Wednesday, 15 July 2020


Filth (2013) - Final Confrontation with the Self (YOU ARE FILTH)

The Tapeworm

At a certain point in the book, the narrative starts to be interrupted by a tube-like structure that appears on top of the text, and at first is only made of the word “eat” being repeated amid the zeros that fill the empty space within the tube. It is later revealed that this is actually the thoughts of the tapeworm growing inside Bruce’s intestines.

At first, the tapeworm only encourages Bruce to eat. Later, after becoming self-aware (and naming itself “The Self”), the tapeworm starts to ask basic existential questions and names Bruce as “The Host”. It also stumbles upon the existence of other worms (collectively named by the initial worm as “The Other”). The tapeworm’s monologues, which grow lengthier and more eloquent as the novel progresses, explain Bruce’s backstory and how he became the person presented to the reader.

Dr. Hurt

“The question is, 

“What Does it Mean to See Your Father Naked?”

And especially in an inappropriate manner, like this. 

It’s as if Ham… He does the same thing that happens in the Mesopotamian creation myth, when Tiamat and Apsu give rise to the first Gods, who are the father of the eventual deity of redemption: Marduk

The first Gods are very careless and noisy, and they kill Apsu, their father, and attempt to inhabit his corpse. 

That makes Tiamat enraged. 
She bursts forth from the darkness to do them in. 

It’s like a precursor to the flood story, or an analog to the flood story. 

I see the same thing happening, here, with Ham. He’s insufficiently respectful of his father. 

The question is, exactly what does The Father represent? 

You could say, “Well, there’s the father that you have: a human being, a man among men. 

But then there’s the Father as such, and that’s the spirit of the Father.”

Insofar as you have a father, you have both at the same time: you have the personal father, a man among other men—just like anyone other’s father—but insofar as that man is your father, that means that he’s something different than just another person. 

What he is, is the incarnation of The Spirit of The Father. 

To disrespect that carelessly… 

Noah makes a mistake, right? 

He produces wine and gets himself drunk. You might say, well, if he’s sprawled out there for everyone to see, it’s hardly Ham’s fault, if he stumbles across him. 

But the book is laying out a danger. The danger is that, well, maybe you catch your father at his most vulnerable moment, and if you’re disrespectful, then you transgress against the spirit of the Father. 

And if you transgress against the spirit of the Father and lose respect for the spirit of the Father, then that is likely to transform you into a slave

That’s a very interesting idea. I think it’s particularly germane to our current cultural situation. I think that we’re constantly pushed to see the nakedness of our Father, so to speak, because of the intense criticism that’s directed towards our culture—the patriarchal culture. We’re constantly exposing its weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and, let’s say, its nakedness. There’s nothing wrong with criticism, but the purpose of criticism is to separate the wheat from the chaff: it’s not to burn everything to the ground. It’s to say, well, we’re going to carefully look at this; we’re going to carefully differentiate; we’re going to keep what’s good, and we’re going to move away from what’s bad. 

The criticism isn’t to identify everything that’s bad: it’s to separate what’s good from what’s bad, so that you can retain what’s good and move towards it. To be careless of that is deadly. You’re inhabited by the spirit of the Father, right? Insofar as you’re a cultural construction, which, of course, is something that the postmodern neo-Marxists are absolutely emphatic about: you’re a cultural construction. Insofar as you’re a cultural construction, then you’re inhabited by the spirit of the Father. To be disrespectful towards that means to undermine the very structure that makes up a good portion of what you are, insofar as you’re a socialized, cultural entity. If you pull the foundation out from underneath that, what do you have left? You can hardly manage on your own. It’s just not possible. You’re a cultural creation. 

Ham makes this desperate error, and is careless about exposing himself to the vulnerability of his father. Something like that. He does it without sufficient respect. The judgement is that, not only will he be a slave, but so will all of his descendants. He’s contrasted with the other two sons, who, I suppose, are willing to give their father the benefit of the doubt. When they see him in a compromising position, they handle it with respect, and don’t capitalize on it. Maybe that makes them strong. That’s what it seems like to me. I think that’s what that story means. It has something to do with respect. The funny thing about having respect for your culture—and I suppose that’s partly why I’m doing the Biblical stories: they’re part of my culture. They’re part of our culture, perhaps. But they are certainly part of my culture. It seems to me that it’s worthwhile to treat that with respect, to see what you can glean from it, and not kick it when it’s down, let’s say. 

