Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Get togethers, protests, pickets, activism, discuss it here!

Will the Supreme Court of Canada uphold religious liberty or homosexual rights?

Religious liberty, Whatcott will be vindicated
0
No votes
Homosexual Rights, The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission will be both vindicated and empowered to continue its crackdown on those who publicly criticize homosexuality
1
33%
Unsure
2
67%
 
Total votes : 3


Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby Doc Notgay » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:03 pm

It's a sad day for freedom of speech in Canada. The right thing we can do is snub our nose at the supreme liberal dictatorship and continue with Bill's justice campaign.
Thank you Bill for doing what most of us should have been doing years ago. respect001
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby evolution8 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:47 pm

Supreme Court muzzles free speech in Canada, rules against Catholic pro-family activist
Wed Feb 27, 2013 17:01 EST
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/suprem ... ristian-ac

by Peter Baklinski

OTTAWA, Ontario, 27 February, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s top court has released an unanimous decision today that critics say has struck a monumental blow against freedom of speech, opinion, and religion across the country. The court ordered the defendant, a Catholic pro-family activist with a reputation for intense activism, not only to pay a fine, but also to pay court costs which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“It’s a bad day,” said Bill Whatcott to LifeSiteNews.com in an interview. “The ruling and the reasoning [behind it] is terrible. They actually used the concept that truth is not a defense.”

“It’s worse than I expected. What it means is that my life is over, as I know it. It means that the Christian Church is going to be libel for speaking the truth,” he said.

In Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, the Supreme Court decided that born-again Christian William Watcott was guilty of hate-speech for distributing flyers to neighborhoods in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002. While the flyers used vehement language against homosexual practices and the homosexual agenda, they did not however directly attack homosexual persons. (The flyers are appended to the end of the decision linked above)

The Court focused on Whatcott’s main argument, namely that he loves homosexuals with a brotherly Christian love, and it is only their sexual activity that he denounces.

The Supreme Court found however that with regards to hate-speech, the distinction between ‘sin and sinner’ no longer applies. No longer can Christians give the defense before courts that one ‘loves the sinner, but hates the sin’.

“I agree that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour can be differentiated for certain purposes,” the Court stated. “However, in instances where hate speech is directed toward behaviour in an effort to mask the true target, the vulnerable group, this distinction should not serve to avoid s. 14(1)(b) [the hate-crime clause of the Code].”

“Courts have recognized a strong connection between sexual orientation and sexual conduct and where the conduct targeted by speech is a crucial aspect of the identity of a vulnerable group, attacks on this conduct stand as proxy for attacks on the group itself,” the Court stated.

The Court ordered Whatcott to pay the Human Rights Commission’s legal fees and to pay $7,500 in compensation to two homosexuals who were offended by his flyers.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, called the ruling “very depressing” and “bad news”.

Landolt accused the Supreme Court of “dancing on hot coals, one foot here and one foot there, trying to pretend that they’re doing one thing, but doing another.”

“On the one hand they’re saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no, we’re not really infringing on freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of opinion’, but in fact, what they say is not what they’ve done,” she said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.

“In effect, what they’ve done is they’ve hit-out at religious beliefs and promoted again, as is constantly happening, homosexual rights.”

“They’ve picked up ‘sexual orientation’ and slammed ‘religious freedom’ with it and given it a big wallop as with a baseball bat,” she said.

Landolt said that the Court has damaged freedom of religion by “manipulating and twisting” the whole intent of this freedom “to serve their own objective which is to protect homosexuals.”

She said that Christians had better take the ruling as a “warning sign” that they are going to be “pounced on” if they decide to speak about Christian sexual morality in the public square.

The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is concerned over the Court’s equating homosexual activity with homosexual persons such that it turns criticism of sexual behaviour into “hate-speech” of an identifiable minority.

“A key teaching of Christianity is to hate the sin, but love the sinner,” said CCRL president Phil Horgan, pointing out that as a society, “we incarcerate convicted persons for their crimes, not out of hate for the individual.”

