I caught Kinsella and others on Michael Coren tonight debating hate speech laws in Canada. It was a very good discussion. Coren has mellowed in recent years, at least on his TV show.
I've written on the subject of hate propaganda or hate speech on a couple occasions. I still believe it's important that our laws discourage the promotion of hatred against any identifiable groups, especially vulnerable minorities.
I might agree with some of my conservative colleagues that some processes used by various human rights commissions could use some tightening up. But Conservative party members voted 99.9% on the weekend in favour of removing the rights of such commissions to prosecute hate speech. If this were to come to pass, we'd have less protection against hate propaganda.
Hate is a weapon used by bigots to inflict pain on their victims. I've always believed the primary purpose of hate speech is to provide the bigot with a special thrill knowing he or she is inflicting pain on those they hate. They don't have the guts to throw a rock, or actually strangle somebody.
So they throw little darts of hate instead. And they do inflict real pain. If I were a closeted teenager sitting in that Sudbury high school earlier this fall and heard an older, political candidate state that all gays should be executed , I would be devastated. The message David Popescu sent to that group of young people was, "it's okay to kill everyone who's gay." What Popescu did was evil and our laws should reflect that. We cannot live in a society that tolerates this type of willful, brazen promotion of hatred in front of teenagers.
The authorities have not yet charged Popescu with breaking Canada's hate laws. It's sad that our friends over at Gay Dominion.ca don't agree with me on the importance of prosecuting hate propaganda. Conservative activists led by GayandRight launched the website at the party's Winnipeg convention. There has been much discussion about whether or not the term queer conservative is an oxymoron. I wrote about the issue of gay conservatives for Xtra Magazine in 2005.
I do want to congratulate the founders for launching this movement. I'm not one of those liberals who thinks queers can't be conservative. I've always seen great value in having queers inside the palace gates, so to speak. Once queer equality gains acceptance among the country's conservatives, that's it the battle is won (on a national scale) for queers and their allies. I know that gay conservatives, through their personal connections with fellow party members and other conservatives, do have a major influence.
So I wish gay conservatives well. We can agree to disagree on prosecuting hate speech, but I still respect them.