Tag Archives: Section 13

Christian man shares his story of being banned by Canada’s armed forces for disagreeing with Islam

Four white Canadian police officers arrest black pastor
Canadian police officers arrest black pastor for preaching the gospel

I got an essay from a Christian man who lives in Canada who served with the armed forces, but was banned from re-enlistment for expressing orthodox Christian views online about Islam. On this blog, I have urged Christians not to entrust a secular government with too many responsibilities, because it results in diminished liberty. I hope my readers will learn something from his story.

The remained of this post is written by the Canadian writer.


I was in the Canadian army several years ago, and while during this brief period of my life I was somewhat eager to get out. It just wasn’t a good time and I had chosen a less than ideal trade. I also had a difficult time telling myself I did the right thing. My 3 year engagement was valuable in some ways, I made some of my best friends there, and it made me into somewhat of a disciplined civilian, one might say. After my release from the army, I went to school and studied Christian apologetics and philosophy, which gave me an excellent outlet to share ideas. I had taken a course on Islam through Veritas evangelical seminary, which was very informative. I had learned that Islam shares many core ideas of Christianity, but there was also something about it which undoubtedly drives much of the terrorist activity in the world. I decided I could no longer evaluate Islam through what the media was telling me, or some of the attitudes towards Islam I may have picked up in the army. Given the time in which I was in the army (2005-2008), during the Afghanistan conflict, no doubt there was a great deal of vilification of our enemy in order to dehumanize them. This seems to be how war works, as it makes it easier to kill who you believe to be sub-human.

No doubt, Islam has been heavily politicized since then. It has become the preferred religion of the Liberal party in Canada; the object of tolerance, and the line of demarcation, which if you do not tolerate you are a racist, even if you so much as raise concern with regards to its violent roots, and current activity. Either way, I had to understand it for myself.

Is this a misappropriated religion, used by those who would be violent anyway as a pretext to carry out their actions? Is there room for reform within Islam, can a believer move away from the violent passages in the Quran, and adopt a more peaceful form of Islam without compromising essential beliefs?
Without getting into the details of my piece, I answered these questions in the negative, while leaving open the very real possibility that a genuinely peaceful person might be a Muslim, that we might hold two, or more, conflicting ideas at once. I published my ideas on my former blog.

Since then, I had reapplied with the army, I even did my aptitude test again, bringing up my score, in order to open up a more desirable occupation than before. My chosen occupation was intelligence, and I was almost in. I suppose it was appropriate that the recruiter gathered their intelligence on me, and found my apologetics blog.

During the recruiting process, one form which all candidates must sign is “Operation Honour,” instantiated by General Jonathan Vance, an initiative not in place during my previous engagement. This outlines an understanding that members must not sexually harass, or discriminate against other CF members, and such can be grounds for dismissal, which seems reasonable.

I was called into the recruiting centre, and my reapplication to the military was closed due to this post, this post which expressed views criticizing a set of ideas, Islam, as a private citizen.

I had argued, with the recruiters, how no specific person was accused of violence, and how the piece was only intended to draw out the problems I saw contained within. They would have none of it, and were set on a year long deferral. It became clear to me that our freedoms of speech were under attack, and in order to hold jobs in government one cannot hold views contrary to the current cultural milieu. I have since had the opportunity to reapply, but with such a wax nose initiative in place, where any disagreement one might voice against a particular worldview, I am unsure how one’s career could survive in an atmosphere of whistleblowers, and where people’s feelings are a metric for one’s worthiness in the forces. Literally anything which rubs another the wrong way, any concern or disagreement, can become a nightmare for a member.

Would not the mere presence of me, a Christian, be an affront to Islam, or even a homosexual/LGBTQ member? The simple affirmation of Jesus being the Son of God is blasphemy to Islam, which only affirms Him as a prophet. How is anyone to function in such an environment as both a private citizen and a state employee, one which professes inclusivity, but has their own ideas of exclusivity in mind? In the name of tolerance, it does seem that our government, and its agencies, have become some of the most intolerant and divisive amongst us. They seem more interested in catering to special interest groups, rather than evaluating ideas, which is ironic considering my intended trade—intelligence, which examines sociopolitical influences on a region, ideas that might be useful for command decisions.

