So Much Bigger Than Ezra

by Luiza Ch. Savage

It’s been an odd experience working on my story that appears in this week’s print edition of Maclean’s. Some of the Canadians I have talked to about his incredibly important subject — freedom of expression — seem to lose their love of freedom and their s**t their cool when confronted by two words: Ezra. Levant. I spoke to one intellectual luminary whose ability to make a rational argument not to mention his sense of decorum suddenly deserted him and the best he could muster at the mention of Levant was to compare him to a walking piece of male anatomy. Fine. I get it. A lot of people don’t like Levant and a lot of people disagree with him and a lot of people are offended that he published the Muhammed cartoons in his magazine. How can I put this simply? With apologies to the band: This.is.Bigger.Than.Ezra.

So much bigger.

When you read the story — and it’s long and complicated — please note the comments of Louise Arbour, as well as those of the UN rapporteur on free speech. This is not a right wing or left wing issue.

In a nutshell:

“…Pakistan and the other nations that have banded together in the Organization of the Islamic Conference have been leading a remarkably successful campaign through the United Nations to enshrine in international law prohibitions against “defamation of religions,” particularly Islam. Their aim is to empower governments around the world to punish anyone who commits the “heinous act” of defaming Islam. Critics say it is an attempt to globalize laws against blasphemy that exist in some Muslim countries — and that the movement has already succeeded in suppressing open discussion in international forums of issues such as female genital mutilation, honour killings and gay rights. …”

Maclean’s: Stifling Free Speech Globally




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So Much Bigger Than Ezra

  1. In the Canadian context this is a tempest in a teapot. Haven’t read your piece, but I hope you haven’t fallen for Ezra’s Jesus act. Hope also that you haven’t done anything silly like link the International War on Terror to what was a kind of school project for a couple of UofT law students, even if they had the temerity to annoy the Macleans editorial staff.

    Remember also that it really isn’t just about Ezra. Nobody likes journalists in general and they are the worst people you could choose to defend free speech.

  2. Luiza I read your article last night and I thought it was excellent because it was on a topic that many are ignoring or pretending is not happening. I wish our politicians were holding similar hearings.

    I agree it is not right/left issue but I have yet to come across anyone significant on the right who is against free speech. And what’s with all the Arbour love?

    It is also nice to know that ezra is irritating all the right people, by the sounds of it.

  3. To bicitylib: I look forward to reading your comment after you read the story.

  4. You have the right to free speech … as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it.

    (This is a public service announcement … WITH GUITARS.)

  5. This issue is not even in the top 10 list of things Canadians are Angry About.

    Canadians want the government to do more more more about Global Warming, about the High Price of Gas, um, and about iPhones.

    In this context, it’s not surprising that governments are actively legislating against Hurt Feelings and Blasphemy.

    The country is run by Useful Idiots like BigCityLib because it’s a Democracy that ensures Somebody Else will always pay for the public’s fanciful ideas about making the World a Better Place.

  6. Some of the Canadians I have talked to about his incredibly important subject — freedom of expression — seem to lose their love of freedom and their s**t when confronted by two words: Ezra. Levant.

    You seem to be implying that there is no rational reason for thinking this. Is this the depth of insight and scholarly rigour I will also find in the article I’m debating reading at this moment? I’d like to know before I invest the time to examine another exposition of cultural practices, standards and legal traditions that don’t conform to the ideal of one small section of a particular nation’s constitution that has been largely tossed aside in the last eight years.

  7. This is an excellent article and we need many more like it.

    Ezra Levant is one of the few, currently, with the intestinal fortitude and intellectual equipment to take on this issue. It’s a black mark on Canada’s HRC’s that he was forced to defend himself in “tolerant” Canada.

    The UN is a farce and I would like to see Canada denounce and pull out of it. The nations that actually value life and freedom can form their own organization. When will we stop supporting our own destroyers?

    Before I noticed the name, I thought the comment by Bigcitylib was written by that other guy/gal – Smallmindedbigot.

  8. I’m just saying I’m surprised at how the discussion becomes all about Ezra — and how much people hate him — and not about the issue. The person in question was someone I have long admired and I was really amazed that we were not able to discuss the issue without him constantly coming back to how much he hates Ezra. He kept telling me I was getting “seduced” by Ezra! Please. I worked at the National Post for a spell covering the Supreme Court of Canada. Most of my interactions with Ezra had to do with arguing with him about his editorials regarding the Court. Fine. We disagreed. But the issues this story raises are bigger than Ezra and his predicament.

