Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Come The Only Serious Politician Hinting At Scrapping The CHRC Is A Liberal MP?

Keith Martin rants on:

"We can’t let the commission go on as it is now," he said. "The issue is much larger than 13.1," he said, describing his motion as a mere "springboard" to examine the CHRC. He hopes that a thorough examination of the federal commission will prompt provincial legislatures to look at their own legislation and commissions.

Frankly, far more disturbing than the Liberal vacillating on budgetary and other matters is the fact that the leadership doesn't feel comfortable telling this one nobody to stuff a sock in it. Whatever you think of section 13, HRCs have done fine work on the behalf of the injured and disabled. That a Liberal should be leading the charge against them is truly pukeworthy.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Keith Martin has a dream today.

A dream where men are judged by the content of their character, not given the free passes of moral relativism and employment equity.

A dream where men can speak their minds and the chronically offended are rightfully mocked as jealous jobsworths.

Oh Dr. Keith Martin has a dream today. From the Nahanni to the Miramichi, let freedom ring. From Surrey to Scarborough, let freedom ring. From West Bumfuck to Le Bumfuck Est, let freedom ring.

Join us, brother BCL. The time has come to break free from the surly bonds of political correctness.

KC said...

Yes heaven forbid someone in the Liberal party actually advance a "liberal" idea.

I better finish up the rest of the new atheist titles before the power that be burn THEM for "defaming religion".

Ti-Guy said...

When I heard Keith Martin on TVO's The Agenda last week (or the week before), I realised that he's, well...kind of dumb.

A lot of reformed Reform Party guys are like that (and I know one...he's the nicest guy, but a real twit). People who'd have been better off recreating on their pain medication and sticking to trolling blogs with grandiose sentimentality echoing the words of Martin Luther King than running for office.

Boys, boys, boys...pull yourselves together.

Yes heaven forbid someone in the Liberal party actually advance a "liberal" idea.

Since when is restricting the ability of people to seek justice a liberal idea?

Go outside and play, KC.

KC said...

I dont see how allowing a chill on legitimate criticism of religion is somehow "justice" from anything but a theocratic worldview. Section 13 does nothing to enhance a "liberal" conception of justice.

Ti-Guy said...

I dont see how allowing a chill on legitimate criticism of religion is somehow "justice" from anything but a theocratic worldview.

Depends on what's understood by "criticism." To my mind, there's no productive use in tolerating divisive and radicalising hate speech directed at whole groups of people. It's a fine but very important distinction.

For example, I'm quite OK with people analysing specific statements of Catholic spokespeople and pointing out where they're problematic (for any number of reasons). I'm fine with people looking at specific tenets of Catholicism (such as the cult of Mary, or transubstantiation) and criticising them, even calling them irrational. But I'm not fine with people accusing all Catholics of either believing these things unconditionally or accusing Catholics of some spiritual and moral corruption or of being part of some papist conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation. That borders on hate speech, and if I saw that in MacLean's, over and over and over again, I'd probably take it to the HRC.

There are personal reasons for this, but above all, it panders to people's petty hatreds and encourages the unlettered masses to wallow in their own ignorance.

In any case, remember...it's the process I support, not necessarily the content of the complaints, most of which don't even reach the tribunal stage anyway.

By the way, what was the last book you read about Islam...or about any religion? Just curious...

Anonymous said...

je-sus-H-christ,

is ti-guy incapable of anything other than childish name calling?

"martin is dumb".

Ti-guy fouls virtually every thread, single handedly ensuring that no conversation ever gets beyond base, rank, mud-wallowing.

KC said...

Ti-Guy - No doubt there is a lot of that irrational, parochial hatred of the "other" out there--Shaidle and McMillan are but two examples of that.

But the simple fact of the matter is that there is legitimate criticism that should--or must--be made of religion generally and particular religions. What bothers me is that the Steyn article could very easily have been a chapter out of a book by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris of Richard Dawkins. If Steyn's piece exposes people to hatred then so do each of these three. I'm not particularly comfortable with creating a precedent whereby religion is off-limits for criticm.

History is rife with examples of religious folk getting together and making a real mess of things. Just look at the 2000 US election, the crusades, expanded Jewish settlements in the west bank, 9/11, the crusades... I could go on and on like this. It is not possible that what Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and yes (although I hate to lump him in with these three) Steyn are saying about an illiberal strain in Islam could be true and a real threat? I dont know. Which is why they need to be able to present their case.

