The Whatcott Decision – A Grim Day for Christians and Freedom of Speech
Make no mistake, the Supreme Court of Canada has made Canada’s ruling elite’s contempt for traditional Christianity quite clear. Christians got stomped and booted in a unanimous six judge decision in the Whatcott case, rendered February 27. While much is made of punishing only the most extreme expressions against privileged minorities, in fact, anyone with strong opinions about homosexuals or other privileged groups like Jews, must be very careful. Where does ridicule, which apparently is acceptable end, and “detestation” and “vilification” that “incite the level of abhorrence, delegitimization and rejection that risks causing discrimination and other harmful effects” begin? Got that? Privileged minorities have a superior right not to be “delegitimized”; that is, told that there is something wrong with their behaviour. That newly minted right erases your right to criticize them. Your words, if strong enough, “risk” – note nothing needs be proven — causing discrimination (which is not always unlawful) or “other harmful effects.” What might those be?
The decision is pure cultural Marxism. It reflects the triumph of Frankfurt School social science which has captured most Western universities. While economic communism collapsed and was defeated, cultural communism was spread by the Frankfurt School. Basically, it sees the world divided up into two classes: oppressors – those would be White Christians, and especially sexually healthy White males – and the oppressed – those would be women, homosexuals, Jews, and certain other racial minorities. To overthrow the “oppressors” and to establish universal equality – not of opportunity but results – the Frankfurt School targeted loyalty to family, country and religion. There began a concerted campaign of “deconstruction” whereby political heroes, cultural heroes – the dismissal of traditional English literature as the writing of dead, White males – and traditional Christianity were mocked and attacked. These ideas have captured the upper echelons of Canada’s judiciary and bode poorly for freedom of speech.
The Whatcott decision holds that in human rights cases:
· Truth is no defence;
- · Intent is no defence;
- · No harm needs to be proven to have been caused to a “vulnerable” minority;
- · A minority is designated as “vulnerable” not because of any evidence – the court admits concrete evidence is often lacking, but on the mere say-so of a human rights commission or court;
- · Christians are not protected from hatred as they are not a “vulnerable minority.”
The Court outlines the conflict: “
Four complaints were filed with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission concerning four flyers published and distributed by the respondent, William Whatcott. The flyers were distributed to the public and targeted homosexuals and were challenged by the complainants on the basis that they promoted hatred against individuals because of their sexual orientation. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal held that the flyers constituted publications that contravened s. 14 of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1 as they exposed persons to hatred and ridicule on the basis of their sexual orientation: (2005), 52 C.H.R.R. D/264. Section 14(1)(b) of the Code prohibits the publication or display of any representation “that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground”. The Code lists “sexual orientation” as a prohibited ground (s. 2(1)(m.01)(vi)).” Mr. Whatcott was fined $17,500 which was to go to the four homosexual who complained against him. “The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench upheld the Tribunal’s decision: 2007 SKQB 450, 306 Sask. R. 186. That decision was reversed by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (“Whatcott (C.A.)”). The appellate court accepted that s. 14(1)(b) was constitutional but held that the flyers at issue did not meet the test for hatred and were not prohibited publications within the meaning of s. 14(1)(b) of the
The Court went on to note “Whether or not the author of the expression intended to incite hatred or discriminatory treatment is irrelevant. The key is to determine the likely effect of the expression on its audience, keeping in mind the legislative objectives to reduce or eliminate discrimination.” Now, you might think that “the likely effect” would require some proof, but NO! You see the effects of “hate” are subtle and often there is no proof of any harm. The Court advances the ludicrous conclusion that, although William Whatcott, a fervent evangelical Christian, is the one silenced and fined, somehow his very criticism of homosexuals in the leaflets he handed out back in 2002 was alleged to have intimidated (or night have, as no proof was offered) homosexuals from debating public policy. “Hate speech is at some distance from the spirit of s. 2(b) because it does little to promote, and can in fact impede, the values underlying freedom of expression. Hate speech can also distort or limit the robust and free exchange of ideas by its tendency to silence the voice of its target group. These are important considerations in balancing hate speech with competing Charter rights and in assessing the constitutionality of the prohibition in s. 14(1)(b) of the Code. Framing speech as arising in a moral context or within a public policy debate does not cleanse it of its harmful effect. Finding that certain expression falls within political speech does not close off the enquiry into whether the expression constitutes hate speech. Hate speech may often arise as a part of a larger public discourse but it is speech of a restrictive and exclusionary kind. Political expression contributes to our democracy by encouraging the exchange of opposing views. Hate speech is antithetical to this objective in that it shuts down dialogue by making it difficult or impossible for members of the vulnerable group to respond, thereby stifling discourse. Speech that has the effect of shutting down public debate cannot dodge prohibition on the basis that it promotes debate.”
