Free speech in Alberta has suffered a serious, and unexpected reversal, in the guilty judgment handed down by an Alberta Human Rights Panel on Stephen Boissoin.
His critique of homosexuality in letters published by the Red Deer Advocate had been the subject of a human rights complaint and was declared "hate speech" by panelist, Lori G. Andreachuk.
Boisson is apparently a youth pastor at a church somewhere in Red Deer, Alberta. Back in 2002, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate. According to this article, the Alberta Human Rights Commission was funding an initiative to place text-books in schools which teach that homosexuality is "normal, necessary, acceptable and productive."
According to this article, commission panel chairwoman Lori Andreachuk found that there was a circumstantial connection between Boisson's "hate speech" and the beating of a gay teenager. This teenager, while I am sorry for his pain, is entirely unrelated to the matter at hand. There is no measurable connection whatsoever between Boisson's letter to the editor and his beating. Boisson knew neither the teenager nor his attackers.
In any case, how has the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal been allowed to find Boisson guilty of anything at all, let alone hate speech? How is this not a conflict of interest? How can the Commission with which Boisson has an issue be allowed to find him guilty of anything? Is there no third party mediator available? Don't we have a better process in this country for dealing with this sort of an issue?
As the article at Canada.com rightly points out
The decision has an absurd effect. If to even challenge government spending to promote homosexuality as desirable or productive is considered to be holding gays in contempt, how can political debate take place, never mind free expression for those who see it in religious terms? This is just to prefer one view over another, give it the force of law, and effectively reinvent seditious libel.
In a similar vein, the Canadian ISlamic Congress has filed a human rights complaint against Maclean's magazine.By now, this is old news. Maclean's published an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn. This has outraged the likes of Mohammed Elmasry.
I can't even begin to express how badly I hope this complaint is thrown out of court. Anyone who can publicly state all Israelis are valid targets has no right to cry foul over anything.
There are days I feel like I live in a country full of five year olds.