Saturday, December 5, 2009

Free Speech Justice in Alberta

I have written about the politically correct chill on expressing one's religious beliefs and "certain" political perspectives in the Alberta press here, and here. The following offers a brief update on the outcome of Boission's appeal against the ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission:

From Colby Cash: The Boissoin case: Freedom gains a moral victory, . Specifically, Judge Wilson tossed out the Boissoin human-rights panel ruling. The Judge notes that the Alberta HRC had NO statutory warrant for ANY of the punishments it levied against Boissoin - which included public shaming by apologizing for his views, a cash fine to be given to his accusers, and a restraint on future speech.

From MBrandon8026, Freedom Through Truth site, ...Stephen Boissoin Wins In General: Not a Total Victory But a Reasonable One. Specifically, the application of the provisions by the Panel was not within the acceptable limits of the legislation itself". IOW, the panel went beyond their legal mandate in drafting a punitive set of judgments against Boissoin. MBrandon8026 writes further about the Stephen's LETTER, based on his original post back in September, the LETTER.

Will we see the story "break" in the mainstream media? Will other writers build on the story published by Cash in Hmmmm. Let's wait and see.

The bottom line for me is the free speech victory for Boissoin, which is really a free speech victory for all Albertans -- citizens can voice their religious opinions, and even write letters to the papers, citizens can voice dissenting opinions and views, without fear of being shamed, fined and muzzled.

Clearly, it took a team of Real lawyers and Real judges, like those in Court of Queen's Bench, to come to a reasonable and logical interpretation of the legal rights of an Alberta citizen to write a letter to the editor about his views. If we leave important decisions like "who has the right to say what when" to government 'human rights = activist' bureaucrats, such as the former divorce attorney who tendered the decision in the Boissoin case, we are all in deep, deep trouble.

UPDATE: By Mark Steyn, Canadian Lifetime Speech Ban Lifted; Mark quotes from the Judge's ruling: "The direction to cease and desist the publishing of "disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals' is beyond the power of the Panel. "Disparaging remarks"were not defined by the Panel. But clearly, "disparaging remarks" are remarks much less serious than hateful and contemptuous remarks and are quite lawful to make. They are beyond the power of the Act to regulate and the power of the Province to restrain. (emphasis mine)"

UPDATE: by Ezra Levant, Rev. Stephen Boissoin's conviction overturned; Having fought his own battle against the Alberta 'human rights' commission, Levant knows that the process is the punishment, 'more than seven years later, and Rev. Boissoin has finally been acquitted. Rev. Boissoin had seven years of his life wasted -- seven years in which he bore the stigma of being called, by the state, an illegal "hater". And Rev. Boissoin had to bear the enormous legal costs -- first, of his kangaroo court trial, then of his appeal -- on his own'.

UPDATE: by Deborah Tetley, Calgary Herald, "Judge overturns hate ruling in Red Deer Case: Allows anti-gay remarks", Judge "Wilson ruled Andreachuk made many errors in her ruling and that her order for Boissoin to pay Lund $5,000 and to refrain from making "disparaging remarks" about gays was illegal and unenforceable."

UPDATE: Winnipeg Press, breaking news, "Alberta Judge rules anti-gay letter not hate speech, overturns ruling".

UPDATE: Canadian Constitution Foundation, "Partial victory for free speech in Boissoin court judgment". From a real lawyer, “I am pleased that the Human Rights Panel Order against Reverend Boissoin has been overturned,” stated John Carpay, lawyer and Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation". And then, chilling: "“In spite of today’s court ruling, Albertans need to continue to exercise extreme caution when speaking about public policy issues, lest they offend someone who then files a human rights complaint. No citizen is safe from being subjected to a taxpayer-funded prosecution for having spoken or written something that a fellow citizen finds offensive,” continued Carpay. (emphasis mine)"


Hank said...

High time. What a waste of money and one's life to be viciously hounded by the jackals of "tolerance."

Can he counter sue?

GirlProf said...

Perhaps he can counter sue; but, who? The complainant or the government? From what I understand from Levant's blog, Boissoin asked for his legal costs to be reimbursed and was turned down. In Tetley's Herald article, it appears that Boissoin is just glad it is over: " The matter is resolved for Boissoin. 'I am overjoyed that this malicious and frivolous process is over,' he said. 'It's been seven and a half years of my life being run through the mud. I've been called a bigot and a hate-monger. What a waste of time.'