Tuesday, October 27, 2009
“Another such victory over hate speech, and we are undone.”
Something which should be running through Jennifer Lynch's head on a regular basis these days.
(By the way, this is a commentary on the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights yesterday, see my event blog post below for context.)
Jennifer Lynch, head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission seemed to have one agenda and one only at the committee, look how great we are! Canada needs us so much, it is so lucky to have us! Aren't you just so proud of me?
Savor it bloggers, let it linger on your tongue. Only a desperate person would need that much frantic self-esteem therapy.
She also broke the Guinness world record for most use of the words "balancing", "equality", "vulnerable" and "untruthful" in a serious speech. Okay so nix the serious speech bit, but anyway.
Then there was her habit of pausing for a long time before answering any questions. It made her sound as though she hadn't expected that question and was scrambling to figure out how to respond to it. It didn't improve her appearance of honesty. Honest answers are easy, figuring out how to lie consistently is much harder.
By the way, guess who Lynch was sitting beside during the second hour of the meeting? Richard Warman who is under investigation for hate speech. I'll let you draw any conclusions about the appropriateness of that.
The strawman in the room is the phrase "unfettered freedom of speech". How many times does Ezra have to give his disclaimer about of course it's not unfettered before they will stop talking about "some people". Having got that out of the way, what is ironic about pointing to the Charter in support of freedom of speech? Lynch does it herself. The issue is, what constitutes a reasonable limitation? That is not something that you can directly bring out of the Charter itself without reference to other tradition and law.
She is at least qualified to lead a human rights commission in one way, someone so intolerant of criticism directed at her would probably be very sensitive to anyone else's feelings. Except Levant and Steyn's of course. I wonder if Levant should bring a libel case against Lynch for calling him a liar. It would at least force all the evidence into the open.
The Commission provided a complete and balanced report? Does anyone believe that after today? Probably not. Really, big surprise. A government bureocracy found that, when all the evidence was in, they preformed a vital function, weren't corrupt, and shouldn't be fired.
Hate speech strikes at the root of equality if you didn't know. Let me guess, freedom of speech also strikes at the root of government too. Or are we not quite there yet? (Mind you if criticism of government wasn't allowed then Section 13 wouldn't be in danger and thus equality for millions wouldn't be jeopardized... Thomas Friedman said "One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks, but when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century." He was talking about environmental issues but maybe he and the HRC should have some talks...)
Does anyone else find it funny that when we are talking about extreme, demonizing, dehumanizing speech, a case actually made it to the tribunal and the victim never even bothered to show up? Just a thought, just a thought.
Why should I even bother to comment on her comments about the strongest ethics of her employees? Truth is stranger than fiction after all. Well almost, Jennifer Lynch's fictions that an entire department worth of civil servants have never deviated from the straight and narrow is so weird that it might almost be stranger than fiction. She should remember that she is talking to a group of MPs who know what civil servants are like, not a bunch of lay people. She likes that term by the way, lay people. So helpful for condescendingly marginalizing her opponents.
The HRC are servants of the public, far above petty squabbling and libel suits. They much prefer private drive by smears and avoiding debates. After all, you just never know what might come out in court...as they have already found out.
What about the Neo-Nazi postings? The commission did no such thing, that event never happened. Well maybe it did happen but only once. And it was harmless and bland.
Lemay seems to think that Section 13 is quite clear and doesn't need amending or repealing.
I like Mr. Woodworth's comments about it not being fear but a fierce affection for freedom of speech that drives Canadians. Lynch's answer is almost totally off topic.