Since moving to Canada five years ago, there have been only two things that have consistently annoyed me about the country:
1. Canada is a really friggin' great country! But try to get a Canadian to say that it's a really friggin' great country aloud- it won't happen. There are no flag-waving Canadians, outside of beer commercials. Everyone here downplays their country, out of politeness. When I get citizenship, I plan to be a gung ho, jingoistic Canadian.
2. Canada doesn't have free speech. Oh, you can say almost anything... unless you say something that really offends someone else; then you can be brought before a "Human Rights Tribunal" on hate speech charges. Very few people who are charged are actually convicted, but if you are prosecuted, you can go to jail or pay a fine for speech; and, even if you are cleared, you can still go bankrupt paying all the legal fees to appear before a kangaroo court in which the person who made the charges doesn't even have to show up. As you can imagine, this situation is wide open for abuse.
Well, great news for Canada:
"On Wednesday, an Ottawa official named Athanasios Hadjis quietly announced that section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, popularly known as the hate-speech law, will no longer be enforced..."
“I have concluded,” he said, that the law is unconstitutional under 2(b) of the Charter of Rights, which guarantees freedom of thought, opinion and expression. As a result, he declared that “I will simply refuse to apply these provisions” to the hate-speech case he was judging, and by extension to any future cases."It's not that I like hate speech; however, I prefer a situation in which people may express whatever hateful, idiotic things they believe and I get to tell them that they're hateful idiots in return. It's healthier to do things that way in a democracy. And, good news for my Canadian neighbours: this country just got a wee bit more freedom.