It’s easy to make jokes about Canada, what with their politeness, their French-speaking, and their ample moose supply, but it’s good to remember that Canada is a pretty cool place with its own Supreme Court and everything.
That Supreme Court recently reached a unanimous decision that pamphlets distributed by infamous anti-gay advocate Bill Whatcott constituted hate speech. The pamphlets featured graphic depictions of diseases allegedly caused by gay sex. The court required Whatcott to pay $17,000 to four individuals who filed complaints against him.
The Supreme Court differed from a court of appeals, which had previously overturned Whatcott’s conviction on free speech grounds. Justice Marshall Rothstein wrote, “[The law] appropriately balances the fundamental values underlying freedom of expression with competing Charter rights and other values essential to a free and democratic society, in this case a commitment to equality and respect for group identity and the inherent dignity owed to all human beings.”
Free Speech is a tough issue, but we can’t say we’re sorry that Whatcott has to pay for his offensive rhetoric. Aww, Canada.