Friday, February 8, 2008

Keith Martin and Jonathan Kay are simply wrong on hate speech

Jonathan Kay critiques in the National Post today his colleague, Warren Kinsella, and others who oppose taking hate speech protections out of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Kay spends much of his argument doing the typical, right-wing commentator thing: if it's not a burning cross or a swastika emblazoned across the front of a synagogue, it's not hate. For Kay, there is no racism or hatemongering of any kind in Canada.

And if there is, victims can use the Criminal Code provisions against hate to prosecute, Kay suggests.

This whole debate has sprung out of a private member's motion recently put forth by Liberal MP Keith Martin, who refuses to back down despite the protests of his leader, Stephane Dion.

The conservative approach (and I include Martin here as a conservative, he used to be a Reform MP after all) to this issue seems to be simple: deny there's any hate problem at all in Canada and then fight to eliminate the most effective means of fighting any hate in Canada.

I do agree with some of the commentators that the current case against Ezra Levant (for publishing pictures depicting Mohammed as a bomb-toting terrorist) does seem to go too far and that Levant is likely innocent of spreading hate.

But Kay, Martin and others believe that the complainants in that case shouldn't even have the right to complain.

Of course, if one can't turn to their provincial human rights commission for protection from hate propaganda, is getting someone charged instead under the Criminal Code an easy thing? Hell no. As Kinsella pointed out on his blog recently, only a mere handful of cases have been successfully prosecuted.

Consider for a moment the case of the Alberta pastor who published a disgusting, hate-filled letter in his local Red Deer newspaper in 2002. In it, Stephen Boissoin denounced, "Homosexual rights activists and those that defend immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities." In the letter, Boisson urged readers to, "take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" of the "homosexual machine."

"Whatever steps are necessary"? Two weeks later, a young gay man was gay-bashed in Red Deer.

As a gay man, whenever someone with power like Boissoin urges all citizens to "take whatever steps are necessary" to "reverse" my "wickedness," I feel very, very threatened. Was Boissoin charged under the Criminal Code? No. Was he brought forth before the Alberta Human Rights panel and forced to answer for his hate-inspiring words? Yes.

We need the protections in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It's up to individual human rights boards to dismiss frivolous cases, while at the same time provide those being attacked by hatemongers a chance to have their cases heard.

The right-wingers in this debate deny there is any one spreading hate and promoting violence against anyone in Canada. We know that is a load of right-wing crap.


rabbit said...

The opposition to restrictions on speech is not inherently conservative, but classically liberal.

Most people (Kay perhaps excepted) would not deny that hate speech occurs and can be a problem. But that's simply not the issue here.

True hate speech is covered by the criminal code. The courts have settled on a reasonably well-defined and restricted definition of it.

HRC's mandate, however, is far more broad and vague. It essentially makes it impossible for Canadians to have a frank debate about controversial issues without leaving people vulnerable to being brought up before the HRCs.

This is unacceptable in a free society.

Cameron Campbell said...

rabbit, there would seem to me to be a fairly large gap between "debate about controversial issues" and "Homosexual rights activists and those that defend immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities." In the letter, Boisson urged readers to, "take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness" of the "homosexual machine.".

ALW said...


Quite simply, that Alberta pastor should have been charged under the Criminal Code. By stating "by whatever steps necessary" as part of his sentiments, he is no longer expressing an opinion, but making a call to action - and while it's veiled, it is clear that "whatever steps necessary" would have to include violence, bringing it within the incitement to violence exception. Hence, what you really should be arguing is for better enforcement of the law, not a different kind of law.

rabbit said...


I second ALW's post. I have no idea if the pastor truly incited violence against gays, but if he did then throw his ass in jail.

Matt Guerin said...

Hate speech against gays only became illegal (in the Criminal Code) in 2003 after Svend Robinson's PMB was passed, albeit against intense conservative opposition at the time. People took offense that their religious right to spread hatred and promote violence against gays could become "illegal." Indictments under the Human Rights Act only lead to fines and bad PR - not a criminal record.

So I'm not sure this 2002 letter could've been covered by the criminal code provision.

