Paul Martin   Letter 18   12-Jul-2004   Please amend the Canadian Human Rights Act
Justice Robert G. B. Dickson

"I am of the view that the Charter does not mandate an exception for truthful statements in the context of s. 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act." Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Robert G. B. Dickson

"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government.  Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance.  In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account." Thomas Jefferson Letter to Monsieur A. Coray, 31-Oct-1823, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Andrew A. Lipscomb, vol. 15, pp. 48687 (1904).

  12 July 2004

The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON    K1A 0A2

Mr Prime Minister:

In CHRA Hate-Messaging Prosecutions, The Truth Defense Is Disallowed

Judicial interpretations of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) agree that truth is not a defense to the charge of hate messaging under CHRA § 13(1):

Strange as it may sound, the establishment of truth is not in issue in this case.  Unlike the statutory defences set out in s. 281.2(3) of the Criminal Code which make truth a defence to a criminal prosecution for public incitement of hatred against any group distinguished by colour, race, religion, or ethnic origin, no equivalent defence is available in the Canadian Human Rights Act.  Parliament has deemed that the use of the telephone for this kind of discriminatory message is so fundamentally wrong, that no justification for the communication can avail the Respondents.  The sole issue then is whether the telephonic communications of the Respondents are likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.
J. Francis Leddy (Chairman), Sidney N. Lederman, and Rose Volpini, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, CHRC v Taylor and Western Guard Party, 20-Jul-1979, at mpd.selkirk.bc.ca/webdev/arcom/viewcontent.asp?ID=69.  Bold emphasis added.

[I]t is the effect of the message on the recipient, and ultimately on the person or group vilified, that is the focus of the analysis.  The truth in some absolute sense really plays no role.  Rather, it is the social context in which the message is delivered and heard which will determine the effect that the communication will have on the listener.  It is not the truth or falsity per se that will evoke the emotion but rather how it is understood by the recipient.  The objective truth of the statement is ultimately of no consequence if the subjective interpretation, by virtue of tone, social context and medium is one which "arouses unusually strong and deep-felt emotions of detestation, calumny and vilification".  Therefore, in our view, whether the message is true or not is immaterial.  Whether it is perceived to be true or credible may very well add to its impact, but its actual basis in truth is outside the scope of this inquiry.
Citron v Zundel, Ruling on whether a witness can be cross-examined regarding the truth of statements found on the Zundel web site.  Denied 25-May-1998.  Canadian Human Rights Reporter, Doc. 00-188, as quoted at
forum.msk.ru/files/000209204859/gb and

The Legislature Did Not Write The Forbidding Of The Truth Defense Into The CHRA

However, reference above to the exclusion of the truth defense as something that "Parliament has deemed" is incorrect the CHRA as written by Parliament does not exclude the truth defense, and in fact the word "truth" never occurs within the CHRA, and "justification" in legal discourse used interchangeably with "truth" appears twice, but without relevance to hate messaging.  Disallowing the truth defense, in other words, has not been legislated by Parliament; rather, it is being read into Parliamentary legislation by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT), and by the courts.

The Courts Are Without Authority To Write The Forbidding Of The Truth Defense Into The CHRA

However, if Parliament had intended as radical a departure from Western tradition as disallowing the truth defense, it was obligated to insert the following five words, or equivalent, into the CHRA in the vicinity of § 13(1): "Truth is not a defense."  Had Canadians been forewarned that such a revocation of their freedom was going to be voted upon in Parliament, they could have submitted the proposal to national debate, and could have made their member of parliament's vote on the question a guide to their own future vote on that member of parliament.

But given that Parliament has not added these five words, the courts are without authority to do so.  That courts may not read into legislation something which the legislature has not written there is a fundamental principle of the construction of statutes which has been expressed in many equivalent ways, among them the following:

  1. The Court Is Without Authority To Add Words, Fill Gaps, Or Supply Omissions

    Under such circumstances, new provisions or ideas may not be interpolated in a statute, or ingrafted thereon.  In this respect, it is not the office of the court to insert in a statute that which has been omitted, and that what the legislature omits, the courts cannot supply.  In this regard, a court is not authorized to insert qualifying provisions not included in the statute, and may not rewrite a statute to conform to an assumed intention that does not appear from its language.
    73 American Jurisprudence 2d Statutes § 123.  Footnotes removed.  The fundamental principles of statute interpretation are common not only to Canada and the United States, but to many countries around the globe.