I'll take a wait and see approach to how the various HRC's deal with MacLeans. Hopefully they show some common sense and tell the complainants to take a walk--as any state official would to someone who is wasting his time. I'd like to see s.13 scrapped regardless but the success of these complainants would infinitely strengthen the resolve of those who want to see that provision deleted.

KC said...

The most recent was God Delusion.

Ti-Guy said...

Is anonymous incapable of anything other than childish name calling?

Anonymous fouls virtually every thread, single handedly ensuring that no conversation ever gets beyond base, rank, mud-wallowing.

Without any colourful profanity, I might add.

Anyway, I didn't rush to the conclusion that Martin is a little dumb. I listened to him carefully, and I was left with the impression that he was inarticulate. That's usually a sign that one is over-reaching and tackling issues one hasn't spent enough time thinking about carefully. And that's the very definition of dumb.

Ti-Guy said...

Steyn article could very easily have been a chapter out of a book by Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris of Richard Dawkins.

Except that it easily couldn't, since Steyn, the racist, bigoted unlettered showtunes aficionado cannot articulate his arguments in the way Hitchens and Dawkins do (I'm not really familiar with Sam Harris).

Actually, neither Hitchens nor Dawkins are in fact good at arguing about faith, but both are experts in particular areas of rational thought to at least provide useful contributions to the discussion. Although I know Hitchens detests islamism, I know he doesn't hate Muslims...he's been a consistent defender of Palestinians, for example.

But I'm not getting into that. I've argued enough about the specifics of this case.

It is not possible that what Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, and yes (although I hate to lump him in with these three) Steyn are saying about an illiberal strain in Islam could be true and a real threat? I dont know. Which is why they need to be able to present their case.

Actually, Hitchens and Dawkins make that accusation against all faith, not just Islam. Whether that's true or not, we live in Canada, under a particular legal order and consider threats to be those for which we have credible evidence...and not conspiracy theories from rightwing hysterics like Steyn, who hates all liberals anyway.

I'd like to see s.13 scrapped regardless but the success of these complainants would infinitely strengthen the resolve of those who want to see that provision deleted.

Pay attention...the ones who want that provision deleted want to get rid of human rights commissions altogether. Liberals who join them in this cause can go to hell.

bigcitylib said...

KC, Dawkins has a far greater respect for fact and argument than Steyn does, although he comes off as perpetually aggrieved and I don't think he makes the atheist case particularly effectively.

Steyn is race baiting, pure and simple. There are all sorts of take downs of America Alone on the Net, and I leave you to google them. But that is the bottom line. He is essentially arguing just what the CIC and etc say he is: that Muslims are here to take over, that you can't trust 'em, etc. etc. The HRC decision will ultimately be can you be a race baiter if you're a journalist? And imagine the answer will be yes you can (Macleans will get off on jounralistic privilege).

But that is what he is up to (Levant as well). What I find offensive is the Conservative urge to pretend that what he has written is open to a more nuanced interpretation. The guy aint Shakespeare.

KC said...

Except that it easily couldn't, since Steyn, the racist, bigoted unlettered showtunes aficionado cannot articulate his arguments in the way Hitchens and Dawkins do (I'm not really familiar with Sam Harris).

Thats fine and I agree with you except that if Steyn runs afoul the law with his articles then more articulate versions of the same argument surely runs afoul the same law.

Actually, neither Hitchens nor Dawkins are in fact good at arguing about faith, but both are experts in particular areas of rational thought to at least provide useful contributions to the discussion.

I think Dawkins sufficiently disposes of this argument when he says that you dont need to be an expert in leprechaunology to disbelieve in leprechauns. Religion is so flawed at its basic premise that you don't need to venture further to reject it outright.

Although I know Hitchens detests islamism, I know he doesn't hate Muslims...he's been a consistent defender of Palestinians, for example.

I'd suggest you read Londonistan Calling by Hitchens. Its thesis is quite similar to that of that Mark Steyn article that is being complained about by the CIC.

Im not really interested in Steyn's motivations only his arguments.

Actually, Hitchens and Dawkins make that accusation against all faith, not just Islam.