  9. I notice, Luiza, that you neglect to mention that the case against Macleans was subsequently dismissed, both in Ontario and at the HRC. The only case still pending is the BC HRT. I understand that doesn’t fit into the nice fear-mongering narrative you seem to be trying to develop of the OIC sneaking into various countries and changing our laws in spite of the wishes of the people, but at least a passing mention would have been a nod to accuracy.

    Ezra irritates people because he is the most egregious example of someone who actually does abuse freedom of speech. He’s an attention whore who is perfectly comfortable with lies, half-truths, mis-statements, and the most horrendous spinmeister out there. And while he’s generally bright enough to avoid statements that would lead to real legal liability, he is to real journalism what Saudi Arabia is to freedom of speech.

    He irritates people because having him be the poster-boy for free speech is akin to having Saddam Hussein be the poster-boy for ending capital punishment. Yeah, it’s a bigger issue than him alone, but christ..

    Sadly, this case is the best thing that could have happened to him, and anybody who knows him at all knows he published the cartoons not in defense of free speech so much, but just because he knew it’d piss people off. Hell, he had his begging for a legal defense fund links up practically as the case was being filed, and the whole thing has simply prolonged his life on the media stage.

    I don’t know how I could possibly condemn this man more than he deserves, I mean, Rob Anders was one of his close friends when they were going to the U of C, after all.

  10. Interesting article, but a little alarmist. Other than making a few UN committees less effective than before (and lord knows, Islamic states are hardly the first bloc to do that) what are the real-world implications these resolutions that have been passed over the years? I’m sure it pleases the hardliners back home for the Muslim governments involved, but I don’t see any evidence it has any impact on Western jurisprudence.

    @ DonnaB: The UN’s flawed, but I’ve always been confused by calls to pull out and form a new club – what’s the point of only engaging with those that already agree with you?

  11. “I hope you haven’t fallen for Ezra’s Jesus act.”

    Bad move BCL. Expect a human rights complaint for the crime of blasphemy- …er, I mean “hate speech”. By writing about Jesus in a mocking tone, you have exposed all Christians to hatred.

    “Hope also that you haven’t done anything silly like link the International War on Terror to what was a kind of school project for a couple of UofT law students…”

    I see your point. All that’s happening is the state prosecuting journalists for writing critically about Islam. As since when has Islam had anything to do with the war on terror?

    “…they had the temerity to annoy the Macleans editorial staff.”

    Interesting how you would define tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees as an “annoyance”. I suppose you would be similarly openminded if you were taken to court everytime some thinskinned loser took offense to your blog?

    “Nobody likes journalists in general and they are the worst people you could choose to defend free speech.”

    Speak for yourself.

  12. But the issues this story raises are bigger than Ezra and his predicament.

    I agree (I read it), although grandstanding and blatant propaganda should be an issue that paid “journalists” should be expected to examine critically from time to time, and not simply left to the rest of us (who do pay for these media products, even unwillingly in the form of subsidies from the Publications Assistance Program, to which both Macleans and The Western Standard avail(ed) themselves).

    It seems a rather odd bargain to attempt to strike with media consumers that they should be left with an additional pedagogical burden after an activity they expected would leave them better educated and/or informed and which they have (and there should be no doubt about that) paid for.

  13. “I notice, Luiza, that you neglect to mention that the case against Macleans was subsequently dismissed, both in Ontario and at the HRC. The only case still pending is the BC HRT. ”

    T. Thwim, the process is the punishment. Before these cases were dismissed Macleans had to spend hundreds of thousands? millions? of dollars on legal fees. The bringer of the complaint, Mohammed El Masry (a walking talking human rights violation in his own right) pays nothing; his case is prosecuted by the Tribunal on the taxpayer’s dime.

    And while the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal did dismiss the case under the pretense of jurisdiction (I think more likely because the backlash involved in prosecuting and convicting Macleans would threaten their existense), Barbara Hall issued a press release basically convicting Macleans anyways without the bother of bringing them before a hearing.

  14. I’ve yet to see a proper accounting to support these widespread assertions about how much these case are costing. Maybe one of the “journalists” around here can get on that?

  15. Sorry john. They didn’t have to spend a cent. That’s why the HRTs exist, so that people don’t have to bring lawyers. That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap, so that laymen like you and me can get up in front of the tribunal or commission and make our case in the best way we know how.

    That Macleans chose to hire lawyers to go in and defend them is entirely their choice.

    As for Barbara Hall, are you saying that after the legalities are complete, Ms. Hall shouldn’t have the freedom of speech to address her opinion on the matter for those who care? Interesting double standard.