  2. The Court Is Without Authority To Take Away Rights

    A legislative enactment is not to be read as prejudicially affecting accrued rights, or "an existing status" unless the language in which it is expressed requires such a construction.  The rule is described by Coke as a "law of Parliament" meaning, no doubt, that it is a rule based on the practice of Parliament; the underlying assumption being that, when Parliament intends prejudicially to affect such rights or such a status, it declares its intention expressly, unless, at all events, that intention is plainly manifested by unavoidable inference.
    Duff C.J. in Spooner Oils Ltd v Turner Valley Gas Conservation Board, as quoted in Elmer A. Driedger, Construction of Statutes (2nd ed.), Butterworths, Toronto, 1983, p. 183.  Footnotes removed.

  3. The Court Is Without Authority To Amend Or Abrogate Common Law

    The truth defense being integral to common law, Parliament is empowered to abrogate it, but the courts are not:

    There is another form in which this presumption is expressed, namely, that the Legislature does not intend to alter the common law beyond what it explicitly declares.
    Elmer A. Driedger, Construction of Statutes (2nd ed.), Butterworths, Toronto, 1983, pp. 213-214.

    Unless a statute unequivocally states that it changes the common law, or is so repugnant to the common law that the two cannot coexist, the statute will not be held to have changed the common law.  In this regard, where a statute is clearly designed as a substitute for the common law, such purpose should be given effect.  However, the common law ought not to be deemed repealed unless the language of a statute is clear and explicit for this purpose.
    73 American Jurisprudence 2d Statutes § 101.  Footnotes removed.

  4. The Court Is Without Authority To Impose Substantial Alteration Of The Law

    [T]he interpretation of the Act which is urged upon us by the respondent and which was accepted by the Court of Appeal would represent a marked departure from the law as it currently exists.  This, in turn, heightens the scrutiny with which the argument must be examined.  As stated in Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes...:

    It is presumed that the legislature does not intend to make any change in the existing law beyond that which is expressly stated in, or follows by necessary implication from, the language of the statute in question....

    ...[W]hile it is open to Parliament ..., subject to over-arching constitutional norms, ... to change the law in whatever way it sees fit, the legislation in which it chooses to make these alterations known must be drafted in such a way that its intention is in no way in doubt.

    L'Heureux-Dubé J. in R. v. T.(V)., as quoted in Ruth Sullivan, Sullivan and Driedger on the Construction of Statutes, Butterworths, Toronto, 1983, pp. 395-396.  Footnotes removed.

    In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. of Can. v. T. Eaton Co. Fauteux J. stated it to be a rule "that a Legislature is not presumed to depart from the general system of the law without expressing its intentions to do so with irresistible clearness, failing which the law remains undisturbed", and that there was a presumption against "the implicit alteration of the law".
    Elmer A. Driedger, Construction of Statutes (2nd ed.), Butterworths, Toronto, 1983, pp. 213-214.

    Thus, a court ordinarily will not infer an intention to change longstanding and fundamental legislative policies without a clear indication of such an intention, which must clearly appear either by express declaration or by necessary implication.
    82 Corpus Juris Secundum, Statutes §310

  5. The Court Is Without Authority To Legislate Or To Amend Legislation

    It is one thing to put in or take out words to express more clearly what the legislature did say, or must from its own words be presumed to have said by implication; it is quite another matter to amend a statute to make it say something it does not say, or to make it say what it is conjectured the legislature could have said or would have said if a particular situation had been before it.
    Elmer A. Driedger, Construction of Statutes (2nd ed.), Butterworths, Toronto, 1983, p. 101.

    As a result of constitutional provisions distributing the powers of government among three departments the legislative, executive, and judicial departments courts have no legislative authority, and should avoid judicial legislation, a usurpation of legislative powers, or an entry into the legislative field.  In this regard, it has been stated that if a statutory provision where Congress speaks plainly is to be changed, it should be by Congress and not by the Supreme Court.  Thus, whatever its opinion may be as to the wisdom of a statute or the necessity for further legislation, the duty of a court is to apply the law objectively as found, and not to revise it.