Absolutely they do--and they are right to. All religious fundamentalisms are dangerous. Those two also think that the illiberalism of Islamic fundamentalism is the most globally threatening of the religious fundamentalisms. See the "Four horsement of the apocalypse" discussion between them (and Harris) on YouTube if you want proof.

Whether that's true or not, we live in Canada, under a particular legal order and consider threats to be those for which we have credible evidence...and not conspiracy theories from rightwing hysterics like Steyn, who hates all liberals anyway.

And what do you make of the fact that several of the world's most well known exponents of anti-theism agree with those "rightwing hysterics"?

Pay attention...the ones who want that provision deleted want to get rid of human rights commissions altogether. Liberals who join them in this cause can go to hell.

I base my opinions on the merits of the issue not what company it attracts. I don't want to get rid of human rights commissions and would never support an effort to do so and I think they are the appropriate venue for matters of discrimination in housing and employment. But I also think that that expression, though not absolute, is a fundamental freedom and should be defered to and only limited through proper due process. Alleged hatemongers should be entitled to the due process, presumption of innocence and burden of proof of the criminal court system just like any other offence.

KC said...

BCL - I read the Future belongs to Islam and he never says those things that you accuse him of. He only gives what he sees as the facts--which in at least a few cases are wrong. For instance the conclusion that there is a coordinated effort to "islamicize" Europe is nowhere to be found in the article. Nor does he anywhere the suggestion that Europeans should 'distrust'. His critics are putting words in his mouth.

bigcitylib said...

KC,

You're joking, right?

"The West is growing old and enfeebled, and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it."

By the West he means Europe and NA minus the U.S. (they're not growing old and enfeebled), and by "those" he means Muslims. I'll leave you to work out what "supplant" means. But we're not in the realm of poetry here where everything is open to interpretation. For you to pretend otherwise speaks to your innate conservatism, where you are willing to twist meanings to make one of your own come across as less revolting than he actually is.

KC said...

I really don't see anything controversial in that statement. Are you denying the fact that Islam is growing in Europe while white Christians and western secularists are aging?

bigcitylib said...

KC,
Yeah, dude. You really think folks are immigrating there so as to "supplant" the locals? Like a fifth column.

Also, AA is supposed to be a warning to the US and Canada and et al that the brown swarms are coming there next.

Come on KC, don't insult your own intelligence. Steyn isn't a philosopher, or any kind of analyst; he is a semi-literate whose made a career of throwing red meat to the red neck goobers.

Ti-Guy said...

Steyn runs afoul the law with his articles then more articulate versions of the same argument surely runs afoul the same law.

Well, to be clear, this complaint isn't against Steyn, it's against MacLean's...and what is "against the law" in civil cases can only be determined when cases like this are heard.

And what do you make of the fact that several of the world's most well known exponents of anti-theism agree with those "rightwing hysterics"?

I'm not sure they do. Hitchens makes his case against all forms of irrational thought; Dawkins is concerned mostly about the assault on science.

I know Hitchens (not sure about Dawkins, since he lives in Britain) rails against freedom of expression restrictions, but he doesn't live in Canada, so I frankly I couldn't care less what he thinks on that issue.

Others, I'm sure, have different things to say as well, but as a liberal Canadian, I am concerned about making distinctions between what is truly criminal and what is just expression *and* be concerned about what constitutes healthy productive public discourse in a diverse society that protects freedom of religion and freedom of expression for everybody, equally.

Anonymous said...

"Whatever you think of section 13, HRCs have done fine work on the behalf of the injured and disabled."

They've done the occasional dumb thing on behalf the disabled. The BC decision to allow the mobility-impaired to bring all-terrain vehicles into fragile, hiker-only wilderness areas is an example.

The biggest problems with HRCs is that they (1) tend to fall into a blatant advocacy role for GPPs (groups under progressive patronage) and (2) tend steadily to expand their mandates, through expansive definitions of "human rights".

A third problem is a general problem of over-regulation: government bodies make decisions that impose considerable compliance costs on society (mainly companies), but rarely take responsibility for those costs.

Suppose the government had to cough up the cash every time some public body ordered a building to be refitted for wheelchair access. They'd be less cavalier spending public money than in coercing private interests to spend private money. And yet, if the cause is good, they should be able to justified the taxes increases required to fund it, right?

intellectual pariah

I'm not for abolishing the HRCs, but they should face a hard-nosed review. Getting them out of the speech-regulation business would be enough, frankly.

