Conservative Party votes "overwhelmingly" to repeal hate speech law
According to reports from the Conservative Party's convention in Winnipeg, Resolution P-203 -- repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision -- passed "overwhelmingly". The vote was in a policy plenary session.
My understanding is that a number of the resolutions passed in the policy plenary go on to the general convention floor for a further vote. Based on what I'm hearing, I suspect that P-203 would be handily supported in that broader forum, too, if it makes the short list of resolutions.
But it doesn't matter whether P-203 makes it to the second vote, because the message is already clear: the party's grass-tops activists -- the people who knock on doors, raise funds, lead the local campaigns, etc. -- support freedom of speech and thought, and now see the Canadian Human Rights Commission for what it is: a violator of rights, not a protector of them.
If P-203 goes on to a second vote on Saturday, great. But the victory is already achieved: the Conservative Party made the abusive "hate speech" provision a political issue, and voted to repeal it. That's great.
Of course, policy votes at a party convention are not the same thing as a Parliamentary vote -- which, other than a court striking down s. 13 as illegal, is the only way to repeal it. The mission, therefore, remains the same as that which I outlined in January: denormalize the HRCs, and then press legislators to act. P-203 was the result of denormalization, and it's a precursor to legislative reform.
The decision now is for the Conservative caucus to make. I understand that the matter of s. 13 has been broached on at least two occasions in caucus, and that MPs are in favour of reform, though the Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, is not as enthusiastic as most of his colleagues. Of course, the decision in the end will be that of the Prime Minister's Office, and the calculus will be whether this is a political winner. That's the focus.
The PM knows that repealing s. 13 is a winner in caucus, and now he has confirmation that it's a winner with the party's activists. He knows that it's a winner with editorial boards across the country and across the political spectrum, and he knows that it's a winner with NGOs from EGALE to PEN Canada.
I don't want to be presumptuous, but I think what the PM does not yet fully know is the degree of rot in the CHRC. In other words, while he knows that repealing s. 13 won't be politically painful (and will likely be a political winner) I don't think he knows just how bad doing nothing will be.
I'd hazard a guess that the PM is not aware of the RCMP and Privacy Commissioner investigations into the CHRC's illegal conduct; I don't think he's fully aware of the CHRC's practice of publishing anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black bigotry on the Internet, in the guise of neo-Nazis; I don't think he's fully aware of the corruption within the CHRC, ranging from their decision to hire a corrupt ex-cop as an investigator, to their lack of an ethics code; and I don't think that the PM realizes that almost all of the s. 13 complaints have been filed by one man, the serial censor Richard Warman.
I truly believe that if he knew that, he'd cauterize the wound.
That, my friends, is the focus now. The party is on side, the media is on side, the NGOs are on side. Let's encourage our PM to do the right thing. Why not drop him an e-mail right now, citing the party's vote, and giving him evidence of the CHRC's corruption and abuse.
Let's get this done.
P.S. Congratulations and thanks to the party activists who made this an issue, and took it through to success.