    A court may not alter the law by construction because it appears outmoded, and it is not within the province of a court, in the course of construction of a statute, to make or supervise legislation.  A statute may not, under the guise of interpretation, be modified, revised, amended, distorted, remodeled, or rewritten, or given a construction of which its words are not susceptible, or which is repugnant to its terms.
    73 American Jurisprudence 2d Statutes § 116.  Footnotes removed.

Inapplicability Of The Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius Rule

As the CHRA does enumerate defenses particularly in CHRA § 15(1) and as it omits mention of the truth defense to the charge of hate messaging, then this omission might be taken as intending to exclude the truth defense under the expressio unius est exclusio alterius rule, which rule might be translated as "to express one thing is to exclude an alternative", and whose application in the instant context may be summarized as "what has not been included in a list should be understood to be intentionally excluded":

Thus, when a legislature specifically enumerates certain exceptions to a statute, the courts will presume that the legislature intended to preclude any other exceptions.
82 Corpus Juris Secundum, Statutes § 323.  Footnotes removed.

However, the rule has limited applicability and force:

The maxim of "expressio unius est exclusio alterius," under which the express mention of one thing in a statute implies the exclusion of another, is merely a rule of statutory construction to be applied with great caution.  The maxim is not a rule of substantive law, but instead acts merely as an aid to determine the intent of the statute.
82 Corpus Juris Secundum, Statutes § 323.  Footnotes removed.

The rule becomes totally inapplicable wherever it can be demonstrated that an enumeration was not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive, as for example:

Where a statute contains an enumeration of certain things to which the act applies and also a general expression concerning the application of the act, the general expression may be given effect if the context shows that the enumeration was not intended to be exclusive.
82 Corpus Juris Secundum, Statutes § 323.  Footnotes removed and bold emphasis added.

The expressio rule can be seen to have no application to CHRA hate messaging because CHRA enumeration of hate-messaging defenses makes no attempt at being exhaustive or exclusive.  The exclusions at CHRA § 15(1), together with occasional exclusions scattered in other places, apply to matters other than hate messaging, and in connection with hate messaging only two exclusions which could be used as defences are to be found § 13(2) excludes those who communicate "by means of the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking" and § 13(3) excludes internet service providers.  That this list of length two was never intended to be exclusive or exhaustive is evidenced by the number of other defences that are obviously available but which the CHRC does not enumerate, and which if taken to be disallowed by CHRA silence, would lead to the following absurdities:

  1. The CHRA is also silent regarding the absolute privilege of judicial proceedings from which it would follow that CHRA § 13 permits prosecution of witness testimony, counsel argument, judicial decision, and solicitor-client communication.

  2. The CHRA is also silent regarding the absolute privilege of parliamentary proceedings from which it would follow that CHRA § 13 permits prosecution of parliamentary debate.

  3. The CHRA is also silent regarding the absolute privilege of executive communication of ministers of the crown from which it would follow that CHRA § 13 permits prosecution of what is said in the course of meetings of your cabinet.

  4. The CHRA is also silent regarding the various qualified privileges, as for example, protection of one's personal interest, advancement of the public interest, and fair comment from which it would follow that CHRA § 13 permits prosecution of people defending themselves or debating questions of public concern.

As it is inconceivable that CHRA silence has the power to disallow all these other defenses, it is also inconceivable that CHRA silence has the power to disallow the truth defense.  The statement rendered in bold in the first block quote in the instant letter above, then, is false that "no justification for the communication can avail the Respondents".  In fact, the CHRA avails hate-messaging respondents of several justifications, including the justification of truth.

Justice Robert G. B. Dickson was the first to give disallowing the truth defense Supreme Court backing

The CHRA was passed in 1977, and the CHRT was seen in the first block quote at the top of the instant letter disallowing the truth defense as early as 1979.  Such disallowing, however, did not receive Supreme Court approval until 1990 when Chief Justice Robert G. B. Dickson wrote in Taylor v Canadian Human Rights Commission the statement below which it will be convenient to refer to as the Dickson Justification, short for the Dickson Justification For Forbidding The Truth Defense.

