Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hillier Sees Through Klees

Looks like Mr. Hillier reads BCLSB:

As the four-way Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership race begins to tighten, Eastern Ontario MPP leadership hopeful Randy Hillier is calling for clarity regarding a new Private Member’s Bill introduced by leadership opponent Frank Klees’. In the bill, tabled last week, Klees urges limitations on the powers of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the repeal of Section 13 of the Ontario Human Rights Act. Hillier argues his leadership opponent is confusing Section 13 of the Ontario Human Rights Code with Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. As Hillier notes: “In the first place, there is no Ontario Human Rights Act. There is an Ontario Human Rights Code, but Section 13 of that Code has nothing whatsoever to do with freedom of speech. Mr. Klees is clearly confusing Section 13 of the Ontario Human Rights Code with Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act which has been used extensively to limit freedom of expression in this country.” Getting to the crux of the issue, Hillier adds: “The Canadian Human Rights Act is a federal law and cannot be amended provincially.” Hillier is arguing Klees’ Private Member’s Bill is a misinformed attempt to score political points with key Tory supporters who oppose human rights commissions.

Well, firstly, Hillier is not entirely correct about section 13 of the Ontario code having nothing to do with speech. It basically prohibits you from publishing materials that announce "an intention to discriminate--signs reading "whites only served", and so forth. And in a coda to his private member's bill, Klees explicitly notes the purpose of the section. So, while misleading eager to be misled Tory supporters is almost certainly part of Klees goal, perhaps he really is OK with such signs.

(Although, to be fair, Hillier's proposal--abolishing the OHRT-- would also make it easier to post racist signs and emblems. Among other things.)

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