And so that’s how the story of Noah ends. The thing, too, is that Noah is actually a pretty decent incarnation of the spirit of the Father, which, I suppose, is one of the things that makes Ham’s misstep more egregious. I mean, Noah just built an ark and got everybody through the flood, man. It’s not so bad, and so maybe the fact that he happened to drink too much wine one day wasn’t enough to justify humiliating him. I don’t think it’s pushing the limits of symbolic interpretation to note on a daily basis that we’re all contained in an ark. You could think about that as the ark that’s been bequeathed to us by our forefathers: that’s the tremendous infrastructure that we inhabit, that we take for granted because it works so well. It protects us from things that we cannot even imagine, and we don’t have to imagine them, because we’re so well protected. 

One of the things that’s really struck me hard about the disintegration and corruption of the universities is the absolute ingratitude that goes along with that. Criticism, as I said, is a fine thing, if it’s done in a proper spirit, and that’s the spirit of separating the wheat from the chaff. But it needs to be accompanied by gratitude, and it does seem to me that anyone who lives in a Western culture at this time and place in history, and who isn’t simultaneously grateful for that, is half blind, at least. It’s never been better than this, and it could be so much worse—and it’s highly likely that it will be so much worse, because, for most of human history, so much worse is the norm. 

Then there’s this little story that crops up, that seems, in some ways, unrelated to everything that’s gone before it. But I think it’s also an extremely profound little story. It took me a long time to figure it out. 

It’s the Tower of Babel.”

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Jefferson Lives!

Barry Meets Black Lightning | Crisis on Infinite Earths Crossover [HD]

Peter Gambi: 
Do you remember why you became Black Lightning? You wanted to give the people hope
You wanted the evil that's out there to have something to fear.
 Right now, there's nothing to fear, and evil's running rampant like a plague through this city! 
Hell, through This World!

Okay, you know what? 
Let's cut through the poetry, and just talk real

Now, the purpose of Black Lightning was to kill Tobias, for literally shoving my father's articles down his throat until he died. 

Then it was because of crime bosses, crooked politicians, 
every small-time street thug that had snatched a purse or robbed a store! 

You see, there's no end, Gambi. 

There's no bottom for Black Lightning. 
And the only loser in all of it is... me. 

I feel like Lynn and I are making room for a possibility of a reconciliation. Do you hear me? I have a shot at putting my family back together. 
Black Lightning is not going to jeopardise that.

I love Lynn and those girls, but we knew this day would come. 

Jefferson, I've known you since you were 12-years-old, 
you're like my son. 

So I have to tell you The Truth. 

The promise you made Lynn was well intentioned, but it always had an expiration date.

You know how this ends, right?

The same way it always ends for everyone, Lynn. 
None of us get out of here alive.

He was happy!

But what kind of happy? 
Happy like a lion in a cage? 
King of The Zoo, not of The Jungle?

Happy like a man who was at peace just being Jefferson Pierce.

But he isn't just Jefferson Pierce. 
He's so much more than that.

I know. 
And that's why I want you to stop him before he gets addicted again.

We have a difference of opinion on that. 
I don't believe Jefferson was ever addicted to his powers. 

He was in a War to save this city and its people. 
And he was winning

Then he suddenly stopped, because he was addicted to you
And now look at the condition of This City and its People. 
It's complete chaos.

It sounds like you're blaming me for the chaos.

A little. Just like you blame me, then and now. 

But ultimately, it's Jefferson's choice what he does with his powers.

Sunday, 12 July 2020


Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. 

So my disguise must be able to strike Terror into their hearts. 

I must be a creature of the night, black, Terrible...

I worry that My Son might not understand what I've tried to be. 

And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything – everything I did, everything you saw – because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. 

And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.

Dear Son. 

I'm afraid that both you and your mother will have worried at not hearing from me during the past weeks, but my situation here has become a difficult one. 

I have been  officially accused of Murder by the army. 

The alleged victims were four Vietnamese double agents. 
We spent months uncovering then and accumulating evidence. 

When absolute proof was completed, we acted. We acted like soldiers. 

The charges are unjustified. 

They are, in fact, and under the circumstances of this conflict, quite completely insane."