But as we know, criminal convictions in a court of law takes years and years to finalize. And in the end, no damages can be awarded. Only a criminal conviction which does nothing to help out the victim. And as we know, criminal convictions are difficult if not impossible to get.

KC said...

Of course, if one can't turn to their provincial human rights commission for protection from hate propaganda, is getting someone charged instead under the Criminal Code an easy thing? Hell no. As Kinsella pointed out on his blog recently, only a mere handful of cases have been successfully prosecuted.

This sentiment concerns me. If we are going to do away with the presumption of innocence and the beyond a reasonable doubt standard for hate speech why not any other offence? Should we do away with time honoured pillars of our justice system because it's 'difficult'?

Casey said...

I believe that almost all speech should be allowed, short of inciting violence against others, but I understand that allowing some hateful speech can lead to more hateful speech which could eventually spiral out of control.
The solution to the rather bogus human rights complaint launched against Ezra Levant is not to take hate speech provisions out of the Canada Human Rights Code. HRCs should have a strong screening process with staff being careful to only allow legitimate claims to make it to a hearing before the commission.
Keith Martin has overreacted to one misguided, and probably doomed to fail, claim. The solution should be to make the human rights complaint system work better, not to expose millions of Canadians to unfettered hate speech.

Roger said...

Funny how Svend Robinson is not convicted after stealing a $25,000 ring but Stephen Boissoin is for writing a letter to the editor of his local newspaper that he has no control over. All Svend had to do was apologize and cry the blues about his stress. Like Boissoin's comments or not, he has had his rights trampled on and every homosexual should defend him because of that. NOT defend his comments but his right to believe in them and to state them. In no way did Boissoin suggest violence against gays. I even know gays in Calgary that he offered assistance to for years while they had nothing. I also read a Calgary Herald article about him. He is interviewed with gay young adults that know him. They disagreed with his comments but spoke very highly of him. They said he treated them like family.

Matt Guerin said...

Roger, Boissoin wasn't convicted of anything - the Criminal Code provisions against spreading hate against gays weren't enacted until 2003. His letter was published in 2002.

Boissoin is very guilty of spreading hate and promoting violence against an entire group of innocent people, clearly. It's a matter of degree or seriousness of the crime here. Who was hurt by Robinson's theft? He returned the ring, it was a sign of a mental breakdown on his part and it ruined his career and reputation. So justice was served, there was no need to proceed with charges, Crown Counsel probably felt. If I recall correctly, even the ring owners didn't want charges pressed. There are plenty of gays who do get prosecuted for other crimes (you seem to be suggesting that somehow gays don't get prosecuted while poor, innocent Christians like Boissoin are being victimized unfairly here.)

Thanks to Boissoin's letter, a young gay man was gay-bashed. Yet you think this is somehow less serious than Robinson's incident. Boissoin had no right to spread hate and promote violence. Doing so violated the Human Rights Act of Alberta - and would've been hopefully also led to a criminal conviction were he to have done it post-2003.

Somehow I doubt any gay people choose to associate with Boissoin anymore or speak highly of him, as you claim. The guy advocated everyone should use "any means necessary" to "reverse their wickedness" and gays still hang out with him? Give me a break.

Roger said...

Matt, it seems that you have a double standard. Gays have been openly bashing, mocking and slandering their opposition for years. Boissoin may very well hate homosexuality. So what who cares what he hates. He is entitled. You are entitled to hate his views and even hate him if you like.

I have a copy of the Advocate letter he submitted. It is signed Rev. Stephen Boissoin, Concerned Christian Coalition. He was not inciting anyone to violence. As a community religious leader, youth centre director and leader of a political lobby group he was obviously suggesting "whatever legal means necessary". It was right during the middle of the gay marriage debate, Bill C-250 etc. The article actually says "It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary...". Why not give the guy the benefit of the doubt? Whatever legal means.....anyone in his community that knew him, which was many, would not have assumed it meant violence.

By the way, the gays that spoke in the Calgary Herald on Boissoin's behalf (in the latter part of 2005)were very aware of his article. They still claimed very close friendship with him. They said he treated them like family. From what I understand, some of them offered to testify on his behalf but he declined telling them he would focus on his right to freedom of speech and had no desire to capitalize on their friendship.

