Canada

Defending Canada's "Human Rights" Commissions

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Who will mourn for the beleaguered Canadian censors? Jennifer Lynch, the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, is oddly insecure in the face of criticism. In Canada's popular Globe & Mail newspaper, Lynch defends her Commission's mandate to punish Internet speech that could "expose an individual or a group of individuals to hatred or contempt" and responds to critics:

I believe critics of human-rights commissions and tribunals are manipulating information and activities around rights cases and freedom of expression to further a new agenda. This agenda posits that rights commissions and tribunals, and the attendant vigilance over all the rights and freedoms Canadians now enjoy, no longer serve a useful purpose. In this way, the debate over freedom of expression has been used as a wedge to undermine and distort our human-rights system.

How dastardly of them to…present arguments. For her part, Lynch offers an astoundingly weak justification for censorship, explaining that it's all about "balance":

Tolerance and open-mindedness are ideals to which Canadians have subscribed, and are part of the quest for equality that has come to define our country all over the world. They are the foundation of the Canadian Human Rights Act, whose promise is to give effect "to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have" without discrimination….

There is no hierarchy of rights with some rights having greater importance than others. They work together toward a common purpose.

It is up to legislators and courts to find the appropriate balance that best protects the human rights and freedoms of all citizens.

Nevermind that Lynch's job is to create that hierarchy of rights, privileging a right not to be offended over a right to free expression; that her commission has the disturbing freedom to pick and choose which vaguely-defined rights (and rights-holders) will be recognized and protected; and that free expression and a right not to be offended are fundamentally incompatible and can never be consistently "balanced." If this is the best Lynch has, she should expect many more manipulative critics with their distortions and wedge arguments in the future.

For a firsthand account from one man at the business end of Canadian human rights law enforcement, see Ezra Levant's feature in the June print edition of Reason.

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  1. Lynch defends her Commission’s mandate to punish Internet speech that could “expose an individual or a group of individuals to hatred or contempt” and responds to critics:

    I believe critics of human-rights commissions and tribunals are manipulating information and activities around rights cases and freedom of expression to further a new agenda.

    Sounds like Ms. Lynch may be exposing “critics of human-rights commissions” to contempt. Perhaps someone should report her to the tribunal.

  2. Fuck Canada, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt.

  3. @ JB

    Self-loathing Canuck?

  4. That’s Scott. He’s a dick.

  5. “…to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have…”

    This only conflicts with free speech if you presume that individuals can’t be free to do this unless they are free from the bad opinion of others, or at least free of the knowledge of the bad opinion of others.

    And if that’s the case, then freedom is impossible anyway, since there is no way for any human being to avoid the bad opinion of at least one other person.

  6. Freedom from hatred and contempt. That would be freedom from hearing others honest, but disagreeable, opinions about you or your beliefs.

    Ms. Lynch apparently just doesn’t get that whole free speech thingee. No surprise there. A whole lot of people, left and right, some well meaning, some less so, don’t understand why free expression is the most important right that a human possesses.

  7. In this way, the debate over freedom of expression has been used as a wedge to undermine and distort our human-rights system. […] Ironically, a debate about balancing rights has not itself been balanced. One can only surmise that if these critics succeed, thus would begin a broader assault on freedoms they would subordinate to absolute freedom of expression.

    Shorter version: We need a a commission to protect the rights of human rights commissions! Freedom is Slavery, etc., etc.!

  8. “Freedom from hatred and contempt” I hope that people who see that as a right are just silly and naive and don’t realize that that means that someone needs to have the authority to control people’s thoughts, or at least the expression thereof.

  9. I took a shit in Canada once.

  10. “Freedom from hatred and contempt” I hope that people who see that as a right are just silly and naive and don’t realize that that means that someone needs to have the authority to control people’s thoughts, or at least the expression thereof.

    The aim of Jessica Lynch and her ilk is italicized.

  11. “…to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have…”

    The greatest advantage of being a heterosexual, somewhat white guy is that no condescending assholes are trying to reduce you to an infant.

  12. This agenda posits that rights commissions and tribunals, and the attendant vigilance over all the rights and freedoms Canadians now enjoy, no longer serve a useful purpose.

    No, we contend that these commissions never served a useful purpose in the first place.

    -jcr

  13. Oh, and lest I forget, I must make sure to call Ms. Lynch a stupid, ham-fisted apparatchik cunt.

    -jcr

  14. Ironically, a debate about balancing rights has not itself been balanced.

    On the contrary, Ms. Lynch. You had your say, the other side had theirs. You came out looking like a petty, foolish, and above all ineffective little tyrant. Oh, and like a mouthpiece for a bunch of eleventh century theocrats.

    Sucks to lose don’t it.

    Now, all the good guys have to do, is keep it like that.

  15. It’s very nice to have the 1st Amendment here in the USA, at least until 5 justices decide to reinterpret it out of existence.