Cicely said...

In regards to you initial concerns that a Liberal MP would advance legislation to limit the CHRC and that he believes that more has to be done to limit the mandate of the CHRC and its provincial counterparts:
I was actively involved in the effort to ensure equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay Canadians and I can assure you that there are many Liberal MPs who have a desire to see a limit on human rights legislation and implementation (particularly for LGBT people and women). I volunteered with EGALE in the early 80s and again during the marriage debate and I never understood how the party that claims ownership of the charter could have so many who don't believe it applies to all Canadians.
Then I realized that like so many other important progressive issues and programs (national child care anyone? the environment? homecare?) there is always lots of rhetoric but when it comes to action - not so progressive.

KC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ti-Guy said...

Suppose the government had to cough up the cash every time some public body ordered a building to be refitted for wheelchair access.

I haven't heard that complaint since the 80's.

How much farther back in time is society going, anyway? I'd just like to know...

KC said...

Ti-Guy

Well, to be clear, this complaint isn't against Steyn, it's against MacLean's...

That doesn't really affect my argument. Im just as bothered by the prospect of HRC complaints against Dawkins, et. al's publishers as I am about complaints against them personally.

I'm not sure they do. Hitchens makes his case against all forms of irrational thought; Dawkins is concerned mostly about the assault on science.

Hitchens most definitely does make arguments that the rise of Islam in Europe is a dangerous trend. Read the article I cited if you dont believe me. ALL of them talk of the evil of theocracy, including Islamic theocracy.

I know Hitchens (not sure about Dawkins, since he lives in Britain) rails against freedom of expression restrictions, but he doesn't live in Canada, so I frankly I couldn't care less what he thinks on that issue.

You are confounding arguments. Im not arguing in favour of Hitchens' arguments in favour of free speech. In arguing that his arguments about Islam in Europe are valid arguments that shouldnt be actionable under law.

Others, I'm sure, have different things to say as well, but as a liberal Canadian, I am concerned about making distinctions between what is truly criminal and what is just expression *and* be concerned about what constitutes healthy productive public discourse in a diverse society that protects freedom of religion and freedom of expression for everybody, equally.

I want a healthy public discourse too and I think the idea that the majority can--through law--effectively deem certain opinions "invalid" and use what is in effect quasi-criminal law to punish expression of those opinions is most contrary to promoting health discourse. Its often said that racism adds nothing to discourse and I would be inclined to agree. But frankly I dont see the advocacy of theocracy or other authoritarian ideologies adding anything either. Should we go after these opinions too?

Ti-Guy said...

In arguing that his arguments about Islam in Europe are valid arguments that shouldnt be actionable under law.

That's the first time I'm seeing you make that argument.

In any case, I just don't care that that's what you think. And as for the merits of Hitchens's own Eurabia arguments, I've never read them. I thought only Steyn was making that case seriously. Europe has a lot of problems with integration and economic justice for newcomers and I think it's going to take time to work it out. Canada has 400 years of dealing with these issues.

I read in the paper today about the so-called Toronto-17 terrorist cell, the case against which seems to be falling apart. I'm wondering how much the fall-out from that has cost us in terms of community relations (particularly with regard to cooperation with law enforcement agencies) and will cost us with possible civil suits in the future.

I also wonder if the hysteria about these "terrorists" did not permit people to consider them a threat equivalent to the neo-nazis sitting in their basements, as we're supposed to believe?

And until I see the RCMP sniffing around Delisle, Saskatchewan or the East Kootenays with evidence that proves they're all in their basements or only playing paintball in the woods, why should I believe that anyway?

Anonymous said...

one good Liberal . . the rest have Steffi disease and are cowards & wimps.

Maybe Dr Martin can inject some credibility into the Liberal Caucus.

Anything would help.

Zapero said...

With a vacuum at the top, Liberal policy is now a free for all.

Some of the new ideas will be refreshing, some less so.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

"With a vacuum at the top, Liberal policy is now a free for all."
I have to disagree with you Zapero.
The vacuum is not just limited to the top if the Liberal party, the rot is wholesale. Read the comments of supporters BCL and Ti-guy, it doesn't get any more empty than that. Name-calling and denigration of those that disagree is the sum total of their politics.
I think the Socialists are wrong on so many fronts. However, I actually respect the NDPs conviction in their beliefs.

zapero said...

