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Gay rights organization, conservative pastor agree on AHRC

Mark Milke with Frontier Centre for Public Policy reports on the growing coalition against Canada's human rights laws in his review of Ezra Levant's powerful new book Shakedown.

Mark Milke - June 29, 2009

It has the makings of a joke: What do you get when Canada's premier gay rights organization gets into bed with a conservative pastor from a small city in Alberta? Here's the non-funny answer: The birth of an unnatural alliance, one born from an attack on free expression.

The recounting of how Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (Egale) came to the rhetorical defence of a socially conservative Red Deer pastor, Stephen Boissoin, in his fight with the Alberta Human Rights Commission, is chronicled in Ezra Levant's new book, Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights.

The book, a sharp, sliver of a stab at wrongly-labelled provincial and federal "human rights" commissions and tribunals, is worth a summer beach read. Especially, perhaps, because Jennifer Lynch, chairwoman of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, recently bleated about how such bodies are misunderstood; she asserted that "detractors seek to caricature the human rights system."

Sorry, no additional caricatures are necessary. The human rights bureaucracies have nicely demonstrated their own absurdity, including Lynch's own commission-- where hate speech was faked online by an employee to draw others into a legal trap.

Or in the Boissoin saga, where, big surprise, a conservative Christian cleric thought gay sex was immoral. Boissoin's views were not interesting and were not news - or, at least, wouldn't have been, except that the Alberta Human Rights Commission decided to investigate.

The particulars of that case are well-known and won't be recited here; the relevance is that the Alberta "Human Rights" Commission was shown to be supremely silly, made plain by the intervention of Egale.

That's one proof of over-the-top interventions by misnamed human rights bodies; there are others, including Levant's own travails with the Alberta body over his now-defunct magazine's publication of Danish cartoons which depicted the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

In Levant's case, the grinding process began after the Western Standard magazine was subject to a complaint from a Calgary imam and an Edmonton-based lawyer with rather radical views. Levant "won," but not until after years of battles. And not before $100,000 of his and donor money was spent in the process, along with $500,000 chipped in by taxpayers for the commission's case (only to finally dismiss it anyway).

More articles by Mark Milke