“But with Whatcott, the SCC has stated that criticism of behaviour(s) can be treated as potentially hateful speech against the minority. Will criticism of activities at gay pride parades be treated similarly? Will criticism of certain homosexual sexual activities be now conflated as an example of hate speech of an individual or minority? This conflation of behaviour with the person or group, is a proposition at odds with most religious teachings, and of concern coming from our highest court.”

Chris Schafer, Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) executive director and lawyer, said that the “Supreme Court missed an excellent opportunity to rein in the power of various human rights commissions and tribunals to censor the expression of unpopular beliefs and opinions.”

“Free expression is the lifeblood of democracies and all forms of expression, especially the offensive kind, needs to be protected. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court disagrees,” he said.

André Schutten, legal counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), said he was disappointed with the ruling since the Court decided to “keep as constitutional” the ambiguous hate-crimes language of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, which prohibits any representation “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred” persons on the basis of a prohibited ground.

Schutten told LifeSiteNews.com that upholding such language is “problematic” since “hatred is an emotion that cannot be easily and objectively measured.”

Schutten said that the ruling means that Christians will now be “less likely to engage in political debate from their viewpoint, which means that Christians are kept out of the political process”. He said that the ruling will also hamper Christians in preaching the “full Gospel”.

“The preaching of the Gospel requires that we know what the Good News is. And the Good News is that we’re saved. But in order to understand that we are saved, we have to know what we are saved from. So, when we are preaching the Gospel, that includes preaching about sin. And sin is always going to be offensive to some people. When we talk about sin, some people will interpret that as hateful.”

Schutten said that the ruling “puts a chill on religious expression and any expression.”

Ezra Levant from Sun News has predicted that the ruling will inundate Human Rights Commissions with hate-speech based complaints.

“You will see a boom in the Human Rights Commission business because the law is so vague and the Supreme Court is saying: ‘Yeah, you can go after someone if they say something hateful’. We are going to see an explosion of hate-speech complaints out there,” he said.

Whatcott agrees. He told LifeSiteNews.com that the ruling will embolden homosexual activists to file complaints against those who raise a voice against sexual anarchy.

Despite the ruling, Whatcott said that he will continue to “publicly witness against homosexuality” since he sees it has “God’s will” in his life. The Christian activist is soliciting prayers from people of faith so that he will receive the spiritual support needed to get through this time.
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby evolution8 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:14 am

Peter McKnight: Hate speech law upheld in contentious case
Freedom to use offensive language brought into question by Canadian courts after man delivered flyers that were critical of homosexuality
http://www.vancouversun.com/life/#


By Peter McKnight, Vancouver Sun columnist February 27, 2013 8:04 PM

“Offensive ideas are not sufficient to ground a justification for infringing freedom of expression.” And furthermore, “The prohibition of hate speech is not designed to censor ideas or to compel anyone to think correctly.”

Those comments sound like things a civil libertarian might say to the Supreme Court of Canada in an effort to overturn hate speech laws. But in fact, those words were written by the Supreme Court in its judgment upholding the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code’s prohibition on hate speech.

The case concerned William Whatcott, who was fined by a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal after he delivered to the public four flyers describing gays as, among other things, “perverted,” “filthy,” and “sick.”

Whatcott was specifically found in contravention of the Saskatchewan HRC’s prohibition on publishing anything “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons ...”

He therefore challenged the constitutionality of the law, and on Wednesday, the court upheld the law in a decision that attempted to distinguish between permissible offensive speech and prohibited hate speech.

Largely endorsing its 1990 decision R. v. Taylor, the court, in a unanimous decision written by Justice Marshall Rothstein, outlined three principles to help courts draw the line between the two types of speech.

First, the speech should be considered objectively — i.e., courts should consider, not people’s emotions, but whether a “reasonable person” would view the speech as exposing a specific group of people to hatred.

Second, hatred must be restricted to expression that qualifies as “detestation” or “vilification.” According to the court, this effectively allows for expression which is “repugnant and offensive,” but does not risk “causing discrimination and other harmful effects.”

