For those of you not following the Canadian struggle for free speech, this letter, which I emailed my Member of Parliament today, may seem a little confusing. Here is a REALLY quick recap:
In order to provide disadvanteged groups easy and affordable access to legal protection agains illegal discrimination, Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) were established several decades ago: one federal (Canadian, or CHRC) and one for each province. These HRCs have, lately, been interpreting their mandate in unforseen ways, asserting that any speech which ‘potentially could’ have negative impact on individuals or groups because of their race, creed, disablitiy, and other reasons, must be censored and that this censorship overrules any rights of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of thought.
Many individuals, and some media organizations, have been going through several years long legal battles in their defense of their inalienable rights. Even the very people who originally created the HRCs have been apalled at the misuse of their powers in recent years… What is even worse, recently released tribunal transcripts contain admissions by some HRC employees which suggest that in their zeal to pursue (and entrap) people whom they are investigating, criminal laws are being violated. That is a serious matter, because no government agency should be allowed to break laws in order to enforce laws…
Dear Mr. [MP],
Thank you for your kind reply, in which you say you will direct my concern over the HRCs and their actions directly to the Minister of Justice. It arrived at about the same time as the Minister of Justice made his position on this situation known….
How unfortunate that the official Government position is based on a brief by Mr. Tsesis, who is not regarded highly among the experts in this area and whose disregard for supportable facts required to assess causality can clearly be seen in the document he produced.
For example, Mr. Tsesis claims: “[Hitler fomented] a mass delusion that Jews were responsible for bad times, and as a result, a Holocaust could be perpetrated against them without general opposition.” This displays blatant ignorance of (or disregard for) the fact that during the 1930’s, Germany did indeed have ‘hate speech’ laws, which (ironically?) were almost identical to those we have in Canada today! Jewish leaders in Germany in the 1930’s expressed satisfaction with the protections from persecution which they and their community received under these ‘hate speech’ laws.
Since ‘hate speech’ laws were present in Germany of the 1930, proposing (as Mr. Tsesis does) that our current ‘hate speech’ laws are the one tool necessary to prevent another Holocaust-like event is an error of judgment at best, intentionally misleading at worst. Either way, it clearly demonstrates the unsoundness of the conclusions in this document. Basing our national Justice policy on it would be ill advised.
How embarrassing for our Government, to reveal that this is indeed its intention! How embarrassing for our Minister of Justice!
Yet, my original comment was not intended to request a simple review of the policies of the Human Rights Commissions by the Government. It is essential that the Government maintain its ‘arm’s length’ distance from judicial and quasi-judicial bodies. That should not change.
The HRCs answer directly to the Parliament of Canada. It is essential that the Parliament of Canada ensures that bodies such as the HRCs do indeed perform the tasks for which they had been created, and that they conduct themselves in accordance with the laws of Canada, the very laws they were created to uphold!
There is a widespread perception among the citizens of Canada that employees of these commissions may have broken criminal laws of Canada while performing investigations on behalf of the HRCs. This perception is largely based on the information in legal documents, transcripts of hearings from the HRCs themselves. These statements were given under oath, and in them an employee of the Canadian Human Rights Commission describes actions he took while acting on behalf of the HRC which appear to be a clear and direct breech of the criminal laws of Canada, as well as a blatant breech of the very ‘hate speech’ laws the CHRC was created to uphold.
It is not, and must never become, tolerable for an Agent of the State to break the laws of the State while acting on behalf of the State. In order to assure the integrity of our governance structures, it is essential that a full criminal investigation be launched immediately, to determine whether laws were indeed broken, or not.
If it is found that criminal laws were broken, a further in-depth investigation will be required to determine whether some rogue employees broke criminal laws on their own, or if the policies of this public institutions are the root causes of criminal behaviour by its employees – in which case, a full evaluation of all the procedures and methodologies of the HRCs would need to be done. If a criminal investigation determines that laws were indeed broken, laying criminal charges will be required against every employee who broke our laws as well as against all supervisory personnel (currently or in the past employed by the HRC’s), who, through ignorance or complicity, allowed this illegal behaviour within their department to take place.
If the perception that criminal laws are being broken at the HRCs is erroneous, it is important that we, the citizens of Canada, see them exonerated, so that we may again place our trust in our government agencies and institutions.
This determination cannot be made without a full criminal investigation of the HRCs, their procedures, methodologies and practices, as well as of the conduct all of its employees, past and present. Therefore, I ask that you, Mr. Poilievre, as my Member of Parliament to which the HRCs report directly, channel your efforts and energies to launching a full and thorough investigation into this whole mess.