Connie Fournier on the fall of ‘Section 13’

Connie and Mark Fournier are the founders and operators of Free Dominion, Canada’s first and best known ‘little c’ conservative discussion forum.  As such, they have been in the forefront of the battles for freedom of speech and against ‘Section 13’ of the Human Rights Code, which criminilizes any speech which might, potentially, hurt someone’s feelings.

Of course, as per ‘Xanthippa’s first law of human dynamics’ (any rule and/or law will, eventually, be pushed to its extreme and abused/applied in ways the drafters never imagined), ‘Section 13’ became abused, had 100% conviction rate, and ‘truth’ was no defense….

Alas, passing laws is much easier than repealing them, which is why it took so long, and was such a difficult battle.

And the Fourniers were in the thick of it:  Dr. Michael Geist, in his ‘Milestones in 2012 from A to Z, even named ‘F’ is for ‘Free Dominion’!

It is natural, therefore, that I sought an interview with Connie Fournier on the occasion of the fall of ‘Section 13’.  Connie graciously agreed.  Here is the interview:

Q: How did you feel when you heard that Bill C-304, which strikes down the infamous ‘Section 13’, had passed the final reading in the Senate and received Royal Assent, making it a law?
A:  We are just talking about how both of us are having a hard time believing it is real.  We have fought against Section 13 so hard for so long that it is hard to believe that we actually won!  Obviously, though, we are ecstatic.

Q: What impact do you think this will make on the political discussion in Canada?
A:  We are hoping that it will make people less afraid to discuss controversial issues.  We have always believed that the best way for Canadians to deal with their differences is for them to be able to discuss them openly.  When you have a potential legal threat hanging over your head if someone decides your words are capable of making someone uncomfortable, it has a major chilling effect on discussion…especially political discussion, which is heated at the best of times.  When you add to that the effect of having a third party starting these actions as his own personal crusade, you have real problems.
Q: Do you think that your legal situation will be impacted by this and if so, how?
A:  When it comes to the defamation suits that Richard Warman has filed against us, this is very important.  When someone claims damages for defamation, they have to demonstrate that they had a good reputation that was unfairly damaged as a result of the words of the defendents.  In this case, the plaintiff’s actions have now directly resulted in two governments (the Federal government and the BC government) having to enact legislation to protect the public from him. (BC Libraries and Bill C-304…I can provide more info if you need it)  This is a direct reflection on his reputation.

Q: Do you think this will lead to eventual de-funding and/or dismantling of the quasi-judicial Human Rights Commissions/Tribunals in favour of trials in real courts with proper legal procedures?
A:  I wouldn’t be surprised if this resulted in such a move.  Hopefully the first thing that will happen, though, is for provincial HRCs to follow suit and repeal their own versions of Section 13.

Q: Anything else you’d like to say on the topic?
A:  The defenders of censorship are wailing that the repeal of Section 13 will result in an explosion of hatred around the country.  I think it is good to note that Section 13 cases have been stayed since the Hadjis decision, and this threat has not materialized.  Canadians are polite and decent people and we are quite capable of dealing with the handful of internet racists among us by out-arguing them.  We do not need CHRC employees to snoop around our sites or, worse, post hateful messages as “bait”.  We are very thankful to Brian Storseth for putting forward a private member’s bill that acknowledges that Canadians are reasonable and intelligent adults.
Thanks to Connie for her words and just a reminder that this battle that Mark and Connie Fournier are fighting is on the behalf of all of us – and that legal fees are costly.  There will be a fund-raising BBQ for the Fournier’s legal expenses on July 21st, 2013.  Come out and show your support for freedom of speech!


Ezra Levant on the fall of ‘Section 13’

Ezra Levant knows first hand how ‘Section 13’ can – and does – get abused.  Here he is, with Chris Shaffer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, discussing the issue:

(Sorry – I can’t seem to figure out how to embed the video from this source – please, do follow the link:

As they say – this is just the Federal version – and there are a lot of Provincial versions of this law out there.  So, this is not the end of the road, just a first baby step in the right direction!



