Disputing the Defense of the Dalhousie Dentistry Students


By Kaja Marinic, 2L

On January 30th, Scott van Dyk argued in the Legal Eye that Dalhousie University was wrong to punish the notorious 13 dentistry students who were members of a Facebook group littered with misogynistic posts. Specifically, he said that:

“[T]he act of punishing these students at all violates our ideas of free expression.”

“The appropriate response by Dalhousie isn’t to punish or to ‘rehabilitate.’ It’s to let these students simply be known as the assholes that made inappropriate jokes.”

In our own little Peter A. Allard Facebook groups, disagreement and drama ensued. When challenged on the need for institutions to take sexism seriously by creating real consequences, Scott added in a comment that:

“No sanction from a public authority is needed. In today’s age, not only are vile people socially ostracized, but markets punish those individuals and their careers too […] At no point did I argue that speech shouldn’t have consequences.

I think this viewpoint is dangerous. I want to examine why it is important for Dalhousie to take a firm stance against the kind of misogynistic speech at issue. A “firm stance” here entails taking punitive measures against the harassers, since a merely symbolic stance would be entirely toothless as a deterrent and would fail to address the concerns of the targeted women, the student community, and the public at large.

Some Facts for Context

The dentistry students have not been expelled. They are attending their classes remotely and have had their clinical privileges suspended for now, which could affect their ability to graduate if the suspensions stick. Dalhousie has announced that it has created an “independent task force” to investigate the matter further and have set up a “restorative justice” process involving the thirteen men and several women who were targeted or affected. There is ongoing controversy over the extent to which each member of the group participated in the problematic posts and whether or not they should be punished equally.

The posts at issue included a poll about “hate-fucking” particular classmates, comments denigrating women’s professional aptitudes, and multiple “jokes” specifically about raping women (after drugging them with chloroform, or after assaulting them to the point of unconsciousness, or in order to “convert” lesbians “into productive members of society”).

There are ongoing debates as to whether the punishments are too harsh or not harsh enough (as some think the suspensions will be lifted after “restoring” justice). I am not primarily interested in defending the merits of one particular punishment over another, but rather in upending the idea that there should be no (or hardly any) institutional consequences for people who make such misogynistic comments “in private” or as “jokes.”

Freedom of Expression

Scott argues that punishing people for offensive speech violates our societal commitment to “free speech.” He apparently finds it self-evident that protecting offensive speech is inherently valuable regardless of circumstances, consequences, or context. But context changes everything here.

Firstly: We know that even when one’s legal right to free speech is being considered—as a negative right against restriction by governmental actors—the right to freedom of expression is neither absolute nor always valuable. The core of the right that makes it generally valuable at all, according to the courts, is its tendency to instrumentally serve truth, self-fulfillment, and democracy. When speech does not promote those purposes, your right to express it might be justifiably infringed in the service of others’ interests in a free and democratic society. The more that speech deviates from these purposes or even actively undermines them, the easier it is to justify infringement. We have laws against hate speech and sexual harassment on this basis.

Secondly: Dalhousie is not a governmental actor but, in this case, a professional dentistry school. People are not entitled to become dentists. If students endanger the public’s trust in a profession involving a fiduciary relationship, their behaviour should be deterred. If students threaten and harass other students in their classes, the university should punish them and ensure a safe and non-discriminatory learning environment for those targeted. Thus, the university is within its rights to punish its students for offensive speech of this nature.

But, to be charitable to Scott’s stance, this argument isn’t really about legal entitlement to speech but rather the normative value of optimizing freedom of speech whenever we can. We tend to value the promotion of free speech even in institutions that are not bound by the Charter, especially in academic institutions, because we want to protect the accessibility of the “marketplace of ideas.” So while the university can punish these students if it wants to, and these students are not legally entitled to become misogynistic dentists, this does not settle the debate about whether Dalhousie should punish students for offensive speech.

