In the last year, we have seen some alarming examples of how Canada has rolled back on free speech, particularly in cases of alleged discrimination (here and here). However, the Supreme Court of Canada has handed down a unanimous decision that offers great hope that free speech is not dead in the North. The Court ruled 9-0 in favor of controversial Vancouver radio broadcaster Rafe Mair in his libel case.
Mair was accused of defaming Kari Simpson, a Christian advocate, who he tied to book burning.
Mr. Mair, a former cabinet minister, used a radio show to criticize Mair for her support of a Surrey school board decision to ban three books depicting same-sex parents. Comparing the policy to Nazi Germany, Mair said “[f]or Kari’s ‘homosexual,’ one could easily substitute ‘Jew.’ I could see Governor Wallace – in my mind’s eye I could see Governor Wallace of Alabama standing on the steps of a schoolhouse shouting to the crowds that no Negroes would get into Alabama schools as long as he was governor. It could have been blacks last Thursday night just as easily as gays.”
In a refreshing moment of clairty, Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said that “We live in a free country, where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones.”
It is a decision that Canadians should be rightfully proud of and a relief to those of us who have been watching our neighbors with increasing alarm.
For a copy of the opinion, click here.
For the full story, click here.