  16. “what was a kind of school project for a couple of UofT law students”

    Why does the Canadian tax payer have to pay for somebody’s school project?

  17. Luiza,

    Having read the article, I think that you seem to have fallen for the “Ezra martyrs himself in the fight against the Muslim hordes” line. Further, the other stuff you describe–what is happening before a couple of UN committee, seems almost as trivial as the Levant/Steyn situation.

    Let me comment about the Halifax cartoon thing (which you touch on briefly). Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal is a nut, but that cartoon, about three days after the terrorism charges against her husband were tossed, implied pretty clearly that her husband was a terrorist. That’s obvious libel. Why would a newspaper publish something like that? Well, presumably a calculation was made: these two losers could never pursue a libel case against the CH. But wait! They turned to the HRCs as an alterantive venue because it is so much cheaper to pursue a case that way. Horror of horrors! It must be a soft jihad.

    In short, I see alot of this stuff as journalists protecting their right to practice lousy journalism.

    And, JohnG, Macleans made the decision to hire a whole legal team to fight what is the rough equivalent of a labor board ruling. They could have done it for much less. I have been threatened with one of these and, if it ever came to pass, I would simply defend myself.)

  18. T. Thwim, the problem is that the legalities weren’t complete. AFAIK, the legal statement where Ms. Hall dismissed the case is the same as the one where she expressed her opinion. Ie. she was making the statement in her official capacity as commissioner. Considering that no hearing was held and no evidence was presented, this could easily be construed as bias on her part, which is at best unbecoming for any judicial body.

  19. BCL and his pilot fish Tigger have been unable to see past their knee-jerk dislike of Ezra to comprehend the larger threat to free speech represented by the complaint.

    They pay so little attention to the details that they still cannot grasp that the sock-puppets were not the actual the complainants against Macleans, or that they hailed from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University and not the U of T.

    But then BCL doesn’t even need to read the article before he judges it, why let some facts ruin a good opinion?

  20. “And, JohnG, Macleans made the decision to hire a whole legal team to fight what is the rough equivalent of a labor board ruling. ”

    bigcitylib, you are wrong as wrong can be. Macleans is subject to being forced to give up editorial control over their magazine (including the cover photo), which is pretty much the core of their business; this is far more serious than a simple “labour board” dispute.

    Furthermore, the tribunal decisions I believe can be appealed to a real court. Good luck with getting lawyers for that if they are not there with you at the tribunal stage.

  21. “As for Barbara Hall, are you saying that after the legalities are complete, Ms. Hall shouldn’t have the freedom of speech to address her opinion on the matter for those who care? Interesting double standard.”

    I really dislike when people mix up this very important concept. Free speech != freedom from criticism over your speech. Free speech = Freedom from state/legal sanction over your speech. Barbara Hall is not going to be hauled in front of a judge or tribunal over expressing her opinion. That doesn’t mean I or others can’t rip it to shreds if we so choose. That’s MY freedom of speech.

  22. BCL and his pilot fish Tigger have been unable to see past their knee-jerk dislike of Ezra to comprehend the larger threat to free speech represented by the complaint.

    Why don’t you deal with what I actually wrote here rather than engage in childish name-calling?

    Think you can do that?

  23. Free speech = Freedom from state/legal sanction over your speech.

    This is an American tradition and it is a distinction without any substantive difference. How can the State (which is subject to democratic oversight) necessarily be considered more corrosive to freedom of expression than large media conglomerates (which are not subject to democratic oversight) direct public discourse, most often through the public airwaves licensed to them by the State?

    It simply doesn’t matter anymore whether it’s the State or the Corporation that poses a danger to freedom of expression. Both can, and quite obviously, in the cases of payola and government-paid shills presenting themselves in the American media as disinterested experts, we see that both are.

  24. JohnG, that is what the complainants demanded. I don’t think it has very much to do with any penalty the HRC might have imposed.

    Bayonet, you got me. They were from York. As for who brought the complaint, well the confusion went both ways, didn’t it? Steyn often made it sound as though the complaint was against him personally, the better to flog his book.

  25. 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

    Ti-Guy, the preceding can be found in the “Fundamental Freedoms” section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Which last I heard, was drafted by this Canadian fellow named Trudeau.

  26. John G. you and the rest of you “rights absolutists” skip over article 1 of the Charter of Rights: 1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

    See the term “reasonable limits”. It is there to prevent “absolute” freedoms, which is a foreign libertarian construct. If you want to argue the definition of “reasonable limits”, fine. Have fun arguing that “no limit” is “reasonable”. Knock yourself out.