Here’s why Dalhousie should punish them:

We need to eradicate sexism and sexual harassment. It hardly needs to be said that sexism and sexual harassment are incredibly unjust, harmful, and pervasive. They have been particularly difficult to eradicate in professional contexts that have for so long been exclusively or predominantly male. The normalization and internalization of sexist biases, however subconsciously held or seemingly minor, leads to women being driven out of the profession, being undervalued in their roles, losing employment and promotion prospects, enduring countless injustices, being undermined in other facets of their life and broader society, and facing chronic psychological and emotional stress. If we are to eradicate systemic barriers to gender equality in professional contexts, professional and academic institutions cannot casually tolerate threatening, discriminatory speech or sexual harassment. Concrete, impactful consequences for such speech are necessary for the institution to signal intolerance. Punishment is not for its own sake, to shame or otherwise exact revenge or harm upon these men because they said “offensive” things. Punishment is necessary and instrumental for setting a precedent of intolerance for discriminatory and harassing speech in order to allow women to participate fully and equally in society and in professional contexts in particular. In context, these comments are not anomalous or harmless; they are part of an indescribably immense interconnected system of gender inequality. This “Gentleman’s Club” Facebook group is just one component of a legacy of exclusionary men’s spaces.

Furthermore, it is relevant to note that in this case, in particular, the comments are not just vaguely discriminatory in the sense of unfairly suggesting that women are different or inferior. They are threatening. These comments are about taking pleasure or satisfaction in the thought of treating women and their bodies as non-human disposable sex toys to be abused for men’s purposes. Sexual harassment often manifests in the form of such “jokes,” which harassed persons experience as barely veiled threats. Couching harassment in “jokes” is a convenient technique for harassers seeking to dodge accountability if they are ever challenged for their aggressive statements. “Joking” about violence does not lessen the impact of that violent statement, nor should it automatically shield you from accountability for it. Not only is the “joking” not an excuse, it can be an aggravating factor. It can be additionally disturbing that someone finds these things to be funny, because it might suggest that they enjoy the thought or are unable to comprehend the harmfulness or pervasiveness of a real problem. The trivialization of assault using sedatives is particularly threatening when it is coming from future medical professionals who regularly use sedatives. Dalhousie needs to take these comments seriously in order to address the legitimate safety concerns of women students and patients.

This is a context which is wholly absent from Scott’s reasoning. He clarifies in a comment on his post that his “primary reasoning” in favour of unfettered free expression “is based on an aversion to authority dictating what [his] thoughts ought or ought not to be.”

This is an entirely decontextualized concern. This is why people care about democratic free speech rights in the complete abstract—they do not want the government to burn books or suppress dissent or curtail revolutionary sentiment or enforce any kinds of rigid standards on us, the “little guys,” who are vulnerable to state oppression. But to ride on the coattails of this kind of broad abstract vision of “free speech” is incredibly disingenuous in the present context. There is no slippery slope threat of mind control here. A university is protecting some students from other students who are dehumanizing women and trivializing sexual violence. The ability of women students to fully participate in the educational context and exercise their free expression is also at stake. It is only by pointedly refusing to acknowledge that restrictions can be justified in some contexts, and are particularly justified in this context, that we can pretend there is some grand threat to democracy in punishing this speech.

As for Scott’s idea that only offensive speech needs protection, this is a misleading formulation of the issue. Some speech is “offensive” because it is so harmful that it is not worth protecting; in such cases, claiming the speech “needs protection” because it is in heightened danger of being banned completely misses the point, which is that perhaps such speech should be banned. This is the case with hate speech. There is no freestanding moral value in protecting offensive speech regardless of context, and non-offensive speech is certainly not “dull” or unimportant speech. Furthermore, it is fallacious to claim that treating different speech in different contexts differently leads to “banning all speech that is offensive to someone” or “privileging some people over others” in an “irrational” way.

Punishment Mechanisms

To suggest that we should leave punishment to the market forces and social norms of the times misunderstands the purpose of punishment, which is ensuring a standard of intolerance to promote equality. It is crucial for an institution to clearly and actively signal that discrimination is unacceptable. To lazily “assure” women that social forces will somehow organically ostracize these men is to do absolutely nothing to ensure that things change.

Leaving consequences up to social shaming betrays ignorance as to the actual prevalence and acceptance of discriminatory and harassing speech even today. There is still an unacceptably large number of people who don’t think discrimination is wrong, or know it’s wrong but don’t care about it, or just refuse to speak out about it, or refuse to acknowledge that it really happens, or just don’t realize that they or others are doing it. Furthermore, the majority of people do not actually have to engage in harassment in order for harassment to be prevalent because of repeat offenders. Many people thus still experience sexual harassment and discrimination in their working lives.