And finally, courts must consider the effects of the speech rather than the intent of the speaker, and specifically, whether the speech is likely to expose the targeted group to hatred.

To summarize, then, speech qualifies as hate speech, and can therefore be prohibited “if a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the expression as likely to expose a person or persons to detestation and vilification.” And this means, of course, that it would be unconstitutional to prohibit speech simply because it offends people.

To see how this works, consider how the court applies its reasoning to the Saskatchewan HRC. While upholding the law’s prohibition of speech that exposes groups to hatred, the court struck down the law’s attempt to prohibit speech that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of” any person or class of persons.

According to the court, the reason for this is simple: “Representations belittling a minority group or attacking its dignity through jokes, ridicule and insults may be hurtful and offensive ... [but is] not synonymous with hatred and contempt.”

The court therefore believes it has solved the problem of distinguishing between offensive speech and hate speech, between what must be permissible and what may be prohibited.

Still, though, the court’s decision to uphold prohibitions on hate speech can be attacked — and has been attacked, most eloquently by University of Waterloo political scientist Emmett Macfarlane — and for the very same reason that people attacked prohibitions on offensive speech. After all, what really is the difference between speech that might offend some people and speech that might expose them to hatred?

All the difference in the world, said the court. Following it’s reasoning in the 1990 decision R. v. Keegstra, the court argued that while both offensive speech and hate speech can have grave psychological consequences for members of the targeted group, hate speech can also have a social impact and therefore rises above merely causing emotional distress.

Specifically, “Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable groups. These attacks can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide.”

Now while that might be true in some cases, it might not be true in others. For instance, no one has ever produced evidence that Whatcott’s flyer distribution has led people to view gay individuals negatively. Indeed, a reasonable person could well conclude that the only person Whatcott has harmed is himself.

The court responded to such reasoning by arguing that “the difficulty of establishing a causal link between an expressive statement and the resulting hatred, and the seriousness of the harm to which vulnerable groups are exposed by hate speech, justifies the imposition of preventive measures that do not require proof of actual harm.”

Instead, concludes the court, reasonable apprehension of harm is sufficient. Many critics, however, bridle at this standard, with Macfarlane arguing that it seems “in direct contradiction” to the court’s injunction to consider the effects of speech.

Be that as it may, that is the law, whether we like it or not. But if people and governments don’t like it, it need not remain the law.

Rather, legislatures can make a number of changes.

In provinces whose human rights codes prohibit hate speech (B.C. is one such province), legislatures could say thanks but no thanks to the Supreme Court’s reasonable apprehension of harm standard, and require actual evidence of harm before finding anyone liable of disseminating hate speech.

Alternatively, the provinces could repeal the prohibition, and leave the regulation of speech to the federal criminal law or, with the co-operation of the feds, governments could abandon regulation of speech altogether thereby leaving regulation to the marketplace of ideas.

Such changes might result in a trip back to the Supreme Court, but that’s the nature of law. And determining if and how we should regulate speech is about the most important thing governments and the public can do, because speech — language — is the nature of us.

pmcknight@vancouversun.com
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby evolution8 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:30 pm

Gunter: Supreme Court ruling on Bill Whatcott not a vindication of human rights witch hunts
FIRST POSTED: WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2013 08:40 PM MST | UPDATED: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2013 07:12 AM MST
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/02/27/g ... itch-hunts

BY LORNE GUNTER ,QMI AGENCY

David Arnot, head of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is either delusional or disingenuous.

Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the case of Bill Whatcott, an anti-abortion, anti-gay-rights activist who has been censored by the commission, Arnot claimed the ruling was a vindication for hate-speech watchdogs across Canada.

“The court has affirmed the validity of our legislation as written,” Arnot insisted at a news conference, “and has confirmed that it strikes the proper balance between freedom of expression and freedom from harm and harassment that comes with hate-filled speech.”

The court did no such thing. What the justices did, in a unanimous 6-0 decision, is split the baby right down the middle.

