I want to second what Ezra Levant has said. Something has gone badly wrong in the Canadian state's conception of human rights. Until last month section 13 had a 100% conviction rate. Even Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il understood that you don't want to make the racket look too obvious.
Under section 13, citizens are subject to lifetime speech bans--not in the Soviet Union, not in Saudi Arabia, but in Canada. Section 13 prosecutes not crimes but pre-crimes, crimes that have not yet taken place. The phrase “pre-crime”, by the way, comes from a dystopian science fiction story written by Philip K. Dick in 1956. Half a century later, in one of the oldest, most stable democratic societies on the planet, we're living it. Until Maclean's magazine and I intervened last year, the section 13 trial of Marc Lemire was due to be held in secret—secret trials, not in Beijing or Tehran, but here in Ottawa. It is not the job of either Maclean's magazine or me to demand that in this country trials cannot be held in secret. That is the job of you and your colleagues and this Parliament.
Section 13 is at odds with this country's entire legal inheritance, stretching back to Magna Carta. Back then, if you recall--in 1215--human rights meant that the king could be restrained by his subjects. Eight hundred years later, Canada's pseudo-human rights apparatchiks of the commission have entirely inverted that proposition, and human rights now means that the subjects get restrained by the crown in the cause of so-called collective rights that can be regulated only by the state.
I would like to cite an eminent scholar in the field:
...collective rights without individual ones end up in tyranny. Moreover, rights inflation--the tendency to define anything desirable as a right--ends up eroding the legitimacy of a defensible core of rights. ...the right to freedom of speech is not...a lapidary bourgeois luxury, but the precondition for having any other rights at all.
Those are the words of the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, in his thoughtful book, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Ignatieff that freedom of speech is the bedrock through which all others are secured, and I reject the Human Rights Commission's assault on it.
Section 13 is deeply destructive. There are some 33 million people in Canada, yet as Ezra pointed out, one individual citizen has his name on every section 13 prosecution since 2002. I'm sure some of you are familiar with Matthew Hopkins, who in 1645 appointed himself England's witch-finder general and went around the country hunting down witches and turning them in for the price of one pound per witch. In 2002 Richard Warman appointed himself Canada's hate-finder general and went around the Internet hunting down so-called haters and turning them in for lucrative tax-free sums amounting to many thousands of dollars. Hate-finder Warman and his enablers at the commission abused the extremely narrow constitutional approval given to section 13 by the Supreme Court in the Taylor decision and instead turned it into a personal inquisition for himself and his pals.
Abolish section 13, and life in Canada would be affected not one jot, except that Mr. Warman, Dean Stacey, and the other rogue civil servants would have to write their anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist website ravings on their own dime.
Let me take the most recent example of a section 13 conviction. The sole charge on which Marc Lemire was found guilty a month ago was for a post that appeared at his website, written by somebody else. That piece was read by a grand total of just eight people in the whole of Canada, which works out to 0.8 of a Canadian per province, or if you include territories, 0.6153 of a Canadian. And almost all those 0.6153s of a Canadian going to this website and reading this piece were Richard Warman and his fellow dress-up Nazis at the Human Rights Commission, salivating at the prospect of having found another witch to provide more bounty.
In other words, no one in Canada saw this post. No one in Canada read it. Nothing could be less “likely to expose” anyone to hatred or contempt than an unread post at an unread website. Yet Canadian taxpayers paid for Jennifer Lynch and the Nazi fetishists at the commission to investigate this unread bit of nothing for six years.
In the course of securing this itsy-bitsy single conviction, these psychologically disturbed employees of the Human Rights Commission wrote and distributed far more hate speech of their own. As the recent rulings of Judge Lustig and Judge Hadjis confirm, there is no justification for what Richard Warman and the CHRC did.
This is the sad truth about this disgusting agency at the beginning of the 21st century. There would be less hate speech in Canada--less hate speech--if taxpayers did not have to pay CHRC employees to go around writing it and publishing it.
Sometimes institutions do things that are so atrocious they cannot be reformed. They can only have the relevant powers removed, as happened to the RCMP in intelligence matters, or be abolished outright, as happened to a Canadian regiment not so long ago. The Canadian Human Rights Commission should not be more insulated from accountability and responsibility for its actions than the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Canadian Forces.
I call on this Parliament to assert its oversight role and to compel a full inquiry into the commission, its investigators, their membership of Nazi websites, their conflicts of interest, their contamination of evidence, and their relationship with Richard Warman.
Section 13's underlying philosophy is incompatible with a free society. Its effect is entirely irrelevant to the queen's peace, and its use by agents of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has been corrupted and diseased beyond salvation. It is time for the people's representatives in the House of Commons to defend real human rights and end this grotesque spectacle.