What Canada's Free Speech Victory Says About America's Matthew Shepard "Hate Crimes" Bill

When American leftists dream, they dream of Canada.

North of the border, we've had socialized medicine since 1965; abortion on demand (pretty much) since 1969 (and with no restrictions whatsoever since 1988); official multiculturalism since 1971; and nationwide gay marriage since 2005. All this, and higher Third World immigration, relative to our population, too.

And best of all, there is almost no opposition to our continuing revolution—because in 1977 the Canadian Human Rights Act essentially banned it.

There is nothing like VDARE.COM in Canada—because until Wednesday it would have been against the law. In Canada, people like Steve Sailer and Peter Brimelow (despite his career in the Canadian MSM) have not been allowed to exist. My own Wikipedia entry notes my contributions to VDARE.COM with something like astonishment.

When  Antonia Zerbisias, [Email her]staffer at the liberal daily Toronto Star said some nice things about me, she was quickly instructed in the party line and duly flinched  in horror. It goes without saying that I am no longer employed in journalism in my home and native land.

But if America's bien pensants (and the shade of Teddy Kennedy) were looking north for an imprimatur with which to burnish the impending Matthew Shepard "Hate Crimes" Act, they must now look elsewhere. Because in a genuinely shocking decision on September 2, Wednesday, , a bureaucrat at the heretofore unimpeachably statist Canadian Human Rights Tribunal declared section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act "unconstitutional."

Section 13(1) has been key to the Canadian Establishment's suppression of debate on immigration and other matters. It reads:

"It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination."

Canada's "protected classes", as defined by section 15(1) of the risibly-named Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, are those defined by "race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability"—and in 1992 our Supreme Court subsequently "read in" (i.e., legislated) "sexual orientation" as an additional class. (Section 15(2) of the Charter specifically protects quotas, or as we call them here, "employment equity".)

The chilling power of the weasel words "likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" were further strengthened by the policies that mens rea (intent) is not necessary for conviction, that hearsay is not excluded and that the government funds the complainants but not the accused.

And, oh, there's the Tribunal's 1998 ruling in Citron v. Zündel  that even truth is not a defence.

So, for example, for a Canadian newspaper to report, without comment, that Sikhs and Vietnamese are disproportionately involved in the Vancouver drug trade is against the law. Indeed, even to list the names, without further identification, of the 100-plus Sikhs killed in the Vancouver drug wars of recent years is probably against the law as well. (This is not to say that Vancouver media haven't reported these facts—they have. But until Wednesday, they were subject at any time to government prosecution for doing so. Truth was not a defence.)

The Canadian Human Rights Act came about as the result of pressure from Canadian Jewish organizations, specifically, in the form of the "Cohen Committee" of 1966. Canada's "first political prisoner" was an old neo-Nazi called John Ross Taylor who was in the habit of leaving political comments on his telephone answering machine's Outgoing Message.

After Taylor's conviction was upheld in 1990 by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith Canada in effect enjoyed carte blanche to suppress any speech they deemed contrary to their interests. (And to understand just how trivial that speech could be, click here  to read what Taylor was imprisoned for.)

It was in the 1990s that Canada's provincial human rights tribunals began to feel their oats, going so far as to ban the quoting of Bible verses condemning homosexuality.

 The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal also convicted Vancouver's most popular columnist, Doug Collins, for his devilishly "subtle" anti-Semitism. So subtle, indeed, that the Tribunal was forced to employ a daring new "sociolinguistic" technique called "discourse analysis." One of the Tribunal's star witnesses was forced to explain darkly that Collins "doesn't use overtly racist comments, and he calls attention to power and control by using techniques of trivialization ... 'in other words, you have to read it fairly carefully to get the full impact of what he's really saying.'"

The Tribunal was obviously unfamiliar with the old nursery rhyme, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but techniques of trivialization will never harm me."

But it was after 2001, when the Canadian Human Rights Act was extended to the Internet (in the guise of "anti-terrorism"), that the number of Canadian "hate speech" prosecutions exploded.

In 2002, a sinister fellow called Richard Warman joined the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Suddenly every basement Nazi ranting about the Rothschilds on the World Wide Web was at risk of being called before Canada's Grand Inquisitors. Warman initiated literally dozens of complaints, citing himself as the aggrieved party, and collected dozens of consent orders, cease-and-desist ukases—lining his pockets, as the aggrieved party, with many thousands of dollars in judgments. (Canadians are jailed for speech only if they defy Tribunal verdicts.)

Even after leaving the Commission in 2004, Warman continued to churn out the complaintsand he never lost. In fact, the Canadian Human Rights Commission had never lost a single section 13(1) complaint...until Wednesday.

That's how they spelled "justice" in Canada: G-U-I-L-T-Y.

In 2003, however, Warman made the mistake of going after a webmaster called Marc Lemire. It was the usual operation: set 'em up, knock 'em down, shut 'im up, grab the cash.

But a funny thing happened—Marc Lemire refused to go down. With the help of his lawyers, Barbara Kulaszka and Doug Christie, Lemire exposed the outrageous procedural irregularities of Warman and the Commission. (Full disclosure: for the past year, I have acted as a part-time legal clerk to Christie.)

