B.C.'s new human rights commissioner says she's deeply disturbed by "call to hatred" in Vancouver Sun

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      An influential voice against discrimination has expressed her concerns about a controversial commentary in today's Vancouver Sun.

      B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender described Calgary writer Mark Hecht's piece as a "call to hatred".

      "Fear—of change, the unknown, difference—is hate's greatest fuel," Govender tweeted. "Keen to get to work on these issues with @humanrights4bc!".

      Hecht's column called for, at a minimum, saying "goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion if we wish to be a society that can rebuild the trust we used to have in one another".

      He also argued for a new norm for immigration policy based on "compatibility, cohesion and social trust".

      Govender was sworn into her position on September 3 after serving for many years as executive director of West Coast LEAF.

      The NDP parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, Ravi Kahlon, has tweeted that he was angry and sickened by the column.

      Under section 7 of the B.C. Human Rights Code, a person must not publish any statement that "indicates discrimination or an intent to discriminate against a person or group or class of persons".

      This section also prohibits publication of a statement that "is likely to expose a person or a group or class of persons to hatred or contempt based on the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or express, or age of that person or that group or class of persons".

      No tribunal or court has ruled that the Vancouver Sun violated this section by publishing the column, or whether the publication is constitutionally protected under the charter's guarantee of freedom of the media.

      The B.C. Human Rights Code Amendment Act, which received royal assent last year, created the position of a human rights commissioner.

      This legislation gives Govender legal authority to intervene in any complaint filed to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

      Postmedia owns the Vancouver Sun.

      Postmedia executive editor Kevin Libin and Vancouver Sun editor-in-chief Harold Munro both denied reading Hecht's article before it was published.

      Both editors are engaging in damage control over Twitter.

      Libin also claimed on his Twitter feed that Postmedia papers have "never been anti-immigrant".

      This is notwithstanding searing and repeated criticism on this front by Chinese Canadian researcher Victor Wong on his Twitter feed.