If Islam were the peaceful religion our politicians claim it to be, wouldn’t this be a valuable thing for a person in a command position to know? One could use this knowledge to reform violent practitioners away from their erroneous ways. Yet, they have chosen to protect it by brute political force, rather than allowing open discussion.

Sure, I was initially bitter about this, but it was a valuable lesson, and it has shown me how under the brief influence of a very pseudo-liberal government, how our basic freedoms of thought and speech become attacked, freedoms which I thought our military was interested in preserving, at home and abroad. I suppose it was a valuable awakening to no longer see the state as the preservers of morality, let alone our basic freedoms. For this, we need to look elsewhere.


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Quebec’s Bill 59 criminalizes speech or writings that hurt anyone’s feelings

Election results 2011: Dark blue = conservative, Red = socialist, Orange = English Communists, Light blue = French communists
Canada federal election results 2011: Red = socialists, Blue = conservatives, Orange = English communists, Cyan = French communists, Green = Enviro-communists

(Note: in the image above, “QC” is the province of Quebec)

Here’s an article about the latest restrictions on free speech written by the editors of the centrist National Post, one of Canada’s two national newspapers.

Excerpt:

In mid-June, when Quebecers’ thoughts were more attuned to summer plans than politics, Premier Philippe Couillard introduced two new bills in the National Assembly. One was long anticipated and non-controversial (in Quebec). The other was a bit of a bombshell.

The first, Bill 62, would shore up “religious neutrality” in Quebec. Its principal provision, the proscription of face coverings in the public sector, is largely pointless but relatively mild, as curtailments on religious freedom go, compared to the broader ban on religious garb the Parti Québécois had contemplated.

Bill 59, on which consultations are to start next week, is far more worrisome. Bill 59 assigns new powers to the Quebec Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to combat hate speech, as well as a variety of other provisions meant to protect against extremism, by censoring speech that promotes “fear of the other.” Ominously, the bill would allow the QHRC to pursue websites that in its estimation describe and denounce Islamism.

[…]The details of Bill 59 are chilling. Article 6 would “give the QHRC the power to initiate legal proceedings before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal without having to wait for complaints from the public.” Article 3 allows members of an identifiable group as well as people outside the group to make complaints triggering suits for hate speech before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

If this has a déjà vu quality to it, it should. Bill 59 would pave the same well-travelled road to suppression of speech and opinion that led, via the similar Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, to the infamous pursuit of journalists Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant by Muslim activists determined to stifle normative expressions of opinion. The public’s disgust at such bureaucratic despotism happily led to its repeal at the federal level.

A  Toronto Sun article talks about the driving force behind Bill 59 – to criminalize speech that offends Muslims, in particular:

In plainspeak, the new bill, if passed, would give the QHRC the authority to commence witch hunts on its own accord, on the broadest and flimsiest of excuses, and hold people guilty based on someone’s – anyone’s – say-so that statements or postings caused fear for their equality.

If this sounds like an ultra-progressive attempt to shut up any person or shut down any website that radical Muslims find offensive, that’s because it is exactly that.

Time and again commission President Jacques Frémont has said he believes Islamophobia is one of the greatest human rights scourges in Canada.

He is convinced all sorts of people, groups and governments have used the 9/11 attacks as a pretense to single out Muslims and abuse their basic human rights.

Fremont has even admitted (boasted?) that if the Quebec National Assembly passes Bill 59, he and his human rights police intend to use the law to convict “people who would write against … the Islamic religion … on a website or on a Facebook page.”

According to an analysis conducted for the Canadian Bar Association, “the Québec bill goes further than similar provisions in other provinces, such as that which the Supreme Court upheld in Saskatchewan v. Whatcott.”