  27. “JohnG, that is what the complainants demanded. I don’t think it has very much to do with any penalty the HRC might have imposed.”

    We’ll find out eventually, as the BCHRT has yet to rule.

    But since that is what the complainants demanded, in a setting where the conviction rate for those brought before the tribunal approaches 100%…well, I don’t see how Macleans had any choice but to take every legal means available to defend their core business.

  28. Anyone who doesn’t think that this is not about Islam should ask themselves that if the recent stunt involving a plane and a streamer had announced “Mohammed sucks” instead of “Jesus sucks”, would we be notlooking at another HRC complaint or some similar bit of nonsense?

  29. Actually,Bill, Christian activists have taken cases to the HRCs in several jurisdictions. Notably Craig Chandler in Alberta, who has argued that he was not allowed to run as an Alberta Tory because they’re biased against Christians.

  30. Of course other religious bodies and people see this as a way to silence their opponents.

    However, the point of this whole thread is that there is an international Islam based movement trying to use this globally to silence their opponents.

    Ezra correctly connected the dots between what was being done to him on a local basis with this global movement.

  31. Just another instance of MacLeans talking to
    MacLeans. Let’s all shill for Mr. Whyte by
    treating Ezra La Vent and Mark Stain as
    though they matter. No thanks.
    A waste of a good journalist’s (Ms. Savage)
    time.

  32. An excellent article on an important and timely topic, Mr. Savage. It’s a shame that some of the pro-cencorship comments I’ve read here fail to see that the restoration of free speech in this country is in the interests of all Canadians regardless of their feelings towards (the brilliant and courageous) Ezra Levant.

  33. I’d like to speak as someone who actually knows Ezra, although not all that well — I took the bar admission course with him some years ago.

    I never liked his politics, but as a person Ezra was pretty entertaining. Funny, lighthearted at times, and a hell of a piano player. We once wrapped up a half-day mock mediation in ten minutes so we could go for coffee — good times.

    I think the problem people have is separating partisan politics from the people involved. As I said, I’ve never agreed with him on much, if anything; but I thought the problem with politics today was that people become so embittered with people who disagree with them that they villify them.

    So, much as I dislike his politics, I like Ezra. Same goes for any other politician whose beliefs differ from my own. (I learned this lesson, BTW, from attending a Joe Clark speech on free trade in 1988: Went in hating him, left admiring him.)

    So looking at the bigger issue Ezra raises (free speech), it seems ridiculous to dismiss it simply because of the person involved. Having a debate about what limits on speech are justifiable (s. 2 vs. s. 1), or what the role of HRCs should be, is perfectly reasonable, whether we agree on these issues or not. (And I, like Ezra, lean towards a more open approach … just because I don’t always like what Ezra says or how he says it doesn’t mean I won’t defend his right to say it.)

    I’ve got to believe that some of these people who absolutely despise Ezra also loved George Carlin. Given that they are essentially flip sides of the same coin, I find that irony somewhat delicious.

  34. However, the point of this whole thread is that there is an international Islam based movement trying to use this globally to silence their opponents.

    Such tyranny! We all know the proper, responsible, democratic way to silence one’s opponents is to launch pre-emptive invasions based on lies, render their citizens to foreign jurisdictions, torture them and absolve those who direct these actions of any culpability.

  35. Ezra’s major sin, and the reason why so many people hate him, is that he holds conservative views. Had a liberal been censored by the state, the same pro-censorship posters here would be up in arms.

    Ezra’s other major sin, is that he is a pro-Israel jew, who dared to publish cartoons – thereby not acquiescing to the violent demands of a european muslim mob.

    Liberals have such flimsy support for their positions that they would prefer to silence their opponents rather than argue with them.

  36. We once wrapped up a half-day mock mediation in ten minutes so we could go for coffee — good times.

    Ezra doesn’t seem to be a mediation type of individual. Looks like it was ingrained much earlier.

  37. I don’t care what levant’s politics are or if he is a jovial fellow. If you consistently deride minorities in your writings, it isn’t inconceivable you might at some point go before a human rights tribunal. And if you actually are found to violate the Code, you will have to pay a small fine.

  38. Ti-Guy
    Please try to connect your comments to the issue at hand.

  39. Well, Bill, I was going to ask you to provide more credible evidence for your global Islamic conspiracy, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that free speech for some people just means asserting things, no matter how ridiculous, counter-factual or exaggerated, without supporting them.

    So I opted instead to focus on a substantive issue.

