Monday, March 31, 2008

The CHRC versus the Spanish Inquisition

Lorne Gunter:

All you need to know about how rotten the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is -- how undemocratic and anti-freedom it has become -- is that in hate-speech complaints, the commission has a 100-per-cent conviction rate.

Even the Spanish Inquisition had acquittals. And you were released on the first conviction of heresy.

Such a rate is impossible for a democratic institution because the state is never always right and the defendant never always guilty.

Not unlike the Spanish Inquisition, where the inquisitors believed you to be guilty when you came to the hearing, and you had to prove your innocence. Heck, if you survived the torture without confessing, you could be let off. Maybe bringing back the rack would represent progress?

At the CHRC, it's as if the court that will eventually hear a case is also in charge of the police officers conducting the investigation and the prosecutor who will present the evidence, as well as deciding whether the accused is guilty as charged.

Just like the Spanish Inquisition.

After years of investigating Lemire, CHRC investigators had too little proof that he was a hatemonger to proceed to a hearing. So they began logging onto his website under an assumed name, "Jadewarr," and posting provocative comments in hopes of obtaining racist replies they could then use in their case again Lemire.

Not unlike the Spanish Inquisition, where spies listened in on conversations to get the dirt.

You can see this in the words of lead CHRC investigator Dean Steacy. Asked by Lemire's lawyer, Beverley Kulaszka: "What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?" Steacy replied, "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value. It's not my job to give value to an American concept."

Just like the Spanish Inquisition.

I'll tell you one way the Spanish Inquisition is one up on the CHRC: at least you would be assigned a lawyer to defend you.

Sure, people aren't burned at the stake these days. But people are sentenced to infamy, though. One of the punishments meted out to the guilty is the wearing of the SanBenito, a kind of shirt to proclaim your guilt. It could also be hanged in the local parish church and bring shame on the community.

The CHRC is just another Spanish Inquisition, without the religious ideology and the Auto-da-fes.

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