Among other revelations: it turned out that Warman and Commission employees were in the habit of pretending to be basement Nazis, signing up with false IDs and giving fulsome encouragement to the Jew-baiters who hang out at websites like Stormfront and Vanguard News Network.

(And this is as good a time to as any to mention that Canadians have been routinely prosecuted for "publishing" messages on American websites. Take that, Helsinki Accord! The "principle of non-interference" won't stop the Canadian Government.)

Entrapment is not new to the Canadian managerial state. In 1989, an agent of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was instrumental in founding and funding the neo-Nazi Heritage Front—one of whose roles was to infiltrate the emerging Reform Party. Ironically, the Reform party ultimately took over the discredited Canadian Progressive Conservative Party and one of its leaders, Stephen Harper, is now Prime Minister. But Harper has done nothing about the continuing "Human Rights" horrors.

Given Lemire's dodgy past, Canada's soi-disant civil libertarians had a convenient excuse to ignore him. But then another funny thing happened—Canada's Muslims decided to have a go at state censorship, in the form of comically inept complaints against lawyer and journalist Ezra Levant (histrionic Conservative Party factotum and Sammy Glick of the Canadian Right), celebrated columnist Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine.

This put Canada's bien pensants (and the Jewish organizations) in a quandary. "Jews v. Nazis" was one thing, but "Muslims v. Jews" (or neocons, at least) was a different kettle of "hate" entirely. It was at this point that Canada's media actually began to use the phrase "free speech" without quotation marks.

Last November, Canada's governing Conservative Party took the seemingly brave step of voting at convention to repeal section 13(1). "Seemingly", because Prime Minister Stephen Harper had no intention of instructing his Justice Department to cease and desist from opposing Lemire at trial.

Back in 1999, Harper had thundered, "Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society … It is, in fact, totalitarian."

But ten years later, in January, Harper purred to Maclean's editor Ken Whyte that his government "has no plans" to protect free speech. Doing his best John Conyers impersonation, he explained that Canadian Stalinism "exist[s] for valid reasons, which is obviously to prevent public airwaves from being used to disseminate hate against vulnerable members of our society."

Harper's intervention quelled the Conservative free-speech uprising. Levant's book Shakedown became a national best-seller (although self-servingly ignoring opponents of the Human Rights totalitarianism prior to himself), but Lemire's case seemed hopeless. Perhaps he might score a few procedural points against the Commission, but Richard Warman's perfect record would surely remain unblemished.

And then came Wednesday's miracle. Tribunal Member Athanasios Hadjis  uncovered the obscure section 2 of the Charter of Rights, which purportedly guarantees Canadians

"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 media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association."

Section 2 had long ceased troubling Canada's legislators and judiciary, but Member Hadjis concluded that it rendered section 13(1) illegal.

Dum spiro, spero! "While I breathe, I hope".

Yet despite Wednesday's victory, it is too early to declare victory. It is unknown whether the Commission will appeal—or simply ignore Hadjis's decision as not setting a precedent. This is what the Canadian Jewish Congress proposes.  

At press time, Stephen Harper has had no comment. Given his previous duplicity, he may well continue to order his Justice Minister to uphold the status quo ante.

Although Harper was brought to power by an insurrectionary movement, he appears to be attempting to co-opt the center-left Liberal Party's electoral coalition. His rejection of anything like a Canadian version of the "Sailer Strategy" becomes ever more intense. Abetted by his Immigration Minister, the singularly odious Jason "Curry in a hurry" Kenney, Harper panders to Canada's ethnics as no Prime Minister has pandered before. Harper and Kenney actually believe they can induce both the Jews and the Muslims to support the Conservative Party.

Paging Karl Rove…Will Karl Rove please go to the red courtesy phone…

As C.S. Lewis pointed out, the road to Hell is not paved with good intentions; it is paved with bad intentions. Ezra Levant claims that the Canadian Human Rights Act was "a beautiful idea that failed". This is pure mendacity.

And take it from this Canadian: so are the claims now being made in the U.S. that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill contains nothing that "shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution".

The CHRA ran roughshod over Canada's Constitution for 27 years, while our Parliament and judiciary yawned.

The purpose of the CHRA was secret but obvious. It was to kill politics in Canada. And in that it succeeded.

Canada may have the highest immigration rate in the world, but this is not an issue. Canada's major cities may have been turned into simulacrums of the Third World, but this is not an issue. Quebec is the tail that wags the Canadian dog, but this is not an issue. There is little left of what we used to be, and what little that exists steadily disappears, but this is not an issue, either.

Self-censorship has become a defining Canadian characteristic. Despite Hadjis's brave decision, it is unlikely we will see a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend any time soon.

At the Lemire hearing, Commission employee Dean Steacy actually declared: "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value."

If you take anything from this essay, take this: if you pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill, freedom of speech will turn out not to be an American concept either—with all of the attendant evils that have befallen my country.

Kevin Michael Grace (send him email) testified as an expert witness before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in Citron v. Zündel . He lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and his blog, TheAmbler.com, features original commentaries.