(The Commentator) Free speech advocates are hailing a move by the Canadian Senate this week to abolish a highly controversial section of Canada’s Human Rights Act which, critics say, has been used to stifle the opinions of right-leaning journalists such as Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.
The Sun Media Corporation, Canada’s leading newspaper publisher, said:
“Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as “hate speech.” But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those accused had to prove their innocence.”
Commenting on the move, Steyn, who had been a victim of Section 13 due to his writings against Islamism and terrorism, said:
“So victories against the state’s encroachments on free speech are protracted and difficult, but still just about possible. I am honored to have played a small role in a modest victory for liberty in Canada, and I hope my friends in London, ashamed by what their government has done, will take heart.”