Monday, February 09, 2009

CHRC Under Scrutiny...Again?

OTTAWA — The controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act governing hate speech comes under scrutiny today when federal politicians decide whether to debate the limits it places on freedom of expression.

Brian Storseth, a Conservative MP, has asked the Commons justice committee to review Section 13 of the act, which contains provisions that deal with hate messages. Mr. Storseth also wants the committee to review the mandate of the commission itself.

Except that the Liberals seem to have taken a stand on the matter:

Liberal MP Brian Murphy said his party is not in favour of removing Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Act. "It is a unique tool for people who are being discriminated against and it's an added protection," he said.

Good on Iggy. And the NDP don't sound too helpful either:

Joe Comartin, the NDP justice critic, said he opposes removing Section 13, but believes the act is a "blunt instrument" that requires significant amendments.

The mandate of the Canadian Human Rights Commission is not clear, Mr. Comartin said, and there must be better criteria for selecting commissioners to ensure that Section 13 is not used improperly. That would require an extensive review that could take some time, he said, and which would likely be postponed to allow the justice committee to deal with more pressing issues.

So, essentially, months more of flailing in the blogosphere, but no action likely. Shall we have one more dance, speechy warriors?

3 comments:

Robert McClelland said...

As it stands right now Section 13 will most likely only be amended which is probably the worst outcome for the free screechers since it would legitimize the entire process.

bigcitylib said...

Odds of it even getting even that far are minimal, and even if it did, the end result might be a "stronger" piece of legislation. The new commissioner in Alberta wants to add "sexual orientation" to the Alberta code, for example.

Paul S said...

Please leave Section 13 in place. It's like letting a stupid child play with a loaded gun.

And Steyn himself addressed the legislative hearings on Monday concerning the OHRC. Ms. Hall and her toadies didn't get any respect, to put it mildly.