Canada’s Holy Inquisition

Posted by Mark Steyn -

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Speaking to the House of Commons committee hearings on Canada’s “human rights” commissions, Professor Martin of the University of Western Ontario gave a remarkable presentation on what he calls their “horrifying record”. You can listen to the audio here – it’s apparently too strong meat to let the citizenry see the video. You won’t want to miss it.

Among its other notable features, it marks the latest stage in the denormalization of Richard Warman, former Canadian “Human Rights” Commission employee, victorious plaintiff on every Section 13 prosecution since 2002 and the country’s most prominent Internet Nazi. Professor Martin calls him “the utterly odious Richard Warman” – and even brings up the Anne Cools post, as Senator Cools happens to be a friend of the professor.

Section 13, the CHRC and its Chief Commissar shame Canada, and they will not endure. In his previous incarnation as BBC late-night host twittering with leftie novelists into the small hours about freedom of expression, Michael Ignatieff would have been the first to say so. I’m confident his old pals Rushdie, Hitchens and Amis will eventually remind him of what he knows to be true.

[UPDATE: I like this line in response to a Liberal questioner: “Life in a democracy requires robust citizens.” The Grit questions are as one might expect: tendentious, emotive, and boasting of their PC bona fides.]

[UPDATE 2: Gotta love this question from Mr Hiebert: “In the example of Senator Cools, I have to ask: Do you believe that she should have access to some form of legislation or prosecutorial avenue to prevent people like Mr Warman from making the comments that he did about her on the Internet?”

And there it is, folks: In Hansard, in the official Parliamentary record, for all eternity.

Professor Martin’s response: “She does not want to soil herself by getting into a tussle with vermin like this [Mr Warman].” On the other hand, he is in favour of “a public hanging of Richard Warman”.]

[UPDATE 3: The committee chairman: “I assume it’s a reference to her race that begins with the letter ‘n’.” Mr Warman came this close to getting it read into the record.]

[IN SUMMARY: I yield to no one in my contempt for Richard Warman, and I’m all for getting his activities into Hansard, but I think the Professor’s friendship with Senator Cools led him slightly off-track at times. It was a good presentation on overall philosophy and the law and in response to Liberal questions, but he got muddled up on some of the specifics of the HRC cases. Very good on the “odious” Taylor – the first Canadian to be imprisoned for his opinions since the 1930s.]

[UPDATE TO THE “IN SUMMARY” UPDATE: Mark Bourrie, whom I met at the Prime Minister’s garden party last year, writes:

You might want to change that last line in your Thursday piece, the one that says Taylor was the last person imprisoned in Canada for their beliefs since the 1930s. I’d move the date to the summer of 1940, when the odiuos mayor of Montreal, Camillien Houde, was carted off to Petawawa under the War Measures Act for telling a press conference that he would not allow the feds to use Montreal City Hall or any other city property for manpower/draft registration. Cops came for Houde the next day and he spent four years locked up.

There were a few other small Commie and Nazi-wannabe fish picked up during the war, but you’re most likely to hear about Houde. While corpulent, corrupt, disloyal and stupid, Houde was almost certainly not an agent of an enemy power. (The War Measures Act contained provisions for punishing people who discouraged recruitment, which was Houde’s offence.)

BTW, Montreal voters put him back in office as quickly as they could. He was re-elected in 1944.

Actually, the line about “the first Canadian to be imprisoned for his opinions since the 1930s” came from Professor Martin’s testimony, but Mr Bourrie has done extensive research into this subject, so I’m inclined to let him have the last word. I would add, however, that there is clearly a difference between the senior executive of a major city refusing the national government in wartime and an obscure private citizen running a recorded telephone message service out of his basement to a miniscule number of nobodies. In fact, if you look at who the CHRC chooses to torment and those from whom it backs away, it becomes clearer that it’s a exercise in pure state power rather than anything to do with human rights – which should, of course, be a protection against arbitrary and whimsical state power.] 

Lynch the context          
It looks like the quickest way to destroy Canada’s “human rights” regime would be to have Jennifer Lynch, QC (Queen of Comedy) give a speech defending it once a week. Adding to the Mount Logan of ridicule is Tyranny Of Nice author Pete Vere:

Jennifer, if Canadians have a poor perception of Canada’s human rights racket, it’s because the commissions’ white overlords like you are disconnected from the context of the discussion, as well as from average Canadians and what they value.

His co-writer Kathy Shaidle on Commissar Lynch’s complaint that we’re chilling her free speech:

Lynch reveals that the bullies on her staff are, like all bullies, really just cowards — and completely unable to detect irony…

Dr Roy:

She can’t even accept the recommendations of the hrc friendly Moon report. She reverts to calling her critics “far right”… The people who run these organizations are way too dangerous to give them power over the lives of ordinary Canadians.

The incendiary feline:

Newspapers across the country, both major and minor have written numerous editorials explaining the need to abolish Section 13 (1)… Two successful books have been penned calling for an end to the rule of the HRC’s soft-fascists…

Civil rights icons such as Alan Borovoy have come out against the odious Section 13(1). Senator Jerry Grafstein again an early proponent of the HRC concept is on record as stating that these public institutions have been hijacked by extremists.

The CHRC’s own hand picked man, Richard Moon has told Jennifer Lynch to get out of the censorship business. Yet Queen Jennifer dismisses her critics with a wave of her Imperial Hand.

From our leftie chums at (gulp) the Daily Kos:

The thinking of Lynch is almost beyond my ability to mock.

Indeed. There are no defenders of this racket except those who, directly or indirectly, are living high off the “human rights” hog. Finally, birthday gal Deborah Gyapong:

The “scare quotes” around “shared values” is what this crew thinks of our Western heritage folks, the same heritage that brought us freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience. It is a heritage that is mindful of the dangers of tyranny and sought to limit the powers of the state. The relativistic, multicult mindset, reeking of identity politics, is a cancer eating away at real civil rights. AND WE’RE PAYING FOR THIS WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS.

Jennifer Lynch is an impeccably respectable person garlanded with the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and every other bauble the Canadian state can confer. Why? In her public utterances and in the work of her commission, she embodies a direct assault on Canada’s liberty and inheritance. There are all kinds of totalitarian impulses abroad today – in the Middle East, in Europe and elsewhere – but, even by these grim standards, can’t Canada come up with something better than a totalitarianism of halfwits?