We all have to stand up for our rights



August 3, 2011

Barrhead Leader, Aug 2 2011: Area residents may have come across one of the 7,000 Stand Up for Freedom Canada! pamphlets that have been mailed throughout the area by our local citizens group (Barrhead/Neerlandia Association for Reformed Political Action). These pamphlets are part of our effort to open eyes to the way that the Alberta and Canadian human rights commissions are compromising our most basic freedoms.

This spring, we have also met with the Attorney General of Alberta and the Minister responsible for the human rights commission. We are doing this as volunteers, with no connection to a political party. It is the government’s refusal to do anything substantial that has prompted us to take it a step further and urge the public to speak up.

As Alan Borovoy, the General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and foundational father of the first HRC in Canada, stated, “During the years when my colleagues and I were labouring to create such commissions we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against freedom of speech.”

What freedom do we really have if the HRC can decide what we are allowed and not allowed to say and believe? I think we all believe in freedom of speech and religion, yet the HRC and its tribunal have severely punished people only because someone did not like what they were saying or writing. Go to the campaign website to find examples of people like former pastor Stephen Boissoin who has faced massive fines, been ordered to publicly recant his faith-based beliefs, and never speak, preach, or write anything critical of homosexuality because his letter to the editor hurt someone’s feelings (who was not even a homosexual, but was given thousands of dollars anyways). Yet someone else can write the same thing and not be punished. This shows the arbitrariness of the HRC.

When it seeks to uphold the rights of one individual or group, the rights of another individual or group is taken away. Who is to determine whose right trumps whose? This is what happens when we are not willing to abide by absolutes of right and wrong.

There are laws to protect people if they are unfairly treated. We have the Criminal Code, the court system, the Charter, and many other tribunals for that.

A reporter from the Lethbridge Herald, reacting to these Stand Up for Freedom pamphlets, thought it ironic that an ARPA group would call the HRC into question at the same time that we are celebrating Canada Day. I think it is very timely that we ask ourselves what true north, strong and free really means. I am thankful for the men and women serving in our armed forces to protect our country, but what about the freedoms within our country?

The very organization which was put in place to protect our rights and freedoms, the HRC, has left many citizens feeling helpless and frustrated, especially since these commissions have more investigative powers than the police.

Let us stand up for freedom by calling our government representatives and letting them know that the HRC is removing our freedoms and needs to be reformed or removed. Go to for sample letters to our MLAs and MPs and more suggestions for action.

Peter VanAssen, President

Barrhead/Neerlandia Association for Reformed Political Action

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