Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 1, 2008
Repeal Canadian Human Rights Act Hate crime section – consultant
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
“This is one more voice saying that the human rights commission should not be in the business of censoring people.”
- Joanne McGarry
“It was not what I expected, nor what the CHRC tried to orchestrate,” said the bishop who faced complaints to the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2005 for a pastoral letter on marriage.
Henry said if implemented, the recommendation would undermine the present activity of the CHRC and eventually erode its authority and mandate.
“I think that this is more than a slap on the wrist as it is indicative of social movement to restrict the activity of thought police who have turned human rights laws from shields into swords,” Henry said.
Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Human Rights League, said, “This is one more voice saying that the human rights commission should not be in the business of censoring people.”
But both de Valk and McGarry say they are disappointed the government has no plans for immediate action.
Instead of turning this report over to Parliament, the CHRC has launched a consultation process, with a final report expected in mid-2009.
“It’s time for Parliament to act,” McGarry said. “We don’t need any more discussion.”
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson told CFRB Nov. 24 he would look at the report and that he hoped the Commons justice committee will look at it.
Even though Nicholson had voted in favour of a Conservative Party resolution to gut Section 13 at a recent policy convention, he would not say whether he favoured Moon’s recommendation.
Federal and provincial HRCs have engaged in prosecuting Christian expression for decades, from mayors being forced to proclaim Gay Pride Days in the 1990s, to Alberta Youth Pastor Stephen Boissoin’s letter to the editor six years ago, to the complaints against Bishop Henry in 2005.
The Moon Report also offered recommendations to tighten up Section 13 should Parliament not repeal it. He recommended changes to the language so it is clear only extreme instances of hateful expression are covered.
CHRC Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch told the Nov. 25 National Post: “We can envision Section 13 being retained with some amendments.”
The CHRC exists to protect Canadians from discrimination, she said and she is looking for “fresh thinking” on how to protect them against “exposure to hate on the Internet.”
McGarry said she could see an educational role for the CHRC and government bodies, noting that respect for others and their beliefs are important Canadian values.
“We all have to do what we can to promote respect for others,” she said.
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.