Sunday, January 13, 2008

Freedom of Speech in Canada Under Attack (again)

A publisher I happen to know was recently called to the Canadian Human Rights Commission to answer for his actions to publish something that someone found offensive. There are three videos available of his testimony. I’d suggest watching them in order though the first and third are particularly impressive.

While I hope not to offend anyone… the fact remains that as North Americans we have the absolute right to publish our opinions in print and online and NOT be questioned by our governments. It’s perfectly legal for me to say “All blue eyed people are inherently dumb.” It’s not ok to incite someone to inflict violence on another. “Kill all blue eyed people.” But the latest thing to do – at least in Canada – is to complain to the HRC and cause the person you don’t like to have to jump through legal hoops at their expense. If you listen to the first video you’ll hear the publishers comments about the Human Rights Commission and how its intent was to be the ones standing up for people who had deeds committed against them (not allowed to rent an apartment because they are Chinese, fired for their religions beliefs…) but it has now become the place where complaints that don’t stand up in a court of law go to be heard.

1 comment:

Carolyn Erickson said...

Freedom of speech rocks. Thanks for pointing this out to us.

I tagged you at Tell us what 3 things make for good, powerful writing.