Boissoin's letter has been improperly used against him. Boissoin even stated at the AHRC hearing that it was political. The one (divorce) lawyer panel ruled that it was not political. Can't you see the real crime here against Boissoin, against our freedom of speech? Boissoin's testimony was irrelevant, it didn't matter what his motivations were, what his testimony was, he was guilty regardless. The fact that he signed it as a political lobby group leader was irrelavent. You are following suit Matt.

The boy that was assaulted two weeks after Boissoin's letter heard about the letter from the reporter. No perpetraters were found. Are you assuming that these teen bullies read Boissoin's letter and found a gay boy two weeks after and beat him up? Can't you see hom ridiculous it is to convict Boissoin using such cicumstantial non-evidence.

Can you imagine if we used the same standard against the thousands of letters, articles and columns in our daily newspapers. Scarier yet, our higher courts.

Yes, Boissoin was convicted. He can be forced to pay fines, even to pro-gay organizations (funny how Egale declined to accept the proceeds of fines if Boissoin was found guilty). If he does not pay, these fines are upheld at a higher court and he can be incarcerated.

Matt, I respect your passion for gay rights issues. I also respect your right to hate Boissoin's views. What you miss is that you are taking away the same rights of Boissoin that the gay lobby has used to gain grounds with equality.

Here an idea a friend just suggested. Why not contact the guy and get it from the horses mouth. He has posted his email on other sites. Ask him some questions and post them here. That would be very interesting if he will respond. I'm not sure how much he will say because he delines comment when the media approaches him but at least you will have stepped up to the plate and searched for the facts. Isn't that an important part of journalism?

PS...If any of us had stolen that ring we would have been charged. Svends public position gained him leverage and there were no charges. Put the average person in that situation and they would have been charged and convicted. Simple stress does not make you steal valuable diamonds. Greed and dishonesty does.


Matt Guerin said...

Roger, the fact you defend Boissoin is deplorable. His letter is beyond hate speech. In it, he says all gays are fighting for the right to have sex with children. That is what he says in it (see below for proof). And you say I should give him the benefit of the doubt, that he was merely trying to stimulate debate? That was his pathetic defence once his hateful words came back to haunt him - and now he and you and others say he has a right to say whatever he wants, consequences be damned.

Please feel free to post again with the date of the article with quotes from these gay friends of his you keep mentioning. Boissoin mentions in his letter that all gays can and must be cured, yet another hateful Christian lie constantly pushed down our throats.

Boissoin's letter equated all homosexuals with common criminals and pedophiles. He dehumanized us by calling us "the homosexual machine." It's a lot easier to attack and destroy a machine than it is a human being, of course, hence the reason he used his dehumanizing words.

He uses the worst and most disgusting prejudices and misconceptions to further his hateful agenda.

Did his letter cause the young man to be gaybashed? Who knows? But for sure his letter fanned the flames of homophobia in the community. The fact that such hatred spews from the mouth of a so-called "holy man" makes it legitimate, in the minds of many.

This is what he said: "It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds."

You say he meant whatever "legal" steps are necessary? You've got to be kidding me. Boissoin was guilty as hell and I'm glad he didn't get away with it.

Here is Boissoin's letter in its entirety:

Homosexual Agenda Wicked

June 17, 2002

The following is not intended for those who are suffering from an unwanted sexual identity crisis. For you, I have understanding, care, compassion and tolerance. I sympathize with you and offer you my love and fellowship. I prayerfully beseech you to seek help, and I assure you that your present enslavement to homosexuality can be remedied. Many outspoken, former homosexuals are free today.

Instead, this is aimed precisely at every individual that in any way supports the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s. I cannot pity you any longer and remain inactive. You have caused far too much damage.

My banner has now been raised and war has been declared so as to defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth, that you so eagerly toil, day and night, to consume. With me stand the greatest weapons that you have encountered to date - God and the "Moral Majority." Know this, we will defeat you, then heal the damage that you have caused. Modern society has become dispassionate to the cause of righteousness. Many people are so apathetic and desensitized today that they cannot even accurately define the term "morality."