  16. Rhetoric for “please don’t fire me”.

  17. There is nothing more pathetic about contemporary Canada than its cult of civility. Besides not being a cardinal virtue, civility can interfere with fortitude, since it is often indistinguishable from cowardly conformity, which I had ample opportunity to witness in my five years of living in the true north strong and free. A lot of the antipathy towards Ezra Levant stems from a misguided sense of chivalry. Yes, he is being rude to a woman, but it takes a basket case not to see that she deserves it. Jennifer Lynch is the foremost bureaucratic bully. Fire her at once, and give him the Order of Canada. There is no other way of alleviating this national scandal.

  18. Tolerance and open-mindedness are ideals to which Canadians have subscribed,

    You vill be tolerant! You vill be open-minded! You vill! YOU VILL! OR VE VILL ARREST YOU!

  19. “Fuck Canada, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt.”

    I believe what you meant to say was:

    Yo, fuck Canada, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt.

  20. I believe what you meant to say was:

    Yo, fuck Canada, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt.

    Or was it,

    Yo, fuck Canada, ay, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, ay, and how aboot fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt, ay.

  21. Freedom from hatred and contempt. That would be freedom from hearing others honest, but disagreeable, opinions about you or your beliefs.

    And with that, Lonewacko wishes Canada had a more liberal immigration policy.

  22. //Freedom of expression is a fundamental right in Canadian society. So is the right to be treated with equality, dignity and respect//

    Thus entailing freedom from expression.

    //”It undermines the dignity and self-worth of target group members and, more generally, contributes to disharmonious relations among various racial, cultural and religious groups, as a result eroding the tolerance and open-mindedness that must flourish in a multicultural society which is committed to the idea of equality.”//

    Spinoza, Thomas Paine, and Christopher Hitchens, would be considered hate criminals in Canada for offending religious groups.

    //This agenda posits that rights commissions and tribunals, and the attendant vigilance over all the rights and freedoms Canadians now enjoy, no longer serve a useful purpose. In this way, the debate over freedom of expression has been used as a wedge to undermine and distort our human-rights system.//

    Even though said tribunals aren’t really concerned about the rights and freedoms of Canadians, closer to limiting them in the name of not offending someones religious beliefs.

    //Ironically, a debate about balancing rights has not itself been balanced. One can only surmise that if these critics succeed, thus would begin a broader assault on freedoms they would subordinate to absolute freedom of expression.//

    Such as?

    When the hell did the right to not be offended become enshrined in the Charter of Rights.

  23. EAP sez I took a shit in Canada once.

    And it grew up to be the Chief Commish of the CHRC.

  24. PFJ,

    I didn’t want to appropriate the ‘yo’.

    mark,

    Nope, I’m an American. A Canadian might face jail if he used those words.

  25. Or was it,

    Yo, fuck Canada, ay, fuck the Canadian Human Rights Commission, ay, and how aboot fuck Jennifer Lynch, that stupid cunt, ay.

    You forgot to add “Neil Peart is fucking awesome. How aboot that solo on Different Stages. Also, fuckin’ Leafs, eh?”

  26. The very first section of our constitution (ratified way back in 1982!) reads like this:

    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    And therein lies the problem. In the United States (if I understand your constitution correctly), something like a Human Rights Commission would violate the First Amendment. In Canada, the right to free expression is subordinate to the whims of the legislature, which means that HRCs are perfectly constitutional. According to our Supreme Court, things that fall outside those “reasonable limits” mentioned above include:

    – “Hate speech”
    – “Obscene” literature (specifically gay porn)
    – Images that are “harmful to women” (specfically straight porn)

    Let’s pause here and enjoy the irony. A thoroughly modern constitution written by a bunch of unimpeachable liberals ends up discriminating against sexual minorities. Isn’t the law of unintended consequences great?

    If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the 33rd section, which allows legislatures to “temporarily” overrule certain Charter provisions (including free expression, the right to liberty, the right against cruel and unusual punishment, etc.). This was included as a sop to the provinces, especially Quebec, where it was used to permit the grossly oppressive Loi 101, which regulated the use of English in commerce).

    So we have a constitution that guarantees individuals certain inalienable rights – except when the State says it doesn’t. How useful.

  27. Lynch’s op-ed has nothing on what she did (or didn’t do, as the case may be) with regard to an interview on a CTV news program. Long story short: news program invites Lynch and the aforementioned Ezra Levant on their program to debate the merits of the Human Rights commission. Lynch refuses to take part if Levant is involved. CTV refuse to un-invite Levant. Lynch sends in a flunky instead under the condition that Levant is not allowed to directly address the flunky.

    You have to give CTV credit for not caving into the demand to un-invite Levant, and for pointing out at the beginning of the piece the totally absurd restrictions the CHRC requested for participation.

    Levant has the whole story here.

  28. “I believe critics of human-rights commissions and tribunals are manipulating information and activities around rights cases and freedom of expression to further a new agenda. This agenda posits that rights commissions and tribunals, and the attendant vigilance over all the rights and freedoms Canadians now enjoy, no longer serve a useful purpose…”

    Not only do these commissions and tribunals serve little useful purpose but they are themselve destructive to the very individual rights they were ostensibly created to protect.

