I’ve recently renovated this blog, and now I’m having it take a different course.
I did this change mostly because of finding out last week that there’s a Bill C-16 being reviewed by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee in Canada’s Senate.
What is Bill C-16?
Bill C-16 extends protection against hate propaganda toward gender identity and gender expression.
Bill C-16 adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Is Bill C-16 law right now?
No. But the answer will likely be “Not yet, but soon”.
The one problem I see, by my own opinion, from Bill C-16 is that it was introduced by a politician (Canada’s Justice Minister) and then was voted for by politicians (the House of Commons), and then was moved along to another set of politicians (the Senate) to be reviewed and then approved or shut down.
The problem I see, in short, is that Bill C-16 was introduced top down (by the government, which is the state) instead of down up, which would be by the citizens or the voters like you, me and other adults in the public who can vote.
My point is that last time I checked I was living in democracy where people (the voters) vote for the laws that impact their speech (written or spoken), and their ability to live their world view. But apparently, I’m NOT living in a complete democracy.
Anyway, a person’s world view would be beliefs, ethics, or morals that this person would understand as a balance between taking care of that person’s needs (or personal comfort zone) and being aware of and navigating other people’s boundaries and needs (the community).
Criminal, Civil Law, and Human Rights try to be the set of laws that people of a nation can reasonably accept and live by so that people wouldn’t be fighting a large scale conflict in public spaces all time (the example of large scale would be civil war).
So, my expectation of government wouldn’t be a politician introducing a bill that has the potential to significantly impact people’s ability of speech to state their world view (beliefs, ethics) and their ability to live their life. My expectation would have been the public introducing an idea for a new law to the politicians that represent them.
Also, I’ll further introduce my context:
I’m writing with the context as a mom.
One of our daughter’s Grade Two classmates recently did a presentation in the classroom with her parents alongside her.
This classmate was a boy wearing girl’s clothing and is identifying as a transgendered girl. She did a presentation with her parents in my daughter’s classroom about being transgendered.
My problem isn’t with this boy identifying as a girl and expressing his gender as a girl. My problem is with the House of Commons not consulting with people from the public (you know, the voters) while they voted, rubber stamped, and then pushed Bill C-16 to the Senate.
With my context explained, please understand that my problem with Bill C-16 is that it will introduce another barrier on Free Expression.
[Yes, only Expression because there is no Free Speech supported in Canada.]
Dr. Jordan Peterson is already being discriminated against in public for Youtube videos he made as his own publicly stated opinion against compelled use of trans gender pronouns because those words would be language policed by a law, and that law would be another imposition of political correctness.
The statement Dr. Peterson made is actually true academic debate.
Or each time political correctness is imposed, free speech is chipped away at again.
Anyway, discrimination directed toward you or me in a public space is against Canada’s Human Rights Act, but Dr. Peterson is weathering discrimination in public venues.
He is called ignorant, a bigot and is belittled by the University of Toronto, by other teachers, professors and by students simply because he’s publicly stated his own observation that another limit on “Free Expression” would be created by Bill C-16.
His valid opinion, as his own words, is this:
“I’m talking about compelled speech.”
“There’s a difference between saying something you can’t say and saying that there are things that you have to say.” — Dr. Jordan Peterson, Bill C-16 academic debate, University of Toronto, Sandford Fleming Building, Saturday November 19th 2016
When Bill C-16 is passed as law, then the list of law enforceable pronouns a trans person should be called would be what???
Ze and Zi, and Zer and Zir???
I can’t pronounce the above trans gender pronouns: Xem, Xyr, Xyrself, Xemself.
The list is many, and the words are often impossible to pronounce.
My point is:
When a trans person would want to be called “Ze” by me when we’re in a public space and would go to the police to charge me with discrimination because I refuse to say that pronoun because I can’t say that pronoun, this is the situation of Free Speech having one more limit put on it that would be created by Bill C-16.
Yes, Marni Panas says, “just use the trans person’s name“. Using a first name is the solution.
But the language problem isn’t smoothed over when an impossible to say pronoun like “Zer” would be made a language law, and that law compels me to say it because it is legally enforceable by police.
The problem is when Free Speech is again curtailed because language is again policed.
Language laws are not progress, but are laws that stifle language either to make a certain language dominant (like outlawing Indigenous language from being spoken while in Residential Schools), or they are laws used to shut down spoken and written public opinions that you find “politically incorrect”, offensive, and you don’t like them and want them to not exist.
Think of this:
Do you really want “grammar police” walking, cycling, driving through public spaces and reading websites and social media to police our spoken and written words?
Yes, social media is already policed by algorithms from computers to censor words considered by the humans as hate propaganda. However these algorithms have several times censored words in sentences that weren’t words from hate propaganda. This means that computers and their algorithms have made mistakes while enforcing censorship.
So this is my point:
The joke of the “grammar police” when you make typos and when your iPhone autocorrects would no longer be a “ha ha, funny” joke but a suffocating reality of having our vocabulary policed and prosecuted while it’s expressed in a public space.
Enforcement of being compelled to pick from a word list of impossible to say pronouns would be stifling, and not what I expect from a democracy. However, I’m NOT living in a complete democracy. Oh well.