Will Free Speech Win in Canada?

This just came in from Vlad Tepes. As I write this, the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is expected in less than two hours:

Press Release

Important legal decision on the validity of the Canadian Human Rights Act to censor Internet postings and online media

Tribunal ruling on the Constitutional Challenge of Section 13 expected on Wednesday Sept 2, 2009 at 9:30am (EST)

TORONTO, September 1, 2009: The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is expected to finally release it’s ruling on the constitutional challenge of internet censorship brought by computer systems engineer Marc Lemire. In 2003 a complaint [pdf] was filed against Lemire for hosting an internet message board, where comments allegedly violated Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. None of the complained of material was written or approved by Lemire, yet he was forced to endure a six year costly legal ordeal to defend his Charter guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and expression.

As part Lemire’s defence to the allegations, he challenged Section 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act as being an unjustifiable limitation on freedom of expression and violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Attorney General of Canada (requested by Liberal Irwin Cotler — then Justice Minister) and five interested parties intervened in the case. The constitutional challenge was heard over a four year period by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

This constitutional challenge of Section 13 is the largest ever undertaken in the 32 year history of the law. During the course of the trial, evidence was brought to light that employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission actively take part in internet websites, which the CHRC has described as neo-Nazi. The RCMP also investigated the CHRC for 8 months over criminal allegations of internet and WiFi theft based on testimony in the Lemire hearing. The RCMP was forced to abandon criminal charges because the evidence led to an American website where the RCMP has no jurisdiction.

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission has been under close scrutiny since they investigated Macleans Magazine (Mark Steyn) and blogger Ezra Levant on allegations of promoting hatred and contempt against Muslims. Editorials and opinion pieces have appeared in almost every single newspaper and magazine condemning the CHRC and demanding a repeal of Section 13.

In October 2008, Prof Richard Moon, a hand-picked constitutional expert retained for over $50,000 by the CHRC, studied Section 13 and regulation of hate speech on the internet. Moon’s main recommendation was to repeal Section 13. Many organizations have publically called for an end to the censorship of CHRC. These groups include: PEN Canada, Canadian Association of Journalists, and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Over two dozen Members of Parliament have openly called for a repeal of Section 13, including Liberal MP Keith Martin, who tabled Private Members Motion M-446, which called for “subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act should be deleted from the Act:”. In 2008, the Conservative Party policy convention voted 95% in favour of withdrawing Section 13 from the Human Rights Act. Among those voting to delete Section 13 was Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Since 1977 not a single person [pdf] has ever won a Section 13 case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The Tribunal boasts a shocking 100% conviction rate, which would make dictators like North Korea’s Kim Jong Ill salivate. In order to challenge the constitutional validity of Section 13 in a real court of law, Canadian law requires that a ruling has to be made by the Tribunal first.

Decision to be released: Sept 2 at 9:30am

The decision in the matter of Richard Warman Vs. Marc Lemire will be posted to the Internet at 9:30 am (EST) on Wednesday Sept 2, 2009. A copy of the Tribunal’s decision will be immediately available on the Freedomsite website located at www.freedomsite.org. The decision will also be posted at the Tribunal’s official website www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca later in the day.

For more information, please contact, Marc Lemire: marc@lemire.com

One thought on “Will Free Speech Win in Canada?

  1. According to FreedomSite Blog


    v. Conclusion

    I have determined that Mr. Lemire contravened s. 13 of the Act in only one of the instances alleged by Mr. Warman, namely the AIDS Secrets article. However, I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter. Since a formal declaration of invalidity is not a remedy available to the Tribunal (see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. V. Ontario (Labour Relations Board), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5), I will simply refuse to apply these provisions for the purposes of the complaint against Mr. Lemire and I will not issue any remedial order against him (see Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin, 2003 SCC 54 at paras. 26-7).
    “Signed by”
    Athanasios D. Hadjis

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