Saturday, June 28, 2008

Argumentum ad Hitleum not actionable: blogosphere saved

According to the Supremes it is OK for BC talk radio deity Rafe Mair to compare local anti-gay activist Kari Simpson to Hitler and the KKK. The trial judge thought there was an implication that Simpson approved of violence against gays and lesbians, which she doesn't -- however let Mair off on the basis of the "fair comment" defence. The Court of Appeal disagreed, thinking such allegations are beyond the pale, but the Supremes tell us that we might as well get used to unregulated twenty-first century discourse, because they're not going to do anything about us. Godwin's Law is not the law in Canada.

I tend to agree with the concurring justices that when a loudmouth compares another loudmouth to Hitler there really is no defamatory implication that the compared loudmouth wants genocide. But maybe I spend too much time on blogs.

Presumably, if there is an analogy between defamation against individuals and "hate speech" provisions about identifiable groups, then comparing Islam to fascism would be OK. Unfortunately, there is -- as yet -- no doctrine of fair comment in the tribunal jurisprudence.

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