Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson appear together at a House of Commons committee last week. Has the minister directed the RCMP to pursue hate crimes against BDS advocates? (The Canadian Press)
This article has certainly caught my interest and while my natural tendency is to be alarmed at this kind of government intrusion limiting free speech, in this instance I must confess I am happy with the censorship. To be clear this use of Canada's odious hate speech legislation is anti-democratic to the core and in normal circumstances the Canadian pseudo-Conservative government (at the behest of the powerful Jewish lobby) should be opposed with even civil disobedience if necessary to prevent them from imposing such draconian speech suppression, but then again, look at the potential targets.
"Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions.
Ok, maybe I can feel bad for the Quakers, they never did me any wrong and as far as I know they are just a bunch of "gay," pacifist, leftists, who seem interested in nuclear disarmament and flooding the country with a mix of legitimate refugees and illegal aliens. In other words Quakers aren't really my cup of tea, but unlike government unions such as CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), or churches like the United Church of Canada, they have never advocated punishing me for my speech on homosexuality either. Hence, I truly hope Harper doesn't direct the RCMP to use Canada's hate crime legislation on the poor Quakers, notwithstanding their really bad theology and politics.
The United Church, Campus Student Groups and CUPE on the other hand?
Well my CUPE union steward when I worked as an LPN and was facing the loss of my license due to peacefully picketing Planned Parenthood during my time off work told me, "I was on my own" when I spoke to them about getting legal help to defend my job against the Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses who were going after my license. I paid mandatory dues to CUPE for 3 years allegedly for protection against unjust threats to my employment, but I was a conservative Christian being punished for my protests against abortion and homosexuality and notwithstanding I was a dues paying member, there was no concern about a regulatory body violating the Charter and destroying a fellow member's livelihood, if the member had political and moral beliefs that were contrary to CUPE's.
As for student groups, well they vocally cheered when Peter LaBarbera and I were arrested for peacefully protesting against abortion and homosexuality on U of R campus. University student unions across the country have tried to use coercion and mob tactics to silence pro-life, conservative, and pro-Israel speakers on their campuses. The young, arrogant, tyrants sneer when their opponents appeal to free speech and democratic tradition as being the reason they should be allowed to have a voice on campus. Universities are hotbeds of support for hate speech laws when the laws are aimed at Christian conservatives. If the laws come back to bite them? Oh well......
As for the United Church? They intervened in my Supreme Court Case in favour of hate speech laws and in favour of state enforced speech suppression if the target was a Christian who publicly disagreed with homosexuality. In fact on page one of their factum to the Supreme Court of Canada arguing I should be found guilty of so-called "hate speech," the United Church pontificated:
" Freedom of religion does not include the right to engage in hate speech.
The United Church didn't have any sympathy for my argument that hating homosexual behaviour, sodomy, fisting, rimming, rampant promiscuity, and all sorts of other degrading and disease spreading practices, is not the same as hating persons; so now what is good for the goose is good for the gander?
The United Church of Canada doesn't seem to think so when they are on the receiving end of a potential hate crime prosecution.
In response Federal Government signals that churches, unions and other organizations that advocate boycotts against Israel can face hate crime prosecutions, the United Church whines:
"It is the right and duty of citizens in any free state to engage in constructive non-violent peaceful criticism of state actions and behaviours," says Patti Talbot, a senior staff member at the United Church of Canada.
Of course this is the same hypocrite church that argued in 2011 that my 100% peaceful arguments against promoting sodomy, fisting and the use of homosexually oriented vulgar language in public school classrooms was so-called "hate speech." The United Church also wanted me convicted for exposing ads in Perceptions
"gay" magazine advertising "man 28, seeking boys/men for exchanging videos, pics, friendship and more, age not so relevant
;" they argued passionately that my criticism of the above mentioned homosexual behaviours was tantamount to attacking homosexual persons. Hence, according to the United Church of Canada, notwithstanding my argument that my speech was "truth speech" and not "hate speech", they argued I should be convicted of "hate speech" anyways.
My lawyer and I also argued hate laws were going to make things less free for everybody...
In 2011 the United Church and their buddies in the left wing union movement weren't listening....
Well now in 2015 the Conservative government's spokesperson Josee Sirois, in response to the United Church of Canada's and CUPE's concerns about being subjected to prosecution for their much cherished and heartfelt anti-Israel "hate speech" bragged, "I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world
The very laws leftist organizations like the United Church of Canada lobbied to create.....
Very rich indeed.....
In Christ's Service
Bill WhatcottOttawa cites hate crime laws when asked about its 'zero tolerance' for Israel boycottersBlaney's office cites 'comprehensive' hate laws for new zero tolerance plans
By Neil Macdonald,
CBC News Posted: May 11http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa- ... -1.3067497
The Harper government is signalling its intention to use hate crime laws against Canadian advocacy groups that encourage boycotts of Israel.
Read the email exchange between CBC's Neil Macdonald and Public Safety Canada
Tories deny plan to use hate crime laws against Israel boycotters
Such a move could target a range of civil society organizations, from the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Quakers to campus protest groups and labour unions.
If carried out, it would be a remarkably aggressive tactic, and another measure of the Conservative government's lockstep support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While the federal government certainly has the authority to assign priorities, such as pursuing certain types of hate speech, to the RCMP, any resulting prosecution would require an assent from a provincial attorney general.
And it would almost certainly be challenged under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, civil liberties groups say.