  40. I think this is going well.

  41. Until the BC tribunal reads it.

  42. One ought to be able to hold two different thoughts in one’s mind at once:

    a) the HRC’s are grossly exceeding their mandate, and

    b) Ezra Levant is a card-carrying right-wing clown.

    Really, neither contradicts the other, except that Levant has managed to obscure the latter by publicising the former. So because people can apparently only think one thought at a time, if one criticises Levant (his unfettered egotism, his ceaseless Muslim-baiting, etc. etc. etc.) the first response is, “You’re not in favour of HRC fascism, are you?”

    One has only to read his blog’s comment threads to see what sort of yeomen have joined the Levant crusade.

    As to Steyn, *of course* the prosecution of Maclean’s is unfair, alarming, etc. etc. But this talk of “legal bills” is just posturing. It’s not a real court, so there’s no need to hire a real lawyer (much less two). Moreover, even if one supports the right to publish things like the Steyn excerpt, the piece was a disgrace and Maclean’s deserves no credit – rather the reverse – for shamelessly trying to raise its profile (via sales and outrage) by such offensive fourth-grade BS. All of this reflects extremely poorly on the magazine.

  43. Ti-Guy – the evidence for the conspiracy that you crave is in the original post:

    “Pakistan and the other nations that have banded together in the Organization of the Islamic Conference have been leading a remarkably successful campaign through the United Nations to enshrine in international law prohibitions against “defamation of religions,” particularly Islam. Their aim is to empower governments around the world to punish anyone who commits the “heinous act” of defaming Islam.”

    Mr Wells – if I was not more familiar with your style, I would suspect you of sarcasm.

  44. Oh, gee, a United Nations resolution, I’m so scared!! Hopefully they won’t ban beer, we’d have to pour out our 24′s at once!!

  45. No-one took the HRC’s seriously either, until they dragged a national magazine into their chambers to answer for the contents of an article.

    Much of what they try to do appears laughable and most of it will not succeed, but along the way they will cause us a lot of trouble.

  46. Hey, the “conspiracy” must exist. Margaret Wente of the G&M made similar comments, coincidently, today:

    In fact, if the Muslim nations were to have their way, any criticism of Islam would be forbidden. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of 57 Muslim nations, has declared that Islamophobia is a menace and that any such defamation of religion should be criminalized and prosecuted vigorously. The OIC, which has growing clout at the United Nations, wants the UN to enact international “anti-defamation” rules that would forbid blasphemy. Islamic members of the UN’s Human Rights Council have succeeded in changing the mandate of the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of expression. In addition to investigating cases of censorship and violations of free speech, this person will now “report on instances where the abuse of the right of freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination.”

    Now I am not claiming she doesn’t do her own research, but I wonder if, like 2nd poster jwl she “read your article last night” between latte sips in the her SUV on the way to the ‘burbs.

    Oh yeah, I forgot, as her other columns revealed, the SUV died and she may now be cacooned in a downtown condo.

  47. Bill, I STILL don’t take the HRC’s seriously – it’s pure comedy. Lighten up.

    Look, it’s blatantly obvious that the HRC’s are behaving unconstitutionally. Their rulings just need to be appealed. When that happens, they’re history. I’m kind of ticked off at Maclean’s that they spent all that money on the BC “trial” and made a big deal out of it; now the BC HRC is going to back down and Maclean’s won’t be able to appeal. Thanks a lot, Mr. Whyte.

    In what scenario, exactly, does a UN taskforce report affect Canadian law? The worst effect it can have is to feed paranoia and anti-Muslim bigotry here – oh, and here’s today’s Globe & Mail.

  48. And btw, before anyone corrects my spelling mistake, cacooned means being held ransom by a cacophony of raccoons

  49. enshrine in international law prohibitions against “defamation of religions,” particularly Islam.

    Since when are we supposed to care about international law?

  50. Mr. Wells, to say that this is going well is to understate things. Although I suppose in a debate on free speech, one can’t complain about a lack of decorum or moderation.

  51. “I’ve resigned myself to the fact that free speech for some people just means asserting things, no matter how ridiculous, counter-factual or exaggerated, without supporting them.”

    By Jove, I think Ti’s got it!

    But I hear the UN committee’s fave is: “Why Can’t a Woman be More Like Imam?”

