Globe and Mail | Oct. 02, 2001 | Orest Slepokura

Thobani's Ottawa speech

The Editor:

Re: 'Fry assailed for remaining through anti-U.S. speech,' Jeff Sallot, G&M Oct. 2, 2001.

Hedy Fry says Canadians enjoy freedom of speech. Not true! A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that speech that made minorities here in Canada either look bad or feel bad was prohibited, truth being, in fact, irrelevant. A May 25, 1998 ruling includes this pertinent comment: "The objective truth of the statement is ultimately of no consequence if the subjective interpretation, by virtue of tone, social context and medium is one which 'arouses unusually strong and deep-felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification'." A ruling Fry, who seems to prefer fiction to hard facts, may easily relate to.

As for Sunera Thobani, she's fortunate that American foreign policy was the target of her wrath. Had it been some minority, she would have ended up in hot water with one or more of our human rights commissions, regardless how carefully she marshalled all her facts.

Sincerely yours,

Orest Slepokura
Strathmore AB