Friday, June 20, 2008

John Leo on Canada & Human Rights on National Review Online

Canada is getting scary. These examples of speech suppression combined with the recent court decision overturning a father's grounding of his daughter would indicate that they have crossed a line up there. Why do we pretend that the threat to free expression comes from the Right?

The human-rights tribunals are a censor’s dream. Under Canada’s human-rights act, commissioners can convict if they believe any published material is “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” Since they are “remedial” institutions and not real courts, they need not follow strict legal procedures or grant traditional rights of the accused. No one goes to prison, but the panels can fine and silence people at will — and run up the lawyer bills for years. Truth is no defense, and commissioners are authorized to confiscate a computer without a warrant. Evidence can be woefully flimsy.

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