  52. See, Joan Tintor (if I may so flame you), your post is the problem in a nutshell. Free speech is not being defended by Levant & Co. on principle, it’s being defended precisely so as to allow them to say “ridiculous, counter-factual, exaggerated” things – especially about our Muslim comrades. What is the first thing that pops into your head to “celebrate” your free speech? A cheap-ass anti-Muslim witticism. Can’t you see that defending free speech in those terms is disgusting? That it will make the majority of Canadians think the HRC’s are doing a good job? Have you no shame about prostituting important civic principles for the sake of xenophobia?

  53. The problem with the article is that it propagates Levant’s view that there is some sort of global conspiracy. The limits of HRCs and the “soft jihad” of Levant’s fevered imagination are two separate problems. By conflating HRCs with what’s going on at the UN, Savage invites the reader to infer that a cabal of Islamic states are somehow behind the HRC complaints, without actually providing any evidence of same. It’s base fear mongering.

    As it is, all we have is a bunch of second rate countries proposing meaningless resolutions to please a domestic audience in the UN, and a series of (so far) go-nowhere HRC complaints in Canada. When the REAL courts start making ruling based on these principals, or the UN passes a resolution that actually means something, I’ll worry.

  54. Jack Mitchell

    What I think you are missing is that by defending freedom of speech for ANYBODY (ie: even people you percieve to be wrongheaded, irrational, intellectually dishonest, or xenophobic) our society is actually for EVERYBODY. It’s the hallmark of a free society.

    Also, Joan’s witticism was completely hilarious. Lighten up.

  55. I have no problem protecting the speech of those I deem wrong, irrational or intellectual dishonest. I have a big problem with protecting the speech of those who are objectively promoting hatred.

  56. By Jove, I think Ti’s got it!

    Let me give you a more fulsome response, Ms. Tintor:

    “I’ve resigned myself to the fact that free speech for some people just means asserting things, no matter how ridiculous, counter-factual or exaggerated, without supporting them…and be immune from any legal challenges except those that can be mounted by the very rich.”

    If you think vulnerable, powerless people in this society are expected to remain quiet and simply submit to vilification and defamation in the name of “freedom,” (especially when, as I noted above, public resources are being expended in the effort), then you don’t actually inhabit the reality that most people occupy.

  57. It is amazing that nobody has commented on how Ms. Savage’s hypothesis was proven by the very first comment (and the sixth by Ti-Guy). Neither had read the article before commenting on it.

  58. Neither had read the article before commenting on it.

    I didn’t read the article before commenting, you mean. Reading comprehension, dear boy. And the comment was on-topic, since the topic is Ezra Levant.

    I did read the article later.

  59. “I have no problem protecting the speech of those I deem wrong, irrational or intellectual dishonest. I have a big problem with protecting the speech of those who are objectively promoting hatred.”

    So do I. (I just strongly disagree that anything Levant or Steyn have written qualifies.) But since there is almost always disagreement about what “promoting hatred” entails, I certainly don’t want the state making such a decisions fr us. We already have laws against promoting violence against minorities, writing libelous slander, etc. It’s up to society to codemn and shun those we see as hatemongers.

  60. Ben Hicks -

    “What I think you are missing is that by defending freedom of speech for ANYBODY (ie: even people you percieve to be wrongheaded, irrational, intellectually dishonest, or xenophobic) our society is actually for EVERYBODY. It’s the hallmark of a free society.”

    Actually, I did pass Grade 9, so I get your point. What you, and all the Hicks, are missing is that people like myself are not going to call “time out” while we fix the HRC problem, leaving xenophobes free to kick fieldgoals behind our backs. I do not, as it happens, hold free speech to be more sacred than human decency. I’m not going to take the either/or option that Levant is peddling.

    (Get it? “Hicks”? Hicks as “Hicks”? Quite witty, eh? I’m lightening up already.)

    As to “promoting hate,” which you think neither Steyn nor Levant does, clearly they don’t do it in a “Kill the [your choice here]!” type way. I don’t think they should be prosecuted, just persecuted – by public opinion. If you don’t find them anti-Muslim, I’d like to know who the anti-Muslims are. Every third post at Levant’s blog begins with “Today the Jew-hating Muslim terrorists denounced fruit cocktails, and yet…”

  61. I think Mr. Hicks encapsulates the debate from my perspective very nicely.

    I once heard what I assumed was an apochryphal story about a school newspaper in the U.S. who received an ad to promote a speech on campus by a controversial speaker (neo-nazi? white supremacist?) along with a cheque to pay for it. They returned the cheque, ran the ad and above it placed an article criticising the speaker. In other words, they allowed their readers to to decide if they would attend, even though they would encourage them not to.

