Eugene Volokh over at the Volokh Conspiracy has uncovered a very informative statement from an official for the Canadian Human Rights Commission about the consideration given to freedom of speech in investigating complaints about "offensive" works:
MS KULASZKA: Mr. Steacy, you were talking before about context and how important it is when you do your investigation. What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?
MR. STEACY: Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value.
MS KULASZKA: Okay. That was a clear answer.
MR. STEACY: It's not my job to give value to an American concept.
Volokh also assesses some of the official's other remarks, to make sure that the above exchange wasn't taken out of context and isn't unrepresentative of his true views. It appears that it wasn't, and isn't.
(By the way, the Canadian Human Rights Commission is one of the bodies that is prosecuting writer Mark Steyn for remarks that some radical Muslims found offensive.)
Of course, we in the U.S. have had some problems with speech police (including at my beloved West Virginia University, which until quite recently had one of the most restrictive speech codes in the nation ). But while we face continuing battles with officials who ignore the Constitution, it's worth remembering that the situation is considerably worse in some places pretty close to us, geographically and politically.
(PS: Give yourself a pat on the back if you caught the South Park reference.)
Correction: Fixed a grammatical error.