What is CAFE?
The Canadian Association for Free Expression, Inc., (CAFE) is a non-profit educational organization that was incorporated in the Province of Ontario in 1981, and later in Alberta.
What does CAFE stand for?
CAFE believes in maximizing freedom of speech and freedom of expression. These rights were enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Specifically, Section 2(b) states:
"Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms...
freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression,
including freedom of the press and other media of communication..."
Closely tied to these rights was Section 2(a) which guaranteed freedom of conscience and religion.
If all these worthy rights are guaranteed by the Charter, why is there a need for an organization like CAFE?
Sadly, freedom of speech and freedom of belief have never been under such attack as in the 13 years since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms became the law of the land. People have been sent to jail solely for the non-violent expression of their political beliefs. Human Rights Commissions have run amok. The Mayor of Hamilton, Ontario, was recently fined $5,000 by an Ontario Human Rights Commission tribunal for refusing to proclaim Gay Pride Day in 1991. Telephone messages across the country have been suppressed in a million dollar campaign by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to shield privileged minorities from views they find offensive. Ontario and B.C. both have draconian laws preventing pro-life Canadians from expressing their views outside abortuaries.
Specifically, what does CAFE do?
CAFE believes that the principled defense of freedom begins with information. CAFE researches threats to freedom of speech and publishes the results of its research in THE FREE SPEECH MONITOR, which costs $15.00, and it is published ten times per year. From time-to-time, CAFE publishes other specialized reports and leaflets - like our recent one on Bill C-41.
So, are you just a publishing group?
No. Information without action is useless. CAFE sends regular letters to the media outlining our concerns about threats to freedom of speech and nd freedom of belief. For instance, we recently protested efforts to harass the Human Life International Conference in Montreal and pressure the Archbishop of Montreal to deny those attending the conference use of the local basilica for worship. We also lobby politicians, both federal and provincial about present or proposed legislation.
As a recent example of your lobbying, what about BILL 56?
In 1993, and early 1994, CAFE led a campaign against Bill 56, a piece of legislation proposed by an obscure Tory backbencher named Charles Harnick. It had already sailed through second reading before a sleepy legislature. Among other atrocities, this bill would have created a provincial hate law and permitted civil suits which could have bankrupted organizations and individuals. Among the views prohibited would be any expression indicating superiority or inferiority of any person or group on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. Thus, to have argued that heterosexuality is healthier or more desirable than homo- sexuality might well have resulted in crippling fines and other punishments. Indeed, had this bill passed, it's likely church leaders and other concerned citizens would have been unable to voice their opposition to the then-NDP government's bill extending same-sex benefits to homosexuals and lesbians. Indeed, militant homosexuals regularly referred to their opponents as "voices of hate."