“The reality is we read the papers. We know about the current debate, we know the parameters, if you will,” Mr. Fine said. “If you think that we’re concerned, upset, from time to time discouraged with some of what we’ve been hearing and reading in the press, you’re right, we are. Because to be quite clear about it, we do believe in what we do. We believe that in our society there should be limits on freedom of expression and freedom of speech, that there is a line, not one that we draw, but one that must be drawn nevertheless. We are comfortable with what we do.”
This confident defensiveness was the general tone of the interview with Mr. Fine and his colleagues Monette Maillet, director of legal advisory services and a top Section 13 litigator, and Harvey Goldberg, senior policy advisor on hate speech, disability and First Nations issues.
But to judge from the two times they muted their line for private discussions about what they should or should not say, and from the conspiratorial whispering that could be heard in the background during the call, their confidence masked deep concern for the CHRC’s public reputation.
That reputation has taken a beating in the past few weeks. Calls for the abolition or reform of the federal and provincial human rights commissions have grown as hate speech laws designed for racist propagandists have been used against mainstream journalists, notably the staff of Maclean’s magazine, who are accused of Islamophobic hate messages by the Canadian Islamic Congress for, among other things, columns and a book review…. (Source)
Too late, boys. It’s all over. The blogosphere is coming. We’re hungry and we’re not going to stop until we are satisfactorily fed.