The court did not affirm the validity of Saskatchewan’s law “as written.” The province’s human rights code (as well as the codes in Alberta, B.C. and the NWT) makes it an offence to publish or say anything “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons.”

The court upheld that portion of the law against statements that expose individuals or identifiable groups to “hatred,” but it emphatically struck down the part that makes it illegal to ridicule, belittle or affront someone’s dignity.

So it’s hard to see how Arnot could claim vindication for Saskatchewan’s code “as written.”

Indeed, over time and when properly understood, I think Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision will take away much of the vindictive power of provincial and federal human rights commissions. It is precisely because our rights tribunals have the ability to go after people because someone else (usually a crusading activist) finds their words ridiculing, belittling or merely offensive that these modern inquisitions have built up so much oppressive power.

Basically what the justices did on Wednesday was take away human rights commissions’ power to enforce political correctness. Instead, it left them with only the ability to enforce the same standards of hate speech as the courts themselves must apply. Since the standards enforced by the courts are much stricter than those the commissions have taken for themselves, the Whatcott decision is a step in the right direction.

Over the past 20 years, human rights commissions have expanded and expanded and expanded hate-speech definitions until anything a member of a politically correct minority finds offensive qualifies as hate speech.

The court has now ratcheted that back nearer to its own very-much-harder-to-prove 1991 definition.

Whatcott had initially been found guilty on four counts of hate speech for pamphlets he distributed in Regina and Saskatoon in 2001 and 2002. In two cases, the rights tribunal convicted him because it said his flyers constituted hateful speech and in two others because the handbills caused gay people to have “hurt feelings” and lose “dignity and self respect.”

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned those convictions saying that even though he “does not use the language of polite or informed social discourse” and his flyers are “crude, offensive and pejorative,” it would be wrong to curtail Whatcott’s right to free speech.

The Supreme Court split the difference. It struck down Whatcott’s convictions based on hurt feelings, but upheld the two the justices felt were actual expressions of hatefulness.

The two in which Whatcott called gays “sodomites,” equated them to “pedophiles” and claimed the teaching of gay sexuality in schools would lead to the spread of disease and damnation, the court ruled violated even the much higher court standard for hate speech.

This is not the ruling I would have wanted. It is not a full-throated defence of Canadians’ freedom of expression. But neither is it a vindication of human rights witch hunts.
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby evolution8 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:36 pm

Supreme Court's Whatcott decision disappoints religious freedom advocates
Written by Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 17:48
http://www.catholicregister.org/news/ca ... -advocates


