“…just as important as getting rid of the pretend judges is getting rid of the counterfeit ‘right not to be offended.’…the Wildrose Party’s suggestion is an improvement over Saskatchewan’s — it gets government out of the hurt feelings business altogether.”
Not much, but at least a start… JG.
Albertans can dump kangaroo court
Ezra Levant: June 28th, 2011
There’s a glimmer of good news in the fight against Canada’s kangaroo courts, also known as human rights commissions.
Over the weekend, the Wildrose Party of Alberta, running a close second in provincial opinion polls, passed a resolution to scrap Alberta’s human rights commission and strengthen protections for freedom of speech.
This is great news for freedom — and bad news for government bureaucrats who will now have to find real work.
It’s a trend: The government of Saskatchewan recently passed a bill to scrap its human rights tribunal — not repealing the human rights law altogether, but at least getting it in front of real judges, instead of partisan activists who run the tribunal like a political star chamber. But just as important as getting rid of the pretend judges is getting rid of the counterfeit “right not to be offended.”
It’s not much of an improvement for a learned judge to enforce a censorship law. The censorship law itself is odious, no matter how smart and “fair” is the judge who’s wielding that stick.
That’s where the Wildrose Party’s suggestion is an improvement over Saskatchewan’s — it gets government out of the hurt feelings business altogether.
Still, Saskatchewan deserves kudos for being the Canadian jurisdiction to go first. Alberta, under the Conservatives, is going in the wrong direction. Despite high-profile abuses of the law — including my own 900-day prosecution for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed in a magazine in 2006 — that province’s kangaroo court received a budget increase of 25%.
Hardly what you’d expect from a so-called conservative government. Alberta’s minister in charge of the human rights commission, Lindsay Blackett, responded to the Wildrose Party’s proposal by calling it “ludicrous.”
Yet Blackett himself has denounced his own commission as a “kangaroo court” in need of deep reforms including protections for free speech — precisely what the Wildrose Party has proposed.
I interviewed Blackett on Sun News Network Monday, and asked him why the deep reforms he called for had not yet been done and why Wildrose was to be condemned.
He was shockingly candid, for a politician: He blamed Premier Ed Stelmach.
Blackett conceded he had wanted to make similar changes, and in fact the majority of Alberta’s government MLAs agreed. But it was the stubborn veto of Stelmach that stopped Blackett’s reforms.
Blackett had publicly condemned his own commission, and publicly called for an end to the “crime” of hurting feelings. In another era, a man who had taken that public position, only to be sandbagged by his own lame duckpremier, would have resigned on principle.
I asked Blackett if he had any breaking point, or if he’d accept any humiliation from Stelmach with a smile; he said he indeed had a breaking point, but didn’t expand.
The Alberta Human Rights Commission, and its abusive political prosecutions, is not the most urgent issue in Alberta, let alone Canada. But it is important.
The Wildrose Party has addressed it well; the premier has failed, even according to his own minister. It will be interesting to see if the squad of Tory MLAs seeking to replace Stelmach continue to obey him, like Blackett is, or if they want to compete with the Wildrose for the vote of Albertans who believe in the province’s motto: “Strong and free.”
See original here.