...Today I will share the Commission’s recent experience with the backlash from some sectors of society following a complaint that involved competing rights. Although this story is specific to Canada’s human rights commissions, these are experiences that could quickly become an issue for any organization that administers justice.
I say this because within our increasingly pluralistic society – distinct regions, varying economic interests, and cultural and ethnic diversity – there are countless instances where rights intersect."Of course, we don't have the right not be be offended"? Since when? Did someone up and revoke Section 13--which enshrines and epitomizes the "right" not to be offended--while we were sleeping (the same way they snuck it through in the first place)? Or is this a tacit admission that Jen knows the jig is up, censorship-wise, and that we can never go back to a time when "human rights" tribunals were left alone (because no one knew or much cared what they were up to) to operate in the dark to come down hard on "Nazis" and hand out hefty rewards to an intrepid Ceej proxy.
The administration of justice often involves determining the balance between competing rights – and as such, organizations and the people committed to addressing these issues can be exposed to controversy and criticism from those who feel strongly vested in the issue.
Of course, debate and conflicting views are essential to democracy and our administration of justice. Sometimes the debate involves the components of the system. This is fair enough. It is also fair when the debate fuels controversy, or is critical. It is up to our legislators and parliamentarians to respond to that criticism, and where appropriate, it is up to us to do so as well. We do see more and more Judges speaking publicly about matters relating to the administration of justice.
Yet the tenor and quality of that debate has shifted swiftly because of how information is shared.
The pervasive and viral nature of social media has created endless opportunities for people to speak out, support a cause, or influence change.
As a result, the rules of public discourse are evolving.
We are facing a new challenge, where some individuals, are seeking to erode trust in public institutions by spreading campaigns of misinformation that dishonestly attack the practices and the people in these institutions.
Of course, we don’t have the right not to be offended; however the question is: how do we respond to untruths that go unchecked? What do we do when editorial boards and parliamentarians innocently repeat inaccurate information? In short, how does an administrative tribunal or agency manage its reputation in the face of misinformation, personal attacks and innuendo?
This is a serious concern. The public’s respect for an institution – and by default its legitimacy – is inextricably linked to its ability to provide the most vulnerable with access to justice...
Oh, and one more thing, Queenie: in a free society, the way you respond to "untruths" (was a quaint, quasi-fascistic way to put it) is--and here I quote Alan Borovoy, an architect of of our risible "human rights" system--via "effective invective." It's only in unfree societies that "untruths" have to be vetted and managed by a group of bland, self-important bureaucrats. That the advent of the internet and other technology makes it difficult/impossible for them to exercise that power should be cause for celebration, not regret.
Update: "Untruthers" Mark Steyn and BCF give the Queen a righteous pasting.
Update: "Social media" are being used to abridge "human rights"--but not in the sense that la Lynch means.