Skip to comments.Our Disastrous, Canadian Future
Posted on 12/20/2007 4:37:40 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
Far from denigrating Canadians, I begin with high praise for one Canadian. I never miss the byline of Mark Steyn. He is a Canadian, living in Vermont, who publishes frequent articles in Canada, in the US, in Great Britain, and in Australia, and elsewhere.
Steyn combines humor, excellent research and powerful logic in articles on politics, philosophy and culture. He would be a lock to win the annual H.L. Mencken Award, except for its requirement that the winners be born in the US. But todays subject centers on his latest best-selling book, America Alone.
One chapter in that book, entitled The Future Belongs to Islam, was republished in Macleans magazine, which is the Canadian equivalent to Time magazine. The Canadian Islamic Conference (CIC) filed a complaint against Steyn and Macleans accusing them of "exposing Canadian Muslims to hatred and Islamophobia."
CIC is in Canada what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is in the US. CAIR has threatened and taken assorted actions in court in the US similar to what CIC has done in Canada. However, CICs complaint against Steyn and Macleans in the Canadian Human Rights Commission (HRC).
Unlike courts, the HRC is staffed by laymen, not judges. Its members tend to be members of assorted groups who are, or claim they are, discriminated against. Judicial rules are not used; for instance, hearsay is admitted. There is no presumption of innocence. Possible bias on the part of witnesses is ignored. Complainants get help for free; respondents have to pay their own fees and costs.
As you may have gathered, this is a stacked deck. And finally, the broad Canadian press and most of its citizens have noticed that the HRC is not serving to improve Canadian society, but is a blackmail process that inhibits freedom of speech, religion and the press.
Could such things happen here in the US? After all, we have our First Amendment, which most nations do not have. It guarantees our freedoms in those and other areas. Yet, what is happening in Canada today, is a sample of where we are headed.
Most of the decisions of the HRC are rendered in the interests of ending discrimination or prejudice. But they are really about groups that claim they have been offended. Some judges and bureaucrats in the US are going down the same path, giving recovery for individuals who claim they are offended on behalf of their group.
It really would be a good idea for such people, their lawyers, but especially bureaucrats and judges, to read the text of the Constitution. Nowhere in that document does it guarantee each of us freedom from being offended. And people and groups who ride on that idea are not defending American ideals, they are attacking them, especially attacking the Constitution itself.
The process here is also similar to that in Canada. In venues from mass demonstrations to complaints in court, representatives of assorted groups claim discrimination. And if they win their cases in court, they claim attorneys fees and costs. Often, they offer witnesses whose careers consist of complaining and gaining money. And last, in many instances, the complaints are made against smaller cities, smaller school boards, or individuals who lack resources to fight back against their accusers.
In this aspect, the complaint against Steyn and Maclains are atypical. They have the wherewith all to fight back. They will not fold under pressure regardless of the merits of their case. Many of the cases in the US are brought against financially-weaker defendants, and the defendants cave rather than face the possibility of having their budgets gut-shot by the fees and costs extracted by the Complainants often represented by the ACLU.
In Canada, as in the US, the environment that sacrifices real freedoms on the altar of false equality was created by legislation deliberately passed by their Parliament and our Congress. The legislation was written with apparent good intentions. But the results have been the opposite of the intentions.
The Steyn matter in Canada shows us our future, unless we change course. And, that future aint pretty.
Many of the facts for this article were drawn from LifeSite.com at this address: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/dec/07121902.html. The legal conclusions, however, are mine.
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About the Author: John Armor practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya.yale.edu He lives in the 11th District of North Carolina.
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John / Billybob
Worst of all Canadians have no idea what free speech means.
I find it disquieting to have a fascist dictatorship on America's borders.
Thanks for your attention to this issue. IMHO, Canadian public opinion is swinging around rather swiftly on this issue.
Canuckleheads are not complete idiots, after all.
makes me wanna puke.
I think you are giving the legislators too much credit. What is happening to Steyn is exactly what they want.
He is a Canadian, living in Vermont
I believe Mark Steyn lives in Peterborough, NH.
“Could such things happen here in the US? After all, we have our First Amendment, which most nations do not have. It guarantees our freedoms in those and other areas.”
Canada does have something similar to the First Amendment. Here’s an excerpt from the Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
“2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other means of communication.”
There are more fundamental freedoms; but those are the ones that are germane to this case (IMHO).
It will be interesting to see what the Supreme Court of Canada does with this case (if it should make its way there). The SCOC should pay more attention to the Charter freedoms than a HR tribunal is likely to do.
I agree with that, especially with the state of Canadian Libel law. The powers that be want an iron grip.
I went to High School and University in New Brunswick from 1976-1985. I saw the writing on the wall then. It has now come to fruition.
By that “logic” there isn’t any in the US either. Can I have “Doesn’t Have a Clue” for $1000 Alex?
Whenever I put something in my column that I am “certain” is correct based on my “excellent” memory, I open the door to this kind of error. LOL.
John / Billybob
These rights are generally subject to the limitations clause (section 1) and the notwithstanding clause (section 33). The limitations clause in section 1 allows governments to justify certain infringements of Charter rights. Every case in which a court discovers a violation of the Charter would therefore require a section 1 analysis to determine if the law can still be upheld. Infringements are upheld if the purpose for the government action is to achieve what would be recognized as an urgent or important objective in a free society, and if the infringement can be “demonstrably justified. ” Section 1 has thus been used to uphold laws against objectionable conduct such as hate speech (e.g., in R. v. Keegstra) and obscenity (e.g., in R. v. Butler). Section 1 also confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed.
We don't even really own our 'own' property, under our constitution.
Freedom was handed to us by our parents, and grandparents, in the late 40's, and we have squandered the meaning of it.
NH might be getting infiltrated by Dims but we are still a longs ways from being like VT!
American logic includes a clear understanding of the real purposes of the Second Amendment
Too bad Canadian Libal Law doesn’t cover what they write about Americans on their forums.
It is libel in the purest sense of the law.
I’ve never seen such rot from a friendly nation of people who have no reason for their ignorance except their own insecurities.
No, not anymore.
Not for a while, now.
The schools, the malls, the offices, the airports, etc.
All places where the right to defence would seem logical...in many States, you do not have your second amendment rights. I wish you did, but you don't.
We'll all be living in Saudi Ameriqa
You misspelled "libations".
Canadian Libation Laws require a beer fridge in every household.