I didn't say that was the case right now. I am saying it could very well be the case.
You take an innocuous restriction most people believe works in the interest of others and concede some measure of your rights to stop the unpleasant nature of having to tolerate views or positions you don't like.
But because we are a nation under law, this type of infringement can, and likely will be abused by those who don't like any unpleasantness in their life. We've already seen Islamic groups attempt to silence major media outlets, how long until they begin to go after bloggers, ISPs, social media and so on?
How long till other groups refuse to tolerate the views of other groups? How long til the UN blasphemy regulations become applied to some group here through the system of kangaroo courts?
The only defence is to draw a line and allow that all speech has to be allowed out of necessity. Individuals and groups of people will always be in conflict with one another, their narratives in deep contrast and conflict. One group will ALWAYS offend another. Just because the values of Canada are still largely homogeneous doesn't mean the status quo won't be challenged, won't be changed and won't be abused.
As AxeGrrl noted, the Canadian Human Rights Commission AND the BC Human Rights Tribunal both dismissed the claim against Maclean's. That is exactly how the system is meant to work - there is a forum for people to make complaints, but they are adjudicated on the merits. The dismissals demonstrate to me that the system works, not that it doesn't. As to the issue of bloggers and social media, Chief Justice McLachlin
has recently mused that she is open to the idea of protection for bloggers and people on other social media, in stark contrast to the US (although it is state-by-state).
Before you can shake my confidence in the system (I should disclaim that I am a law student and thus you may consider me completely biased in favour of the legal system if you so wish) you would have to show me a case where the final outcome (after all appeals were exhausted) was unconscionable. The Globe and Mail posted a list of the 30 most important Charter cases
of the last 30 years, and it includes several controversial rulings in favour of rights - the cases specifically relating to speech are Little Sisters v Canada
and R v Keegstra
. They represent one in favour of free speech and one against, and in both instances I think the court managed to effectively straddle the line to make the correct ruling.
Frankly, I think your stance is based more on fear than on evidence; I don't think the facts justify your fears at all. If I was in America, I would share your scepticism, but we're not, and I think our system works.