However, for the same reason that the courts are without authority to read disallowing-the-truth-defense into the CHRA, they also are without authority to read disallowing-the-truth-defense into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  That is, as the Charter does not explicitly disallow the truth defense, or in fact make any mention of the truth defense, and as disallowing the truth defense would be a withdrawal of an established freedom and an abrogation of the common law and an overthrow of a longstanding and fundamental legislative policy, then any court reading disallowing-the-truth-defense into the Charter exceeds its authority, usurps the legislative function, and brings the administration of justice into disrepute.

Having nevertheless read disallowing-the-truth-defense into the Charter, Dickson from there goes on to cite this same gratuitous reading-in as authority for reading disallowing-the-truth-defense into the CHRA as well:

In Keegstra, I dealt in considerable detail with hate propaganda and the defence of truth, though in relation to the criminal offence of wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group.  It was not strictly necessary in that appeal to decide whether or not this defence was essential to the constitutional validity of the impugned criminal provision, but I nevertheless offered an opinion on the matter, stating (at p. 000):

The way in which I have defined the s. 319(2) offence, in the context of the objective sought by society and the value of the prohibited expression, gives me some doubt as to whether the Charter mandates that truthful statements communicated with an intention to promote hatred need be excepted from criminal condemnation.  Truth may be used for widely disparate ends, and I find it difficult to accept that circumstances exist where factually accurate statements can be used for no other purpose than to stir up hatred against a racial or religious group.  It would seem to follow that there is no reason why the individual who intentionally employs such statements to achieve harmful ends must under the Charter be protected from criminal censure.  [Emphasis in original.]
For the reasons given in the above quotation, I am of the view that the Charter does not mandate an exception for truthful statements in the context of s. 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Dickson, C.J. writing for the Supreme Court of Canada in Taylor v Canadian Human Rights Commission, [1990] 3 Supreme Court Reporter 892 at 935.  The embedded block quote in the above is from Regina v Keegstra, [1990] 3 Supreme Court Reporter 697 at 781.

Among the further insufficiencies in the Dickson Justification above might be the following:

  1. The Charter neither invented free speech, nor abrogated the common law.  The Charter did not introduce to Canadians the concept of free speech, but rather the concept has deep and ancient roots:

    Freedom of expression is not, however, a creature of the Charter.  It is one of the fundamental concepts that has formed the basis for the historical development of the political, social and educational institutions of western society.  Representative democracy, as we know it today, which is in great part the product of free expression and discussion of varying ideas, depends upon its maintenance and protection.
    McLachlin J. in Regina v Keegstra, [1990] 3 Supreme Court Reporter 697 at 810.

    Accordingly, the courts are not to view the few words that the Charter allocates to free speech as an almost-blank slate on which they are empowered to improvise their own ideas; rather, the courts are obligated to view the few words in the Charter as pointing to the wealth of existing legal tradition concerning free speech that needs to be upheld.  The Dickson statement that "the Charter does not mandate an exception for truthful statements" is true as far as it goes, which is not far enough, as the Charter is not the only place that needs to be searched for this exception the common law needs to be searched as well.

  2. Courts are without authority to doubt the indubitable.  As the Charter is silent on the question of disallowing the truth defense, then it cannot be said to be ambiguous, or to invite doubt, about the truth defense.  Rather, Charter silence on an issue obligates the courts to entertain no doubt that the common law applies.  As the common law supports the truth defense, the courts are obligated to support the truth defense.  When Dickson above expresses doubt "gives me some doubt" he expresses a personal and subjective doubt which is not authorized by law, and which has no place in a Supreme Court decision.  Dickson's place is not to give vent to his personality or his emotions, it is to support and enforce legislation.  Where legislation interpreted by rules of construction of statutes expresses no doubt, there too Dickson is obligated to express no doubt.  That the common law supports truth as the foremost defense against any attack on free speech mandates that any legislation that is silent on the question such as the Charter and the CHRA be interpreted as also supporting truth as the foremost defense.  Appealing to Charter silence disingenuously ignores that the Charter is recent and skeletal, whereas the common law is ancient and full-bodied, and disingenuously ignores that the Charter is founded on common law, and that the common law is not nullified by the Charter, but rather continues to be the substance of which the Charter is a distillation, and disingenuously ignores that if the Charter is to abrogate common law, then it must do so explicitly.

