By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
OTTAWA, November 25, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Constitutional law expert Richard Moon of the University of Windsor has recommended that the Canadian government scrap Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, the “hate-speech” provision which empowers the CHRC to censor the Internet and other electronic media. Moon instead said that hate speech on the internet, rather than being made the domain of the commissions, should instead be left as the domain of the criminal court system.
The recommendation has come as a shock to many, who expected Moon, who was chosen by the CHRC to prepare the report, to puppet the CHRC’s stance on the need for the commissions to prosecute “hate speech.” Instead Moon has aligned himself firmly with the many critics of the CHRC who argue that the commission are increasingly posing a threat to freedom of speech.
“The principal recommendation of this report is that section 13 be repealed so that the censorship of Internet hate speech is dealt with exclusively by the criminal law,” Moon states in the report.
“The use of censorship by the government should be confined to a narrow category of extreme expression – that which threatens, advocates or justifies violence against the members of an identifiable group.”
Though the report produced by Prof. Moon uses the word “repeal” in the context of Section 13 eleven times, Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the CHRC, downplayed the report, calling it “one step in a comprehensive review.” Lynch indicated that the Commission is not prepared to act on the report, for which Prof. Moon was paid more than $50,000, but intends to call for more public input followed by its own set of recommendations to be brought forth sometime next year.
“The debate on how to ensure that Canadians are protected against hate, while preserving freedom of expression, demanded fresh thinking. We commissioned the Moon report as an important step in our analysis,” Ms Lynch said upon releasing the report.
“Professor Moon has now provided us with an excellent and thoughtful report. Today, I am pleased to share his findings and invite comments on the report’s conclusions, in order to further our review process.”
Prominent Human Rights Commission critic Ezra Levant commented on his blog that he was surprised at Prof. Moon’s call for the repeal of section 13, but not surprised that the CHRC will not follow his recommendation.
“I’m surprised, because Moon was hand-picked by Jennifer Lynch, the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s chief commissar, and was paid more than $50,000 by her for his 42-page report (nice work, if you can get it.)”
“Will Lynch and her fellow bullies now concede defeat?” continued Levant. “Are you kidding? And admit that they’ve been conducting themselves inappropriately for thirty years? And admit that they are violators of human rights, not protectors of them? … Lynch is already trying to throw Moon under the bus.”
Despite resistance from the CHRC, the movement to abolish Section 13 of the Human Rights Act is gaining considerable momentum. At the Conservative party’s national policy convention earlier this month over 99% of the delegates voted to remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13.
Levant said he was “delighted” with the vote. The message is clear, said Levant: “The party’s grass-tops activists … support freedom of speech and thought, and now see the Canadian Human Rights Commission for what it is: a violator of rights, not a protector of them.”
The Moon report is available on the CHRC website, at www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca