Saturday, July 05, 2008

Welcome Decisions by the Canadian Human Rights Commission... With a Few Notes of Caution

For the second time in two weeks, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed charges against a Canadian publication.  Last Friday, the CHRC dismissed the complaint brought against Maclean's magazine by the Canadian Islamic Congress on the basis that the CHRC did not believe there was evidence to support a complaint that the Steyn article (which was the basis of the complaint) was "likely to expose" Muslims to hatred or contempt.  Yesterday, the CHRC dismissed a complaint brought against Catholic Insight by Rob Wells, an Edmonton-based homosexual activist, on the basis that the material published in their magazine was "not likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt based on sexual orientation."

It is worth reminding ourselves, however, that the CHRC is not the same as the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.  The CHRC investigates complaints and if they feel there are sufficient grounds, prosecutes them before the tribunal.  Neither Maclean's nor Catholic Insight was found "not guilty"; the complaints were simply dismissed.  It is analogous to the police and the prosecuting attorneys deciding to drop charges not because they don't believe in the guilt of the suspect but because there is not enough evidence to prosecute.  As has been pointed out by some, the Tribunal has a 100% conviction rate of any section 13 complaints brought before it.  As Ezra Levant recently stated, "In other words, if the CHRC takes you to ‘court', there's really no point in showing up -- you'll be found guilty."  

Levant also suggests that we should not get too excited about these two dismissals, thinking perhaps that the CHRC has suddenly seen the light of reason.  In his opinion, "the CHRC's decision to abandon the ‘homophobia' charges against Catholic Insight must be seen for what it is: an attempt by the corrupt CHRC to get out of the media spotlight, and reduce the political pressure that is mounting for its abolition."   He suggests that this was the same motivation behind the Maclean's dismissal.  I suspect that he may be right.

The heat is also not off of Maclean's.  In a July 3 letter in the Globe and Mail, Zijad Delic, national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, wrote that the CHRC's decision not to prosecute the CIC's complaint against Maclean's "will soon be appealed to the Federal Court."  Given Rob Well's rabid hatred of Christianity and his relentless pursuit of Christian organizations that speak against homosexuality as sin, I suspect that we have not heard the last of him either.  Some folks just seem bound and determined to further reduce our already threatened rights to freedom of speech and belief.

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