  3. Inciting hatred is hyperbole for inviting disapproval.  That strong language on a question has become conventional is no excuse for being carried away by it.  Thus, what is commonly spoken of as hatred of all the members of a group triggered by group membership can almost invariably be discovered to be disapproval or ill will toward only some members of that group triggered by misbehavior, and which sentiment is integral and necessary to stable and efficient democracy:

    Freedom in thought and speech and disagreement in ideas and beliefs, on every conceivable subject, are of the essence of our life.  The clash of critical discussion on political, social and religious subjects has too deeply become the stuff of daily experience to suggest that mere ill-will as a product of controversy can strike down the latter with illegality....  Controversial fury is aroused constantly by differences in abstract conceptions; heresy in some fields is again a mortal sin; there can be fanatical puritanism in ideas as well as in mortals; but our compact of free society accepts and absorbs these differences and they are exercised at large within the framework of freedom and order on broader and deeper uniformities as bases of social stability.
    Rand J. in Boucher v The King, [1951] Supreme Court Reporter 265 at 288, as quoted by McLachlin J. in Regina v Keegstra, [1990] 3 Supreme Court Reporter 697 at 809-810.

    It should go without saying that it is the business of none but totalitarian regimes to attempt to control disapproval and ill will, concerning which three statements by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Houghwout Jackson are apropos:

    • "It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error.  It is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.

    • "The priceless heritage of our society is the unrestricted constitutional right of each member to think as he will.  Thought control is a copyright of totalitarianism, and we have no claim to it."

    • "The most odious of all oppressions are those which mask as justice."

  4. Uncertainty and arbitrariness in attributing motives.  Of the following two interpretations of the word "can" in a key Dickson assertion above, only the first captures a plausible meaning:

    • I find it difficult to accept that circumstances exist where factually accurate statements [should be permitted to] be used for no other purpose than to stir up hatred against a racial or religious group.

    • I find it difficult to accept that circumstances exist where factually accurate statements [are able to] be used for no other purpose than to stir up hatred against a racial or religious group.

    However, if Dickson would have the law forbid the utterance of true statements which are made "for no other purpose than to stir up hatred", then it behooves him to cite a case where agreement exists that this has happened, or at least to describe a case in which it might be plausibly imagined to be happening.  What primarily needs to be refuted by means of such a demonstration is the contrary view that one purpose of any true statement is to propagate truth, such that even if an ancillary purpose had been to incite hatred, then inciting hatred could not be said to be the sole or even dominant purpose.  What secondarily needs to be refuted is the contrary view that people do things for a long list of obscure and often unfathomable reasons, such that imputing a single motivation to them must elicit incredulity.

    It may be stated more generally that the problem with relying on imputed motives in judicial decisions is that any number of motives can appear plausible.  For example, anyone taking a political stand may do so partly out of habit, partly out of imitation, partly out of reason, partly out of impulse, and partly out of ostentation; partly out of love of one thing, partly out of hate of its opposite; partly out of happiness at some hoped-for benefit, partly out of fear at some dreaded harm; partly out of a desire to overthrow and yet partly out of a need to preserve; partly to please some, partly to offend others; partly out of success in a struggle to be intelligent, yet partly out of failure to overcome stupidity; partly out of lethargy and yet also partly out of energy; and so on.  It is possible to make a case, as some have done, that everything we do is for a sexual motive, or to compensate for an inferiority complex, or in furtherance of a class struggle.  Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt all were convinced that they fought for a better world and in the fulfillment of destiny.  Every warring faction is confident that God is on its side.  And in any case, as whatever motivational feelings we imagine we identify may be reaction formations of their opposites, our loves may be our hates, and our hates our loves.  Therefore, any who profess to untangle human motivation do so in large part arbitrarily, and in large part in satisfaction of some agenda, such that their pronouncements should be allowed small role in judicial proceedings.  Anyone who proposes that someone's political activity over many years was governed by a single motive like hatred is simplistic either out of naivete or from manipulative intent.  And so no case can be made that a teller of truth has as his sole motive the incitement of hatred, and no attribution of such a motive, especially in the face of the protests of the person attributed to, has power to persuade an audience capable of dispassionate reflection.

    The quite different view that brings the benefit of preserving Canadian traditions and upholding representative democracy is that truth and hatred are mutually exclusive.  Truth can never be understood to express hatred.  Hatred is necessarily devoid of truth.  Thus, any individual whose exposure to truth triggers an upsurge of negative emotion should learn to suppress that inappropriate emotion and not demand that the government suppress that blameless truth.

