I know there is a lot of interest around these parts in the role of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions and Canada’s hate speech laws. Personally, I’m always a tad ashamed of the way Canada can be so scared of speech, and I’m always happy when that fear is appropriately slapped down.
Stephen Boissoin, prominent bigot and free speech martyr, has finally been afforded the same protection in regards to freedom of expression that all Canadians deserve. Here’s National Post‘s Jonathan Kay:
There is no denying that Stephen Boissoin of Red Deer, Alta. scores low on the free-to-be-you-and-me scale. In a notorious June 17, 2002 letter to the Red Deer Advocate, he excoriated the “homosexual machine” and “militant homosexual agenda” that, in his opinion, was spreading “all manner of wickedness” in Canadian society. He ended with a call to moral arms, urging “Mr. and Mrs. Heterosexual” to “start taking back what the enemy has taken from you.”
In other words, it was more or less a standard-issue manifesto from a Christian culture warrior, setting out a doctrinaire version of the Biblical view of homosexuality as a grave sin. The language is creaky and old-fashioned — and perhaps even bigoted to modern ears. Yet it encapsulates the way that millions of religiously observant Canadians feel about the subject. And, as Alberta’s Court of Appeal affirmed this week, he should have every right to say it.
Unfortunately, it has taken Mr. Boissoin a full decade to vindicate his rights. And during this time, he has endured a Kafkaesque ordeal.
You don’t have sympathize with Rev. Boissoin to object to the persecution he suffered. Read the whole thing.