Top court to rule in landmark hate-speech case

Bill Whatcott.

Bill Whatcott.

Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Canada's top court will rule Wednesday on a controversial case that could shake up human-rights commissions and hate-speech laws cross Canada.

The case, centred around born-again Christian and anti-gay pamphleteer and protester Bill Whatcott, pits freedom of speech advocates against hate-speech watchdogs.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission vs. Whatcott case some 16 months ago, in Oct. 2011.

The commission brought the case to Canada's highest court after losing to Whatcott when he appealed a fine it imposed on him for pamphlets he distributed in Regina and Saskatoon in 2001 and 2002.

Four people filed complaints against him at the human-rights commission, arguing the flyers promoted hatred against homosexuals.

In 2005, the commission fined Whatcott $17,500.

Whatcott, who wilfully admits his flyers and protest signs are geared to shock, claims religious freedom for his activities.


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