OTTAWA - A Supreme Court of Canada decision in the case of William Whatcott has disappointed religious freedom and free-speech advocates.
On Feb. 27 the Court upheld some significant parts of a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ruling against Whatcott, a Christian activist who faced complaints concerning four pamphlets he distributed criticizing homosexual behaviour. The Court upheld the Tribunal’s ruling that Whatcott's pamphlets equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and described homosexual sex practices as “filthy.”
In upholding the general principle of freedom of religious speech and the freedom to teach or share religious beliefs, the Court ruled those rights are unlimited "except by the discrete and narrow requirement that this not be conveyed through hate speech,” wrote Justice Marshall Rothstein on behalf of the six justices.
Rothstein said two of the flyers exhibited the “hallmarks” of hatred that had been identified in previous case law. He said the pamphlets portrayed "the targeted group as a menace that could threaten the safety and well-being of others, makes reference to respected sources (in this case the Bible) to lend credibility to negative generalizations, and uses vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred.”
The SCOC reinstated $7,500 of the original $17,500 in penalties Whatcott had been ordered to pay the complainants.
Constitutional lawyer Iain Benson, who argued for Whatcott, said the decision does “not recognize that hatred is too vague a term if it is disconnected from incitement to cause imminent violence or physical harm.”
“There is a real need for new thinking on the terms that it uses — ‘discrimination’ and ‘vulnerable groups’ — where what is really at issue is not ‘attacks on the vulnerable’ but strong feelings about what is and what isn't permissible sexual conduct,” said Benson. “The court seems unable to make these distinctions with any convincing logic.”
Although the Court struck down a portion of the code — striking out part of a section that refers to expression that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity” of identifiable groups — it left in place the “troublesome” phrase “tends to expose to hatred,” said CCRL executive director Joanne McGarry.
The ruling also leaves in place a system where people can be prosecuted for hate speech without benefit of the rules of evidence, right to counsel and the presumption of innocence found in a real court of law, McGarry said. This means people continue to be vulnerable to complaints about religious expression like those faced by Calgary Bishop Fred Henry for a 2005 pastoral letter and newspaper column defending traditional marriage.
“The League will continue to stand for the principle that any intrusion on Charter-protected freedoms should be left at the criminal level, which has its own internal processes before a charge can be laid, and a standard of proof of an intention to provoke hatred as part of the charge,” said CCRL president Phil Horgan. He said the code is likely to continue to be used to prosecute people who argue for Christian morality.
“It’s not much help to publishers or clergy wondering ‘Can I say this?’ or “Can I say that?” McGarry said, noting the whole category of hate speech “is subjective.”
“I find it troubling that statements that are true or based on fact are not considered a defence,” McGarry added.
But the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC), another intervener, welcomed the decision’s positive aspects.
“It’s actually a pretty decent decision,” said the EFC’s vice president and general legal counsel Don Hutchinson. “Most importantly the Court has clearly stated that the Bible and biblical positions on public policy issues are legitimate for public conservation and discourse.”
“In doing so, the court has essentially said that the biblical principle of sharing the truth in love is acceptable,” he said. “But sharing in a way that vilifies or would cause detestation towards an identifiable group would be considered hatred.”
“Justice Rothstein has done a favour for civility in public discourse,” he said, noting that he gave several examples of how Whatcott might have made his case differently.
“Genuine comments on sexual activity are not likely to fall into the purview of a prohibition against hate,” Rothstein wrote. “If Mr. Whatcott’s message was that those who engage in sexual practices not leading to procreation should not be hired as teachers or that such practices should not be discussed as part of the school curriculum, his expression would not implicate an identifiable group.”
“The other thing they have done very clearly in striking down part of Section 14(b) is to say “hurt feelings or personal offence are not enough,” Hutchinson said.
Also on the positive side, both CCRL and the EFC see a silver lining in the decision’s respect for precedent and how that could affect decisions on Canada’s prostitution laws or on euthanasia that are wending their way through the courts.
Tom Schuck, a Saskatchewan Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) member who represented Whatcott, said Whatcott is “very disappointed” as well as concerned that if he speaks out again the Human Rights Commission could impose a permanent ban on his speaking on these issues.
“I am concerned about him and what’s going to happen to him,” said Schuck. “He feels he has the responsibility to preach God’s Word in the most effective way possible.”
The CCRL and EFC were among more than two dozen interveners on both sides in the case that pitted freedom of expression and freedom of religion against equality rights of disadvantaged groups to be protected from language that vilifies and marginalizes them.
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby Doc Notgay » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:45 pm

In Christ's time on earth, the legal beagles ruled out free speech as well.
Will we allow Bill to be scourged also? army1
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby evolution8 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:54 pm

Canadian Supreme Court Kills Last Hope for Free Speech
http://frontpagemag.com/2013/bruce-bawe ... ee-speech/

March 1, 2013 By Bruce Bawer

That sound you hear is Voltaire rolling over in his grave.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Once upon a time, it was commonly understood that this sentiment is the very foundation of a free society. Compromise free speech, water it down, and you destroy freedom itself.

In Toronto there lives a man named Bill Whatcott. During the last two decades or so, he has spent much of his time traveling around Canada, waving protest signs at gay-pride parades and Planned Parenthood clinics, agitating for the criminalization of homosexual acts and abortion, and distributing fliers packed with incendiary language about gays and graphic images of aborted fetuses. In 2010 the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal fined him $17,500 for distributing “hateful” materials; an appeals court overturned the ruling, whereupon the province’s Human Rights Commission appealed the case to the Canadian Supreme Court. Now the Court has ruled, and it’s an icy day for freedom in the Great White North.

