After a week of highly biased media coverage, the final hearing of Alberta Pastor Boissoin, accused of "hate-mongering" against homosexuals, wrapped up on Friday.
During the hearing Boissoin's legal counsel thought it best to refrain from giving media comment until the case was finished. Over the past week, however, there was a cloud misinformation in the media, including words taken out of context, unofficial quotes from witnesses and a generally negative portrayal of Boissoin.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for example, revealed its biased position in a July 17 story, weighting its focus on the accusations against Boissoin. The story quoted Janel Dodd, a former co-worker of Boissoin, who claimed that he wrote the letter simply to "get a public reaction."
The National Post was one of the exceptions, however, stating in an editorial, "We would urge that the claims against Mr. Boissoin be dismissed. The language in his letter is ugly, but judging from the controversial parts quoted in the press, he is angry with gay activism in schools and has little or nothing to say against gay adults who don't promote their orientation by means of educational policy."
"Human rights law isn't intended to cut off criticism of political matters or school curricula. That would turn it into a much greater threat to free expression than it is now, and indeed the section of Alberta's human rights code that covers hate speech says specifically that 'Nothing in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the free expression of opinion on any subject.'"
Expressing how disheartening the media coverage was, Boissoin stated in a recent press release that the media "twisted my words and intentions."
He continued, "My moral and political war was directed against those that are presently endeavoring to teach children and teenagers that homosexuality is 'normal, necessary, acceptable and productive…' This was clearly outlined in my 2002 letter to the editor and repeated in my testimony at the hearing."
"This nationwide 'activist' agenda has an initiative that aims to see our young people hold one pro-homosexual view. They are not providing these young people with the equal right to hold and express their own beliefs. Teenagers (in addition to educators) that believe that homosexuality is immoral are made to feel that they are being hateful. These teens are forced to remain silent about their view and like the complainant said about me, are told that they need to be re-educated for holding it."
Boissoin concluded, "Hate my views even hate me if you like but at least be responsible enough to have weighed the facts." He also reaffirmed his original position, "I do not hate anyone that claims that they are homosexual, bisexual or transgendered."
Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director of the Canada Family Action Coalition told LifeSiteNews.com that one of his great concerns with the entire proceeding is that Darren Lund, the complainer, linked the letter with a supposed assault case two weeks later. "That kind of speculation would not ever have been allowed to be raised in a normal court of law," said Rushfeldt.
"The fact that he was even allowed to raise it is absolutely ludicrous," he continued. "I am surprised and shocked that the presiding lawyer would have allowed that type of information into the case. There is no proof that a letter to the editor was linked to that supposed assault."
"From what I've seen, speculation, false information, misinformation — these are the types of things going on in the case," says Rushfeldt.
At present, the Human Rights (HR) Committee judge has not yet released the official decision. According to the HR Act, however, the final decision must be published no less than 60 days after the hearing. As a result, there is no way of knowing whether Boissoin will be forced to pay a fine until possibly as late September.