The Quebec legislation even mimics recommendations to censor the Internet brought to the United Nations by the organization representing the world’s Muslim-majority nations.

Now, it’s true that Quebec is the ultimate have-not province. It is the least intelligent, least religious, least moral province in Canada, and it only survives because it collects money from provinces where people still have morality and a work ethic. But that doesn’t stop them from digging their pit lower and lower. They are the Greece / Scotland of Canada.

If you happen to find yourself living in Canada, and you value free speech and freedom of conscience, for goodness sake, get out now and stay out. There is no free speech, religious freedom or freedom of conscience in Canada. There is no First Amendment in Canada. Anything you say that anyone finds offensive is liable to land you in front of a kangaroo court run by the secular left.

By the way, if you worry that things like that are coming to the United States, then you are right to be worried. The secular left is taking aim at religious freedom, and their champion is Barack Obama. Canada is just 10 years ahead of us. These things are coming here.

Canada repeals Section 13 law that criminalized politically incorrect speech

Canada Political Map
Canada Political Map

Sun News reports on some good news up north.

Excerpt:

An Alberta MP has succeeded in his bid to repeal a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act long seen by free-speech advocates as a tool to squelch dissenting opinions.

Conservative MP Brian Storseth saw the Senate give third and final reading late Wednesday to his Bill C-304 which repeals Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, an act that had been used to, among other things, attack the writings of Sun News Network’s Ezra Levant and Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn.

Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as “hate speech.” But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those accused had to prove their innocence.

With elimination of Section 13, producing and disseminating hate speech continues to be a Criminal Code violation but police and the courts will adjudicate rather than human rights tribunals.

Storseth drafted his bill in 2011 and enjoyed support from the highest levels in cabinet.

“Our government believes Section 13 is not an appropriate or effective means for combating hate propaganda,” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in late 2011. “We believe the Criminal Code is the best vehicle to prosecute these crimes.”

Last summer, Storseth’s bill cleared the House of Commons in a free vote and, now that it’s through the Senate, it will get royal assent and Section 13 should soon disappear.

Brian Lilley comments: (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

To put it bluntly, the means you can’t take someone through the federal human rights apparatus over hurt feelings via a blog post or a Facebook comment.

Now the bill is passed and will become law but like many acts of Parliament it will not come into force for a year.

Still after a long hard battle to restore free speech in Canada, this is a victory.

Canada just became a little more free. Congratulations to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada for undoing a harmful policy enacted by the radical left.

Supreme Court of Canada rules that politically incorrect speech is a criminal offense

Political map of Canada
Political map of Canada

Canada is hostile to free speech, as shown in the recent Supreme Court decision.

Excerpt:

Canada’s top court has released a unanimous decision today that critics say has struck a monumental blow against freedom of speech, opinion, and religion across the country. The court ordered the defendant, a Christian pro-family activist with a reputation for intense activism, not only to pay a fine, but also to pay court costs which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

[…]In Saskatchewan (Human Rights Commission) v. Whatcott, the Supreme Court decided that born-again Christian William Whatcott was guilty of hate speech for distributing flyers to neighborhoods in Saskatoon and Regina in 2001 and 2002. While the flyers used vehement language against homosexual practices and the homosexual agenda, they did not directly attack homosexual persons.

[…]The Court focused on Whatcott’s main argument, namely that he loves homosexuals with a brotherly Christian love, and it is only their sexual activity that he denounces.

But the Supreme Court found that with regards to hate speech, the distinction between ‘sin and sinner’ no longer applies.

“I agree that sexual orientation and sexual behaviour can be differentiated for certain purposes,” the Court stated. “However, in instances where hate speech is directed toward behaviour in an effort to mask the true target, the vulnerable group, this distinction should not serve to avoid s. 14(1)(b) [the hate-crime clause of the Code].”

