Unfortunately, it's only a matter of degree for any present day "Western Democracy," but - once again - we can learn much from our northern neighbor. The aftermath of the result of this tribunal, widely expected to result in a "conviction," will tell us much about the condition of democracy in Canada.
You will have trouble believing the verdict will go that way, but if it does not it will be the first. As you read about the proceedings, you will come to understand why.
Follow the proceedings here.
The British Columbia Human Rights Commission is an extra-judicial body in which the traditional norms of evidence are disregarded and in which the State provides the money for the plaintiff. A plaintiff is anyone who can fill out form LHOR-72JP9D, or equivalent. The state also pays the "judges," who would be at least even further underemployed if not for the existence of free-ride plaintiffs.
The defendant has to pony up on his own. This can be a challenge, given the limited options available to the defence:
Under Section 7.1, he [the defence lawyer] continues, innocent intent is not a defence, nor is truth, nor is fair comment or the public interest, nor is good faith or responsible journalism.Unsurprisingly, the defence does not consider this an equitable situation. The astounding part is that Canada has, 'til now, so considered it.
Or in other words, there is no defence.
Pay attention at 2:46 PM (2nd half of the live blog) for a truly bizarre evidentiary ruling. If there were any principle involved - IF - then ALL the material mentioned would be admissible, or NONE of it would be. These petty bureaucrats presume to rule on freedom of speech in Canada, and have gotten away with it.
Perhaps this "free speech" stuff is only an American concept, as Mr. Steacy, AKA Jadewarr, and CHRC agent provocateur, has informed us.
The BCHRC's decision will be a watershed, one way or another. Appearing live in Vancouver until at least week's end.
In Ontario, we have another story of blatant disregard for human rights. Which human right is not in question for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They already know who's aggrieved.