Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heckler's Rights

Did you hear the one about the Heckling-Lesbian-Canadians who took the Crassly-Responding-Comedian-Canadian to the Human Rights Tribunal?

I'm sure nobody will ever dare make fun of them ever again, now, ever.


UPDATE: Here's the story from the Comedian-Canadian community member in question. Let us hope his appearance before the tribunal makes him richer and famouser.

"If you're an asshole, should you be arrested?"

1 Comment:

Jim Horne said...

The ruling by the BC Human Rights Tribunal in the case against Mark Steyn and Maclean’s Magazine is certain. They will be found to have contravened section 7.1 of BC Human Rights Act. No other decision can be reached. That being said, it is incumbent on Steyn and Maclean’s to appeal the decision to a court. In doing so, they will be taking the next step in a process that will end in a challenge of section 7.1 of the BC Act before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).

That section of the BC Act is similar in nature to section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. In looking at how the SCC handled that Act in CHRC vs. Taylor 1990, the court upheld, by a 4-3 margin, the constitutionality of the Act. That case revolved around telephone communication of a discriminatory nature where the defendant repeatedly refused to comply with a lawful order.

To its credit, the court raised concerns with respect to the “broad and vague ambit” of section 13.1. citing that the section is “unconditioned by any limitations of significance”. Moreover “it catches speech which may be entirely accurate and truthful; speech which merely seeks to air legitimate group grievances; speech which exposes to ridicule; speech which merely communicates...” An example citied was “handicapped people may encounter more difficulties on the job-site than persons without physical handicaps”. A truthful statement but one that could be construed to foster discrimination.

To its detriment the court failed to strike down the federal Act based on section 13.1. That was a mistake. Everything the dissenting judges warned about in CHRC vs. Taylor has come to pass. Just ask Steyn and Maclean’s. The SCC is responsible for this mess. They are the ones who have to fix it. The sooner the BC HRT ruling is appealed to the highest court the better.