Breaking news: Section 13 of Canada’s Human Right’s Code is officially dead!!!

Thanks to BlazingCatfur for this tip (I am shamelessly copying his post – keep checking there often, he’ll have updates:

A long battle but section 13 is dead

As I write this I am still only being updated by text message on the proceedings in the Senate chamber but I am told Bill C-304 has passed third reading and will receive Royal Assent tonight making it law.

What does this bill do?

There are a number of amendments to the act that help limit abuse but the main one is this:

2. Section 13 of the Act is repealed.

A time to celebrate!!!

Surf Without Surveillance: Tor’s Karen Reilly

Walter E Williams – Social Justice vs Self Ownership

From first principles, there can be no other conclusion that non-voluntary taxation/deprivation of any individual of the fruits of their labour (i.e. violating their property rights) is, in fact, a form of slavery.

Let’s not forget that under the feudal system of serfdom, at the beginning, the workload required of the serf was relatively light:  for example, in Poland, it was 1/2 day per week of labour per adult serf.  But, as time went on, this amount kept creeping up and up, until, between the work required of the serfs for their lord and the Church, all adults and children laboured 6 days a week, from sundown to sunset.

With the growth of our government, forced taxation will inevitably lead to the same level of oppression!

Oh, you say, but we have more personal freedom than serfs ever did.

Perhaps, for now.

After all, the lord could control who may or may not travel (no fly list, anyone? … try to cross a border without a passport), the guilds controlled strictly who may or may not practice which trade (try practicing a trade without a license now – under Ontario’s new regulations, you may not even cut another person’s hair without first being accredited by and paying license fees to the government) and you could only live where your lord permitted you to (try building a house on your own property in Ontario – good luck!)

Worth a thought, isn’t it…

EFF Sues NSA, DOJ Over Secret Surveillance Program

While on the topic, the Western Center for Journalism asks if, perhaps, some of this NSA-collected material might have been used to influence Chief Justice Roberts to change his vote at the last minute on Obamacare.

And if you still cling to the foolish and long debunked ‘I have nothing to hide, so I have nothing to worry about’ fallacy, please, consider the following book:  Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent by Harvey Silverglate.  Here is an excerpt from a review of the book:

‘The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior.’

After all, Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old student, faced 2 felony charges of bomb-making and was to be tried as an adult for a school science-experiment that produced a ‘pop’, in which nobody was hurt and no damage happened – only popular outcry forced the authorities to eventually drop the charges.

And, of course, who can forget why ‘the authorities’ kept such a concise log on citizens’ activities in Fahrenheit 451!  If they could not catch the real culprit, an early-morning dog-walker would be a suitable substitute…  (Yes, it is since having read this book in English that I cannot bring myself to use the word ‘fireman’ and instead use ‘fire-fighter’.)

And, if you think that ‘just’ collecting metadata does not tell ‘the regime’ a lot about you, please, consider this interesting, humorously written article which graphically demonstrates how the analysis of metadata would have helped identify and ‘neutralize’ Paul Revere.

P.S.  In the above video, they say that when the EFF asked the US government to clarify how they were interpreting the laws, they were told the answer was ‘classified’.  Consider the implications of that!  How can you possibly follow the laws if you are not permitted to know how the government will enforce them?  Do you still think you have ‘nothing to hide’?!?!?

Learn Liberty: “A Professor’s Argument for Same-Sex Marriage”

As today happens to be my 23rd anniversary, I think this video is well timed:

Daniel Hannant: Immigration policy has broken away from public opinion


A silver bullet to fight bacteria?

Well, almost…

‘Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver. The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years — Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc — but how it works has been a mystery. Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance. The work is published today in Science Translational Medicine1.’

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June 22, 2013 – Help Measure the Size of the Earth