CTV: “Proposal to abolish Alberta Human Rights Act under debate”
If I can find a way to directly link it, I will update the post. For now, you have to go to http://edmonton.ctv.ca/ and find it from the videos list in the middle.
The discussion in that video refers to Section 3 (the hate speech provisions) and not the whole act, although the heading seems to indicate otherwise. For the moment, because this is where most of the far right’s ire is directed, fuelled by the fine levied against Rev. Stephen Boissoin for an anti-gay letter published in the Red Deer Advocate that was deemed to be hate speech — the fine was later overturned. However, there is a contingent of the far right that wants to abolish the HRCs completely, so we will watch to see if what is proposed reaches beyond speech provisions.
Edmonton Rutherford Constituency Association (Edmonton Rutherford is also the riding of Fred Horne, the MLA who spearheaded the recent Alberta Health Act report). meet in Calgary later this month.
The further-right Wildrose Alliance Party policy already includes as part of their mandate the abolition of Section 3, although it is worded more nicely, as is their policy to soft-sell radical-right social agendas (such as their rhetoric elsewhere about “reforming” an “activist” judicial system):
“A Wildrose Government will amend the Alberta Human Rights Act to unequivocally protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”
So depending on where the governing Conservatives go with this, expect any spirited opposition to come from the three parties that are vying to be taken seriously as Alberta’s badly-needed progressive alternative: the Alberta NDs, the Liberals and the Alberta Party. This may be the moment that distinguishes them.
Meanwhile, my thoughts on hate speech are mixed. But while there may be flaws in navigating the shades of grey to define the balance between freedom of speech and speech that creates a hostile and likely-to-harm environment, I’m not yet convinced that total abolition of Section 3 is the answer.