The government's intention was made clear in a response to inquiries from CBC News about statements by federal ministers of a "zero tolerance" approach to groups participating in a loose coalition called Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS), which was begun in 2006 at the request of Palestinian non-governmental organizations.
Asked to explain what zero tolerance means, and what is being done to enforce it, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney replied, four days later, with a detailed list of Canada's updated hate laws, noting that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of such laws "anywhere in the world."
The BDS tactic has been far more successful for the Palestinians than armed struggle. And it has caught on internationally, angering Israel, which reckons boycotts could cost its economy hundreds of millions of dollars.
Just last month, 16 European foreign ministers denounced the "expansion of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories," demanding that any imported goods originating in the settlements be distinctly labeled.
But Canada, a country where the federal Liberal and NDP leaders also oppose BDS, appears to have lined up more strongly behind Israel than any other nation.
In January, Canada's then foreign affairs minister, John Baird, signed a "memorandum of understanding" with Israeli authorities in Jerusalem, pledging to combat BDS.
It described the movement as "the new face of anti-Semitism."
A few days later, at the UN, Canadian Public Security Minister Steven Blaney went much further.
He conflated boycotts of Israel with anti-Semitic hate speech and violence, including the deadly attacks that had just taken place in Paris on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher supermarket.
Blaney then said the government is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to BDS.
Coming as it did from the minister responsible for federal law enforcement, the speech alarmed groups that have, to varying degrees, supported boycotts, believing them an effective tool to bring about an end to Israel's occupation and colonization of the West Bank, and its tight grip on Gaza.
Some of these groups had noted that the government changed the Criminal Code definition of hate speech last year, adding the criterion of "national origin" to race and religion.
This change could, they feared, effectively lump people who speak against Israel in with those who speak against Jews.
Micheal Vonn, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, says the expanded definition is clearly "a tool to go after critics of Israel."Constitutionally protected
Canadian civil liberties groups maintain that boycotts are a long-recognized form of political expression, and therefore constitutionally protected.
In March, the Canadian Quakers wrote a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson, expressing concern about Blaney's speech and protesting the label of anti-Semitism.
Nicholson's response merely repeated the talking points first used by Blaney at the UN, and the government's vow not to tolerate boycotts.
But in response to specific questions about what "zero tolerance" of BDS means, and how it will be enforced, Blaney aide Josee Sirois gave CBC News a much clearer picture of the government's intent.
"I can tell you that Canada has one of the most comprehensive sets of laws against hate crime anywhere in the world," wrote Sirois.
She highlighted what she termed "hate propaganda" provisions in the Criminal Code criminalizing the promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, and further noted that "identifiable group" now includes any section of the public distinguished by "among other characteristics, religion or national or ethnic origin."
She also referred to Criminal Code provisions requiring that a judge consider hate, bias or prejudice when sentencing an offender.
"We will not allow hate crimes to undermine our way of life, which is based on diversity and inclusion," she concluded.'Trying to scare people'
Tyler Levitan, a spokesman for Independent Jewish Voices, the principal organizing vehicle for BDS in Canada, said he believes he and his fellow organizers are already under surveillance: "This is about trying to scare people."
He said BDS is an "entirely passive movement. It is a decision not to take part in something. Not to be implicated, not to be complicit. It's entirely non-violent."
That's not always been the case elsewhere in the world, particularly France, where BDS rallies have resulted in confrontations with police.
But it is the non-violence of the boycott approach that attracted groups like the United Church of Canada.
Like the Canadian Quakers, the UCC restricts its boycott advocacy to products from Israel's settlements.
The Ontario chapter of CUPE, on the other hand, supports BDS fully, shunning any contact or commerce with Israel. So do a range of other Canadian groups, and student organizations at various universities.
"It is the right and duty of citizens in any free state to engage in constructive non-violent peaceful criticism of state actions and behaviours," says Patti Talbot, a senior staff member at the UCC.
The church sees itself as anti-racist and progressive, which is why it was horrified by the government's description of its advocacy as anti-Semitism, and worried by the declaration of zero tolerance.
"How is [zero tolerance] going to manifest itself?" asks Talbot. "It could be directed against the United Church, it could be directed at a gamut of individuals in Canadian civil society. People of goodwill."
Talbot said it is all the more troubling given the recent passage of Bill C-51, the government's new anti-terrorism measures, which would further empower the police and intelligence agencies that report to Blaney.
"It's not unrelated," she says, "to the clamping down on dissent."'Political terror'
Long before signing the joint pledge with Canada, Israel passed a law making it an offence to participate in or encourage BDS.
And the Israeli high court recently upheld most of it, with one of the justices writing that boycotts can be considered "political terror."
At the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Vonn says she is certain a prosecution of boycott advocates for hate speech would not survive a charter challenge.
But, she says, the government is certainly sowing "dread and chill," and that that appears to be its main intention in pronouncing zero tolerance.
"We've asked our lawyers. What does that mean?" says CUPE president Paul Moist. "Is it now a criminal offence to walk around with a sign saying close all the settlements, Israel out of occupied territories?"
In France, the law has for years criminalized hate speech based on national origin, and authorities there have in recent years been using it to prosecute BDS advocates. To date, more than 20 have been convicted.
According to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, pro-Israel activists in Belgium are pushing for a similar law there.
The Obama administration officially opposes boycotts of Israel, and a measure now before Congress would direct American trade negotiators to discourage boycotts of Israeli goods.
But America has no hate speech laws. The U.S. constitution guarantees free speech. So a zero tolerance policy, or the type of prosecutions Canada is considering, would be impossible.