“Courts have recognized a strong connection between sexual orientation and sexual conduct and where the conduct targeted by speech is a crucial aspect of the identity of a vulnerable group, attacks on this conduct stand as proxy for attacks on the group itself,” the Court stated.

The Court ordered Whatcott to pay the Human Rights Commission’s legal fees and to pay $7,500 in compensation to two homosexuals who were offended by his flyers.

Gwen Landolt, national vice-president of REAL Women of Canada, called the ruling “very depressing” and “bad news”.

[…]“On the one hand they’re saying, ‘Oh, no, no, no, we’re not really infringing on freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of opinion’, but in fact, what they say is not what they’ve done,” she said in an interview with LifeSiteNews.com.

Next time we have an election, can we vote in favor of free speech? I don’t agree with anything Whatcott did – form or content. The man is a fool. But I can easily see how this ruling could be used to silence reasonable speech that disagrees with homosexuality and gay marriage on secular grounds. The motivation of these judges is to silence speech critical of the gay agenda, and we should all be concerned about that. They pick these kooks like Whatcott to attack because they won’t get any opposition from normal people. But later you’ll find out that these legal precedents will furnish the foundation for eliminating free speech altogether. It’s happened before.

Apparently, there is some effort to repeal section 13 in Canada, which is the part that criminalizes speech deemed offensive by the political left. That might affect future rulings of the Supreme Court if it is made clear that the right to free speech is absolute.

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By repealing section 13, Canada takes a baby step toward freedom of speech

What is section 13, you ask? Section 13 is the part of Canadian law that makes it illegal for Canadians to offend people on the left. The Conservatives now have a majority, so they’ve voted in the House of Commons to repeal it. But it still isn’t repealed.

Here it is:

“It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”
— Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

Here is an example of what Canada did to people with unpopular opinions: (H/T Binks)

Among the more high-profile targets of Canada’s “human rights” zealots was journalist Ezra Levant, who spent 900 days and $100,000 defending himself against “hate speech” charges. As editor of the Western Standardmagazine, Levant in 2006 published some examples of “Muhammad cartoons” to illustrate a news article about the worldwide firestorm touched off by the cartoons when they were originally published in a Danish magazine. A Canadian imam filed a “human rights” complaint, and Levant was dragged into the meat grinder.

“Section 13 has had a brutal effect on free speech in Canada,” Levant told Chalcedon. “It’s not that the number of prosecutions under Section 13 was ever that large. But it made examples of people, and inspired tremendous self-censorship. But now we’re free, and we can say things that are politically incorrect.”

But how free? The “human rights” legislation in Canada’s thirteen provinces is still, so far, intact.

“The provincial human rights machinery remains,” Levant said, “but this, the federal repeal, has got to cast a shadow over those. [Journalist, author, and commentator] Mark Steyn, for instance, was charged in three different jurisdictions for the same ‘offense.’ But now we’re seeing the censorship being challenged in Saskatchawan, and questioned in some other provinces.”

Section 13 over the years, he said, “has attracted bullies to the ‘human rights’ system. Ninety percent of the defendants charged under Section 13 can’t afford a lawyer. And because countersuits are not allowed, there’s no way to recover your legal expenses.”

In Canada’s “human rights” system, the government pays all the plaintiff’s legal costs, but none of the defendant’s. Nor is there any “double jeopardy” rule to prevent a defendant from being tried multiple times for the same incident.

“Except for me – I’m a Jew – no non-Christian has ever been prosecuted by a human rights tribunal,” Levant said. “And the federal Human Rights Commission really enjoyed Section 13! They had a one hundred percent conviction rate over thirty-two years.

A 100% conviction rate!

This something for us to think about. When you meet a secular leftist who complains about being offended by your speech, you should ask yourself the question “how far would he go with that?”. Because in Canada, the secular went very far, indeed. And similarly in the UK and in some European countries.

We should be grateful that we have the first and second amendments, because a lot of people don’t.