  29. Since Lynch’s actions clearly expose her to hatred and contempt, vide supra, there is incontrovertible evidence that her actions incite hate speech. She therefore needs to drag herself before the commission and stop herself. Only when the commission fires her and shuts itself down can this intolerable intolerance for speech control be checked.

  30. Next up in the never ending evolution of “rights” recognized in Canada and enforced by Ms. Lynch without regard to hierarchy:

    The right to go through life fat, drunk, and stupid.

    The right not to be ugly.

    The right not to be disappointed.

    The right not to be criticized.

    The right to have everyone laugh at your jokes.

    The right to dump your girlfriend (or boyfriend) or (transgendered individual friend)

    The right not to be dumped by your girlfriend (or boyfriend) or (transgendered individual friend)

    The right to a bathroom break and a cold beer between periods …er … hockey periods, that is.

    The right to have your favorite team win the Stanley Cup.

    The right to have your favorite team not lose the Stanley Cup.

    The right not to have those !@#$%^& Russians and Swedes coming over here and taking over hockey, eh?

    The right to end every sentence with a preposition and an “eh?”, eh?

  31. A m??se once bit my sister.

  32. Enough About Palin:

    I thought there was one missing.

    Put it back, halfwit.

  33. The abridged version of the article:

    “Shut-up,” she explained.

  34. I have great hatred and contempt for Ms. Lynch, thank god I live in America where free expression is not illegal.

  35. Internet speech that could “expose an individual or a group of individuals to hatred or contempt

    So any publication on the Internet of the machinations of the Orwellian (or is it Kafkaesque? Both?) -named “Human Rights Commissions” is illegal, because their acts are contemptible.

  36. Did you know an american, Scott Joplin, wrote the Canadian national anthem to honor the Human Rights Commission? It’s called the Maple Leaf Rag.

  37. “Free speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value” Dean Steacey, of the Canadian HRC.

    There are even toady anti free speech bloggers, except I can’t tell if he is being ironic or not. My guess is yes, based on the graphic of Mark Steyn gagged with a Canadian flag. Kind of like the Newsweek cover of a gagged Rush.

  38. I believe critics of human-rights commissions and tribunals are manipulating information and activities around rights cases and freedom of expression to further a new agenda.

    Used to be we opposed certain agendas. Now we oppose having an agenda? Who doesn’t have an agenda? Lynch certainly does. Everyone does, always. Except when they’re asleep.

  39. “There is no hierarchy of rights with some rights having greater importance than others.”

    Nonsense. Freedom of speech is a “right” (or just a plain freedom) above others, because you can’t demand other freedoms or rights without using your freedom of speech! In fact, Jennifer Lynch uses her freedom of speech to oppose the freedom of speech. I find this extremely offending.

  40. God bless America. If progressives ever tried to take our 1st Amendment rights away like this, we would just use our 2nd Amendment rights instead.

  41. I think Arabs and Muslims are vicious idiots. Now catch me if you can.

  42. “… [I]f I understand your constitution correctly…”

    The thing about the US constitution is, it codifies principles set down in the Declaration of Independence (same guys wrote both documents.) The earlier document posits that mankind’s basic rights are a grant from God himself (“…all men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights…”)

    It further states that the sole purpose of government is to secure these rights, and any government that fails to do so is to be altered or abolished.

    So you’re starting out with a hierarchy of rights: The original 10 (press, speech, religion, self defense, etc.) and whatever the courts have found grows out of these (privacy, mostly).

    I think that’s why Canada is having trouble in this area. I’m not sure what reception a 21st Century Canadian would receive if he declared: “This is my right because God says so; and if you don’t believe it, you can burn in Hell.”

    Whereas that’s the essential underpinning of American civil rights jurisprudence.

    Hope this helps.

  43. Hmmm “…that could expose an individual… to hatred or contempt…”. Fuck, shit, hell, damn, motherfucker! Now I can’t continue expressing my contempt for the cocksucking motherfucker who raped my 11 year old daughter. Oh well, no bad thoughts. No bad thoughts….

  44. Is it just me or is this woman actually rehearsing for the part of Dolores Umbridge? She already has the gloriously suggestive last name of Lynch.

  45. Mr. G:

    I think more derisive humor should be had at the expense of Ms. Lynch’s family name.

    In fact, her very NAME is hate speech, isn’t it? Shouldn’t she be forced to change it, in order to avoid causing offense by reminding all of those lynching victims and their descendants of the horrors of the past?

    Her obvious refusal to select a more amenable name seems to be quite hateful to me.

  46. The Center for Media Research has released a study by Vertical Response that shows just where many of these ‘Main Street’ players are going with their online dollars. The big winners: e-mail and social media. With only 3.8% of small business folks NOT planning on using e-mail marketing and with social media carrying the perception of being free (which they so rudely discover it is far from free) this should make some in the banner and search crowd a little wary.

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

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