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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Can democracy exist without debate of important ideas?

I watched Power Play yesterday on CTV News channel and was taken aback to hear that Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions (CHRC) refused the opportunity to be on the show to discuss her report to parliament that I wrote about earlier here .

According to the show’s host Tom Clark, Ms Lynch refused to be on the show because CHRC critic Ezra Levant would also be there. Apparently, a case of either Levant had to go, or she would not be there. Instead she sent a staffer, Philippe Dufresne, whose appearance on the show also had strings: he could not be there if had had to talk to Mr. Levant.

In the topsy-turvy world of modern Canadian politics, this sort of thing seems acceptable. A senior bureaucrat issues a report to parliament that she claims is intended to stimulate debate—both in parliament and in public—and then refuses to debate it on national television. Go figure. To its credit, CTV did not give in to this silly nonsense and had Mr. Levant on after Mr. Dufresne.

I’m also bothered by the fact that Mr. Dufresne was as poorly informed as he appeared to be about the modus operandi of the CHRC. Ezra has more about this at his blog. The Blue Like You blog also covers this strange turn of events.

This episode provides further reinforcement for the view that there is a real threat to freedom of expression in Canada and it is coming from within our government through its agencies. I hope PM Stephen Harper understands the importance of free expression to most of his supporters.

Not being entirely immune from the chill of all this, I’ll be monitoring comments to this post very carefully.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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3 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. I was disappointed that Tom Clark never asked about the Human Rights case involving a man being denied the opportunity to join a women's only spa since he was considering a sex change.
    Or the dope smoker who went to Human Rights because he wasn't allowed to smoke his joint in a restaurant where smoking is prohibited.
    Or the worker who went to Human Rights because she wasn't happy with the light duties her employer had assigned to her.
    Or the restaurant employee who went to Human Rights because she didn't like washing her hands before handling food.
    This is about more than just free speech.
    The CHRC has to be either reined in or eliminated.
    NeilD

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  2. do breaucrats run this country or do free people? lynch should go to cuba maybe.

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  3. I am not very old, but old enough to recall when Canada was a free country.It will not regain that status until the evil - and I use that word advisedly - HRC gestapo is disbanded and put to useful work like digging ditches.

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