Leaving consequences to social shaming also ignores the fact that institutional changes can, over time, create a top-down shift in social norms and perceived acceptability. The increasing societal rejection of sexism has not happened magically on its own. Policies that specifically punished sexist teachers, removed sexist language from textbooks, created harassment complaint mechanisms, etc. have helped to create a culture where sexism is less normalized and thus less tolerated.

Leaving consequences to market forces also betrays an indifference as to whether those consequences actually accrue. Even if it IS profitable to discriminate—and it may still often seem profitable to discriminate—discrimination is wrong.


I won’t claim that Dalhousie is handling the situation with perfect procedural fairness or even with perfect motives—they would likely handle things quietly if they could, and the punishment is likely partly motivated by reputational and PR concerns.

But I do think that, now that we know what these students have said, it is important for them to face consequences. There is little to no value, but substantial harm, in allowing such speech to be totally free.

Je Suis the 13 Dalhousie Dentistry Students


By Scott van Dyk, 2L

A crime has been committed. The perpetrators, 13 men in their fourth year of the Dalhousie Dentistry program, have been separated from their classmates and suspended from school.

Those suspensions effectively entail a number of things: it means that the wrongdoers will not be able to graduate – after each spending $130,000 in tuition alone and 4 years of their lives working towards their degrees. They will not be able to practice dentistry – individually costing them hundreds of thousands more in lost marginal salary, not to mention the personal costs of not practising their desired careers.

What crime was committed that warrants this punishment?

They told crude jokes to their friends in private.

For the unaware, these students were in a closed, 13 person Facebook group. They made a series of misogynistic jokes about women in general and some specific classmates. I’m not here to argue about proportionality (although by any analysis, the response is certainly disproportionate). In addition, analyzing whether a closed Facebook group should be considered private is essentially analyzing whether to attach a technical label. This avoids the substance of the matter. Rather, I am saying that the act of punishing these students at all violates our ideas of free expression.

It’s almost banal to say in discussions about free expression, but it warrants saying: Only offensive speech needs protection. To protect only common, trite speech reflecting majority sentiment is to remove entirely the content from the right to free expression.

In other words, if it doesn’t rankle someone, it doesn’t need protecting. It’s why no one has ever called for a ban on weather reporting, but there have been calls for bans on criticism of religious groups.

The refrain, “free speech is okay as long as it doesn’t offend others” misses the point of free expression entirely.

Freedom of expression demands a principled approach. Do-gooders always cite reasons for banning controversial speech. But here’s the thing: If by case-by-case exceptions are granted, then all speech which is offensive to someone will be banned. Only dull speech is left. Freedom of expression will have been completely neutered.

The alternative is to only grant some exceptions, but then we would be privileging some people over others. It wouldn’t be rational either. It would be based on arbitrary factors like which voices are noisiest, or who happens to be in a position of authority at the time.

Dalhousie has decided that their role is to be the arbiter of speech and humour. They will decide which groups are privileged. They will also decide what students are and aren’t allowed to say – even in the confines of their own lives. Further, they believe that students are too sensitive to hear certain speech. It’s best to have authority protect students from themselves.

The appropriate response by Dalhousie isn’t to punish or to “rehabilitate.” It’s to let these students simply be known as the assholes that made inappropriate jokes.

The attempt to chill speech with threats of formal punishment occurs at UBC too. See: appointing a “referee” at the Guile Debates. I.e. a literal arbiter of humour.

Again, if someone wants to be racist or vile in public, then simply let them be known as racist or vile people. Universities don’t need to violate principles of free expression. The students harmed themselves already.

In the recent aftermath of the Charlie Hedbo attacks, many Canadians defiantly stated “Je Suis Charlie.” They proudly said they will not be intimidated into restricting freedom of speech. Canadians are now proving they are Charlie only if they happen to agree with the speech. If they don’t agree, well… just look at what happened to the Dalhousie Dentistry students

Quebec’s Charter of Values: actually of little value

Keep calm and wear hijab




It’s quite likely that the recent proposed Quebec Charter of Values has caught your eye (hopefully your third)… or maybe you simply ignored it because the Anglophones of this country, since well before the 1880’s, have been so accustomed to Quebec rattling its cage that it can no longer be heard – nothing new under the sun. This is not to say that their pleas are invalid, but rather that Quebec’s ‘cultural identity’ has forced the rest of Canada into some serious constitutional, political, cultural, and philosophical ponderings quite consistently throughout our brief, lovely history as cozy Canada.


