Wednesday, December 3, 2008

From The Catholic Register -- Repeal Section 13 of CHRA

Deborah Gyapong has a piece in last week's Catholic Register -- "Parliament Should Repeal Hate Crimes Section in Act."

In the wake of the Moon report which, as its principle recommendation, called for the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Catholic Register joins a chorus of media outlets that have carried opinion articles and run editorials calling upon parliament to act promptly. In light of the current shenanigans on the Hill, however, it seems unlikely that such action will happen any time soon. Should the Unholy Coalition accede to power, it is unlikely that it will happen at all, notwithstanding the fact that the motion to repeal Section 13 was drafted by a Liberal M.P.

Of particular concern for Ms. Gyapong here is the case of Fr. Alphonse de Valk and Catholic Insight Magazine, whose case at the Canadian Human Rights Commission was dismissed this past summer.

For Catholic Insight editor Fr. Alphonse de Valk, who has spent more than $20,000 defending his magazine against complaints of homophobia for articles consistent with Catholic teaching, the recommendation is good news.

“I’m all in favour of that,” he said.

“This is one more voice saying that the human rights commission should not be in the business of censoring people,” said Catholic Civil Rights League executive director Joanne McGarry. “Hate speech should be reserved for extreme cases focused around incitement to violence and they should be handled by the courts and not by human rights tribunals.”

But both de Valk and McGarry say they are disappointed the government has no plans for immediate action. Instead of turning this report over to Parliament, the commission has launched a consultation process, with a final report expected in mid-2009.

And, as Gyapong reminds readers, it's not necessarily over for Fr. de Valk just yet.

Though the rights’ commission eventually dismissed the complaints against Catholic Insight last June after an expensive process, the complainant has appealed to a higher court. De Valk said his lawyer has recommended he continue to defend the magazine on appeal because he doubts the commission will defend its decision. This means thousands more in legal fees.

Federal and provincial rights commission’s have engaged in prosecuting Christian expression for decades, from mayors being forced to proclaim Gay Pride Days in the 1990s to Henry’s complaints in 2005.

As Ezra Levant has insisted repeatedly over the past year, dismissals in such cases may be moot. The process is the punishment. And as for the chances of reform? With an N.D.P. Minister of Justice? F'get about it.

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