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Another Attempt to Restrict Speech in Canada:

05/25/2011 12:20 pm ET

In Warman v. Beaumont, Richard Warman — a frequent filer of complaints calling for punishment of bigoted speech, and a former employee of the Canadian Human Rights Commission — filed a complaint about various posts by Jessica Beaumont; the Canadian Human Rights Commission joined in his complaint. Much of the complaint was about expressly racist, anti-gay, anti-Semitic, and otherwise bigoted speech; as blog readers know, I believe even such speech should be protected, but there's little new at this point in Canada's restrictions of such speech.

One item, though, is novel — Warman's and the Commission's complaint about this post:

Message 7 - August 14, 2004

[16] This message was posted on a sub-forum entitled "Let Muslim women keep hijabs on". The discussion related to a news report that then Prime Minister Paul Martin believed that the practice at Montreal's airport of requiring Muslim women to remove headscarves as they pass through security screening should be stopped. Ms. Beaumont posted the following comment in this regard:

That drives me nuts, I take photos for the citizenship, passports, pr (permanent residence), visa cards etc. and as I have been told from human resourses that the ears MUST be visable, which means, if your hair covers your ears, it has to be tucked back.

I don't care if it's a religious thing or not, if you don't want to follow our rules, even if it is taking off your scarf thing for one lousy picture, then stay out of my effing country!

To its credit, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal did not cite this message in holding against Beaumont; perhaps they do not take the view that this speech is now punishable in Canada.

But the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Mr. Warman apparently do take this view. According to them, the statement "I don't care if it's a religious thing or not, if you don't want to follow our rules, even if it is taking off your scarf thing for one lousy picture, then stay out of my effing country!" may be legally suppressed, on the grounds that it's "likely to expose persons to hatred or contempt on the basis of religion." If the Commission had its way, how far further down the slope would Canada slip?

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