Section 13.1 of human rights act is odious and should be eliminated. Indeed I would like to get rid of most of the human rights act. The hrcs are star chambers that are antithetical to a free society. I had heard this private members bill was coming, though I had heard it was going to be sponsored by another mp. I congratulate Brian Storseth and urge HM Canadian Government to restore to Canadians their right to free speech. It is clearly the will of the Tory base who voted overwhelmingly to eliminate this limit on speech at the 2008 convention.
National Post editorial board: Abolishing S. 13 would be a big win for free speech
National Post Editorial Board Sep 28, 2011 – 5:49 PM ET
Tory backbencher Brian Storseth wants to eliminate Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). That is the provision in federal law that gives the Canadian Human Rights Commission authority to hear complaints of hate speech on the Internet. We wish Mr. Storseth, the MP from Westlock-St. Paul in Alberta, well in this campaign. Section 13 is a particularly pernicious infringement on free speech. Originally added to the CHRA in 2001 as a protection for vulnerable groups against racist or violence-promoting websites, the clause has more often been used by minority activists (or those purporting to act on behalf of minorities) to silence those who do not share their opinions.
The biggest problem with Sec. 13 is that its provisions make it far too easy for commissioners to find an alleged offender guilty. Unlike in a court of law — where the presumption of innocence, rules of evidence and bans on hearsay testimony protect defendants from wrongful prosecution — at a human rights tribunal complainants may remain anonymous and complaints may be filed by third parties with no direct interest in the case at hand. (Some folks even make a profitable hobby out of launching these complaints.) Hearsay evidence is perfectly acceptable, the onus to prove one’s innocence often falls on the accused, and tax dollars pay for the plaintiff’s lawyers while the accused is on his or her own to fund a defense...
Update I contacted Brian Storseth's office. He was on a plane but he instructed his assistant to send me this, his speech in the House of commons today!
Mr. Speaker it is an honour to rise in this House today and introduce a bill titled An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting Freedom), Freedom of Speech is a fundamental principle in our democracy and one in which Canadians have fought and died for, for more than a century.
This is not a fight that one Canadian can take on himself but rather an issue that all Canadians must engage in vigorously, in this I would like to thank my friends and colleagues such as Senator Finley and The Member from St. Catherines who have rigorously pursued a freer more open society and resisted the tyrannical instincts of bureaucracy to censor speech in our country.
Mr. Speaker Freedom of Speech is the freedom that all other freedoms are built on, it cannot be restrained to the politically correct, the best way to fight bigotry is to ensure that we protect and enhance our fundamental freedoms in this country. That is why I ask all Members in this house to support this bill a bill that protects one of the building blocks of our great democracy. The Freedom of Speech.