Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Three Cheers for Free Speech--and the End of Section 13

If things go according to plan, Section 13, the provision that hobbles free speech and empowers a retinue of hack censors, will be a goner by spring. Halifax opiner Paul Shneidreit is among those looking forward to its demise:
Some critics say abolishing hate speech provisions in the human rights act would mean prosecutions could in future only come under the Criminal Code, placing a greater burden of proof on complainants.
But what they term a bug, as the saying goes, I’d call a feature. One of the biggest problems has been the abuse of the current system by complainants who bear none of the financial costs and human rights bodies all too eager to spend years processing accusations that — using common sense — clearly lack merit.
Other critics say not everyone has the funds to go to court. But in a criminal hate speech case, it’s the Crown’s case — and the Crown’s dime. All too often, under the current system, it’s the accused who don’t have the money to defend themselves or fight tribunal rulings.
Freedom of expression is too precious — and too fundamental in upholding all other rights — to allow what is a democratic cornerstone to be undermined by an intrinsically flawed system based on political correctness and hurt feelings.
Abolish Section 13.

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