In a war, there are many moments  for compassion and tender action. 

There are many moments for ruthless action. 

What is often called ruthless, but may, in many circumstances, be only clarity. 

Seeing clearly what there is to be done, and doing it directly, quickly, awake.

I will trust you tell your mother what you choose about this letter. 

As for the charges against me, I am unconcerned. I am beyond their timid, lying morality, and so I am beyond caring. 

You have all my faith. 

Your loving father.

I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. 
That's My Dream. 
That's My Nightmare: Crawling, Slithering, along The Edge of a straight razor and surviving.

Have you ever considered any real freedoms? 
Freedoms from the opinion of others... even the opinions of yourself?

As long as cold beer, hot food, rock 'n' roll, and all the other amenities remain expected norm, our conduct of the war will only gain impotence.

I've seen Horrors, Horrors that you've seen. 
But you have no right to call me a murderer. 
You have a right to kill me. 
You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me. 
It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what Horror means. 

Horror! Horror has a Face, and you must make A Friend of Horror. 
Horror and Moral Terror are your friends. 
If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. 
They are Truly Enemies.

I remember when I was with Special Forces. 
Seems a thousand centuries ago. 
We went into a camp to inoculate the children. 

We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. 
He couldn't see. 
We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. 

There they were in a pile: a pile of little arms. 

And I remember I...I...I cried. 
I wept like some grandmother. 
I wanted to tear my teeth out. 
I didn't know what I wanted to do. 
And I want to remember it. 
I never want to forget it. 
I never want to forget. 

And then I realised, like I was shot — like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead. 

And I thought: 
My God, the genius of that. The genius! 

The will to do that: perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. 

And then I realised, They were stronger than We, because They could stand it. 

These were not monsters. 
These were men, trained cadres — these men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who have children, who are filled with love — but they had the strength — the strength! — to do that. 

If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. 
You have to have men who are moral and at the same time who are able to utilise their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, judgement. 

Without Judgement!
Because it's Judgement that defeats us.

We train Young Men to drop Fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!

I worry that My Son might not understand what I've tried to be. 
And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything – everything I did, everything you saw – because there's nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. 
And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.

Let me tell you one story here, of a Samurai Warrior, a Japanese warrior, who had The Duty to avenge the murder of his overlord. 

And he actually, after some time, found and cornered the man who had murdered his overlord. 

And he was about to deal with him with his samurai sword, when this man in the corner, 
in The Passion of Terror
spat in his face. 

And The Samurai sheathed The Sword and walked away. 

WHY did he do that?


Because, he was made ANGRY, and if he had killed that man then, it would have a Personal Act, of another kind of act, and that’s NOT What He Had Come to Do.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Within a Mile

We all want to Help one another — Human Beings are like that. 
We want to live by each other's Happiness, not by each other's Misery. 
We don't want to Hate and Despise one another. 

In This World there is room for everyone —
The Good Earth is Rich, and can provide for everyone —
The Way of Life can be Free and Beautiful —

But We Have Lost The Way. 

GREED has poisoned Men's Souls — has barricaded The World with Hate, 
Has goose-stepped us into Misery and Bloodshed. 

We have developed Speed, but shut ourselves IN. 
Machinery that gives Abundance has left us In-Want.

Our Knowledge has made us Cynical — Our Cleverness, Hard and Unkind. 
We THINK too much, and FEEL too little. 

More than Machinery, We need Humanity. 
More than Cleverness, We need Kindness and Gentleness. 
Without these qualities, Life would be Violent and All Would Be Lost.

The Aeroplane and The Radio have brought us closer together —
The VERY NATURE of these inventions cries out for The Goodness in Men —
Cries out for Universal Brotherhood, For The Unity of Us All —

Even now, My Voice is reaching millions throughout The World — 
Millions of despairing Men, Women and little Children — 
Victims of a System that makes Men torture and imprison Innocent People. 

To Those Who Can Hear Me, I Say — Do Not Despair. 

The Misery that is now upon us is but The Passing of Greed — 
The Bitterness of Men who fear The Way of Human Progress. 

The Hate of Men will pass, and dictators die, 
and The Power They took from The People Will return to The People.

And so, so long as Men die, Liberty will •never• perish.