The masses have dug in and continue to excuse their failure to stand against horrendous atrocities such as the aggressive propagation of homo- and bisexuality. Inexcusable justifications such as, "I'm just not sure where the truth lies," or "If they don't affect me then I don't care what they do," abound from the lips of the quantifiable majority.

Face the facts, it is affecting you. Like it or not, every professing heterosexual is have their future aggressively chopped at the roots.

Edmund Burke's observation that, "All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," has been confirmed time and time again. From kindergarten class on, our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators.

Our children are being victimized by repugnant and premeditated strategies, aimed at desensitizing and eventually recruiting our young into their camps. Think about it, children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.

Your children are being warped into believing that same-sex families are acceptable; that men kissing men is appropriate.

Your teenagers are being instructed on how to perform so-called safe same gender oral and anal sex and at the same time being told that it is normal, natural and even productive. Will your child be the next victim that tests homosexuality positive?

Come on people, wake up! It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.

Regardless of what you hear, the militant homosexual agenda isn't rooted in protecting homosexuals from "gay bashing." The agenda is clearly about homosexual activists that include, teachers, politicians, lawyers, Supreme Court judges, and God forbid, even so-called ministers, who are all determined to gain complete equality in our nation and even worse, our world.

Don't allow yourself to be deceived any longer. These activists are not morally upright citizens, concerned about the best interests of our society. They are perverse, self-centered and morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease into every area of our lives. Homosexual rights activists and those that defend them, are just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities.

The homosexual agenda is not gaining ground because it is morally backed. It is gaining ground simply because you, Mr. and Mrs. Heterosexual, do nothing to stop it. It is only a matter of time before some of these morally bankrupt individuals such as those involved with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Lovers Association, will achieve their goal to have sexual relations with children and assert that it is a matter of free choice and claim that we are intolerant bigots not to accept it.

If you are reading this and think that this is alarmist, then I simply ask you this: how bad do things have to become before you will get involved? It's time to start taking back what the enemy has taken from you. The safety and future of our children is at stake.

Rev Stephen Boissoin

Roger said...


I am presently at work and will reply with details from the article.

The primary issue to me is not about what Boissoin said. I believe that the Boissoin's out there have a right to hate homosexuality and I believe that homosexuals can hate what Boissoin stands for. I believe they both have the right to go public with these beliefs. I believe both side can hate each other (if they like) and be public about it. They cannot incite violence towards one another. Cannot discriminate in regards to employability and/or housing issues etc.

I do not defend Boissoin directly. I defend my right to freedom of speech, freedom to hate certain things etc by defending Boissoin. As a Canadian citizen, I beleive that my rights have been impinged upon through the AHRC trial and ruling againt Boissoin's letter to the editor. The damage it has caused to our constitutional rights as citizens of Canada and the errosion it may further lead to is leaps and bounds more important than my feeling about Boissoin's opinion. There is always going to be social conservatives that hold to Boissoin's views. Personally, I want to hear them and I refuse to blame the criminal behaviour of others on those that share their opinion through legal means.

I will respond again soon with other details.

PS...Matt..Boissoin NEVER said that all homosexual are fighting to have sex with children. It is that kind of misinformation that in not only dishonest but by stating such you are libeling him. He did insinuate that all homosexuals are trying to teach children that homosexuality is normal, necessary, acceptable and productive or something like that. What he said in regards to having sex with children was: "It is only a matter of time before some of these morally bankrupt individuals such as those involved with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Lovers Association, will achieve their goal to have sexual relations with children...."


Matt Guerin said...

Roger, Boissoin called all homosexual activists on par with pedophiles and other criminals, which in my mind is pretty much the same as calling us all pedophiles. "They are pedophiles" versus "They are just like pedophiles" is the same thing, in my estimation.

People can speak against homosexuality using facts. It's done everyday - see Michael Coren and others who have learned to write around our hate laws. But Boissoin is different - his letter went over the line into hate speech and it ought not to have been protected.

This was a debate about how best to fight hate speech - with HRA plus the Criminal Code, or just with the Criminal Code. Roger, you seem to be saying we ought not even outlaw hate speech in the Criminal Code. Correct me if I'm wrong.

