Jonathon Kay writes:
Will the government now do the right thing and get the CHRC out of the censorship business?
Richard Moon's report recommends repealing or, if not repealing, amending section 13 of the CHRA. It also recommends , in the case of repeal, revitalized press councils to deal with remarks appearing in the MSM which are "unfair or discriminatory" while not reaching the level of hate-speech. It would grant these press councils special powers:
To advance this end, all major print publications should belong to a provincial or regional press council that has the authority to receive a complaint that the publication has depicted an identifiable group in an unfair or discriminatory manner and, if it decides that the complaint is well-founded, to order the publication to print its decision.89 A decision by the council that its code of conduct has been breached results not in censorship but in "more speech" – the publication of a statement that the newspaper breached the code and, more particularly in this context, that it published material that unfairly represented the members of an identifiable group.
If the major publications in the country are not all willing to join a press council, then the establishment of a national press council with statutory authority and compulsory membership should once again be given serious consideration. A newspaper is not simply a private participant in public discourse; it is an important part of the public sphere where discussion about the affairs of the community takes place. As such, it carries a responsibility not to defame or stereotype identifiable groups within the Canadian community.90
Note that in, for example, the Macleans case, had Dr. Moon's recommendations been law Macleans may well have been ordered to print a decision finding Mark Steyn's article to be discriminatory. But this is exactly the point--editorial control-- over which Maclean's claims to have fought the HRC complaint against them. In other words, where they "won" their HRT case, they might well have "lost" a press council case and been forced to forgo editorial control anyway.
So the report does not just call for the repeal of section 13. As far as I can tell, it calls for a redistribution of some of the penalties the CHRC is allowed to impose in section 13 cases to other bodies, which would then be able to dole out punishment in situations where, were a complaint brought under section 13, that case would have been dismissed.
Once the Speechies get passed the news release, some of their enthusiasm will wane.
More on this later, obviously. Fascinating stuff.
Update: the waning process has already begun.