Free Speech Association Granted Intervenor Status in Homosexual Rights Complaint

Canada's leading free speech advocacy group was granted intervenor status, February 16, in before a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal investigating a complaint by the Okanagan Lesbian and Gay Pride Week Committee and the Town of Oliver and its Mayor Linda Larson, over the town's 1998 decision not to proclaim Gay Pride Week.

The Canadian Association for Free Expression will be making oral and written submissions when the Tribunal opens in Oliver, July 24.

In granting CAFE's application, Tribunal member Nitya Iyer praised: CAFE "has a demonstrated interest in freedom of expression issues in the context of human rights legislation. I am prepared to accept that its participation may assist the Tribunal in its resolution of the constitutional issues raised in this complaint. I also note that the constitutional issue raised in this complaint has implications beyond the narrow facts of the present complaint. The interpretation of provisions of the Code in light of the Charter's guarantee of freedom of expression is a matter of public interest."

"In the matter before this Tribunal," states Director Paul Fromm, "the Canadian Association for Free Expression intends to support the right of the respondents on the grounds that the complaint interferes with their freedom of speech and freedom of belief and the corollary right not to have to speak what one does not believe."

"We offer a unique perspective based on the rights of freedom of speech and belief guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These are individual rights and sometimes are in conflict with the group rights enshrined in human rights codes," Fromm adds.

Town and city councils from New Brunswick to B.C. have found themselves under attack by radical homosexual groups demanding that they proclaim gay pride days, says Fromm. "If they are turned down, they get their allies in the human rights industry to fine the mayors and order that these days be proclaimed. We are entering an Alice and Wonderland world where human rights tyrants are forcing politicians to ignore the wishes of their voters and proclaim the opposite of what they believe. This is an outrage."

The Canadian Association for Free Expression has assumed the challenge of being Canada's leading free speech advocacy group. Kevin Michael Grace, a columnist for The Report Magazine (January 3, 2000), noted CAFE's leadership role. He wrote: "Perhaps it's time for Mr. [Alan] Borovoy [of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association] to step aside and let a younger more vigorous man lead the fight against tyranny. Paul Fromm ... the director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression ... seems to have what it takes."