So, neither discussing politics nor morality is a protection. All that matters is being most delicate in any criticism of privileged “vulnerable minorities.”
Well, where’s the evidence that in the decade since Mr. Whatcott handed out his flyers critical of homosexuals, that “dialogue” was shut down and homosexuals were unable to respond? For nearly 20 years, the powerful homosexual lobby has been pushing for same sex marriage – a revolutionary anti-family retreat from tradition. In 2001, Parliament overwhelmingly voted to endorse the traditional definition of marriage – one man and one woman. The lobby continued its pressure, apparently not intimidated or silenced by the lonely Mr. Whatcott’s leafleting. A cowardly Jean Chretien referred the “question” as to whether the traditional definition of marriage, accepted by almost all but the fringiest elements of Christianity, and by Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism, was “discriminatory” to the judicial revolutionaries on the Supreme Court. They collapsed and gave the homosexual lobby what it wanted. Canada has same sex marriage. Despite being a Catholic, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario forced even Catholic schools to promote the homosexual agenda in the schools and have Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs, even though the practice of homosexuality violates Catholic teaching. (So much for religious freedom!) The homosexual agenda has triumphed in almost every battle. It successfully pressured to have “sexual orientation” added to the privileged groups protected by Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code, Canada’s notorious “hate law.” In fact, there’s no evidence that Mr. Whatcott’s pathetic little leafleting operation ever intimidated any homosexual from promoting his cause. The only one excluded from the debate is Mr. Whatcott! Mr. Whatcott and strong critics of the homosexual agenda are all but excluded from the mainstream media. Pro-homosexual commentators bray their views from the CBC and the Globe and Mail is virtually a mouthpiece for the homosexual lobby. The only voices marginalized are critics of the homosexual agenda.
The Canadian Press (March 9, 2013) reported on a television advertising campaign by the separatist government of Quebec to promote public tolerance of homosexuals and lesbians kissing in public: “A public display of affection between a couple shouldn’t usually elicit a reaction from people. But what if those engaging in that passionate smooch are a same-sex couple? The Quebec government has launched a unique advertising campaign designed to get the province thinking about just how open-minded it really is when it comes to homosexuality. The TV, radio and web campaign shows routine, everyday scenes in which the viewer has no idea until the end that the ad is about sexual orientation. One shows a man texting his lover while awaiting him at the airport.”
The Court all but admits that Trudeau’s Charter is bogus in its guarantee of free speech or freedom of belief. The peasants get the speech rights the Court chooses to give them: “The limitation imposed on freedom of expression by the prohibition in s. 14(1)(b) of the Code is a limitation prescribed by law within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter and is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. 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.[except traditional Christians.] The objective for which the limit is imposed, namely tackling causes of discriminatory activity to reduce the harmful effects and social costs of discrimination, is pressing and substantial. Hate speech is an effort to marginalize individuals based on their membership in a group. Using expression that exposes the group to hatred, hate speech seeks to delegitimize group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society. Hate speech, therefore, rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable groups that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide.”