The main point of the legislation is to prohibit the wearing of ‘conspicuous’ religious symbols by state personnel (cops, politicians, etc.) in carrying out their roles, in order to ‘reflect state neutrality’ – a statement as loaded with controversy as my poutine is with gravy.


This of course indicated to me the persistence of Quebec’s need to reassert its cultural identity in the face of not only a history of Anglophones, but of the more recent waves of religious immigrants that have been welcomed into our country over the last century.


These religious inhabitants enjoy the same protection as the original French Catholic inhabitants, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — a lovely document — section 2: “Fundamental Freedoms: (a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression”. (You could easily argue that religious garments are a part of the freedom of expression, as much as they are exercising freedom to religion). In essence, the charter was so designed to safeguard minority rights and freedoms from a possible oppressive majority that intends to encroach on those rights because it finds them distasteful, irrational, or other predilections unrelated to anything lawful.


One of Quebec’s arguments may be that the freedoms above are subject to the reasonable limits clause of the charter, which tells us that a violation of our charter rights must not also trample democracy and freedom; it has to be reasonably justified in accordance with these principles. The question that seems to require answering so far is thus: can the imposition of the value of secularism by a province be enforced by an act, while trumping the charter right to freedom of religion, consistently, in a just, democratic, and free society? We might wish to look to France to see how they’re faring with similar legislation. This issue is a deep one which I cannot fully explore, but there are a few things I have noticed apart from the red-flag constitutional issue.


First, Quebec’s legislation appears to work in a very, very sneaky way to disadvantage minority religious groups, even though the ban would be on all religious symbols, including that of the dominant, white, francophone population of Quebec: the crucifix. Think about which religious groups find it of paramount importance to wear their religious symbols in accordance with their beliefs. Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, for instance usually consider their religious symbols as indispensible to their identity, culture, and purpose. Of course, so do many Christians and Catholics, but perhaps, as the majority, they could withstand the blow of such a piece of legislation, while many minorities could not.


It is possible to construe this as an issue of the empowering will of the majority over the minority, because the majority does not need to exert itself or protect its values or symbolism to stay afloat as much as a minority group does. At the end of the day, the dominant Québécois religious culture will stay intact, yet the minorities may fearfully cling to whatever is left of their religious culture because of the proposed legislation. Although this consequence could conceivably be unintentional, there is also good reason to think Quebec’s identity-anxiety factors in here.


Second, we should be critical of Quebec’s reasoning regarding secularism. The essence of secularism is to separate church and STATE. It is one thing to say that the state is investing in, say, the Catholic Church, or that the Pope has the power to create provincial legislation, and a whole different thing to say that the government invests in public officials who need to perform functions that we’d need in a secular society anyways, but these officials may display their own personal beliefs. This to me is in no clear way an imposition of religion on the state, or an involvement of the state in religion. The secularism being thrown around here is more likely Quebec’s masquerading of its cultural insecurities, of its separatist aspirations, and other fanciful things.


Whatever comes of the constitutional issue, which I think most of Canada actually agrees on anyways (that the statute violates the charter freedom of religion), let me leave you with the words of J.S. Mill: The only part of conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part, which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” (By ‘he’, Mill means she too)








The Freedom to Hate: An Aborted Attempt to Explore the Psyche of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin

Beverly McLachlin


I’ve always liked to play the devil’s advocate (advocatus diaboli). Some people don’t like the devil. Thankfully, I didn’t run in those circles as a kid. Our Supreme Court really doesn’t like the devil. And I hope to run in that circle someday. This is tricky. Should I stop saying controversial things? Or should Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin stop treading on me?

To describe the issue of where the limits of our right to freely express ourselves should be set when dealing with hate speech as a “thorny and contentious” one would be an understatement. In R v Keegstra, the Supreme Court of Canada was given the chance to deliver a distinctively Canadian-nuanced analysis (overly-polite and way, way too sensitive) of the crossroads where freedom of expression and hate speech meet. In the competing opinions offered by the Justice Dickson-led majority and the Justice McLachlin-led (as she then was) minority can be found a compelling back and forth between the social democratic and the civil libertarian approaches to expression.

