Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Canadian free speech takes a hit in the name of political correctness.
CBC Montreal - Man told to pay gay man $1,000 for comment: "MONTREAL - Quebec's Human Rights Commission has ordered a used car salesman in Sorel to pay a gay man $1,000 for a derogatory comment made three years ago.
In 2001, Marcel Bardier told the man's travelling companion to keep an eye on him because he was a 'fifi', a french word that equates to 'fag'.
The man, who cannot be identified because of a court order, filed a complaint with the Commission which said the comment caused him to feel dehumanized, humiliated and degraded.
Bardier told the Commission that he had nothing against homosexuals, but was simply acting in a fatherly way to the man's companion by warning him of his sexuality.
The Human Rights Commission ruled that the term was an inappropriate way of referring to homosexuals and shows a lack of respect for the human dignity people are entitled to."
Hat tip -- Volokh Conspiracy.
Let me start by saying that I find the comment somewhat offensive; however, since when is it the duty of a democratic government to ensure that no citizen is offended?
What ever happened to the idea that citizens in a democracy are allowed to express their opinions or beliefs without fear of government persecution?
And, for those of you who support the decision, where does one draw the line? Is anti-Semitism okay? Should Muslims who preach hatred of Jews be given a pass? How about Christians who condemn homosexuality (as opposed to homosexual individuals)?
How about Canadians who make derogatory or offensive comments to people based on their nationality?
If you feel a monetary fine is appropriate, then why isn't jail time? What will you do with those folks who lack the ability to pay the fine? If you see nothing wrong with locking up the folks who lack the resources to pay a fine, then why isn't locking [i]everyone[/i] who violates this speech code an appropriate punishment?
And finally -- if you support this decision -- who gets to determine what is "offensive"? More importantly, what will you do when something you say is considered offensive?