Thus, from Mr. Whatcott’s leafleting to genocide against homosexuals on the streets of Regina. This Supreme Court fantasy is nonsense. Mr. Whatcott never called for deportation, violence or genocide. There was, of course, not a shred of evidence that anything negative resulted from Mr. Whatcott’s leaflets. In the irrational world of the judicial revolutionaries, there doesn’t have to be any evidence. The cultural Marxists simply insist that we must believe: “The fact that s. 14(1)(b) of the Code does not require intent by the publisher or proof of harm, or provide for any defences does not make it overbroad. Systemic discrimination is more widespread than intentional discrimination and the preventive measures found in human rights legislation reasonably centre on effects, rather than intent. The difficulty of establishing causality and the seriousness of the harm to vulnerable groups justifies the imposition of preventive measures that do not require proof of actual harm.” The prattle about “systemic” discrimination is absurd. Mr. Whatcott was a lone wolf pamphleteer. He was part of no “system.”
In a crucial essay (“The Frankfurt School of Social Research and the Origin of the Therapeutic State: A Case Study of Jewish Intellectual Activism” Mankind Quarterly, Spring, 2006) Prof. Kevin Macdonald shows that, despite calling themselves a “School of Social research,” the Frankfurt School feared any objective research that might challenge their ideology. Like the Supreme Court, they defined the world ideologically, and facts would not be allowed to get in the way: “The Frankfurt School never set out to find out the truth about human behavior and institutions. Instead, its members viewed empirically oriented social science as an aspect of domination and oppression. Horkheimer wrote in1937 that “if science as a whole follows the lead of empiricism and the intellect
renounces its insistent and confident probing of the tangled brush of observations in order to unearth more about the world than even our well-meaning daily press, it will be participating passively in the maintenance of universal
injustice.” Rather than find out how society works, the social scientist must be a critic of culture and adopt an attitude of resistance toward contemporary societies.
The unscientific nature of the enterprise can also be seen in its handling of dissent within the ranks of the Institute—a trend that is a common feature of Jewish intellectual and political movements Erich Fromm was excised from the
movement in the 1930s because his leftist humanism opposed the authoritarian nature of the psychoanalyst-patient relationship. This was not compatible with the pro-Bolshevik stance championed at the time by the Horkheimer-Adorno line: Fromm “takes the easy way out with the concept of authority, without which, after all, neither Lenin’s avant-garde nor dictatorship can be conceived of. I would strongly advise him to read Lenin…I must tell you that I see a real threat in this article to the line which the journal takes.”
One of the most shocking revolutionary conclusions of the Court is that truth should not be a defence, at least in human rights cases: “The lack of defences is not fatal to the constitutionality of the provision. Truthful statements can be presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech, and not all truthful statements must be free from restriction. Allowing the dissemination of hate speech to be excused by a sincerely held belief would provide an absolute defence and would gut the prohibition of effectiveness;” that is, gut its purpose of suppressing strong criticisms of some privileged minority. And later in the judgement: “The search for truth is also an important part of self-fulfillment. However, I do not think it is inconsistent with these views to find that not all truthful statements must be free from restriction. Truthful statements can be interlaced with harmful ones or otherwise presented in a manner that would meet the definition of hate speech.”
The Canada of the future will encourage lies and liars, if they flatter privileged groups. Active homosexuals are less likely to contract AIDS than heterosexuals is, of course, a falsehood, but, in the Canada envisioned by the Supremos, a cautious man may well decide to avoid the truth and tell this lie. As in the Soviet Union of old, we’ll be proclaiming that the most recent Five Year Plan has succeeded beyond all expectations. Boots are plentiful, even though, actually, we only made boots for the left foot this year.
The Supreme Court is quite content with condemning an entire pamphlet or publication because of one strident phrase or term: “However, it is also legitimate to proceed with a closer scrutiny of those parts of the expression which draw nearer to the purview of s. 14(1)(b) of the Code. If, despite the context of the entire publication, even one phrase or sentence is found to bring the publication, as a whole, in contravention of the Code, this precludes its publication in its current form.”
