Sec. 13 is Nearly Dead: Commons Gives Third & Final Reading to Bill to Repeal Internet Censorship
Wednesday, June 6, was a good day for free speech in Canada. The House of Commons, voting 153-136, gave third and final reading to Bill C-304, Alberta MP Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill that will repeal Sec. 13 (Internet censorship) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Now, it’s on to the Senate and likely approval and then Royal assent. We’re advised by one MP that Sec. 13 may be dead by the end of the Summer. Brian Storseth deserves high marks for his perseverance as do his caucus colleagues. However, the real heroes are the many victims of Sec. 13 who fought a lonely fight before kangaroo court “tribunals” usually ignored when not being vilified by the complacent press — people like John Micka, Glenn Bahr, Melissa Guille, Tom Winnicki, Jason Ouwendyk, Terry Tremaine, Eldon Warman (a de-taxer and no relative of arch complaint filer Richard Warman. Special honours go to Marc Lemire for not only fighting and winning against Richard Warman but also challenging successfully the constitutionality of Sec. 13. Marc’s intrepid lawyer Barbara Kulazska generated the briefs and paperwork that helped discredit this evil law. Marc’s long fight helped expose the police state nature of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Who can forget the Commission’s blind (don’t ask) “investigator” Dean Steacy insisting he gives no weight to freedom of speech as “freedom of speech is an American concept.” Tribute must also go to Doug Christie and the Canadian Free Speech League who have been steadfast allies against Sec. 13 and, especially to Doug for his masterful summation December 13, 2011 at the judicial review of constitutionality of Sec. 13. And modestly, CAFE can share in the credit. We have represented the unrepresented victims in many a Sec. 13 tribunal; we have intervened forcefully during Marc Lemire’s long fight and we have helped raise money for the victims.
Sec. 13, one of the two evil tentacles of state censorship of the Internet, hangs on by just a thread of its putrifying tissue. Still, it’s depressing that only one Liberal (Newfoundland and Labrador MP Scott Simms) voted for Bill C-304. Postmedia (June 7, 2012) reported: ” ‘It’s a really important step for freedom of expression in our country,’ Storseth said Thursday, the morning after the bill passed third and final reading in the House of Commons. There hasn’t been a tremendous pushback as you would have seen seven or eight years ago when this issue first really arose, and I think it’s because there has been a fruitful debate in our country.'”
Sadly the NDP’s Justice critic spouted utter nonsense in opposition to getting rid of this power of censorship: “Canadian police departments reported 1,401 hate crimes in 2010, or 4.1 hate crimes per 100,000 population, according to recently released data from Statistics Canada. New Democrat public-safety critic Randall Garrison said Wednesday that, due to the large number of hate crimes, the human-rights commission needs to have the power to combat the issue online and force individuals and groups to remove websites containing hateful speech. Removing the sections from the human-rights code will effectively strip the commission of its power to educate Canadians and shut down inappropriate websites, he said. ‘We do have a serious problem,’ Garrison said. ‘If you take away the power to take (websites) down, it’s not clear they have any mandate to even to talk to people about it and educate them about it.'”
We see with brutal clarity what the game is — silence critics, have websites, not just an offending phrase or remark, removed. This was the demand in the Marc Lemire case, until the defence team revealed that complainant Richard Warman had posted on the Freedomsite. If ALL the Freedomsite, even the address, as Warman once contended, was “hate” then surely Warman’s comments under one of his sneaky pseudonyms on the Freedomsite were “hate” too. The entire removal of dissident Terry Tremaine’s site http://nspcanada.nfshost.com is the demand of the Canadian Human Rights Commission which is hellbent on tossing him in prison for “contempt.” The site contains movies and much material from mainline sources, including many of Adolf Hitler’s speeches. Yet, the demand is for its total suppression. “Hate crimes,” as reported lovingly in police statistics, are seldom prosecuted and even less frequently result in a conviction. The puny numbers refers to “reports” rather than confirmed “crimes” and are mostly graffiti and insults — really small potatoes.
With ill grace, some of the leftist bloggers are now spreading the line that the opponents of Sec. 13 made their lot worse: Someone using the pseudonym “chapel” wrote on leftist BigCityLiberal’s blog, “Those opposing Sec. 13 bit off their nose to spite their face. No more silly servants sang [sec] questions on hate related issues; now big burly cops and the threat of jail are the real deal.” Not exactly. The remaining censorship tentacle is Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code – the notorious “hate law”. However, and this is a big however, unlike Sec. 13, there are defences — truth, sincerely held religious belief or opinion, material discussed for the public good.
Johnathan Kay of the National Post (June 7, 2012) rejoiced at the demise of Sec. 13: “Canadians had meekly submitted to a system of administrative law that potentially made de facto criminals out of anyone with politically incorrect views about women, gays, or racial and religious minority groups. All that was required was a complainant (often someone with professional ties to the CHRC itself) willing to sign his name to a piece of paper, claim he was offended, and then collect his cash winnings at the end of the process. The system was bogus and corrupt. But very few Canadians wanted to be seen as posturing against policies that were branded under the aegis of ‘human rights.”