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Association For Free Expression
BREAKING NEWS --
Civil Liberties Association seeks Intervener Status in
support of Lemire’s Constitutional Challenge of Section 13
Canada's foremost Civil Liberties
organization has applied for Interested party status.
A copy of their Motion can be
Here is a few points:
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association ("BCCLA")
specifically seeks leave to make written and oral submission on
the proper interpretation and constitutional status of sections 13
and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (the
"Act"). As well, the BCCLA seeks standing to introduce
evidence and to receive and reply to all other parties' arguments
and evidence regarding the proper interpretation of sections 13
and 54 and seeks standing to cross-examine witnesses. At present,
the BCCLA does not seek standing to call witnesses.
of the BCCLA Regarding
Section 13 of the Act
3. If the BCCLA
were to receive intervenor standing in this matter, we would argue
that sections 13 and 54 of the Act infringe ss. 2(b), 7 and 11 (d)
of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that these infringements cannot
be justified under s. 1 of the Charter.
to be Taken by the
BCCLA if Granted Leave to Intervene
18. The BCCLA's submissions will present its
views of the proper interpretation and constitutional status of
sections 13 and 54 of the Act. The BCCLA's position is:
• Section 13 of
the Act unreasonably infringes on freedom of expression as
guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Charter.
• Sections 13 and
54(1)(c) create a criminal offence without providing the
respondent with the defences common to analogous criminal offences
or requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt, proof of a culpable
mental state (or mens rea),
or a strict application of the rules of evidence and accordingly
violate the respondent's rights under ss.7 and I I(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• Section 13
creates an arbitrary distinction whereby an individual may be
denied his/her rights under ss. 2(b) and 7 on the basis of using
the internet or intranet as a medium of expression as opposed to
other forms of media.
infringements of ss. 2(b), 7 and 11(d) are not saved by s. 1 of
the Charter because the
measures adopted are not rationally connected to the objective of
the legislation and they fail to impair the abridged rights as
minimally as possible.
20. Consequently, the BCCLA will submit that
s. 13 of the Act is unconstitutional and inconsistent with the
Charter in its capacity to restrict freedom of expression in a
private context and s. 54(l)(c) of the Act is unconstitutional and
inconsistent with the Charter in its capacity to criminalize
certain communications broadcast by internet and intranet media. The
BCCLA will submit that ss. 13 and 54(1)(c) of the Act should be
struck on the basis that they are unconstitutional.
Full copy of the
BCCLA motion [here]
Press Release Sent May 20, 2008 by the
Tuesday May 19, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ON TRIAL: CIVIL LIBERTIES ASSOCIATION APPLIES TO INTERVENE IN
IMPORTANT FREE SPEECH CASES
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is
applying for leave to intervene in two important free speech cases
before the federal and British Columbia human rights tribunals. At
issue in both cases is whether the expression of controversial,
even hateful expressions can be censored by the state via
tribunals that traditionally protect the value of equality by
BCCLA President Rob Holmes: “Freedom of
expression is a fundamental democratic value. Citizens of a
democracy should be trusted to form their own judgments about the
views expressed by others, including controversial and offensive
comments. The BCCLA will seek to protect basic Charter rights so
that opinions on all matters, including religion, can continue to
be debated freely and without fear through all media of
Federally in Warman
v. Marc Lemire and Freedomsite, the complaint focuses
on [ALLEGED] anti-Semitic postings on a website run by Marc Lemire. In
Elmasry and Habib v. Rogers Publishing Ltd., the
complainants object to an article by Mark Steyn’s entitled
“The Future Belongs to Islam” that was published in McLean’s
magazine in 2006.
Both the Canadian
Human Rights Act and British Columbia’s Human
Rights Code have provisions that prohibit the
publication of material that is likely to promote hatred or
contempt against an individual or group because of the race,
colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status,
family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual
orientation or age of that person or group.
The BCCLA is Canada’s leading defender of
free expression. The Association takes the position that citizens
have a responsibility to condemn hateful speech and that the
remedy to obnoxious, hurtful speech is to promote counter
expression rather than permit state censorship.
BCCLA Vice-President Jason Gratl and Micah
Rankin of Hunter Litigation Chambers represent the Association.
Robert Holmes, President
Grace Pastine, Litigation Director
the big question still remains.. where is Borovoy and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
He has been getting press from coast to coast talking about the
CHRC, but where is he?
In they won’t intervene at the most important juncture on a
serious challenge of the validity of Section 13.. IF
NOT NOW…. WHEN?
MPs that Support a Repeal of Section 13: http://www.stopsection13.com/repeal_sec13.html
MP James Rajotte
MP Bruce Stanton
Broadcasting Corporation (Rex
Association of Journalists
Mark Steyn (Macleans
Brith Jewish Tribune
Lawyer Karen Selick
Warren (Ottawa Citizen)
Marie – SooToday
Challenge of Section 13
Lemire's Constitutional Challenge
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Books won't stay banned.
They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of
history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The
only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.
Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.