On the 23rd March 2020, the UK government instructed lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 
Those over 70, classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’, were told to self-isolate until further notice.

The lack of clarity as to how long this may go on for left many feeling frustrated at the government’s dismissive attitude toward a generation that often already feel overlooked. 

A ‘shut them away’ type approach which many feared would lead to increased feelings of loneliness and wavering mental health.

For my grandmother, Jen, now in her 80s, and many other elderly people living in Mount Hawke in Cornwall, seeing friends, going to church, attending the coffee morning and hopping on the bus to Morrisons on a Thursday provided routine, brought them joy, and gave them a Sense of Purpose.

 Simple yet vital expressions of autonomy that have now been taken from them.

Within A Mile follows my grandmother during lockdown on her daily walk around the block as she defies, in her own way, what it means to be ‘clinically vulnerable’.

Despite government restrictions, Jen is determined to socialise and stay engaged with her community and friends around her. Like many, she has had to adapt to a much smaller, localised environment, and through restricting this to a mile radius, she becomes more attuned to her surroundings; taking great pleasure in observing things previously overlooked, whether it be watching a bird looking for spiders out of the ends of drainpipes, or the light and wind dancing over a field.

It became apparent, when following my grandma and the other residents, that the idea of contracting the virus is less daunting than the prospect of feeling completely isolated.

‘I don’t care about the virus’, said a woman as she stepped out of her front door to greet Jen with open arms, ‘I need to hug your grandmother’. 

This brings to light our instinctive desire and need, as humans, to touch and be in each other’s company.

I’ve never forgotten about a series of experiments that were done by a man named Harry Harlow in the 1950s. He was seeking to understand the human need for love, and the critical role that it plays in both primate and human development, so he separated a group of baby rhesus monkeys from their mothers when they were born.

The baby monkeys were each caged alone in the lab and allowed no physical contact with the personnel in the lab or with each other even though they could see the other monkeys and personnel. They immediately began exhibiting signs of distress. They clutched themselves, began rocking, staring into space as if dissociating, biting themselves, and biting their cages. They did not play or groom themselves and they seemed vacillate between anxiety and depression.

The babies were then assigned to one of two fake surrogate mothers. One was a model made of chicken wire that was covered in soft terrycloth. It was made to look roughly like a monkey. This surrogate did not provide any food. The other surrogate mother was also made of chicken wire, but no terrycloth. It had a crocodile looking head and provided milk from an attached baby bottle.

To say that the babies favored the mother covered in terrycloth is an understatement. The comfort these babies received through touch contact was incomparably more important to them than even their physical hunger. They needed connection more than they needed nourishment. This is also the case for people, not just monkeys. If our need for nourishment was stronger than our need for connection with one another, we would not meet people who can’t eat or sleep when they experience a painful break-up with someone they loved.

There is another unforgettable research study that I learned about in my university courses. It was a study done in the United States in the 1940s and was conducted on 40 newborn infants. I clearly remember that the objective was to determine whether individuals could thrive on basic physiological needs alone, without physical affection.

Twenty of the newborn infants were housed in a special facility where caregivers would enter the facility to feed them, bathe them, and change their diapers, but they would do nothing else. The caregivers had been instructed not to look at or touch the babies more than what was necessary and never communicate with them. All their physical needs were attended to scrupulously and the environment was kept sterile so as to prevent any of the babies from becoming ill. 

The experiment was stopped after four months because by that time, at least half of the babies had died. More babies subsequently died even after being rescued and brought into natural familial environment. There was no physiological cause found for the deaths of these babies. They were all physically very healthy.

I specifically remember that one of the most disturbing facts was that before each baby died, there was a period of time where they would stop verbalizing and stop trying to engage with their caregivers. They would stop moving, stop crying, and stop changing their expression and death would follow shortly after. It was as if the babies had given up living before they died. This was the case even for the babies who died after being removed from the experimental conditions.

In today’s world, we are obsessed with technology. It’s hard to go anywhere and find people who are genuinely engaged with one another. Most people are fully engaged instead with a technological device. Their noses are buried in their computers or cell phones. 

And while social media has provided incredible opportunities to be connected with each other around The World, no matter where we are, social media only provides connection up to a degree. 

Physical connection cannot be replaced and its importance can’t be underestimated. 

