Whatcott hearing at BC Human Rights Tribunal
Day 1: Oger makes his case against Whatcott
Judges dictate language to be used in proceeding: Tyranny starts as "prohibited speech," then becomes "compelled speech."
Plus photos & video interview.
by Amy Contrada
December 11, 2018
On Day 1 of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal’s hearing on the “hate speech” charge against Bill Whatcott for the flyer he distributed in the 2017 B.C. Parliamentary election, the bias of the three-judge Panel was on display.
It also became clear that they were extending the interpretation of the law from “forbidden speech” to “compelled speech” relating to “gender identity” (transgender issues). It’s no longer enough to refrain from making (subjectively determined) “hurtful” comments in print. Now, Canadians must use the names and pronouns that self-identifying trans people demand for themselves. If they don’t, they’ll be subject to charges of discrimination and subject to fines and punishment. (This is exactly what Professor Jordan Peterson famously warned would happen in his 2017 testimony before Parliament on Bill C-16.)
While free speech should rule, especially during an election, compelled speech was the order of the day at the Whatcott hearing. Instructions to address the male complainant as Ms./she/her were repeated several times. Whatcott’s attorney, Dr. Charles Lugosi, was reprimanded for (accurately) referring to Oger as “him” -- though at one point even a member of the Panel slipped and did the same!
The B.C. Human Rights Code says nothing about name, pronoun, or title (Mr., Ms.) usage, but its Tribunal issued a ruling in 2015 that prepared the way for compelling speech in this area.
As outrageous as it is, the British Columbia Human Rights Code should protect Whatcott in this case. From the plain reading of the law, his flyer would not seem to reach the definition of “hate speech.” But from the start, both the complainant and the Tribunal members worked to twist the nuances of the text heavily against Bill.
The complainant, Oger, was called as the first witness. He said his campaign was thrown off balance by Whatcott's flyer. His attorney's questions focused on his feelings. He said the flyer was hurtful; he was afraid; the experience was terrifying. "I am a transgender woman. People kill transwomen. I was worried about violence. I was in a vulnerable place already as a candidate."
He added that it was painful to explain to his two children (from his prior marriage to a woman) that "someone might want to hurt your mother" (meaning himself).
B.C. law is clear, Oger said: "The law says I'm female. . Saying otherwise is libel.” … “I see myself as a woman who is transgender but I’m told [by Whatcott’s flyer] that’s an impossibility… It’s hurtful and makes [me] angry.”
The law is apparently decided on the subjective reporting of an individual’s feelings.
During cross-examination, Whatcott’s attorney was shut down by the judges on numerous occasions when trying to establish the truth (e.g., asking Oger if his birth certificate states that he’s a male).
But the context of the flyer was an election. Oger put himself out into the public sphere as a candidate. His character and public policy interests were fair game.
One aspect of his character was his decision to transition to a female identity. His "gender identity" fuels his policy interests. He was a major activist who pushed the B.C. provincial and Canadian federal government to add “gender identity or expression” as a group protected from discrimination (2016-2017). He worked to include LBGTQ issues in B.C. public schools. He says the public and the younger generation need to be educated to accept transgenderism.
For Whatcott, Oger’s trans self-identification is in part a moral/religious issue, and in part a dispute with reality. Whatcott was speaking moral and scientific truth when he said Oger is a man.
Unfortunately, the judges shut down any attempt to consider any of this. They ruled that the truth of transgenderism was not at issue in the hearing; "discrimination" was the issue.
The Tribunal seemed clearly in collusion with Oger to use the Whatcott flyer as a test case to shut down any speech questioning transgenderism or opposing special rights for transgender-identifying persons.
It was a scary first day, to be sure!
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