TORONTO, August 4, 2015 /CNW/ - PEN Canada is watching with concern as the Law Society of Alberta considers a complaint against writer and former television host Ezra Levant, regarding his criticisms of the Alberta Human Rights Commission (Alberta HRC) in a March 1, 2014 Toronto Sun op-ed.
PEN Canada believes that Mr. Levant's comments do not deserve sanction. Without taking a position on Mr. Levant's criticisms of the Alberta HRC, PEN upholds his right to fair comment on a matter of public interest. Sanctions would establish a regrettable precedent and impose expressive chill on other members of the bar who could face similar disciplinary measures even when not acting in a legal capacity.
"Canadians must have the right to make informed comment on matters of public interest without being afraid that they will be threatened with professional sanctions for their personal opinions," said Elise Moser, chair of PEN Canada's Canadian Issues Committee. "We wouldn't censure an engineer who criticized public works projects, or a doctor who found fault with the healthcare system. Why should a lawyer criticizing a human rights commission be held to a different standard?"
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada. PEN Canada is the Canadian centre of PEN International, a community of writers that operates in over 100 countries.
SOURCE PEN Canada
For further information: Amy Smith, PEN Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-703-8448 ext. 21