We can’t get physical contact through a screen or from a distance. 
We need touch. 
We need vicinity. 
We need the comfort of being in physical contact with one another. 
And we must consider this when we are developing connections in our life.

The reality is that as humans, we need touch. 
Even the people, who are the most afraid of and hurt by human connection, need it. 

This is why the loneliest and most deeply hurt people experience so much torment. 

If we didn’t absolutely need touch and we were hurt by people, we would simply go on our merry way and never touch other people again. 

But we can’t.  

Instead, if we’ve been hurt by others, we spend our life in a torturous tug of war between The side of us that needs other people 
The side that wants to be able 
to have nothing to do with them.

FALLEN DOMINOS : The Liberty of Conscience

2017/05/17: Senate hearing on Bill C16

Update: on May 18, C16 sailed through The Canadian Senate with no amendments.

This is a State of Emergency. 
We go now to The White House for an announcement from The President of the United States.

My fellow Americans... at 5 p.m. May 16th. 2017, a day which will live in infamy, The Canadians have bombed Abolished Liberty of Conscience.

"I served as a witness at the Canadian Senate yesterday, regarding Bill C16, which adds the ill-defined categories of gender expression and gender identity to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. 

The Federal government, in a website which has since been taken down, stated clearly that this legislation would be interpreted in keeping with the policies of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which I regard as one of the most dangerous institutions in Canada, in relationship to all rights other than those of "equality," including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association. 

I was partnered with lawyer Jared Brown, whose courageous and detailed analysis of Bill C16 can be found here :

which amends the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code."

Bill C-16 – What’s the Big Deal?