Anon 10:35

You have a point. I've noticed that both Ti-guy and BCL are inveterate poll-watchers. Like the jaded politicos that they are, a particular policy is right and good if the poll say so. Meaningful ideas and principles, not so much. Oh, once and while they'll talk the talk, but that's about as far as it goes. Ti-guy's a vulgar shameless hypocrite of the first order.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with HRC's is that they have never become an integral part of the legal fabric in Canada.

As an entity, they tend to be too interventionist and do not subscribe to enough of our established legal practises to merit wider acceptance from the Canadian public.

HRC's appeal to our vanity but have accomplished little of significance during their existence.

- Paul S

Ti-Guy said...

Part of the problem with HRC's is that they have never become an integral part of the legal fabric in Canada.

The problem, Paul S. is that you don't understand the difference between an assertion and an argument.

Ti-Guy said...

I've noticed that both Ti-guy and BCL are inveterate poll-watchers.

Nothing makes me happier than to see them lie like this. BCL (and a lot of bloggers) are poll watchers, but I'm not. I keep a rough estimate of poll results from an aggregate of surveys done over time in the back of my mind, but otherwise, I don't care that much for them at all, at all, at all. The major function of most polls these days is to set the boundaries of acceptable thought and opinion, and in that respect they constitute an assault on freedom of thought and expression.

I do pay attention to marketing surveys, since the results of those are more revealing and the surveying done is much more honest and sophisticated.

You know that if you had to back up that assertion, you'd fail.

Now, let us have no more of your vulgar, filthy dishonesty.

zapero said...

"Ti-Guy said...
When it comes the the NDP, wake me up when there's a vote or a poll."

10:34 AM

(Comment by Ti-Guy on Friday March 7th,2008)

Ti-guy's snooty comment about NDP's standing in the polls. The NDP's worth according to Ti-guy is reduced to its current standing in the polls. Well, I guess you're nothing if not a Liberal. Principles and policies are just things to be bent in order to attain what Liberals salivate for: power. You truly are a Liberal hack, and spare us your fake sophistication, hack.

Ti-Guy said...

The NDP's worth according to Ti-guy is reduced to its current standing in the polls.

Not necessarily. What I meant is that I'm only interested in how the NDP is resonating with other Canadians and how NDP MP's are influencing significant events in Parliament.

I'm not an NDP partisan, and, although not hostile to the NDP, I will not vote NDP for the forseeable future (the past two years have convinced me of that...even if I have a soft spot for dessicated hippie holdovers and bourgeois, white-collar social democrats...whatever I think of them, they mostly come by their beliefs honestly). So I don't care what happens with the NDP until a significant event occurs.

Do you get that, or do I have to mime it out for you?

...or will just continue with your vulgar, filthy dishonesty and cunty personal attacks?

Anonymous said...

= ti-guy said: =
="The problem, Paul S. is that you don't understand the difference between an assertion and an argument."=

Whatever. HRC's were grafted onto our legal tradition, and without much success. To this day, their legitimacy is in doubt.

HRC's, other then adjuticating low-level disputes, have never seriously advanced any human rights that had not already been advanced and legally entrenched before HRC's even came into existence. They appeal to our vanity about individual rights and little more.

- Paul S

Ti-Guy said...

HRC's were grafted onto our legal tradition, and without much success.

What evidence can you provide to support this assertion?

To this day, their legitimacy is in doubt.

What evidence can you provide to support this assertion?

HRC's, other then adjuticating low-level disputes, have never seriously advanced any human rights that had not already been advanced and legally entrenched before HRC's even came into existence.

This is almost an argument. How can you have meaningful human rights protection without a process by which people can seek justice? The HRC's are, as has been explained many times, a middle-ground between existing criminal law and tort law and are considerably more accessible to people than either of those routes are. Why would anyone have a problem with that?

They appeal to our vanity about individual rights and little more.

Speak for yourself. They appeal to my sense of justice. If you find that vain, too bad for you.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Free Speech was meant to be a privilege of the Left, not for everybody.

mort said...

Anon 4:32

Touchez.

Anonymous said...

Who is the leading practitioner of 'libel chill' and suppression of free speech in Canada today? Is it Harper? Or is it Warman?