Truth the first casualty in court decision 0
FILE PHOTO QMI Agency William Whatcott does an interview with a reporter after leaving the courtroom during the first day of trial at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, October 12, 2011.
In our world of justice, the truth plays a central role. Or at least it used to.
If someone is accused of a crime, the onus is on the Crown to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The system was designed so justice was blind to all except for the truth. The truth, you see, was absolute.
Evidently, this may no longer be the case as demonstrated by a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission vs. Whatcott.
William Whatcott, a devout Christian with strong views against homosexuality, was brought before a human rights tribunal and found guilty of hate speech for distributing flyers condemning homosexuality broadly and allowing it in schools more specifically. He appealed it to the Court of Queen’s Bench, which upheld the decision, and then to the Court of Appeal, which overturned the lower court’s decision. The matter then went to the Supreme Court of Canada.
There were four complaints filed with the commission about four flyers, including one entitled “Keep Homosexuality out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools!” and the other “Sodomites in our Public Schools.” The other two were reprints of classified ads with handwritten comments added.
The Supreme Court ruled the two with the handwritten comments were not hate speech, but the other two flyers were.
There are two huge problems with the court’s decision and the reasons for judgment. In the first instance it relied heavily on a pre-Internet, 1990 decision called Taylor, which essentially said that there was “little danger” that these human rights commissions would allow subjective opinion on offensiveness to “supplant” the proper meaning or intent of the legislation.
Ask Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine how little the danger turned out to be after publishing his thoughts on Islam. Or Ezra Levant, who had the temerity to re-publish the so-called Danish Muhammad cartoons. Or ask a litany of other Canadians who have been bludgeoned by human rights tribunals for daring not to subscribe to groupthink.
But, and more to the point, the court eliminated truth as an absolute defence in Canada when it said, “not all truthful statements must be free from restriction.”
This used to be a free country. Section two of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms supposedly guarantees us the right to free expression. Human rights statutes seek to limit that freedom as it relates to “hate” speech. And the highest court in the land has now said that even speaking the truth can be outlawed.
Apparently, according to the Supreme Court, groupthink and political correctness are more important than the truth in Canadian justice.
Leo Knight is a former police officer, security expert and host of primetimecrime.com.