Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't hold your breath...

Here's a case to put the speech-warriors on their mettle.

Ezra? Mark? Mike? Deborah? Jay? Kate? Kathy? Connie? Terry? John of the unravelling onion?



(H/t Bread and Roses)

UPDATE: (March 28)

Mike Brock, at least, has risen to the challenge...sort of. He sees a difference--do you see a difference?

UPPERDATE: (March 28)

Jay Currie thinks there's a difference, too. The debate turns out not to be about freedom of speech at all, but about that holiest of conservative icons, privatization. CHRC, bad. It's the state. Canwest, and by extension, Conrad Black, Ezra Levant et al., just fine. It's private citizens and corporations. One of the latter goes after you, just mortgage everything you own to defend yourself. Hey, after a few years of paying lawyers you might even get some of your costs back. That's why most people settle, and take a smaller hit from the bully.

I can see a difference, come to think of it. Human Rights Commissions are set up to allow ordinary citizens the opportunity to fight against discrimination and hatred, through a tribunal process. The civil court system offers the rich and powerful the opportunity to hammer the little guy into the ground. Both fora, of course, are equally part of the state apparatus. Guess which one the conservatives defend? While alleging that they're in favour of freedom of speech?

The Human Rights Tribunal process needs some tweaking, no argument there. Successful respondents should be made whole. The bar should be higher for screening complaints at the intake stage. But our libel and slander laws are a disgrace, and our copyright laws too, and they all require a substantial overhaul. You won't get any support from the speech warriors for that, though, by the looks of it.

(And for a sorely-needed comedic interlude in the midst of all this serious talk, Kate McMillan shows up to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty. I nearly sneezed my beer through my ears.)

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