Briefly, Keegstra involved a public high school teacher from Alberta who taught his students an extremely vitriolic and anti-Semitic syllabus, which he then expected them to reproduce in their classwork and on their exams. After being charged under s 319(2) of the Code with unlawfully and willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group in a public manner, Keegstra sought to have the section struck down because it violated his right to freedom of expression guaranteed to him under s 2(b) of the Charter. The court ultimately decided that s 319(2)’s violation of freedom of expression was justifiable under s 1 of the Charter. I think that its reasons are suspect.

Justice Dickson’s social democratic approach was the one taken by the majority of the court in Keegstra. This approach casts the individual expressing hatred as the antagonist, the identifiable group being exposed to hatred as the protagonists, and the state as the benevolent protector figure. Central to this approach is the idea that allowing certain kinds of expression can actually impede the pursuit of truth, which is one of the core values of freedom of expression. In other words, the hatred being propagated by Keegstra is framed as having very little value, and in fact, perhaps having negative value. For Dickson, the hate speech here has a very poor chance of being true, and if left unregulated, has a very good chance of stifling the identifiable group’s ability to achieve self-actualization. This line of argument is not persuasive to me. What about Mr. Keegstra’s right to self-actualization? What if it is central to his self-identity to espouse vitriolic and anti-Semitic ideas? In my view, he should be allowed the right to alienate himself from polite Canadian society if he so chooses. Stifling Keegstra through criminal legislation and punishing him through the criminal system only serves, as McLachlin persuasively argues, to feed those conspiracy nuts like Keegstra more ammo by publicizing their ideas (through the typically strong reaction generated in the media whenever the criminal law is used to restrict expression) and generating sympathy for their cause. After all, if the hate speech is so patently untrue, why not just let the open marketplace of ideas sort it out? Everyone should be free to contribute whatever they want to the public conversation, with the understanding that the valuable stuff will rise to the top and the ridiculous, hateful, and patently untrue stuff will sink to the bottom and be ignored (for the most part). This is essentially the civil libertarian approach.

McLachlin’s civil libertarian approach failed in Keegstra, although I feel it remains the more convincing of the two arguments. Here, the individual expressing hatred is cast as the protagonist, and the State, swooping in with its censors and criminal penalties, is cast as the primary antagonist. What motivates McLachlin’s position is a healthy skepticism of claims by the legislature or decisions of the judiciary that purport to claim a better knowledge of what is true than a member of the public. There is always a deferral to the marketplace of ideas with the libertarian approach, and the thinking goes that we as a society are not so idiotic as to believe historical revisionists and hateful propagandists like Mr. Keegstra. We’ll figure it out ourselves, says the civil libertarian, so keep your noses out of it federal government. McLachlin is right, and I have never been more persuaded by a slippery slope argument than in this instance: where does this deferral to the legislature and judiciary end? It provokes questionable actions on the part of authorities, and who is to say whether the legislature might be encouraged in the future to broaden the definition of hate speech to include the kind of edgy racial jokes that are the bread and butter of comedians like Chris Rock or Larry David? Could these comedians one day face penalties if they performed in Canada? Incredibly enough, this exact concern materialized in the recent 2013 Whatcott decision.

Whatcott involved a man who was found to be in violation of Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code because the homophobic fliers he was distributing fell under the prohibition against “any representation […] that exposes or tends to expose to hatred, ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person.” There are several distinctions to make between this prohibition and the one found in Keegstra: this prohibition does not require that the accused intend to promote hatred; this is human rights legislation within the civil domain, and consequently there is no defense of truth available to the accused. In other words, there is a laughably low threshold here that even Larry David could easily rise above by performing one of his skits poking fun at Orthodox Jews on the road in Saskatoon (unlikely, I admit, but humor me). And anyway, certainly not all Orthodox Jews are offended by Larry David having a bit of fun at their expense on his show Curb Your Enthusiasm, so why would we trust our judiciary to judge what does pass the threshold of affronting the dignity of another person?

