6/09/2008

Harm no one? That'll be $7000 please

I found this interesting tidbit on the case of Rev. Boisson. Here are the relevant ruling and remedy.
Pay close attention to what you read.
Paragraph 10 of the "remedy" states:
In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward seeking redress by the contravention of the Act by Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc.

Read that again.
There is no victim in this case.
I would like to know how there is even a case without a victim.
Now, flip over to the ruling, paragraph 357.
Having considered the Charter and the balancing of the freedoms set out in the Charter, I have interpreted the Act in a manner which respected the broad protection granted to religious freedom.

Really? Then how is the very next statement even possible?
However, I have found that this protection does not trump the protection afforded under the Alberta human rights legislation in s. 3. to protection against hatred and contempt. I also take the view that s.3(2) required a balancing of these freedoms afforded to individuals under the Charter, with the prohibitions in s. 3(1) of the Act. In this case, the publication’s exposure of homosexuals to hatred and contempt trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the Charter. It cannot be the case that any speech wrapped in the 'guise' of politics or religion is beyond reproach by any legislation but the Criminal Code.

So, religious motivation for a comment is merely a "guise" for hate. Potential "exposure" to hate (note that this means that the comment does not have to be hateful itself) trumps freedom of religious expression.
Now, I ask you, how does this provide a "broad" protection for religious freedom?
Andreachuk finds, for herself, in paragraph 355 of her ruling that
I do not find that the province, through this legislation, is attempting to reach beyond its mandate.

This is a curious thing, to find oneself not reaching beyond one's mandate. Surely this ought to be done by an outside, objective observer. In any case, if she is not reaching beyond her mandate, how was the finding of paragraph 354 possible?
While the evidence of the beating of the gay man two weeks after the publication of the letter was indirect, I find in addition, that there was sufficient nexus to conclude circumstantially, that the two matters may be connected.

So, any connection was merely circumstantial. Furthermore, as I already commented, Andreachuk admits in her "remedy" that there is no victim. So, how is she not reaching beyond her mandate if there is, technically speaking, no case? How can you have a case without a victim? Better yet, look at the "evidence" she accepts (also in paragraph 354):
I also accept the evidence of Dr. Alderson, who reported that in reading Mr. Boissoin’s letter, it caused a surge of personal fear in himself and that he had talked to hundreds of people in the gay community about Mr. Boissoin’s letter and all were horrified and fearful...

Where these "hundreds" of gays subpoenaed to appear before the commission? Did she hear the testimony of "hundreds" of gays who felt fearful as the result of a letter to an editor?
I also like this "finding" in paragraph 351:
Mr. Boissoin’s letter is, on the face of it, a critique of the homosexual agenda which he alleged existed in the school system in Red Deer, Alberta. His statement that "our children are being victimized by repugnant and pre-mediated strategies," his statement that "our children are being recruited, subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system, under the fraudulent guise of equal rights" is, in fact, a criticism of the school system in Alberta in Red Deer, which, in my view, is within the provincial domain...

Why use a phrase like "on the face of it?" Is his letter to the editor not what he says it is? Andreachuk finds Rev. Boisson criticizes the Alberta public school system. So what? We have the right to criticize our government, our school systems, the police, the court systems and a host of other publicly funded institutions. Why should this be a "finding" of hers?
In paragraph 350, Andreachuk "establishes" the commissions jurisdiction.
The article of Mr. Boissoin is, in fact, a matter of local and private nature related to, albeit perhaps somewhat indirectly, the educational system in Alberta.

So, his letter to the editor, criticizing the public school system, which he has a right to do, makes this her problem.
Secondly, I find that there is a circumstantial connection between the hate speech of Mr. Boissoin and the CCC and the beating of a gay teenager...

Secondly, she finds an unprovable connection between a letter to the editor criticizing the school system and the beating of a teen. Apparently, this also makes it her problem to deal with.
Without evidence of a crime as captured in the Criminal Code, after finding this letter is likely to expose people to hate and or contempt, there is a void in jurisdiction...

Now, as soon as Andreachuk made this "finding" she ought to have come to the realization that there was, in fact, no problem for her to deal with. Instead, she makes this bizarre conclusion:
Not taking jurisdiction would mean that inciting hatred would be acceptable up to the point that a crime occurs as a result of it.

Not taking jurisdiction would mean absolutely no such thing. There was no connection at all between the beating of the teen and the letter criticizing the school system. To call the letter what it was: an angry letter, was the only appropriate course of action. In any case, if the beaten teen was the implied victim of the letter (the only possible conclusion if we are going to say that the letter resulted in a crime), why was he or his family not compensated? Why did Lund receive the funds instead?
Ms. Andreachuk not only reached well beyond her mandate, she denied Rev. Boisson benefit of law and due process. But, given that she works for a Human Right's Commission, this ought to surprise no one.
The faster these commissions are brought low, the better for all of us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

they would have to kill me before i would submit to anything these asshole hrc's dictate

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