Some common sense questions about Quebec's new government-funded "registry of homophobic acts"
(Posted by Bryana Joy on June 27, 2012)
Now they want to keep a government-funded registry of dissenting opinions. In Quebec, they already are.
On Monday, Quebec homosexual activist group, Gai Ecoute, launched a “registry of homophobic acts” with support and funding from the Quebec Government’s Justice Department. The Justice Ministry last year pledged $7 million to “anti-homophobia” activities. The registry will take reports from anonymous tipsters calling attention to actions deemed to be “homophobic.” Gai Ecoute stated in a press release that anyone experiencing or witnessing such actions “must” report them to the registry.
Included in the definition of actions classified as ‘homophobic’ and deemed worthy of reporting to the registry are: ‘any negative word or act toward a homosexual or homosexuality in general: physical abuse, verbal abuse, intimidation, harassment, offensive graffiti, abuse, injurious mockery, inappropriate media coverage and discrimination.’
Yes, in Quebec, “any negative word toward homosexuality in general,” will now be documented in a registry maintained by a homosexual activist group and analyzed by police. Furthermore, “inappropriate media coverage” will likewise be recorded. I wonder if that includes this article I’m writing right now?
Montreal police Commander Alain Gagnon explained, “Not all hurtful things that are said are illegal. Some things may just be part of a person’s freedom of speech. But this registry will help (police) understand what is going on province-wide.”
It sounds like the sort of rationale we might hear presented in defense of any other form of intrusive government surveillance of our lives: “don’t worry. You’re not necessarily doing anything wrong. We’re just here to make sure you don’t. And to gauge the cultural climate, you know – (to understand who you are and what you do and how you think and why in the heck you insist on disagreeing with us.)”
What’s the big deal? Well, I’ll be frank: I’m distrustful of a government that encourages its citizens to spy on one another, to report each other, a government that breeds distrust and ill-will and makes people afraid to say what they think. I have this nagging suspicion that a government which expends energy, money and time in getting its citizens to squabble among themselves is a government up to no good. It sounds too much like the infamous totalitarian regimes in dystopian literature and the recent history of the world.
But there’s another reason why I’m so stalwartly opposed to any “national registry of homophobic acts.” There’s another reason why it makes me feel harried and troubled and concerned about the future. If, as Gagnon assures us, not all of the actions that the government is encouraging citizens to report are, in fact, illegal, why are they being encouraged to report these activities at all? If, as he explains, much of what is being recorded is protected by the right to freedom of speech, why is this speech being recorded in the first place?
The answer to this question is painfully obvious: Quebec’s Justice Department disapproves of a certain form of speech that happens to be protected by free speech laws in Quebec. The Justice Department apparently disapproves of religious leaders who disapprove of homosexuality. It disapproves of journalists who portray gay pride events in a negative light, perhaps. In short, it would seem that it disapproves of any criticism of anything pertaining to homosexuality. And thus, although it cannot legally do anything to censor this speech, it has determined to do everything it can to intimidate, frighten and hassle citizens into keeping their “unacceptable” ideas to themselves.
And here is where we arrive at the crucial question: since when is it the government’s responsibility to stifle discussion of controversial issues? Why does the government feel that it must take sides in national philosophical debates and force the will of one party onto the other? When there is dissension in a nation concerning a point of moral or religious creed or doctrine, how dare the government come down on one side of the divide and pressure the other side to cease its opposition?
Moreover, pertaining to incidents of petty name-calling and childish insults, since when is the government a babysitter who has to make sure that we all “play nice” and that no one calls little Johnny “four eyes” on account of his glasses?