To be sure, the Court’s unanimous ruling on the Whatcott case pretends to be nuanced, measured, carefully thought-out – a product of the most sophisticated kind of legal deliberation. In evaluating the hate-speech section of Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code, for instance, the Court struck down a passage forbidding speech that “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity” of certain groups, while upholding a prohibition on language that is “likely to expose” those groups to hatred. For the most part, the Court upheld the province’s hate-speech legislation, maintaining that it “appropriately balances the fundamental values underlying freedom of expression with competing Charter rights and other values essential to a free and democratic society, in this case a commitment to equality and respect for group identity and the inherent dignity owed to all human beings.”

One of the many striking aspects of the Court’s decision is the insistence that any judge, jury, or commission seeking to determine whether a speech act crosses the threshold of being punishable by law must not look to the speaker’s intent but must, rather, make an assessment of the potential of that speech act for causing hate. Speech capable of causing emotions that are negative but that fall short of full-fledged “abhorrence,” the Court dictated, cannot be banned. Another key detail is that truth is no defense: it is impermissible even to state demonstrable facts if, in the authorities’ estimation, those facts might spark enmity toward a group. Yet another point worth mentioning is that any judgment rendered in such matters must, the Court posited, be arrived at in an “objective” manner.

Many commentators in the major Canadian media gave the Court’s decision at least a partial thumbs-up, agreeing that it struck an admirable balance between free speech and censorship. National Post columnist Jonathan Kay, for example, while regretting that the Court’s ruling will effectively stifle “strict religious conservatives” and deny them “the same free-speech rights enjoyed by secular Canadians,” claimed that it “can’t be considered a win” either “for free-speech champions” or “for human-rights censors,” and even characterized it as “a measured blow against political correctness” that puts Canadian human-rights commissions on notice “that they may target only public expressions of true hatred that create a genuine climate of menace for a targeted group.”

Meanwhile, over at the Globe and Mail, Michael Plaxton, a law professor at the University of Saskatchewan, served up a wishy-washy analysis in which he praised the Court’s “nuanced and well-crafted decision” while admitting that it “all but strangle[s] certain kinds of argument – particularly those made from a religious point of view.” While accepting that “a commitment to equality” may indeed require that some faith-based views “be muffled somewhat,” Plaxton suggested that if we do choose to tone down certain people’s opinions, “we should be honest about what we are doing.” And in the Montreal Gazette, human-rights lawyer Pearl Eliadis called the Court’s ruling “reasonable and balanced” and said that it “should provide comfort to those concerned about being found liable for ‘offending’ others,” given that judges will now be required to “look at the objectively verifiable effects of the speech, and not whether a person is merely affronted or offended.”

Terrifying, isn’t it? As the major Enlightenment thinkers and America’s Founding Fathers understood, free speech is really quite a simple matter. Yes, out-and-out libel is something else, as is shouting fire in a crowded theater. But beyond that, either speech is free or it isn’t. The Canadian Supreme Court’s decision – with its tangled, tortuous logic, its quaint, absurd confidence in the possibility of “objectively” ascertaining whether this or that statement is capable of engendering hate, and its prioritizing of group sensitivities over truth itself – has now verified that north of the border, speech is decidedly unfree. And they’ve done this, supposedly, for the benefit of the kinds of groups targeted by Bill Whatcott’s rhetoric.

Now, I’m not Canadian. But as a member of one of the groups the Court professes to be protecting, I feel obliged to say the following to the Court: Don’t do me any favors. I feel far less threatened by the likes of Whatcott than I do by courts that consider it their prerogative to limit the liberties of a free people in such an arrogant fashion. The justices seem not to recognize – or to care – that if you want to live in a truly free society, you’ve got to be willing to share that society with people who consider you an abomination and who feel compelled to shout their views from the rooftops. Curb their right to have their say, and you put your own rights on exceedingly shaky ground.

