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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Critic didn't bother to do her homework

Someone named Penney Kome of Calgary wrote in to the Globe & Mail today purporting to criticize my article on the outcome of the Boissoin case in Alberta.  But she didn't bother to do her homework.  If she had, she would have known that the horrible scenario she hypothesized has already been taken care of by Canada's Criminal Code.  If a person publicly incites hatred in a way that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, he can be charged under section 319 of the Criminal Code.  There's no need to have a supplementary provincial law in Alberta doing the same thing.

Ms. Kome is obviously ignorant of Canada's constitution, which allocates the power over criminal issues to the federal government, not to the provinces.

She then goes on to ask whether the court would have ruled differently if Boissoin had written about Jews or Muslims.  Probably not.  But it would have been better if the court HAD ruled differently, regardless of which group Boissoin was talking about.  The court's judgement is actually not very clear.  It would have been better if the court had ruled differently by being clear--and in particular, by clearly striking down the offending paragraph of the Alberta law.