To Jonathan Kay | 30Mar2008 | Wallace Klinck
Having read your item "A disaster for Canada's Human Rights Commission" in the 28Mar2008 issue of the National Post, I wish to commend you for your harsh criticism of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission and for identifying this institution and the personnel operating them as what they are: "Canada's human-rights censors." Anyone educated in the strategy of Bolshevik revolution would know immediately the purpose, intent and expected conduct of such extra-legal and unconstitutional bodies. Indeed, years ago when they were being proposed I composed a letter which was published in Alberta Report warning that if such obvious political kangaroo "courts" were ever instituted we would need the help of God to extract ourselves from their totalitarian clutches.
It is sad commentary on the corrupt nature of the political process and the integrity of the legal profession and media that such criminal activities have been ignored for so long. And I am afraid that claims by certain advocates and promoters of these Tribunals that they have evolved into unexpected activities does not wash with me. I give these people credit for enough intelligence that they could not help but be aware of the potential for repression which such extra-legal, illegal and unconstitutional bodies posed. They are almost identical in form and procedure with the Bolshevik "Peoples" Courts where the poor victims' fate was pre-decided and determined for purely political reasons. In short, I believe that these bodies are seditious in nature and should be investigated from that standpoint.
Our historic free society cannot function or exist in any meaningful way without the open and unrestricted flow of ideas, opinions and information, not for some but for all. If any legal action is warranted with regard to speech surely it should be directed against those who would conspire to deprive their fellow citizens of it.
As a free citizen I do not need, and will not tolerate, any arrogant body puffed up with an exaggerated sense of self-importance and claiming omniscience and moral infallibility, dictating my thought processes. Governments are to listen to electors -- not dictate to them. History shows that government monopoly of information is the most dangerous of all forms of opinion-making.
I do not think you enhance your case, though, by the element of gratuitous and unsubstantiated labeling of people as "hate mongers," "phobic", "neo-Nazi," etc. "Hate" is an emotional word employed for obvious political strategy and is a very subjective term. I can run into a room full of people and shout "purple" and be faced with everything from strong approval to outright condemnation, from puzzlement to hilarity. People who have an opinion should be accorded the courtesy of being heard and their audience should be accorded the right to hear and analyze their statements. Those who are obviously unreasoning or even rabid are not likely to retain much of an audience. If individuals cannot to be allowed freedom to communicate openly and unrestricted then the whole concept of a free and "democratic" society and the worth of the individual is just a myth and the notion justifying autocratic rule by an authoritarian elite is obviously admitted. Personally, I do not need anyone telling me what to think and subscribe to the idea that experts are to be on tap -- not on top.
In any case, I do appreciate your coming forward to condemn the activities and mind-set of these monstrosities which we in Canada have wrought in the form of pseudo Human "Rights" Commissions and I hope that you and others of like mind will not rest until they are eliminated and we can return to a civilized society based on our historic values of Christian love, realistic British common law and Constitutional principles.
The present atmosphere of totalitarian legalism is intolerable and unacceptable. I wonder where the Governor-General is under these circumstances. I thought she or he was obligated to protect the Monarch and the rights of the people enshrined in the common law Constitution from abuses by the politicians or Government of the day. I cannot fathom how any Member of Parliament can look his or her electors in the eye knowing that these outrageous and abuses have, with their leave, for so long been visited upon the People of Canada. Enough is already too much.
Obviously the price of freedom is, indeed, eternal vigilance. If Canadians willingly tolerate these blatant HRC abuses of their fundamental freedoms then surely they have forfeit their rights to them and deserve their inevitable fate.
Without belaboring the point further, I attach a PDF file which contains additional information on the question of freedom of speech, expression and the right to hear and formulate personal conclusions. The content of the file should be more or less self-evident, requiring, I would think, little further comment.
