Anti-gay letter offensive, but not hateful: judge

Ruling hailed as a victory for free speech

A judge’s decision to overturn a ruling on an anti-gay letter published in a Red Deer newspaper has free speech advocates across the country celebrating, including those in the gay and lesbian community.

Court of Queen’s Bench judge E.C. Wilson ruled earlier this month that while Stephen Boissoin’s 2002 letter to the Red Deer Advocate might have been “jarring, offensive, bewildering, puerile, nonsensical and insulting,” it didn’t constitute a hate crime — a judgment that overturned a 2007 Alberta Human Rights Commission ruling. (The letter likened gay people to pedophiles and pimps.)

“We support the dismissal of this action,” says Matt Mills, editorial director of Pink Triangle Press, a national gay media company based in Toronto. Mills says that while the letter in question was “very offensive to a lot of people,” free speech has been “critically important” for gay and lesbian Canadians. “The long-term ramifications of quashing free expression are just not good for everybody.”

Darren Lund, the University of Calgary professor who filed the original complaint against Boissoin, says he was “very surprised and disappointed” by Wilson’s ruling, and is considering an appeal.


Comments: 1

seemac70 wrote:

"I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
(Attributed to some guy.)

I wonder if Mr. Lund would like to apply for the job of official censor? Just ask the members of the Alberta "Human Rights" Commission how good it pays!

It is the height of arrogance, and dangerous to democracy, for these people to deign to decide what we should be able to read and think.

Goebbels was very keen indeed, when it came to what people could read...

I hope he's doing his appealing on his own time. Maybe he should step away from the ivory tower.

What is ironic is that Mr Boissoin and Mr. Lund share one thing in common; Their views are an utter disgrace.

But I'll decide that for my self after having read them.
It's my right. Period.

What is good about this whole thing is that the AHRC have been exposed to the light like never before.

I.e. The AHRC is pathetic, expensive and quite simply ultra vires in matters of expression protected by the Charter.


on Dec 14th, 2009 at 7:03pm Report Abuse

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