A further point. As we’ve seen, Jonathan Kay and Michael Plaxton, while generally approving of the Court’s decision, express concern that it will inhibit the articulation of religious convictions. But what they don’t note is that the Court’s decision is also a shot across the bow at those who might be inclined to criticize religion itself – notably Islam. Indeed, as law professor Alan Shanoff pointed out in the Toronto Sun, Canadians have effectively been enjoined by their Supreme Court to “tiptoe around criticism of any religion no matter how odious we may find some of its practices.” This isn’t fundamentally about Whatcott and other Christians of his stripe – their numbers up north are minimal and they pose no real threat to anything or anybody. No, one strongly suspects that for the Supreme Court, the Whatcott case represented, above all, a golden opportunity to set down guidelines for those individuals whose opinions have been perceived by Canadian authorities, in recent years, as the real menace to Canadian social order and harmony – namely, Islam critics like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.

A welcome dissent from the Court’s ruling came from National Post political columnist Andrew Coyne, who focused on a truly staggering sentence in the ruling, the intent of which was to justify the prosecution of even thoroughly veracious statements: “truth,” wrote the justices, “may be used for widely disparate ends.” Coyne’s thoroughly legitimate reaction: “I cannot quite believe I am reading these words, even now.” Coyne rightly questions the very premise of the Court’s ruling – namely, that people like Whatcott actually do succeed in convincing others to hate while “cut[ting] off any path of reply by the group under attack.” Take a gander at the National Post‘s photo of Whatcott with some of his posters, and ask yourself: has this guy caused hatred to spring up in formerly hate-free hearts – or is it more likely, on the contrary, that he’s intensified a lot of people’s contempt for the very views he seeks to spread?

The bottom line here is that the Canadian Supreme Court, in the name of justice, has struck a blow against freedom and promulgated a pack of lies – among them, first, the lie that free speech can and should be “balanced” against other worthy social objectives; second, the lie that it is possible for government officials to make “objective” determinations as to the possible consequences of a given speech act and as to the exact location of the boundary between hate and lesser emotions; and, third, the lie that “hate speech,” in some way, silences its targets. No, “hate speech” doesn’t silence – the prosecution of “hate speech” does. Yes, the Court’s decision may well be used to suppress the vigorous expression of religious people’s opinions – or, more specifically, the opinions of people who agree with Bill Whatcott. But does anyone honestly think that, say, Canadian imams who preach core Islamic tenets – such as the obligation to punish gays, apostates, and adulteresses with death – are henceforth in serious peril of prosecution? Or has the Court, instead, handed the “objective” instruments of Canadian justice a fresh new club with which to bludgeon the few brave souls in that nation who dare to tell the truth about the Religion of Peace?

About Bruce Bawer

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby Doc Notgay » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:13 pm

Well said Bruce.
Canada has become a wimp country that thinks with it's emotions instead of it's head. :silly:
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Re: Whatcott Supreme Court decision to be released Wednesday

Postby Bill Whatcott » Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:16 am

The Supreme Court Has Exposed Us to Hatred: Rod Taylor Leave a comment »
By Rod Taylor
http://christiangovernance.ca/news/opin ... rod-taylor

The ridiculous and shameful ruling this week that deprived Christian social activist Bill Whatcott of his inherent human right to free speech came down with the rattle of chains and the clanging of prison doors. The unanimous ruling took the highest court of biased secular human opinion in Canada two years to deliver. The judgment tells us “what time it is”, as runaway slave Frederick Douglass said of abolitionist John Brown’s ill-fated attempt to free the slaves at Harper’s Ferry, a few short years before hundreds of thousands of Americans would shed their blood for that same noble cause.

For those of us engaged in the struggle to save Canada from a further descent into social anarchy, hedonism and the black night of terror, this judgment must banish for us any lingering hope that common sense and a shared national moral consensus will somehow drift back into the corrupt judicial system without hard and painful personal sacrifice.

