I recently wrote an op-ed that was published by Troy Media and the Vancouver Sun. The gist of the piece was that Human Rights legislation only provides protection to some, and definitely not to all. In the article, I point out that Lorna Pardy is protected, but Quintin Johnson is not. Since op-eds are brief, I thought that I would make some further observations about the same two cases.
- Both Pardy and Johnson should have lost their human rights cases. Freedom of expression, particularly artistic expression, should have been the winner. And no government official should be in the business of deciding what is artistic expression or determining the value of that expression.
- Even if Pardy and Johnson had hurt feelings, neither one should be permitted to drag the party who hurt their feelings through a human rights process. Both Pardy and Johnson were trying to do a “shakedown”, in Ezra Levant’s sense of the term.
- Both Pardy and Johnson should have demonstrated their freedom by walking away. Pardy could have walked away from Earle. If she had, her problem would have been solved. Johnson could easily have avoided Deicide’s music. Had he done so, he could not have been offended.
Even though I may seem to come down hard on Deicide in the op-ed, I actually support their right to freely express the views that they do… and I would defend their artistic expression from detractors. Canadian society has already ceded too much power over speech to ill-equipped and ill-informed human rights bureaucrats. Even if Deicide is offensive, I support their right to freedom of expression because the freedom they enjoy is ultimately the same freedom that protects my own expression of contrary views.
This appeared in the Canadian Constitution Foundation's blog in July 2011.