Friday, September 04, 2009

I Smell More HarperCon BS

So ... Athanasios Hadjis has argued that S. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is unconstitutional.

Interesting ruling that - especially since it flies in the face of Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Taylor, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 892 from the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990, which reads:

Held (La Forest, Sopinka and McLachlin JJ. dissenting in part): The appeal should be dismissed. Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act is constitutional.

Per Dickson C.J. and Wilson, L'Heureux-Dubé and Gonthier JJ.: The activity described by s. 13(1) of the Act is protected by s. 2(b) of the Charter. Where an activity conveys or attempts to convey a meaning, through a non-violent form of expression, it has expressive content and thus falls within the scope of the word "expression" as found in the guarantee. The type of meaning conveyed is irrelevant. Section 2(b) protects all content of expression. In enacting s. 13(1), Parliament sought to restrict expression by singling out for censure particular conveyances of meaning. Section 13(1), therefore, represents an infringement of s. 2(b).

Hate propaganda messages against identifiable groups, such as the ones dealt with by s. 13(1), do not fall within the ambit of a possible s. 2(b) exception concerning expression manifested in a violent form. This exception speaks only of physical forms of violence, and extends neither to analogous types of expression nor to mere threats of violence.

Section 13(1) of the Act, which is sufficiently precise to constitute a limit prescribed by law under s. 1 of the Charter, constitutes a reasonable limit upon freedom of expression. First, Parliament's objective of promoting equal opportunity unhindered by discriminatory practices, and thus of preventing the harm caused by hate propaganda, is of sufficient importance to warrant overriding a constitutional freedom. Hate propaganda presents a serious threat to society. It undermines the dignity and self‑worth of target group members and, more generally, contributes to disharmonious relations among various racial, cultural and religious groups, as a result eroding the tolerance and open‑mindedness that must flourish in a multicultural society which is committed to the idea of equality. The international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and Canada's commitment to the values of equality and multiculturalism enshrined in ss. 15 and 27 of the Charter magnify the weightiness of Parliament's objective in enacting s. 13(1).

There can be only one motive to this decision - and that is to provoke another costly round of appeals through the court system with the objective of overturning Taylor.

In short, the Con$ are busy pandering to their base of extremists. Yes, I suspect strongly that there has been political interference in the CHRC process which is supposed to be held at arm's length from the government - Harper has shown repeatedly that he has no respect for anything that might constrain his powers.

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