Bill Whatcott has already paid heavy personal sacrifices and appears ready to take on more. His tireless activity, his courageous declarations of truth in the most hostile of settings, his willingness to live on next to nothing while he pours his meagre personal finances into the distribution of shocking but truthful literature, the looming threat of vindictive fines he can never pay and possible jail time—all these are sacrifices he has been willing to make for the cause.

He has held back the tide of terror—the abuse of human rights in the name of human rights—and all of us have benefited from his bold and reckless stand. But the Supreme Court and the so-called “Human Rights” officials of Canada (including the 41 taxpayer-funded lawyers who descended on Ottawa to ensure Whatcott’s “day in court” was a wresting-away of his God-given right of free speech) have agreed that applying justice and common sense was not going to produce the kind of society they want. In a shocking display of dishonest verbiage, the ruling simply ripped away the protection of the law for the exercise of free speech guided by conscience and religious conviction.

A week or two ago, the federal government was grandstanding on its new Office of Religious Freedom, a dubious expenditure of taxpayers’ money designed to provide lip-service for freedom and camouflage for the disrespecting of religious freedom at home and abroad. It is now obvious to anyone who is honest that throwing money around in a crowd-pleasing display of high-sounding words like “religious freedom” and “human rights” is nothing more than expensive window dressing. A government that cared about religious freedom would have enacted laws to protect heroes like Bill Whatcott.

Two other friends of mine and friends of mankind, Linda Gibbons and Mary Wagner, are behind bars in Ontario for attempting to express their religiously-informed consciences in a non-violent manner. Don Spratt, another friend of mine, and Cecilia von Dehn still await judgment in their aging Vancouver case, which fairly drips with political agendas and biased enforcement. (They broke no law but offended the baby-killers at a Vancouver abortion clinic by informing pedestrians about the “bubble zone” injunction).

With this High Court ruling on February 27, 2013, the stakes have been raised in the battle for freedom and dignity in Canada. If we had a culture concerned about “human rights” our legislators would be protecting our most helpless and innocent babies in the womb from the abortionist’s knife. A society that cared about our young people would not be herding them into large brick cattle-cars called schools where—in almost every province now—they are exposed at ever younger ages to graphic sexual content and bluntly compelled to discuss and form opinions about sexual themes and behaviours. And this in a country where literacy and the ability to think and use primary documents are on the decline. Universities, once a haven for open debate and thought-provoking comment, routinely ban pro-life clubs and think nothing of it.

How can all this be explained? How can a nation dedicated (as it thinks) to the elevation of human respect and dignity be using the power of the state to oppress, imprison, silence and hinder the free expression of loving, moral truth? The answer is surprisingly simple.

God has revealed to us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Prov. 9:10 That means that without that fear, honour, respect for the awesome Creator of the universe and for His Law (written in our hearts and confirmed by the written Word of revelation—the Bible), there is NO wisdom. If respect for God is the beginning of wisdom, lack of respect and awe and obedience to His revealed will can only mean that wisdom has not even begun to sprout.

The 98-page judgment released on Wednesday contained the following statement which is especially shocking because, if viewed from the perspective of the now-victimized Christian activist, it rings true but it is being applied in exactly the opposite direction from that in which the protection of the law might do some good. Justice Rothstein, who wrote the judgment, said this: “…a particularly hideous aspect of hate speech is that it acts to cut off any path of reply by the group under attack…” Far from rejecting any reply, Bill Whatcott has always enjoyed interacting with the homosexual community and has sought to actively engage in meaningful discussion with those living a lifestyle he felt was damaging to them physically, emotionally and spiritually. He has not been the one “cutting off a path of reply”. The Supreme Court Justices, on the other hand, exercising all the power of office and none of its restraint, have forbidden Bill Whatcott to distribute his flyers. Who is cutting off a path of reply?

You men and women who know the truth and who value freedom: we now know “what time it is”. God says to us that “knowing the time, now it is high time to awaken out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let’s put on [as a cloak] the armor of light.” Rom 13:11-12

Thanks, Bill Whatcott, for telling us what time it is.
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