anything that forces someone to express opinions that are not their own is a “penalty that is totalitarian and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada even for the repression of the most serious crimes.” National Bank of Canada v. Retail Clerks’ International Union et al. (1984) SCCSlaight Communications Inc. v. Davidson (1989) SCC.
With that statement, the Supreme Court of Canada set down the basic principle in Canada, that any government action or legislation which has the effect of forcing its citizens to mouth thoughts or opinions that are not their own, is unconstitutional and an unreasonable infringement on section 2 Freedom of Expression in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  This principle was reaffirmed by the same court in the case of Slaight Communications.
There has been much in the news lately regarding federal Bill C-16 which passed the house of commons and is now in the Senate.  The bill has brought with it a fair amount of media attention likely on account of its subject matter, but also, the implications of the bill.
Proponents of the bill identify that it is a much needed progressive development in the law to protect historically marginalized groups.  There are also critics of the bill.  This blog post will examine one of the more intriguing issues; namely, that the bill on its face introduces government mandated compelled speech into federal legislation.
Its appropriate to examine Bill C-16 in greater detail to ensure that it is in compliance with Canadian constitutional principles, and consistent with Canadian traditions of free expression.
The Minister of Justice has summarized Bill C-16 as follows:
“This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
The enactment also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.”
Adding the concepts of gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) and the Hate speech provisions of the Criminal Code proposed by the enactment appears fairly innocuous and perhaps commendable.
A deeper analysis of the concepts and the origins of the legislation, however, make clear that this legislation may be an unprecedented infringement on freedom of expression, and the principle that Canadians ought to be free from having to mouth opinions and ideologies that are not their own.
The origins of Bill C-16 can be found in identical legislation that was introduced in certain Provinces including Ontario in or around 2012.  The Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”) was amended in an identical fashion and with the same words (to include gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds from discrimination).
In Ontario, the human rights regime is comprised of the Code, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”), and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (the “OHRT”).
The Code is the legislation that creates the regime and the law.
The OHRC is the government agency charged with the administration and enforcement of the Code.
The OHRT is the government tribunal charged with determining if there has been a breach of the Code and in fashioning remedies for any breach.
The OHRC and OHRT are accountable to the legislature of Ontario.
In the event there is a breach of the Code, a complainant can commence a complaint before the Tribunal to have the complaint adjudicated.
Alternatively, the OHRC can commence a complaint before the Tribunal.
The OHRC can also intervene in any existing complaint before the Tribunal on behalf of any complainant.
The OHRC can further conduct its own inquiries into real or purported breaches of the Code and issue recommendations.
As part of its mandate to promote Human Rights and to promote awareness of the Code, the OHRC develops legally binding policies.
Section 30 of the Ontario Human Rights Code authorizes the OHRC to prepare, approve and publish human rights policies to provide guidance on interpreting provisions of the Code. The OHRC’s policies and guidelines set standards for how individuals, employers, service providers and policy-makers should act to ensure compliance with the Code. They represent the OHRC’s interpretation of the Code at the time of publication. Also, they advance a progressive understanding of the rights set out in the Code.
Section 45.5 of the Code states that the OHRT may consider policies approved by the OHRC in a human rights proceeding before the OHRT. Where a party or an intervener in a proceeding requests it, the OHRT shall consider an OHRC policy. Where an OHRC policy is relevant to the subject-matter of a human rights application, parties and interveners are encouraged to bring the policy to the OHRT’s attention for consideration.
Section 45.6 of the Code states that if a final decision or order of the OHRT is not consistent with an OHRC policy, in a case where the OHRC was either a party or an intervener, the OHRC may apply to the OHRT to have the OHRT state a case to the Divisional Court to address this inconsistency.
OHRC policies are subject to decisions of the Superior Courts interpreting the Code. OHRC policies have been given great deference by the courts and the OHRT, applied to the facts of the case before the court or the OHRT, and quoted in the decisions of these bodies.
The Canada Department of Justice published a review of the proposed Bill C-16 legislation (linked to an archived version as the original link was deactivated recently) and in doing so has confirmed that:
Q and A on Gender Identity and Gender Expression
  1. Will “gender identity” and “gender expression” be defined in the Bill?
  2. In order to ensure that the law would be as inclusive as possible, the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” are not defined in the Bill. With very few exceptions, grounds of discrimination are not defined in legislation but are left to courts, tribunals, and commissions to interpret and explain, based on their detailed experience with particular cases.
Definitions of the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” have already been given by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, for example. The Commission has provided helpful discussion and examples that can offer good practical guidance. The Canadian Human Rights Commission will provide similar guidance on the meaning of these terms in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
And with that statement of intent from the Department of Justice we see that the federal Human Rights regime will mirror that found at the provincial level including the policies.
The OHRC has produced a policy on gender identity and expression and what constitutes harassment and discrimination, including “refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”.
Thereafter, the OHRC clarified its policy by creating a Question and Answer on gender identity and gender expression which seeks to define these terms, and to set out that the refusal of a person to use the chosen/personal/preferred pronoun, or deliberately misgendering, will likely be discrimination.
What this means is that if you encounter a person in a sphere of human activity covered by the Code, and you address that person by a pronoun that is not the chosen/personal/or preferred pronoun of that person, that your action can constitute discrimination.
