As a Canadian always fascinated by the freedom granted American citizens by the Constitution it is worth noting when such freedoms are exercised for the common good. And yes I’m biased in what I see as good. Case in point: In 2015 Montana Sen. Janna Taylor, R-Dayton introduced Senate Bill-199 a Bill that would quash any foreign law that opposed or contradicted rights guaranteed Montanans by the state or the U.S. constitutions.
“The Primacy of Montana Law” bill is modeled on similar “anti-Sharia” law that has passed in Kansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
The bill’s sponsor claimed the measure “would particularly protect the rights of women and children, who do not necessarily receive the same protections under other legal systems that they do in the United States.” Exceptions would be built into the law to allow for business contracts and “tribal court proceedings”.
America is the exception in our world and its liberty’s hard won. The threat of foreign legal systems has already been felt in various states. So it should not come as a surprise that many Americans want to protect their unique values against incursion by foreigners. This can be no more important than in a court of law.
Would it not make sense to protect the legal structure from erosion by individuals or groups with their own agenda?
Fast forward to 2017.
Senate Bill 97 is carried by Keith Regier, R-Kalispell and Rep. Brad Tschida, R-Missoula, is carrying the bill in the House. In March the legislation advanced in the House with a 56-44 vote primarily and not surprisingly along party lines.
Although the Bill does not mention Sharia opponents and supporters have labelled it as an anti-Sharia Law.
As the numbers of Muslims increase in America, and the more frequent mentions of Sharia in our media (despite MSM largely looking away) Montanans should be pleased the elected representatives are working to address what is clearly a threat to a nation of laws.
Not everyone is pleased and right on queue Democrats lined up to on the side of Sharia proponents. While debating the bill Rep. Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula) said, “I think it sends a dangerous message to minority groups both here living in our state and wanting to come visit our state, just merely on the fact that you may be different.” Morigeau added, “I truly believe this law is repugnant. I believe this is not who we are as Montanans.”
With the comments from Democrats as fodder don’t be surprised to see Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) launch another of its lawfare or media wars against the state.
There was pushback as reported in the Missoulian who quoted Tschida, “As far as being determined xenophobic, that’s an insult,” said. “I’m not intolerant. This is not anti-Muslim.”
Insults and accusations will continue to come from the political opposition eager to cast the bill’s supporters as anti-Muslim bigots and haters. Words will flow from both sides because of the Constitutional guarantee of free-speech under the First Amendment. Fascinating!
I say this because in Canada, in Parliament just weeks ago a motion was passed to recommend “in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination…”Known as Motion M103 it is not a law, but compels a “whole-of-government approach” to studying Islamophobia a term that is not defined in the motion or indeed in Canada.
The “whole-of-government approach” has now engaged virtually every government department, agency and murky collection of bureaucrats in discovering instances of “increasing public climate of hate and fear” but only as it relates to Muslims. This occurs even as a majority of Canadians disagree with the government on this issue. Recommendations in the form of a report from Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage are due sometime around November 2017. Would Americans be pleased with any politician seeking to limit their right to express themselves? Canadians do not enjoy such broad rights.
“If everyone just agreed and we’d moved on, maybe we wouldn’t be addressing the very scary and real spike in hate speech,” [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau said, adding maybe politicians wouldn’t be challenging each other.
What Canada’s federally elected representatives have done is submitted to those that seek to prevent free-speech. They have offered no proof of this “spike in hate speech” from their self-declared superior position that it is their right to control what people say. Indeed, there has been a legal-chill on free-speech for many years. Federal and Provincial Governments use Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals to persecute those that speak too loudly or have too large an audience. Two notables are Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn as both have been prosecuted for hate speech. Of the many important points surrounding these cases (beyond the absurdity of any sanction of speech) is, first, a complainant does not bare any expense to cause an action. Second, truth is not a defense in these tribunals; they are not courts of law.
The people of Montana should be thankful for the work elected officials have done to protect them and the civil and legal systems of the state. They should know that just a few miles north without a vote Canadians, with the full support of the Federal Government, may soon discover their remaining chilled free-speech opportunities put on ice.