We have different viewpoints. You think the right to tell lies and spread hate is more important than me living in a society where my safety is possibly compromised by hate-filled propaganda on a regular basis. I say if we have means of strongly advocating against hate speech, we should use those means. We ought not to disarm ourselves.

To me, my right to live in safety and not be under constant attack from irresponsible bigots is more important than your right to spread lies (should you choose). You are arguing for the right to spread lies, after all, consequences be damned.

I do believe there should be limits on free speech. I also think that the damage caused by hate speech is so great that it justifies enacting protections against it. If the Criminal Code becomes our only safeguard, then we are once again very vulnerable in this country. It means the hatemongers just got a lot stronger because a major deterrent against them has been dismantled.

Roger said...


I understand your (my) desire to be protected but I believe that protection was already within the pre-existing criminal code. Adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes bill was unnecessary in my opinion. What was necessary were additional tolerance based programs that highlighted tolerance and understanding for homosexuals. I don't believe that an assualt committed by a bully who beats a gay boy because he is gay is any more serious than one where the victims sexual identity is unknown.

Boissoin's opinions, beliefs etc are rooted in his religious beliefs. His bible, regardless of what modern pro-gay theologians claim is clearly anti-gay. Jesus himself claimed that the law was good and the law was heterosexually bias to put it mildly. This is a significant problem for Boissoin and for all Christians like him. They believe that there is a god and that god has clearly defined moral precepts. They believe that homosexuality is an abnoral compulsion in need of correction. They believe that homosexuality is holisticly dangerous to mankind. That is what their bible teaches them and furthermore they are taught within their bible to propagate this belief.

Boissoin sincerely believes that by teaching a child that homosexuality is acceptable our society encourages homosexual/bisexual experimentation that can harm a child or teen(Hollywood portrays this as fact - i.e especially with female bisexuality). Boissoin believes that many homosexuals are created through environmental conditioning i.e biassed school programs that teach that people are born homosexual when as Boissoin asserts, there is no scientific proof to even back this up. Teach an individual that something is acceptable, increases the likelihood of participation. This is common sense. I personally know straights that due to environmental issues have participated in bi-sexual activities. Lust and sexual gratification is a very powerful thing.

From my research Boissoin has never claimed to hate any homosexual. He has constantly asserted the opposite even before the complaint was filed. He obviously hates it when young people are subject to homosexual activism and believes that homosexul activism when directed towards young people is just as immoral as the criminal behaviours he listed. i.e Boissoin claims that the complainant, Darren Lund, invited a pro-homsexual minister into a public school to teach the pro-gay interpretation of the bible without inviting a minister that holds the opposite view. He also claims that the AHRC commission funded a program that went beyond a tolerance mandate and taught that homosexuality is normal, necessary, acceptable and productive and used public funds to do so.

Whether I am for or against Boissoin is a non-issue. The guy has a point. Some aspect of homosexual activism have overstepped their boundaries and he is angry and as he said declaring war. Not on a homosexual but on the activism directed at young people.

Here is a question for you. Any person can attend a Christian church. People may be invited and or just walk in off the street. In your opinion, is a minister committing a hate crime worthy of charge and conviction if he/she teaches their congregation (from the pulpit or in a youth group) the following?

1. Homosexuality is a sin.
2. It is immoral.
3. It is against the will and teachings of god.
4. Repentence is required.

If you say yes then by your belief, freedom of religious belief has limitations and the bible is clearly hate literature that cannot be propagated save only ones own home.

If you say no then how is Boissoin guilty of hate speech when as a licensed Christian minister he is only teaching what his bible confirms to be true. It cannot be an illegal act of hate propagation via a letter to the editor and deemed legal when the same is propagated from the pulpit at a local church.


Matt Guerin said...

I think that a minister/priest who preached those four statements from the pulpit would not be guilty of a hate crime. He/she would simply be stating religious beliefs. These statements, as you worded them, are not very inflammatory. I don't agree with them, but simply stating them is not promoting hate or inciting violence.

