Free speech in Canada: a commission of enquiry

This blog is mainly about patristics and ancient history.  But any blogger must take an interest in whether he might be dragged before the courts by someone who decides to be “offended” and belongs to a legally privileged group.  It is for this reason that I link to Ezra Levant, the Canadian blogger who was attacked by the Orwellian-sounding “Human Rights Commissions” in a variety of ways that certainly violated his human rights of free speech and a fair trial. 

The same organisation has systematically harassed Christians, with the intention of “chilling” free speech.  The accusers face no costs; the victims, even if acquitted, face financial ruin: the process of ‘investigation’ is the punishment.  I won’t usually post on the continuing story – Ezra does that every day very ably.  But the same tendency exists everywhere.

Canada’s politicians have been slow to act.  But an inquiry into the functioning of these  bodies has begun.  The unfortunately named Mark Steyn — does no-one read Vanity Fair any more? — has been another victim, and was asked to address the inquiry.  A summary of it is here.

My attention was caught by this section:

…every time you have someone like Haroun Siddiqui at the Toronto Star saying that it’s all about striking a balance and all the rest of it, every time that someone tiptoes down that primrose path, it leads only to tyranny. If you don’t believe in free speech for people you hate, you loathe, you revile, you don’t believe in free speech at all. …

The Tribunal, I think, needs to be brought within the codes and conventions of this country’s legal system. At the moment, it upends them. The burden of proof ought to be on the accuser. The accuser should not be allowed unlimited funds to frivolously torment people for no reason, beggaring them for something that serves no public purpose.

We need to be aware of the concerted attempt across the world to stifle freedom of speech, to make it risky to say anything that might offend those with power.   We need to resist.


11 thoughts on “Free speech in Canada: a commission of enquiry

  1. To answer your question:

    ‘Read? What is this thing called ‘read’?’

    Your quaint conceit that the populace reads at all, let alone reads from the well of forgotten and dead white male literature marks you as a member of a dying breed, an elitist, a churl standing athwart historical change croaking ‘Stop!’

    (or should that be ‘Marq’s you out’?)

  2. Interesting. In South Africa (Dutch and English roots) Steyn is pronounced “Stain” while in the USA and much of Europe it’s “Stein”.

  3. It is no longer the Canadian way to “resist” but to bow one’s head to the PC yoke while our chattering classes celebrate diversity that is anything but.

    Diversity of thought is under withering attack by academia and the media, social ostracism and the kangaroo courts misnamed Human Rights Commissions while diversity of externals (skin color, multi-cultures) is substituted.

    Our carefully indoctrinated youth do not know the difference.

  4. Mallard: let us not mistake the clamour of those who control access to the media for anything but the silly opinions of an effete few. In the real world people do as they have always done, and read what has real value for them. The attack upon culture is real; but ephemeral. A foolish and barbaric Merovingian king may hear that a Roman emperor invented new letters for the alphabet, and demand that his clerks do the same and destroy all books that do not use them. But he will die, and his obscurantism with him. While English is spoken, the English classics will remain, and will be loved.

  5. Does not every revolution believe that it can indoctrinate the youth? In fact, don’t the youths grow up uninterested in that revolution, and more interested in girls and pop music? Thus is the gap between generations an anti-septic for our societies.

    This is really just the last gasp of the selfish generation. Those of us in the next generation don’t believe in any of this.

  6. I am sure that Mark Steyn pronounces his name like stine, rhymes with mine, like Frankenstein, because I have often listened to his weekly Thursday radio interviews with Hugh Hewitt on, and that’s how Hugh pronounces it without ever being corrected. Hugh even says it, like, a dozen times during every interview, so that people just-tuning-in will know who is being interviewed.

  7. I thought that was what I said but maybe there’s more than one pronounciation for “stein” as in “stein of berr” which I’ve always heard said as “stine” – everywhere.

  8. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Mark Steyn in Massachusetts and I can confirm that he readily answers to ‘Stine’ – although in Jo’burg, he might equally hear, and respond to, ‘stain.’

    And Roger, I would hope that among the clawbacks the rising generation will inevitably (as you say, would that it be so) perpetrate, before continuing into the cycle of senescence, will be a reclamation of the common contemporary meaning of word ‘liberal,’ which I regret has become distorted into its opposite. In fact I would hope that the more general use of precision in language returns to be seen as it once was, as a mark of personal power, as befits those who correctly see their position in the Universe, a temporary station granted by the Almighty between insensate beastlihood and aspiration to the knowledge of God.

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