    Similarly, if there truly is a marketplace of ideas, then I (and I suspect Mr. Hicks) think that market should be as open as possible. The limits placed on hate speech in criminal law should be sufficient. The standard should be different in a civil context; as Mr. Justice Binnie said, “We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones”.

    This last quote fits Ezra perfectly. My impression is that he has taken a page from the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the world (or perhaps it’s the other way around), such that his rhetorical philosophy is reduced to “the more outrageous the statement, the more ink/press it gets”. As I have said before, I don’t often agree with anything Ezra says, but I will defend his right to say it.

    The alternative to this approach, in my view, takes marginal speech and forces it underground, into a black market of sorts — the web, closed meetings, et cetera. If some people are genuinely worried that the purveyors of such speech are a danger to civil society, then this seems to be a wrongheaded solution to the problem.

  62. Mr. K, very few people are against Levant’s right to write and publish whatever he wishes, short of incitement to murder. The point is that he is using that issue to silence (rhetorically) critics of his view that Islam is inherently anti-freedom. Admittedly this is not a great moment in history for Islam and freedom of expression, but instead of denouncing censorship per se Levant denounces Islam. He does not come out and say, “I denounce Islam,” but you have only to glance at his comment threads to see which constituency he is playing to.

    As a true opponent of the HRC’s, I find it intolerable that freedom of expression should be carried like a plaster saint in a procession of bigots. That is much more offensive than any particular expression of xenophobia.

    In terms of absolute principle, though, wouldn’t you say that we are inclined to benevolent indulgence of all points of view precisely because we have had a relatively peaceful society for the last three hundred years? As things are, the extremists (neo-Nazis etc.) are incredibly marginal. But what if they were shouting genocidal propaganda on the main radio station, as was the case in Rwanda? Wouldn’t we want our anti-hate laws (Criminal Code division) applied in that case? I don’t mean that we realistically will ever be there, but in principle I do think there comes a point at which either we enforce anti-hate laws or we abandon law entirely and put down hate by main force.

  63. My impression is that he has taken a page from the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the world (or perhaps it’s the other way around), such that his rhetorical philosophy is reduced to “the more outrageous the statement, the more ink/press it gets”.

    And, given the industrial-media complex we are burdened with, the more money it makes. Have you considered how wealthy Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are? Is this what freedom of expression is supposed to do? Is this a “marketplace of ideas” where bad ideas are marginalised? Is this good for a healthy democracy?

    Consider the following: a very high proportion of FoxNews viewers believed there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Consider the consequences of that.

    Frankly, in light of this, I couldn’t care one bit that hatemongers, career defamers and various and sundry propagandists posing as “journalists” will be obliged, in Canada, to respond to civil rights complaints from time to time. The alternative is not pretty.

  64. Ti-Guy, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but Scott McClelland, ex-White House press secretary, recently mentioned that the White House would routinely send talking points to Fox News:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-OpIXfXKO8

    This is, I suppose, the opposite of government censorship.

    I wonder, though, if you are not blending two issues: censorship and media conglomeration. Cheney was able to pull off his Big Lie because four or five media titans decided it would be better business to play along, and thanks to their clout they bamboozled (in 2002-3) the whole country. A law against media monopolies might have averted this, but an HRC-style complaint system would not have done so.

  65. “The point is that he is using that issue to silence (rhetorically) critics of his view that Islam is inherently anti-freedom.”

    I assume by “silencing” his critics “rhetorically” you mean by stating his position. That is insane. Read anything he’s written and it’s clear that he’s the biggest supporter of (As Kevin K so eloquently put it) the market place of ideas.

    In short, Ezra supports your (or anyone’s) right to disagree with him. He might call his opponents idiots (and he’s usually right) but if people find that intimidating, that’s their problem. They need to grow a spine and learn to throw a few (rhetorical) punches themselves.

    “…but you have only to glance at his comment threads to see which constituency he is playing to.”

    Irrelivant. People are responsible for their own words and actions – no one elses.

  66. So, Ti-Guy, because the industrial-military complex, led by Dick Cheney, has overtaken the media with their money and bamboozled the american public into thinking that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, we should not support Ezra Levant being free from censorship?

    Hmmm. Any more left-wing shibboleths you want to throw in?

  67. Jack:

    I wonder, though, if you are not blending two issues: censorship and media conglomeration.

    Freedom of conscience, expression and the mass media are all part of a complex that determines how people understand the world and react to it, and it’s difficult to speak of each of these things in isolation.