If the priest had added #5 - therefore all good Christians must go out from this church today and "rid this world of homosexuality using any means necessary...nudge nudge, wink wink..." then that would cross the line. However, I'm not sure even if these statements were to be said inside a church if hate speech laws would apply against them. I do think, and even many human rights panels have agreed, that a priest or anyone else saying something inside a church or temple, etc. can be protected under "Freedom of Religion" provisions in the Charter. We haven't yet seen a case which challenged a holy person in this way. Surely that would be the defense were there to be any complaints, and I suspect that defense would be successful.

It's writing the letter and sending it to the newspaper where Boissoin erred and crossed the line. Just because he's a priest doesn't protect him when he's incited violence against an identifiable group and done so in such a public way meant to be distributed to the wider community.

Furthermore, I think saying 'Well the Bible Tells Me It's a Sin so I must say it' doesn't quite work as the Bible says a lot of things, many of them contradictory. Depending on how you choose to interpret it, you can think it condemns homosexuality, while many other modern-day theologians agree that anti-gay statements in the Bible are irrelevant outside of the historical period in which they were written. And Jesus in the end says we must love everyone.

So Boissoin's interpretation of the Bible is one thing. Inciting hatred and violence against gays in a letter to the editor is another.

I do see a difference between giving a homily inside a church and making statements out in public. I see freedom of religion protecting activities inside a church, while not necessarily protecting someone's actions in the wider community.

Roger said...

I have the liberty while at my office to discuss this with you so I hope that you are not offended by my many posts.

I appreciate many of your comments but again Boissoin has repeatedly clarified that he had no intent of inciting violence. He attempted at the hearing to explain his interpretation of the letter "he" wrote and submitted. Everyone else seems to interpret for him though and simply dismisses him.

Homosexuals that attended his youth facilities or that claim to have known him for years said publicly that his actions towards them have always been compassionate, caring and tolerant. I read where he brought a homosexual man to a speaking engagement at a Calgary Hotel. While there a group calling themselves the gay-militia stormed the room and took over the microphone. The police had to be called. In the video Boissoin was simply standing there with his openly gay aquaintance in disbelief. The way many portray him simply is not what I have read or seen.

If a minister taught the things that I previously asked you about, they would obviously expound upon them. Some would even claim that the participation in homosexuality without repentence will prevent one from an eternity with god.

Love? Love according to who's definition of the verb. If you are a theo-con then obeying god/scripture is an act of love. Without the practice of obedience based on the moral precepts of god there is only self-love. Jesus whipped the money lenders, he told the Pharisees that they were vipers and that their father was the devil or something like that. He openly agreed with the old testament law but taught that mercy and forgiveness should be at the forefront.

Personally, I feel the guy has been hung out to dry. He has been judged by a divorce lawyer and convicted in the midst of a very heated national debate. Slap the guy on the hand and say we are changing the rules as we go. Such and such will not be tolerated anymore. Don't create the rules as you go and use him as a tool for the evolutionary process of homosexual rights. Again, I am not defending his leeter but it has been reinterpreted by the AHRC and correct me if I am wrong, you are doing the same thing. You are dismissing (his) position, his public explanation, his beliefs and accusing him of things that he has stated are untrue. His actions and those that know him seem to also defend him. He seems bold enough not to backpedal. My understanding is that his defence cost tens of thousands. I heard over $150,000. Now he can be subject to fines. Do you think he should be fined?

I don't believe that this case will hold if Boissoin's side decides to appeal to an actual court of law. That is yet to be proven though.


Roger said...


Following are some excerpts from the article that I mentioned in a previous post where homosexuals support Boissoin's character. I have another article and a magazine with some of the same around also.

Calgary Herald Sept17, 2005
by Joe Woodard

Maggie 17, a volunteer at the Cave drop-in in Sunridge.

- Maggie calls herself "gay, very gay"... "Over half the kids here are gay or bisexual - for a fact- and Steve has never said .' You can't come in .' He treats everyone equally, blind, deaf, black, gay."

- "It's not offensive; it's just what he believes..."

- "...I'm not Christian but they treat me so nice, like family. I don't agree with him but Steve's entitled to his opinion."

Longtime gay Cave regular Jason 22.

- ...having read the complaints dossier, believes Lund "should have sat down face-to-face with Steve" before launching his legal action.

- "As a gay youth, I think too many homosexuals are trying to repress other people's opinions to gain acceptance," said Jason who see's Boissoin's "declaration of war" as just political rhetoric.

