Monday, September 7, 2015

Quebec human rights folly

"In the Internet age, any attempt to exclude all racial or other prejudice from public discourse would require extraordinary intervention by the state." So argued University of Windsor law professor Richard Moon. In his 2008 report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Moon opined that the police are better suited to dealing with hate mongers. In other words, freedom of expression trumps over-board minority rights legislation.

The Quebec National Assembly in June tabled a proposed law empowering the human rights commission to investigate websites or individuals it suspects of inciting violence or hatred against an identifiable group.

Definitions of violence and hatred need not be the same as those used in courts of law. With regulatory boards, words change meaning to suit the desired decision.

Those who complain of violence and hatred remain anonymous even through the complainant be not part of the identifiable group allegedly attacked. As happens too often in other jurisdictions, the complainant is registered to share in the financial penalty that follows commission rulings. Human rights commissions are rightly viewed as cash cows even for non-victim bounty hunters.

The Quebec law would give the commission authority to shut down websites, Facebook accounts and any other form of expression even before the investigation is complete. No innocence until proven guilty for these people.

Back in 2009, Ontario Human Rights Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall advocated the investigation and censoring of websites. She called for a national press council with compulsory membership for all on-line services. She sought to empower it to expose any breach of professional standards on the Internet, as she deemed them to be.

Commenting on the failed Hall initiative, The National Post editorialized, "...making all writers, bloggers and broadcasters hostage to a national press council is merely the first step toward letting the Barbara Halls of the world decide what you get to hear, see and read."

Undeterred by history or common sense, the Quebec government forges ahead.

See my blog post "Follow continues at the Ontario Human Rights Commission" Feb 16, 2009.

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