Christians got a small sop tossed their way: They can still criticize homosexuals “privately” among themselves but they cannot witness to their faith publicly: “The prohibition only prohibits public communication of hate speech; it does not restrict hateful expression in private communications between individuals.” Can Christians use these repressive laws against their critics? Not likely! They are not a vulnerable group in the world view of the Court’s cultural Marxists: “Although human rights legislation prohibits discrimination of both majority and minority subgroups identifiable by an enumerated characteristic, historical and jurisprudential experience demonstrates that hate speech is virtually always aimed at the minority subgroup. A prohibition of hate speech will only be rationally connected to the objective if its ambit is limited to expression publicly directed at protected group.”
And, as a parting shot for having fought, the Court saddled the impoverished Mr. Whatcott, in addition to his now reduced fine of $15,000, with costs, likely well over $150,000! “Given that Mr. Whatcott was found in contravention of the Code, the Commission is awarded costs throughout, including costs of the application for leave to appeal in this Court.”
The Supreme Court did acquit Mr. Whatcott for two of his pamphlets and ruled some of the hazy language of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Acts censorship section unconstitutional: “A prohibition of any representation that ‘ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of’ any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is not a reasonable limit on freedom of expression. Those words are constitutionally invalid and are severed from the statutory provision in accordance with these reasons. The remaining prohibition of any representation ‘that exposes or tends to expose to hatred’ any person or class of persons on the basis of a prohibited ground is a reasonable limit and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” A tiny victory, but it will take a Philadelphia lawyer to sniff out the difference between ridicule, belittling and likely exposing a privileged group to hatred. The prudent man will just shut up rather than run the risk when commenting on one of Canada’s privileged groups.
Finally, and this is a delicate topic in oppressive, minority-ruled Canada, let’s look at the makeup of the six judge panel who heard this crucial case about the rights of Christians. Three, yes three, or fully one half of the panel were Jews. Under the regime of employment equity, a Canadian version of anti-White “affirmative action”, invented by, guess who? Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, who was on the panel, “systemic discrimination” is evidenced by an over-representation or under-representation of a group. It must be remembered that Jews, at about 310,000, constitute less than one per cent of Canada’s population, but made up half of panel in Whatcott! Did their personal views interfere? Ironically, had Justice Abella applied her own “employment equity” she’d have removed herself from the panel in Whatcott as her minority was already heftily over-represented.
The author of this freedom trashing opinion was Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein of Manitoba. His biography on the Supreme Court website notes: “He served as an adjudicator under the Manitoba Human Rights Act from 1978 to 1983 and as a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal from 1986 to 1992.” In other words, he was, for more than a decade, part of the whole repressive “human rights” industry he was now being invited to critique. In his case, there was more than a “reasonable apprehension of bias.” Perhaps, no surprise he found state censorship and strong criticism of privileged minorities perfectly justified in a “free” [do words mean nothing!] and “democratic society.”
At least two Liberal senators, Robina Jaffer and Jim Munson (a former journalist happily at ease with state censorship), in speaking against Bill C-304, which would repeal Sec. 13 (Internet censorship) of the Canadian Human Rights Act quoted Justice Abella and her emphasis on “vulnerable minorities”: to wit: “In a 2009 speech entitled Human Rights and History’s Judgment, Justice Rosalie Abella said: We were supposed to have learned three indelible lessons from the concentration camps of Europe. First, indifference is injustice’s incubator. Second, it’s not just what you stand for, it’s is what you stand up for. And third, we must never forget how the world looks to those who are vulnerable.’” Justice Abella was also part of the human rights industry having served on the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Her biography on the Supreme Court website notes: “She married Canadian historian Irving M. Abella on December 8, 1968.” Irving Abella is a past president of the Canadian Jewish Congress, a pro-censorship intervener in Whatcott. The CJC has been a long-time and strident supporter of anti-free speech “hate laws”. Again, one might wonder why Justice Abella did not recuse herself from this case as there is more than a “reasonable apprehension of bias.”