- The Washington Times - Monday, June 9, 2008

Canada’s Conservative government is considering a probe of the investigation techniques used by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which have been widely criticized as a threat to free speech and due process.

A letter saying that the first parliamentary steps had been taken was written to a constituent by Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, also the nation’s attorney general, and posted by popular Canadian blogger Ezra Levant.

“[Conservative Member of Parliament] Rick Dykstra has tabled a motion that the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights examine and make recommendations with respect to the [Canadian Human Rights Commission], including its mandate, operations, and interpretation and application of provisions relating to section 13 of the [Canadian Human Rights Act], which addresses hate messages,” Mr. Nicholson letter reads.

Mr. Levant also posted the parliamentary motion at his site, EzraLevant.com.

The filing is a change of heart for Mr. Nicholson and the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In May, Mr. Nicholson’s office filed a 50-page legal submission in support of the commission’s attempt to stop a defendant from cross-examining the commission’s investigators on their tactics. The submission also praised the work of Canada’s human rights commissions and tribunals.

News of the submission led to Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Harper drawing heavy criticism, and many conservative and civil-liberties groups had threatened to boycott the Conservative Party’s fundraising efforts despite the possibility of a summer election.

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