By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
REGINA, November 2, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has been granted leave to appeal a Saskatchewan Court of Appeals ruling in favor of conservative activist Bill Whatcott to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The SHRC brought Whatcott before the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal in 2006 over his practice of distributing flyers about the dangers of abortion and homosexuality. They launched their case following several complaints over a series of flyers that he had delivered in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002.
These flyers criticized the promotion of homosexuality in Saskatoon public schools and the University of Saskatchewan, and included a reproduction of a portion of a classified advertisement in a homosexual newspaper that included an ad for men seeking “boys.”
In March of this year the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals overturned the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission decision that imposed a $17,500 fine and a “life time ban” on criticizing homosexuality on Whatcott.
On April 1st of this year, Whatcott told LifeSiteNews that the SHRC had informed his lawyer of their intention to appeal the decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals.
At that time, Whatcott suggested that, while he does not want to take the case “for granted,” the SHRC's appeal is a poor strategic move in light of the current negative feelings over Canada's human rights commissions.
“Strategically, though I don't want to discourage them from doing it, … it's a sign of desperation and poor judgment,” he told LSN. “Politically and legally, … human rights commissions and their powers to censor opinion are not really politically all that popular right now.”
“If I was them what I would have done was just keep my mouth shut and wait about 10 years and try to build the momentum to censor people like myself when there wasn't so much scrutiny on these bodies,” he added.
Whatcott's lawyer, Tom Schuck, said in a statement that, “In the Supreme Court we will be arguing that HRCs ought to remain neutral on important moral issues of the day, and let society through the use of free speech reach its own consensus as to the appropriateness of different forms of sexual behavior. HRCs have an obligation to protect Freedom of Religion … not impose their own morality on the rest of us.”
Schuck added that this is the second time Whatcott has defended a Court of Appeal decision in the Supreme Court in the last 2 years. In 2008, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal by the Saskatchewan Licensed Practical Nurses Association who attempted to fine and discipline Whatcott for demonstrating against Planned Parenthood. In addition, Whatcott has won three other appeals to the Court of Queen’s Bench for convictions resulting from his Show the Truth campaign and public demonstrations, and won several other cases.
Schuck, who has been acting on behalf of Whatcott for over a period of eight years, said the decision represents the last of the legal cases involving Whatcott while he lived in Saskatchewan, and he believes that it is unprecedented for one person to face so many charges and to win them all.
“I intend to win in the Supreme Court as well,” said Whatcott in a press release.
See previous LSN coverage:
Sask. Human Rights Commission Seeks Supreme Court Case against Catholic Activist
Sask. Court Overturns Human Rights Ruling against Anti-Homosexuality Activist
Precedent Setting Ruling Reinstates Canadian Pro-Life Activist’s Nursing License, Cancels Fine
Catholic Activist “Banned for life” From Publicly Criticising Homosexuality
Provincial Court to Rule on Freedom of Speech Case at U of Calgary