BS Email from Wayne Marston, MP

I received this a little while ago in my inbox.

Thank you for taking the time to email/write me about this very serious and important issue. The NDP is fully committed to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and its’ guarantee for freedom of expression coupled with the right of government to guarantee minority rights and ensure that discrimination is eliminated.

The ability of the Canadian Human Rights Commission to investigate alleged incidents where hate material or speech has been widely disseminated is critical to guaranteeing Charter rights for all and towards understanding and eliminating hatred and racism in our country.

Dr. Keith Martin’s motion to delete Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act would eliminate the Canadian Human Rights Commissions’ power to investigate complaints. It should be withdrawn. It is deeply troubling to me that this motion was proposed by a Liberal Member of Parliament.

Here Marston politicizes it… Those eevil Liberals, how can they think such a thing?! The issue of free speech, and the abuses under the CHRC and its provincial partners, should be pan-partisan. Why would any member of Parliament, of any political stripe, be pro-censorship?

Hate crimes are any matter that is likely to expose a person or group to hatred or contempt because they as individuals or as a group are identifiable on the basis of a “prohibited ground of discrimination”. Section 13(1) is the section that guarantees the Canadian Human Rights Commission has the power to investigate the communication of those crimes by any means of telecommunications under the power of Parliament.

Likely. There’s that “future-crime” word again. By writing this, Marston has likely exposed himself to hatred, from me and many of my readers. Shall we charge him, under S. 13(1)’s ridiculous maybe-clause??

That said, the NDP does have specific concerns regarding the commission, including the issue of the appointments made to the Commissions, their level of experience and educational background on Human Rights judicial reviews. My NDP colleagues and I are constantly working to ensure there is a fair process which guarantees our fundamental principles like freedom of expression.

I’ll grant that. We shouldn’t have nurses and former Toronto mayors deciding what is and isn’t a human rights abuse. There should be judges and lawyers involved, who have some background in the area. BUT, on the other hand, I feel that the entire S. 13(1) is farcical, and should be eliminated. Marston doesn’t happen to agree. He politicizes once more, regarding “appointments”, meaning the NDP would like more control over who governs our thoughs and speech. No thanks. Not for me.

Thank you for taking the time to be in touch on this important issue.

Wayne Marston, MP
Hamilton East – Stoney Creek
NDP Human Rights Critic

Not much of a critic, are you Wayne? You seem pro-S. 13(1) all the way. Your only disagreement seems to be in not running the show. For that, Canada actually breathes a sigh of relief.