What could Mark Steyn's punishment look like? Look at Alberta
See update, below.
What could Mark Steyn's punishment look like, if he's convicted by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal?
It could look like this order, issued just last week by Alberta's human rights commission, against a Christian pastor named Rev. Stephen Boission. (The substantive ruling against Rev. Boissoin can be found here. See paragraph 357 where the right not to be offended "trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the Charter." And see a thoughtful response by the former executive director of the gay rights lobby, EGALE, here.)
The kangaroo court judge in this case is a Tory patronage appointee, a divorce lawyer from Lethbridge named Lori Andreachuk, (pictured at left). That's her expertise: divorce law. Not constitutional law; not freedom of speech or freedom of religion. And it shows.
Last November, she convicted Boissoin. Last week she ordered her "remedy".
It is the most revolting order I have ever seen in Canada. Ever.
I'll excerpt a few lines from her ruling:
In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...
That's insane already. No-one was hurt. The complainant was an officious intermeddler, a busybody, the town scold, an anti-Christian activist named Darren Lund who had an axe to grind, and Andreachuk gave it to him.
Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.
So a busybody with no standing spends time filing complaints -- and gets a tax-free reward for doing so. Oh -- and for his "suffering". Not suffering at the hands of Rev. Boission, but "as a result of his complaint". People in the community ridiculed Lund for filing the complaint -- as they should. And so Andreachuk will get the pastor to pay for that. Why the hell not? Who's going to stop her? Her political patron, Ed Stelmach?
Mr. Boissoin and [his organization] The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.
There's a lot there, starting with a small but telling point. Darren Lund is a not a medical doctor. He's a professor. But Andreachuk refers to him as Dr. Lund. Stephen Boissoin is a pastor. But Andreachuk calls him "Mr. Boissoin". No "Rev. Boissoin" for her.
But look at the staggering order there. Boissoin can never -- ever -- communicate anything "disparaging" about gays. It's a lifetime ban -- and it applies to every conceivable medium, including his private e-mails.
But nothing "disparaging"? That means nothing critical.
She didn't order him not to communicate anything "illegal" or even anything "hateful". She ordered him to say nothing disparaging. Ever. For the rest of his life.
A divorce lawyer from Lethbridge with a second-rate patronage job just ordered a Canadian pastor to stop communicating to anyone, ever, about gays. Not to stop "hate speech" -- whatever that malleable legal definition is. She just told him to shut up, period.
And then she orders that Rev. Boissoin and his group are:
...prohibited from making disparaging remarks in the future about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund's witnesses relating to their involvement in this complaint..
Again, not banned from "hate speech", whatever that is today; but banned from disparaging remarks about Lund, an anti-Christian activist, who now is "protected" not just from Rev. Boissoin's alleged anti-gay remarks, but from his political criticism of his own tormentor. Apparently, being a busy-body human rights complainant-of-fortune is a new "protected ground" of hate speech. Become one, and no-one can ever say anything "disparaging" about you again. Ever. Not even in an e-mail.
But Chief Kangaroo Andreachuk is just getting warmed up.
Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate which was the subject of this complaint.
So Ed Stelmach's "conservative" government now believes that if it can't convince a Christian pastor that he's wrong, it will just order him to condemn himself? Other than tribunals in Stalin's Soviet Union and Mao's China, where is this Orwellian "order" considered to be justice?
This is like a Third World jail-house confession -- where accused criminals are forced to sign false statements of guilt. But the thing about jail-house confessions is that they at least pretend to be real. The forcible nature of them is kept secret. Not here: Andreachuk just comes out and says it: you're going to say you're sorry, even if you aren't.
That's a bizarre "remedy". It's meaningless, other than as a thought crime. We don't even "order" murderers to apologize to their victims' families. Because we know that a forced apology is meaningless. But not if your point is to degrade Christian pastors.
Oh, and by the way, Rev. Boissoin and his organization are ordered to:
request their written apology for the contravention of the Act be published in the Red Deer Advocate.
That's the local newspaper. So Rev. Boissoin doesn't just have to issue a false apology. He has to publicly humiliate himself, by publicly declaring his contrition -- contrition he does not feel -- and his abandonment of his deeply-held religious beliefs. A second-rate government bureaucrat has ordered a Canadian pastor to publicly renounce his religious beliefs.
Does that happen anywhere outside of Communist China, or theocratic Saudi Arabia?
OK. Now the cash. Rev. Boissoin and his group:
shall pay to Dr. Lund an award for damages, jointly and severally, in the amount of $5,000.00.
Andreachuk already said Lund suffered no damages. But so what. When you're forcing a man to publicly renounce his conscience, why not stick him with the bill? In Communist China, the family of prisoners who are executed are sent the bill for the bullet that killed them. So while Rev. Boissoin's money is being divvied up, why not make him pay for the hearing, too? A witness against Rev. Boissoin, Janelle Dodd, will get her expenses paid,
up to the maximum amount of $2,000.
So, let's re-cap.
A Christian pastor has been given a lifetime ban against uttering anything "disparaging" about gays. Not against anything "hateful", let alone something legally defined as "hate speech". Just anything negative.
So a pastor cannot give a sermon.
But he must give a false sermon; he is positively ordered to renounce his deeply held religious beliefs, and apologize to his tormentor for having those views.
And then that pastor is ordered to declare to his entire city that he has renounced his religious views, even though he has not.
That's Alberta's human rights commission. That's the group where 15 bureaucrats are busily beavering away against me, because I published some Danish cartoons two years ago.
That's the same "law" under which Maclean's and Mark Steyn are charged.
Fire. Them. All.
UPDATE: I have written a new post in which I examine the unusually vindictive role played by the Government of Alberta, which sent in a lawyer to intervene in this case -- against Rev. Boissoin. You can read that new post here, which includes the e-mail address of the politician responsible for this travesty.