- "If activists use tax payers dollars to promote homosexuality in public schools, then Christians have a right to stand up and say they don't think it's OK."

- Jason once "made out with my boyfriend on the dance floor," he said. "It's a Christian place, and we pushed the boundary to see what they'd do." And while he was cautioned that this was 'not appropriate,' still "no-one beat me up; they didn't even kick me out."

- "Does (Steve) agree with my lifestyle? No. Does he hold it against me as a person? No." Jason says. "He loves me whether I'm gay or straight."

- Boissoin says he loves all the kids at the Cave and opposes all personal discrimination.

I think Boissoin is probably a nice guy that has opposing views and a radical, bold, straightforward (to some rude) way of expressing them.


Matt Guerin said...

Thanks for posting, Roger. I guess we'll have to disagree on this one. Regardless of how "nice" a guy Boissoin might be in his life, his letter in 2002 said gays were as immoral as pedophiles and other criminals. That's hate, pure and simple. We aren't pedophiles and we aren't criminals. And he urged readers to "take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that (heterosexual) lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds."

There was nothing "nice" about this letter. The impact of these words goes far beyond the writer's personal life. It was designed to convince readers to hate all gays as part of some inhuman, wicked machine. The work of gay activists, who fight for equality and dignity for LGBT citizens, were demonized as criminal, on par with sexually assaulting children. Any way you slice it, it was hate speech.

Roger said...


Yes, we will have to agree to disagree.

It doesn't matter if he wasn't nice. We don't have to be nice to each other. Many public debates are not nice.

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." Charles BRADLAUGH

You obviously hate what Boissoin believes and Boissoin believes that teaching children a pro-homosexual view is not nice. Actually he, based on his religious foundation, believes that it is highly immoral and dangerous. He uses the same language found in his religious text...i.e wickedness. I assume meaning very evil etc. He does not see this part of school diversity programs as teaching tolerance (which he claims to agree with) but instead promoting homosexuality which he believes is just as wicked as pedophila, drug dealing and pimping. The topic of his letter would lead us to assume that the context of these comments is when children are taught that homosexuality is normal, necessary, acceptable and productive. This is where he has a major issue. You obviously hate that he feels this way and are public about it.

There is no doubt that Boissoin hates this aspect of what he calls the activist agenda and there is no doubt that he stated that and wants others to feel the same way. You want others to disagree with Boissoin and to think he is being hateful. You want people to hate what Boissoin propagates, hate his opinion etc. Maybe even to hate him if he does not change his views. I would assume that even though you may, you would not incite violence towards him.

To conclude, I thank-you for this discussion and again regardless of my opinion about what he said, I still believe that Boissoin was well within his rights as a citizen of Canada. I do not believe that inciting violence was ever on his mind or that he had anything to do with the assault on a teen in Red Deer.



unaha-closp said...


Terry Glavin linked to you as a good guy to have a beer with, so please do not feel insulted by me saying this - your argument seems utterly wrong when you call the HRC "the most effective means of fighting any hate in Canada".

I cannot see how a quasi-judicial body with the ability to impose merely a small fine as punishment could ever be more effective as a deterrent to anything than a court system able to imprison those found guilty. For example the prevention of hate speech against gays in 2002 was under the remit of the HRC and yet the incitement/bashing you portay occured. To me this shows the HRC regime was most ineffective at "fighting hate in Canada".

Matt Guerin said...

unaha-closp, perhaps you haven't tried to find justice in our courts system before?

My point has always been we have two legal deterrents against hate speech in Canada: those contained in the HRA and those contained in the Criminal Code. We've found it almost impossible to successfully prosecute hate speech under the Criminal Code, while doing so under the HRA has been easier.

By deleting the anti-hate speech provisions in the HRA, we will be communicating to the hatemongers looking for increased opportunities to target their victims, 'Go for it!' and 'There are now fewer opportunities for victims to fight hate speech'

This, I figure, will make it easier for hatemongers to get away with their crimes. Why remove deterrents against hate speech if you don't want it to increase?

Those fighting to remove these protections from the HRA are also the same people, by and large, who opposed giving gays similar protection in the criminal code.