Further, in the event that your personal or religious beliefs do not recognize genders beyond simply male and female (ie. does not recognize non-binary, gender neutral, or other identities), you must still utilize the non-binary, gender neutral, or other pronouns required by non-binary or gender neutral persons, lest you be found to be discriminatory.
It is the OHRC policy requirement that persons must use the pronouns required by the portion of transgendered individuals making that demand that constitutes compelled speech.
Persons not wishing to use those pronouns (or any pronouns for that matter), or not able to use those pronouns as offending their deeply held beliefs, or their faith and religion, are afforded no ability to abstain.  In short, the OHRC requires that you use the words required by the proponents of Bill C-16.
Some might perceive the compelled speech requirements inherent in the Code, and Bill C-16 as minor, particularly given the widely held opinion that a failure to follow the compelled speech stipulations will not result in serious criminal sanction.
This opinion may very well be correct, but not because the legislation lacks the ability to bring forward serious criminal sanction.  In fact, breaches of Human Rights Tribunal orders can and have (at the federal level) resulted in imprisonment.  Further, the Hate Speech provisions of the Criminal Code can result in increased sentences for those found guilty.
Focusing on the Human Rights Tribunals, and particularly the OHRT, the path to prison is quite straight-forward.
The OHRT can issue both monetary and non-monetary orders.  Monetary orders are generally restricted to general damages to a complainant.  Non-monetary orders can be anything determined by the OHRT as appropriate in the circumstances including public interest remedies.
Examples of non-monetary orders, include, but are not limited to:
– requirements to communicate or publish an apology or a publication of the facts of the case and the resulting order;
-non-defamation or gag orders (to refrain from making further offending statements);
-non-defamation publication bans (to refrain from printing further offending statements);
– orders to undertake sensitivity or anti-bias training.
While monetary orders can result in imprisonment, the path is somewhat less direct and generally related to a failure to abide by some other court process in the context of a complainant’s efforts to enforce a monetary award (contempt of a garnishment, examination in aid of execution, or writ of execution process).
With respect to non-monetary orders the path to prison is considerably more straight-forward and generally as follows:
Section 19 of the Statutory Powers Procedure Act (Ontario) (SPPA) states that an order of the OHRT is in fact an order of the Superior Court.
Section 13 of the SPPA states that the OHRT can pursue a breach of its own orders by pursuing an order for contempt before the Divisional Court (Superior Court).
Rule 60.11(5) of the Rules of Civil Procedure (Ontario) confirms that where the court finds a person in contempt, they can order imprisonment for an indefinite period, in addition to fines and other remedies.  Further a judge can issue a warrant for the arrest of any person against whom a contempt order is sought.
The Superior Court does resort to imprisonment to compel compliance with non-monetary orders.  There are numerous cases where contempt of a non-monetary order resulted in imprisonment with many as recent as 2013.
The same mechanisms and procedures can be found at the federal level and they have in fact resulted in the imprisonment of persons who breached the orders of Human Rights Tribunals in other provinces and federally.
Now most persons faced with this ominous path to prison would likely comply with the orders to avoid prison.  However, if an individual deliberately chose not to use the mandated pronouns and then elects to breach a resulting non-monetary order of the OHRT, that person could find themself in prison for that position.
The likelihood that contempt of a Tribunal order will result in imprisonment, remains extremely low.  The risk of this outcome is dependent to a large extent on the benevolence of the public servants that staff the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals, as well as the disposition of the justices of the Divisional Court (or the Federal Court).  If the Commissions and Tribunals wish to pursue the policies and the requirement for compelled speech, and the Divisional Court/Federal Court find a clear case of contempt of the underlying Tribunal order, an order for committal could result.
There is no legal or procedural barrier to a prison term, and in fact, the law and procedures are written in such a way as to make this entirely possible.
In very narrow and restricted situations, the courts have allowed legislation that is in the nature of compelled speech.  However, these exceptions are extremely few, and have been restricted primarily to the commercial advertising realm including mandatory health warnings on cigarette packaging, and the requirement that persons applying for Canadian citizenship must pledge an oath to the Queen.  The Supreme Court found that mandatory health warnings on cigarette packaging are prima facie unconstitutional as offending section 2(b) Charter rights with respect to freedom of expression, however, the court found the offending compelled speech did not prevent the companies from expressing their own opinions on their packaging and was saved by section 1 of the Charter, as the court stated that the warnings were demonstrably effective.  With respect to the oath to the Queen, the courts found that while it incidentally affected freedom of expression by compelling speech, it did not extinguish a person’s right and opportunity to publicly disavow the message conveyed by the oath and therefore it was not unconstitutional.
“If a law does not really deprive one of the ability to speak one’s mind or does not effectively associate one with a message with which one disagrees, it is difficult to see how one’s right to pursue truth, participate in the community, or fulfil oneself is denied.”
The questions to be asked with respect to C-16 and the mandatory use of pronouns remain:
1) is there an opportunity to publicly disavow the usage of pronouns and the underlying gender theories in the legislation?
2) Does C-16 deprive one of the ability to speak one’s mind or does it effectively associate one with a message with which one disagrees?
If the answers to question 1 is “no”, and the answer to question 2 is “yes”, then C-16 would appear to be unconstitutional.
In summary:
  • Bill C-16 will mandate the use of certain language enforceable by the government;
  • The mandated language may not be consistent with the opinions and beliefs of all persons in Canadian society;
  • It is not clear that one can publicly disavow the mandated language; and,
  • With the passing of Bill C-16, a failure to use the mandated language can result in the power of the state being brought to bear on you, resulting in punishments up to and including imprisonment.
Given that the Supreme Court of Canada has found compelled speech to be a “penalty that is totalitarian and as such alien to the tradition of free nations like Canada even for the repression of the most serious crimes”, it might be appropriate to examine Bill C-16 in greater detail to ensure that it remains consistent with Canadian constitutional principles and Canadian traditions of free expression.
D. Jared Brown – Counsel