Last week, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Earl Wilson overturned a December 2007 rulingby the province’s human rights tribunal which found Stephen Boissoin, a youth pastor who questioned the gay agenda, had been guilty of promoting hate against homosexuals. Some people see this as something worth celebrating (see the Canadian Constitution Foundation, the Equipping Christians for the Public Square Center, lawyer Gerald Chipeur, and

Normally, I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of guy, but as Kathy Shaidle says, why celebrate some judge  granting “us something that is rightfully ours anyway?” Of course, Stephen Boissoin had the right to speak out against gay activists and their agenda. Of course, such speech should be protected unless it is directly responsible for an action that endangers homosexuals. Why applaud the recognition of the obvious, or the belated assurance that these rights exist in Canada. 

There is also something a little strange about celebrating after everything Stephen Boissoin went through. As Ezra Levant notes:

So lesson number one here is that the process is the punishment.

Rev. Boissoin had seven years of his life wasted — seven years in which he bore the stigma of being called, by the state, an illegal “hater”. And Rev. Boissoin had to bear the enormous legal costs — first, of his kangaroo court trial, then of his appeal — on his own. (I’m glad to have participated in three fundraising dinners for him this summer.) By contrast, his antagonist didn’t have to spend a dime to drag Rev. Boissoin through the mud of the HRC. And note page 37 of the ruling: though Rev. Boissoin’s conviction was demolished by the judge, page after page; though Rev. Boissoin was clearly mistreated and abused by the HRC; though the judge’s contempt for the HRC’s outrageous behaviour is palpable, Rev. Boissoin was denied his request for all his costs to be paid.

In other words: Darren Lund actually won.

So we know that there are two ways to beat an HRC. The first is to embarrass the hell out of them, like I did. That’s the only reason they dropped their case against me.

The other way is to fight it all the way to a real court — seven years — spending money that you don’t have, to finally get justice.

So after seven years of hell, all is forgiven? After seven years of being punished by the process of a human rights complaint, we are supposed to applaud that justice was finally been served? After seven years. Isn’t there a saying about justice delayed?

Yet, there is benefit to this decision, as Mark Steynsays, in that it “render[s] these disgusting laws unenforceable.” As Boissoin’s lawyer Gerald Chipeur said:

While the decision did not strike down Alberta’s “hate speech” laws, it significantly limited the application of such laws. Justice Wilson properly pointed out that a province may not duplicate the federal Criminal Code rules outlawing hate crime. Furthermore, Justice Wilson interpreted the provision in question as only prohibiting hateful words that lead to discriminatory activity under the provincial human rights legislation.

In the long-run, the decision by Justice Wilson should make Canadians a little freer than we were before. But I’m not going to thank him for removing a few chains.

It is also galling to consider this a victory after a seven year ordeal that cost Boissoin considerable financial expense, embarrassment and emotional difficulty including being unjustly stigmatized as a hater. Are we really to thank the system for stopping that or should we be angry that he had to go through it in the first place? And what about the chilling effect this decision has had on public discourse. An apology to Boissoin, a repayment of his costs and compensation for what he’s gone through over the past seven years are in order, and that doesn’t begin to correct the injustice that Canada’s human rights industry has foisted upon not just Stephen Boissoin but the entire country.