    In any case, Dickson's wishing to disallow the truth defense to anyone whose speech is "for no other purpose" than to incite hatred is only a momentary impulse which is quickly withdrawn.  More usually, Dickson wishes to disallow the truth defense to people far less culpable people to whom inciting hate is only one of several motives, as can be seen, for example, in the sentence immediately before the one containing "for no other purpose", and as well in the sentence immediately after.  In other words, Dickson conjures up a maximally evil individual momentarily to excite revulsion, whereas more usually Dickson replaces him with a more credible individual who is not quite so evil that is, replaces him with one for whom inciting hatred is only one among several motives.  And when we further recollect that inciting hatred is most typically hyperbole for what in fact is inviting disapproval, we realize that the world that Dickson works to impose on Canadians is one that prosecutes, both under the Criminal Code and under the CHRA, individuals speaking the truth, but among whose several motives might be found an invitation to disapprove of his antagonists.  By such veiled and unnoticed steps as these are a people led to accept the placing of a bit into their mouths in preparation for being ridden.

  5. What reasons?  Dickson says that he favors denying the truth defense to the CHRA charge of hate messaging "for the reasons given in the above quotation"; scrutinizing that block quotation for reasons, however, reveals none.  Dickson's denial of the truth defense is a bald assertion of feeling, devoid of argument or reason, citing no precedent or legislation.  In saying "I find it difficult to accept", Dixon places reliance on gratuitous sentiment.

Of course it is easy to criticize when one is not under the same duress.  Justice Dickson's supporting the truth defense would have been his voiding a decade of CHRC/CHRT hate-messaging decisions, would have been his igniting the wrath of the Canadian Jewish Congress, and would have been his being smeared as the most outrageous anti-Semite to have ever sat on the Supreme Court.  One-time adviser to Anne Mclellan, Neal Sher, would have accused Dickson of keeping a collector's edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion on his desk, right next to his copy of the Constitution, just as he accused U.S. Judge Gilbert Merritt, as I brought to the attention of CHRC Chief Commissioner Mary M. Gusella in my letter to her of 06-May-2004, UKAR reply to the CJC complaint of anti-Semitism, at www.ukar.org/chrc/gusell06.html#threat.


Parliament must amend the CHRA so as to make it impossible for the CHRC, the CHRT, and the courts to continue misconstruing legislative intent concerning the truth defense when it is offered in reply to the charge of hate messaging.

In formulating its amendment to the CHRA, Parliament should lose sight neither of the high value Canadians place on their freedom to speak the truth, nor of the fierceness of their opposition to encroachments on this freedom sentiments broadly supported, as for example by three Supreme Court of Canada judges below, their praiseworthy statement marred only by its giving credence in its final sentence to the fiction that the CHRA has already abridged this freedom, when in fact it has not:

At the same time, the value of seeking truth is one of the strongest justifications for freedom of expression.  It is essential to the "marketplace of ideas" which is a condition of a free, vibrant society.  It is equally central to the rationales of the working of democracy and self-fulfilment that underlie freedom of expression.  Individuals in a free society assume that, whatever restriction it may be necessary to place on free speech, they will always have the right to say what is true.  That right cannot lightly be restricted.  Thus, the exclusion of the defence of truth from s. 13(1) cannot but seriously increase the degree of infringement of freedom of expression which the provision effects.
Justices La Forest, Sopinka, and McLachlin writing in partial dissent in John Ross Taylor and the Western Guard Party (Appellants) v Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General of Canada (Respondents), Supreme Court of Canada, 1990.

Lubomyr Prytulak


Suzanne BEST, Manager Intake Services, CHRC, 344 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON  K1A 1E1
Hon. Irwin COTLER, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 284 Wellington Street, Ottawa ON  K1A 0H8
Mary M GUSELLA, Chief Commissioner, CHRC, 344 Slater Street, Ottawa ON  K1A 1E1
Sherri HELGASON, Director Investigations Branch, CHRC, 344 Slater Street, Ottawa ON  K1A 1E1
Hon. Anne MCLELLAN, Hill Office, House of Commons, Ottawa ON  K1A 0A6