Wallace M. Klinck
Earlier this week, I argued that Canada's human-rights censors have managed a seemingly impossible task: They've found a way to rehabilitate the image of neo-Nazis, transforming them from odious dirtbags into principled free-speech martyrs. Case in point: At this week's much-anticipated human-rights hearing in Ottawa, a team of journalists and bloggers were campaigning openly in support of hatemonger Marc Lemire. The villains were Canadian Human Rights Commission (HRC) investigator Dean Steacy and the other apparatchik who've made a career out of parsing Lemire's phobic Web postings.
Tuesday's hearing probably won't change the outcome of the case against Lemire: Like a five-star hotel that guarantees its guests full satisfaction, the HRC provides handpicked complainants with a 100% success rate on hate-speech cases. Better than that: The commission actually lets certain complainants waltz into its Ottawa facilities to fiddle with the online evidence-gathering. As Ezra Levant writes on his blog: "If this were a real investigation of a real crime with real police, and the alleged 'victim' were to walk right into the crime lab, hop on the officers' computers, and poke around the evidence, a judge wouldn't have to throw the case out -- prosecutors would be too embarrassed to even bring the case to trial. Not so at the commission."
But even if the HRC nails Lemire, Tuesday's eight-hour hearing will still be remembered as a landmark disaster for the commission. Despite efforts by Steacy and others to stonewall on specific questions of HRC procedure, observers were nonetheless able to extract a fairly detailed picture of commission work practices. The impression that emerges is an overstaffed shop in which unionized desk jockeys sit around "investigating" obscure web sites in search of some scrap of actionable hatred. When they don't find anything, they log on and try stirring things up themselves -- a practice Lemire describes as entrapment. This amateurhour version of The Wire would be funny -- if the HRC weren't spending millions of taxpayer dollars in the process, and turning the lives of the accused upside down.
I don't have any problem with the government running electronic surveillance on, say, drug gangs or terror suspects -- or even hatemongers, if there's proof that they're engaged in actual violence. But of course, that involves showing probable cause, and getting a judge to issue a warrant. HRC types have no time for that sort of due process. Nor, in fact, do they have any real legal training.
In fact, for an organization that is supposed to promote "human rights," the HRC's agents seem curiously oblivious to basic aspects of constitutional law. In one famous exchange during the Lemire case, Steacy was asked "What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?" -- to which he replied "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." (I guess Section 2 has been excised from his copy of the Canadian Charter of Rights.)
Privacy is another concept that the HRC seems to find confusing. The most scandalous disclosure to emerge on Tuesday involved the manner by which investigators logged on to Lemire's Web site. In what appears to be a ham-fisted attempt to avoid revealing the commission's IP address, they tapped into the unsecured wi-fi router of a 26-year-old Ottawa woman who lived near the Commission's 344 Slater St. headquarters. At Tuesday's hearing, a Bell Canada employee read out the woman's name, address and phone number to shocked audience members. A National Post reporter contacted the woman and found that she'd never heard of Lemire, Steacy, or his investigations. Unless she is secretly working undercover for Steacy, it appears that the commission cynically invaded the privacy of an innocent citizen in order to pursue an obscure Web-trawling vendetta; and then caused her name to be read out to the Canadian public, thereby identifying her as an unwitting conduit to neo-Nazi Web sites. One likes to imagine that the privacy commissioner will be having a chat with Dean et al. in coming days.
This is the beginning of the end for Section 13.1 of the Human Rights Act, the legislation that (nominally) mandates this kind of hate-speech fishing expedition. For years, Canadians have averted their eyes to the shenanigans going on at our nation's human-rights commissions under the theory that any means used toward such a noble end as "human rights" must somehow be justified. What we saw this week turns that conceit into a pathetic joke.
Marc Lemire is a former leader of Canada's neo-Nazi Heritage Front. [W.Z. As an agent-provocateur of CSIS, Grant Bristow infiltrated and helped create the Heritage Front. He urged its members to perpetrate violent actions. For further information, search the Internet for "Grant Bristow, Heritage Front".] He helped distribute flyers informing Canadians that "Immigration can kill you." On the internet he acts as webmaster for a variety of anti-Semitic organizations.
