Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Canada’s Free Speech Problem Gets Worse

For those who don’t think that ideological speech restrictions lead inevitably to even more draconian limits on speech, take a look at this ruling from the Ontario Superior Court in a defamation case. The case is Warman v Fromm. Warman is Richard Warman, an attorney who worked for the Canadian Human Rights Commission who routinely brought “hate speech” cases against individuals and organizations under Canada’s already existing speech laws. Fromm is Paul Fromm, the head of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and an opponent of those hate speech laws. Fromm is a staunch critic of Warman, calling him an “enemy of free speech.” And just to prove him right, Warman sued Fromm for defamation over such speech and the Ontario court ruled in Warman’s favor. Seriously.

[25] The implication, as well as the clear of meaning of the words [“an enemy of free speech” and “escalated the war on free speech”], is that the plaintiff is doing something wrong. The comment “Well, see your tax dollars at work” also implies that Mr. Warman misused public funds for this “war on free speech”.

[26] The plaintiff was using legal means to complain of speech that he alleged was “hate” speech.

[27] The evidence was that Mr. Warman was successful in both the complaint and a libel action which he instituted.

[28] Freedom of expression is not a right that has no boundaries. These parameters are outlined in various legislative directives and jurisprudence. I find Mr. Fromm has exceeded these. This posting is defamatory.

So not only do the laws there allow the government to do away with freedom of speech when they deem it to be “hateful”, but you can’t even criticize those who bring such charges on the grounds of violating free speech without also being dragged before the court. This, ladies and gentlemen, is sheer madness. And I don’t care how democratically it was passed, nor do I care that it’s happening in another country. It’s wrong, period. And it gets worse:

[51] The plaintiff is accused of using taxpayer money to “restrict freedom of speech” and of refusing “to allow those with differing opinions the right to express their views.”

[52] The tone of all these allegations is derisive and holds the plaintiff up to ridicule and contempt. The words themselves and the inferences to be drawn are all defamatory.

The tone of those allegations should be derisive and they should hold the plaintiff up to ridicule and contempt. And this idiotic ruling should hold the judges up to ridicule and contempt as well.

P.S. Let’s get this out of the way right up front: if your only response to this post is anything even remotely like “how dare you criticize another country’s policies when you’re an American and America does (fill in the blank)” or “those laws were passed democratically, so you have no right to criticize it when Canadians like it that way” – just save it. You will only make yourself look foolish.