Thursday, October 13, 2011

Political Correctness?

I read the News everyday. I frequently shake my head at some of what I'm reading. Questions pop into my head. Questions such as:

Do I have to be politically correct? All the time? Do I have to be politically correct when being so conflicts with my beliefs?

Does political correctness go hand in hand with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Is my lack of political correctness a violation of someone else's rights and freedoms?

Am I being politically incorrect by raising these questions? Am I straying into a virtual minefield?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins as follows:

Rights and freedoms in Canada
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Fundamental freedoms
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

"Reasonable limits... as can be demonstrably justified..."

What is reasonable? Who defines reasonable? Who determines what is required to justify setting a limit? Is political correctness a justifiable reasonable limit?

The Supreme Court of Canada is currently in the midst of hearing arguments before it makes a determination in a case involving free-speech vs. hate-speech. The defendant appearing before the court expressed his faith based opinion against homosexuality using strong, graphic language. For that he has been accused of spreading 'hate propaganda'.

Would the defendant be in court today if he had softened the voicing of his opinion by using more 'politically correct' language? Was it possible for him to communicate his belief by being more 'politically correct'? Should his freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression be limited because it offends someone else?

Is it hate and fear mongering to label someone homophobic when they express their faith based belief that homosexuality is wrong?

Is it a violation of women's rights to choose what they wear, go where they want, when they want by suggesting they give consideration to their personal safety? (see slutwalk). Am I violating someones rights by raising this question? Am I being politically incorrect?

Several days ago I came across a news article reporting on a human rights case in Ontario. Some Landlords were accused of violating people's rights by setting limits on who they would accept as tenants based on what specific population group they belonged to. The example given was that it was wrong for landlords to advertise that a space was 'perfect for students'. Religious affiliation was also a forbidden criteria... unless it was muslim. A building owner who limited tenants to only muslims was found to be within his rights by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Is there a politically correct way to question the inconsistency here?

We live in a 55+ building. Is our landlord in violation of the Charter by imposing an age restriction on tenancy?

At what point do we put our foot down because issues of rights and political correctness have moved beyond the ridiculous to the absurd and ludicrous?

Is someone going to complain to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission because I asked these questions?

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