In short, he is a bigot -- a poster-boy for all those who claim that racism is still alive and well in modern Canada.
But when Lemire faces off against representatives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (HRC) later today, I will be rooting for him -- and so will thousands of other Canadians who are otherwise contemptuous of Lemire's way of thinking. It may seem impossible that decent, ordinary people could be convinced to take the side of an alleged neo-Nazi. Yet, somehow, Canada's "human rights" establishment has managed the task.
There is only one way to get people to support a despised outcast such as Lemire -- and that is to turn him into a martyr for a larger principle -- in this case, the principle that Canadians should be able to express themselves without subjecting their opinions to the judgment of heresy-sniffing bureaucrats. At today's hearing, Lemire will be interrogating two HRC employees who are investigating whether he violated Section 13.1 of the Human Rights Act, which prohibits Canadians from electronically communicating "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of [their group identity]." As Canadian Civil Liberties Association general-counsel Alan Borovoy told National Post reporter Joseph Brean, Section 13.1 could theoretically be used to censor a book detailing widespread German complicity in the Holocaust, since such a book would be "likely to expose" Germans to hatred.
Some modest limitations on free speech can be tolerated in a free society -- libel laws, for instance, or prohibitions on speech that would actually incite imminent, lawless action. But ideological litmus tests such as Section 13.1 are never acceptable. Whether directed at "traitors," blasphemers, pacifists, communists, racists or otherwise, history shows, these tests always mushroom into full-scale censorship campaigns against enemies of the government or of its orthodoxies. The cases against Maclean's and The Western Standard were entirely predictable manifestations of this fundamental rule.
You'd think that human rights types would understand the power of empathy. A short while back, I attended a Toronto awards dinner for something called the Canadian Centre for Diversity. Out in the lobby, the organizers unfurled some of their latest public service announcements. In one, a black man intones: "I am a woman when I am confronting inequality." In another, a Chinese man says "I am a Jew when I am learning about the Holocaust." An able-bodied woman says "I am a person with special needs when I am realizing how inaccessible our world is." As Lemire goes up against the HRC, a similar set of aphorisms suggest themselves: "When the law bans obscenity, I am a pornographer. When a fatwa bans blasphemy, I am an infidel. And when a human rights commission prosecutes internet hatemongers for hate speech, I am a neo-Nazi scumbag." If Lemire and his ilk have a secret scheme to render neo-Nazis into sympathetic figures, they could conceive no better weapon than Section 13.1.
"There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness," Kafka pointed out. So it is with the campaign to eradicate hatred. The activists, NGO types, censorious government mandarins and law school profs who champion Section 13.1 declared their fealty to hyper-tolerance as a state creed many years ago, and are impatient for the rest of us to recite the same pledge of allegiance. It sickens the censors that anyone, anywhere, no matter how marginalized, entertains private thoughts at variance with their enlightened attitudes. So they create Star Chambers that make examples out of fringe kooks. They are too lazy to go out and argue these people down in the marketplace of ideas -- so they use the powers of the state to shut them up.
Not everyone is so lazy. Last week, a group of neo-Nazis called "the Aryan Guard" staged a march in Calgary. On the blogs, the hysterical carnival-barkers in the pro-censorship camp cited the march as evidence that Section 13.1 serves a desperately needed purpose. But turnout at the event tells us just the opposite: Just two dozen "Aryans" showed up. In fact, the march was dwarfed by a counterdemonstration put on by about 200 anti-racism activists. "Our message is that there's strength in numbers," said Anti-Racist Action organizer Jason Devine. "[The message is] that the community is united, that racism will not be tolerated, that it shouldn't be tolerated and that we shouldn't just turn from it."
That's exactly the right attitude. If you want to fight racism, don't hide behind the skirts of government censors. As the Lemire case shows, that is not only lazy, but counterproductive. Instead, do something about it. Despite all Marc Lemire's nauseating views, the least that can be said for him is that he is willing to fight for his ideas. It would be nice if his enemies had the same courage.