Roundup: Supreme Court refines what constitutes hate speech

The Supreme Court handed down its decision on the Whatcott case, which basically refined the definition of what constitutes hate speech in the country. They also said that the “love the sinner, hate the sin” argument is not acceptable either when it comes to hate speech against gays, for what it’s worth. Emmett Macfarlane notes the issues around defining what a ‘”reasonable person” would constitute as hate, as the decision seems to indicate. Charlie Gillis laments the lost opportunity to affirm free speech, no matter the content, because human rights legislation is being abused as a blunt tool in the country. Jonathan Kay sees the decision as privileging anti-Christian censorship because they believe in the fire-and-brimstone retribution for gays, especially because the “love the sinner, hate the sin” argument holds value for Christians.  Andrew Coyne laments that the judgement didn’t spend enough time prefacing the value of free speech. And Bill Whatcott himself? Plans to keep up his anti-gay pamphleting because apparently Christ has nothing better to do than ensure that Whatcott denounces the gays.

Because you can apparently not have enough blatant knee-jerk populism making your decisions, the Liberals and the NDP both voted to send the Conservative Private Member’s Bill that Jason Kenney is hijacking to strip dual citizens of their status for acts of war – and soon to be terrorism – to committee. Rather than, you know, killing it outright for being boneheaded and blatantly unconstitutional.

Speaking of PMBs, the Conservatives came out with a bizarre attack against the NDP bill to create a national housing strategy, claiming that it would cost $5.5 billion per year in rental subsidies alone – never mind that such provisions weren’t in the bill, because that would mean a Royal Recommendation, which it didn’t, because it was only about talking about a housing strategy. But more bizarrely, the CMCH also came out against it, despite being arm’s length from the government. Not that it matters anymore, since said bill was defeated in the House.

Just under the wire, Thomas Mulcair tabled his bill to strengthen the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s role and ability to access information.

Hedy Fry called out NDP MP Dany Morin for voting against her cyberbullying bill in committee after promising he would support it – on Pink Shirt day, no less. The two then proceeded to get into a Twitter fight, with Morin insisting that the witnesses said it was a poorly drafted bill, but didn’t offer to, you know, amend it, like one might at committee stage, while Fry demanded an apology from him for breaking his word.

Jason Kenney and Diane Finley are meeting with stakeholders about the Temporary Foreign Workers programme, after all of the complaints about those mines in BC where the ability to speak Mandarin was a qualification for employment that justified the hiring of a large number of temporary foreign workers.

Boeing is stepping up its sales pitch for the Royal Canadian Air Force to choose the Super Hornet as its replacement for the CF-18s, and can prove that it would save at least $23 billion, as well as being more interoperable with our current fleet.

Today’s Senate spending revelation is that some Ontario Senators don’t take the train, even though they’d get it for free! OH NOES! Has this question been asked of MPs? Will we harangue them for not taking the train either? Or are they special because they have the mystical power of the vote to shield them? Meanwhile, it seems that Liberal senator Mac Harb’s Ottawa Centre address is what he uses for Elections Canada and his legal correspondence.

Meanwhile, Independent Senator Anne Cools is railing against the Parliamentary Budget Officer for his “shocking” public statements to the media and his international counterparts, claiming they may interfere with the privilege of Parliamentarians, and says the Senate might want to vote to order him to drop his legal challenge against the government. Two Liberal senators defended Page in the Senate, and disputed Cools’ characterisation of his statements. And before anyone gets in a bunch about this, it’s worth remember that Senator Cools is like the, well, “eccentric aunt” of the Senate – über-wonky about process, but perhaps not entirely grasping reality in other areas.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including talk about the Whatcott decision.

And here’s more of the strange tale of David Suzuki kicking out a SunTV reporter from his “Eco Tour” stop in Ottawa.