Canada’s Supreme Court will rule on a free speech case tomorrow. The case involves Bill Whatcott, a free speech activist and outspoken critic of homosexuality. In 2001 and 2002 Whatcott was handing out flyers that used blunt language to criticize homosexuality. Four people who received the flyers complained to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission “alleging that the material in them ‘promotes hatred against individuals because of their sexual orientation’ in violation of s. 14(1)(b) of the Code.”
Whatcott was ordered to pay $17,000 to the complainants.
Now you don’t need to agree with Whatcott to know that this is a case involving freedom of speech. One of the groups that intervened in the case was Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, a group whose board is dominated by CBC and Toronto Star types including Michelle Shephard and Anna Maria Tremonti.
Still, those of us who speak up in our own name to defend Whatcott’s right to free speech will still be denounced as right wing bigots. No matter, it is the right thing to do.
Still it is shocking to look at the list of interveners in this case and see how many groups, and government agencies are willing to restrict freedom of speech. I applaud CJFE and the others who defended free expression. Tomorrow morning we find out where the court stands, today here is where the groups stand.
Those who supported free speech
Canadian Constitution Foundation
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Catholic Civil Rights League and Faith and Freedom Alliance
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Christian Legal Fellowship
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Association for Reformed Political Action Canada (denied intervener status)
Those who opposed free speech
Attorney General for Saskatchewan
Attorney General of Alberta
Canadian Human Rights Commission
Alberta Human Rights Commission
Egale Canada Inc.
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Canadian Jewish Congress
Unitarian Congregation of Saskatoon and Canadian Unitarian Council
Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund
Canadian Bar Association
Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission and Yukon Human Rights Commission
League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada
United Church of Canada
Assembly of First Nations, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan
African Canadian Legal Clinic
Attorney General of Canada (originally sought to intervene and then withdrew)