure to grasp the full picture and context of Boissoin's letter.

The decision has an absurd effect. If to even challenge government spending to promote homosexuality as desirable or productive is considered to be holding gays in contempt, how can political debate take place, never mind free expression for those who see it in religious terms?

Had Boissoin's letter merely protested certain programs or their funding, that would be one thing - and I would even agree with Hannaford's claims at that point. However, Boissoin's letter not only declared war on homosexuals, but called upon others to join Boissoin in whatever campaign he chose to pursue. Boissoin also made a series of claims about homosexuals that are pure assertions and demonstrably false.

Hannaford's argument further relies upon the questionable assertion that Boissoin was merely trying to debate issues based on his "firmly held religious beliefs". Declarations of war hardly strike me as debate of any kind, and in fact suggest that Boissoin was looking for conflict and notoriety far more than he was seeking debate.

It would do Hannaford good in future to actually read the legislation he is talking about, as well as fully understanding the context of the subject he is writing on - this time he so clearly failed to do his research it's depressing.

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