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Excellent free speech news from Canada - AND UPDATE

Gary Hollingshead was the first to send us the news that Section 13 has been struck down.

The National Post has just reported,

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that Section 13, Canada's much maligned human rights hate speech law, is an unconstitutional violation of the Charter right to free expression because of its penalty provisions.

The decision released this morning by Tribunal chair Athanasios Hadjis appears to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its controversial legal mandate to pursue hate on the Internet, which it has strenuously defended against complaints of censorship. [Cat's note - And valid complaints they were.]

It also marks the first major failure of Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, an anti-hate law that was conceived in the 1960s to target racist telephone hotlines, then expanded in 2001 to the include the entire Internet, and for the last decade used almost exclusively by one complainant, activist Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman.

We wonder if the people whose free speech rights were attacked, who in some cases had to mortgage their homes to defend themselves, can sue Mr Warman for damages.

UPDATE 3 September Mark Steyn writes -

The Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal's decision is a huge victory for the free-speech campaign Ezra Levant and I and a few others have been waging for the last couple of years. When Maclean's magazine and I were acquitted by the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal last year, a lot of people looked on it as a Steyn exemption — that if you were a prominent person with a powerful publisher and you both had deep pockets, the thought police would decide that discretion was the better part of valor. And, once the bigshots were out of the way, they'd go back to making life hell for little guys.

But Marc Lemire, though dogged and very deft in his approach, is not a prominent person. Indeed, he's exactly the kind of obscure figure the thought police would have taken to the cleaners a couple of years back. Now the judge has, in effect, ruled that Section 13, Canada's "hate speech" law, is unenforceable against anybody:

I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of theCharter. Since a formal declaration of invalidity is not a remedy available to the Tribunal (see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. V. Ontario (Labour Relations Board), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5), I will simply refuse to apply these provisions for the purposes of the complaint against Mr. Lemire and I will not issue any remedial order against him.

This is the beginning of the end for the Canadian state's policing of opinion: Judge Hadjis has repudiated the "human rights" regime's entire rationale as well as a couple of decades of joke "jurisprudence".

I confess I wasn't optimistic when the thought enforcers decided to pick a fight with me, but Ezra Levant persuaded me that the thing to do was go nuclear on this disgusting racket and re-frame the debate. We succeeded.

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