More on Canadian Law’s Free Speech Problem

I wrote an article about Ann Coulter’s and Mark Steyn’s experiences with the Canadian speech police for NewsBlaze.  Please read it and let me know what you think. 

I also received a response from an interested Canadian.  Here is our exchange:

By far the majority of Canadians disagree with the move to muzzle Anne Coulter.  And that included the majority who disagreed with what she had to say.  Shortly after her cancelled speech in Ottawa, she went on to an uneventful speech in front of a sold out crowd in Calgary.  So please don’t generalize.  You are being as offensive as Mr. Houle although I’ll defend vigorously your right to express wrong opinions.

Comment on story http://newsblaze.com/story/20100329061957lyss.nb/topstory.html

Regards,

(name withheld)

Cobourg, Canada

Hello,

Thank you very much for reading and taking the time to comment.  I wanted to address your comment, though, in order to make sure things are clarified. 

First, I’m really glad to hear that you and a large number of Canadians disagreed with the silencing of Ms. Coulter’s speech.  That gives me hope for the future of freedom in Canada. 

However, I’d like to note that the statements that you described as my generalizations were based on the law in Canada, as it has been threatened against Ms. Coulter and exercised (albeit ultimately unsuccessfully) against Mr. Steyn.  Until the majority of Canadians rise up against these abusive and freedom inhibiting laws that allow people to be prosecuted for expression and demand that the police protect people’s freedom of expression, the beliefs that you attribute to them are only so much dust in the wind. 

In other words, I don’t believe that I was offensive or generalizing, and I’m not sure what I said that you believe was wrong. 

If you have no objections, I would like to post this discussion on my blog.  I will, of course, redact your personal information. 

Thank you again for reading and commenting.  I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. 
Thank you,

Lyssa

Op-Ed Contributor to NewsBlaze

lyssalovelyredhead@gmail.com

lyssalovelyredhead.wordpress.com

Lyssa,

Feel free to post the discussion – I tend to assume that emails become public once sent.

To take the discussion further, the problem in Canada with free speech is that while the courts generally support the idea, it’s covered by laws and precedents but not the constitution.  The laws are not really clear because there is also the “hate speech” law.   The blight on all this though is the collection of “Human rights commissions” which do not always make rulings that make sense.  A number of Canadians – including me – feel that these should be disbanded and leave any issues that need resolving with the regular courts.  Unfortunately, as yet, this idea does not have the same majority support that the concept of free speech has.

I further understand that the problem is worse in the U.K.  This is because they have a law against libel which is so easily invoked that people from other countries use the U.K. courts to press their dubious claims.

 So in summary, I do agree that the laws on free speech (constitutionally based) in the U.S. are better than other places – perhaps better than anywhere in the world.  But that does not mean everyone in those countries agrees with the laws.

 And to support my contention that “most Canadians support Ms. Coulter’s right to speak”, see this article here:  http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=2738098

 Regards,

(name withheld) 

www.cobourginternet.com

 One commenter already expressed concern on my earlier post about how reflective this attitude is of Canadians in general.  I’m glad to hear that it is not very, and I hope that they are able to change their laws accordingly.

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