McLachlin GIF

Look at the history of the jurisprudence in the Whatcott case to see what I mean. At the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal level, all three judges held that the four homophobic fliers distributed by Whatcott did not pass the threshold to meet a representation of hate speech. The Supreme Court of Canada, however, held that two of the four homophobic fliers were in fact illegal. Thankfully, the SCC also struck out the portion of the code that read, “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of any person.” But that isn’t going far enough in my opinion. What I’m trying to highlight here is how hopelessly subjective it can be to decide what expression is and is not hateful. I want to be clear here that I am not attacking the intelligence of any of the members of the judiciary. What I am saying is that the illegality of any piece of expression, because of the way these prohibitions are worded, can only ever be in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t trust the judiciary anymore than I trust myself to judge on this issue. I’d rather leave it to the marketplace of ideas. To continue my example, if Larry David’s skits became too hateful towards Orthodox Jews, and were generally becoming unappetizing for the general public, then they would let him know that by refusing to go to his performances or to watch the show that he writes for. We wouldn’t need the Supreme Court to fine Larry David for us because the marketplace of ideas would make his expression extremely uneconomical for him to continue saying, not to mention alienating in the extreme.

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that Whatcott was a unanimous 6-0 decision with McLachlin voting on the side of the majority. What changed in the last 22 years? Unfortunately, the judiciary do not often reveal what goes on behind the closed doors of the Supreme Court so we are left to guess at McLachlin’s change of heart. What is often mentioned as the most likely explanation for this dramatic shift is that Whatcott did not involve the draconian punishments of the criminal law that Keegstra did. Perhaps it is because Whatcott only faced a civil punishment of fines that allowed McLachlin to come to a compromise with the other Justices on the SCC. It is interesting to note that it took 16 months for this decision to be handed down. An alternative explanation that I find particularly convincing is that Chief Justice McLachlin is nowadays so focused on achieving complete consensus in the Court that she was willing to concede on this infringement of freedom of expression if the other Justices would agree to strike down the portion of the code dealing with ridiculing and belittling other persons. But then I become even more scared at the possibility that whether or not to censor expression like, “A priest, a rabbi, and a lawyer walk into a bar and the bartender says, ‘What is this, a joke?’” was seriously something to debate among the Justices at our highest court. We will never be able to say for certain unless McLachlin herself chooses to one day explain her shift, but what I do know is that I find myself worried for the future of freedom of expression in Canada.

While Canadian society can be optimistically thought of as one that has a strain of Peace, Order, and Good Government running through it, I pessimistically see this as a gradual shift further towards a benevolent dictator-like judiciary. If I’m already finding their decisions in Keegstra and Whatcott questionable, I worry about a future where the Supreme Court of Canada becomes filled with judiciary who are ultra-sensitive to any form of expression that even mildly offends. It is foreseeable, I think, that the next generation of judiciary (I’m talking about you guys) might be even more willing to label expression that does not currently meet the threshold of hateful expression as hateful, perhaps in response to outspoken advocacy groups representing, for example, Boston Terrier owners, or people who really enjoy stargazing and the Dark Sky Society. I don’t want another doting parent/censor in the form of this country’s highest court to protect me from obscene pornography (think about the redundancy of this expression for a second), historical revisionists, or homophobes handing out pamphlets. These are all things that I deeply enjoy considering and rejecting (or accepting) on their own individual merits. To take away my ability to receive these “harmful” expressions is to take away the opportunity for me to march to the beat of my own drum.

Hate, whether the SCC likes it or not, is a reality of our world. To block it out and censor it is to refuse to acknowledge and perhaps address the underlying issues that led to that hatred developing in the first place. Rather than send Mr. Keegstra to jail, why not instead make sure that those students also got history lessons in an upper year course that taught them more mainstream perspectives on the Holocaust? Perhaps even more daring, why not teach those students about the rise of hate groups like the Neo-Nazis in America and engage them in dialogues around why they think these particular groups are so filled with hatred, to the point of absolute silliness, towards another identifiable group? Rather than fining Mr. Whatcott for his homophobic fliers, why not use Mr. Whatcott’s homophobic fliers as a jumping-off point to engage in a public discussion while standing at the crossroads where religion and homosexuality meet? We can only be lifted up further as a society by engaging in discussion, no matter how low in value the Courts might deem those initial “hateful” expressions that end up sparking a fire in the public consciousness. Let the open marketplace of ideas reign supreme. And don’t tread on me, Beverley.