Almost eight years after the Red Deer
Advocate published Stephen Boissoin’s anti-gay letter to the editor, “Homosexual
Agenda Wicked,” the legal battle over whether it constitutes hate continues.
The letter was deemed hate by the Alberta
Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in 2007, and Boissoin, a former pastor, was ordered to pay
$5,000 in damages and was banned from making “disparaging remarks"
On Dec 3, 2009, Alberta’s Court of
Queen’s Bench overturned the AHRC ruling. In his decision, Justice Earl Wilson
wrote that Boissoin’s views may be “jarring, offensive, bewildering,
puerile, nonsensical and insulting,” but that the letter isn’t hate
In March 2010, University of Calgary
professor Darren Lund, the man who launched the original complaint, appealed that 2009 ruling, sending the case back to court. Lund spoke to the Calgary Herald:
"I think that  ruling sets a really
unreasonably high limit on hate speech. Really, it’s about the kind of
communities we want to live in and the poisoning of the public discourse,
especially in regard to vulnerable groups who already experience a high degree
of hatred and discrimination,” Lund said. (read more at calgaryherald.com)
The minister responsible for Alberta’s
Human Rights Commission, Lindsay Blackett, says the case should never have gone
before the commission in the first place.
"It’s not there to mediate hurt
feelings caused by some words or not…. If it’s hateful, then that’s a
hate crime. And that’s something for the Crown attorneys and the police
services to investigate.
"But the goal of the commission is
to make sure people are protected against discrimination where they work, or
access to accommodation, access to government services.” (read more at cbc.ca)
Xtra has republished Boissoin’s letter in full, in which he declares, “My banner has now been raised and war has been declared so as to defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth."
We spoke to Boissoin back in December after the AHRC ruling was overturned. Read our interview with him here, in which he shared his thoughts on free speech.
Read more on Xtra.ca:
- Stephen Boissoin on free speech, porn and his anti-gay letter
- Free speech triumphs as anti-gay letter
- Letter violated rights code, rules
- Stephen Boissoin’s letter: Homosexual Agenda Wicked