    I’ve never bothered to think about what the USA can do about its problems and baffling inconsistencies, and I’ve never suggested the Americans adopt our approach to freedom of expression (and I wish they’d return the favour and stop lecturing Canadians about how deficient our laws are in this regard). Canada has a different approach, and I don’t see how becoming more like the US would be an improvement.

  68. So, Ti-Guy, because the industrial-military complex, led by Dick Cheney, has overtaken the media with their money and bamboozled the american public into thinking that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, we should not support Ezra Levant being free from censorship?

    Hmmm. Any more left-wing shibboleths you want to throw in?

    I’m not responding to this childish taunting.

  69. Ah, Ben:

    “I assume by “silencing” his critics “rhetorically” you mean by stating his position. That is insane. Read anything he’s written and it’s clear that he’s the biggest supporter of (As Kevin K so eloquently put it) the market place of ideas.”

    See, but once he has asserted his right to free speech, he is responsible (morally) for what he says. Whereas his supporters (those who call him “Ezra” like they just woke up next to him, for example) seem to think that anything is justifiable as long as it’s legally OK!

    “In short, Ezra supports your (or anyone’s) right to disagree with him. He might call his opponents idiots (and he’s usually right) but if people find that intimidating, that’s their problem. They need to grow a spine and learn to throw a few (rhetorical) punches themselves.”

    On the contrary, it seems that those who can only react to the exposure of Levant’s bigotry by saying, “But it’s his RIGHT to be bigoted!” are the ones who can’t take a punch, because they skirt the real issue of xenophobia. In their eyes, you can be as xenophobic as you like as long as you’re doing it legally. And most of the time this nihilist position is defended by self-professed Christians!

  70. “Consider the following: a very high proportion of FoxNews viewers believed there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Consider the consequences of that.”

    Yeah. Because clearly it’s only right wingers who could be taken in by such idiocy.

    http://www.scrippsnews.com/911poll

  71. Ti-Guy,

    “I’ve never suggested the Americans adopt our approach to freedom of expression (and I wish they’d return the favour and stop lecturing Canadians about how deficient our laws are in this regard). Canada has a different approach, and I don’t see how becoming more like the US would be an improvement.”

    Hear hear. But on the issue of media conglomeration we’re no better. I’m no expert, but aside from the problem of Canwest’s editorials singing in unison on some issues, their cut costs must make it very hard to compete or start up any competition. At least in the States the small newspapers are more free.

  72. Yeah. Because clearly it’s only right wingers who could be taken in by such idiocy.

    Who asserted that?

  73. Speaking of people throwing out their opinions without backing them up…

    “On the contrary, it seems that those who can only react to the exposure of Levant’s bigotry by saying, “But it’s his RIGHT to be bigoted!” are the ones who can’t take a punch, because they skirt the real issue of xenophobia. In their eyes, you can be as xenophobic as you like as long as you’re doing it legally. And most of the time this nihilist position is defended by self-professed Christians!”

    Nothing Levant has written qualifies as bigotry or xenophobia. If you think otherwise, you should back up your claim.

    I agree that people of conscious have a responsibility to codemn genuine racism on the grounds that it is morally (not legally) wrong. But that does not remove their equally important responsibility to codemn the state removing the inalienable rights of their fellow citizens – even if they are rascist scumbags (ie: Neo-Nazi’s, ect.)

  74. Yes, I often exercise my free speech (I wouldn’t call it celebrating) with cheap jokes. And who are human rights commissars, or a UN committee comprised of countries that tolerate the hacking off of women’s tingly bits, to restrain what I say or think, so long as it isn’t criminal or defamatory?

    But that’s not your point, you might say. Your point seems to be that the speech (and hence its purveyors) that Ezra is defending (or has been charged and litigated into defending) is unimportant, ugly, racist, unconvincing, not ready-for-prime-time, not eligible for a Canada Council grant, unworthy of a Masters’ dissertation, etc.

    Well, that’s what his accusers want: for you to find it easy to dismiss him and his defence of a right, because you assume that neither you nor anyone you regard as worthwhile will ever be caught on the wrong side of that right.

    But seriously, how exactly has Ezra tried to silence people?

    And those who haven’t read Savage’s article, please do. It’s good stuff. I mean, even Louise Arbour is on the right side of this one.

  75. “Who asserted that?”

    Pardon my sarcasm. Our friend Ti-Guy is fairly gunhoe about blaming the Coulters, Limbaughs and Fox News of the world for irrational beliefs among the American public. I think it’s worth noting that Michael Moore fanclub has more than it’s share of looney toons as well.

  76. “. . . those who call him “Ezra” like they just woke up next to him”

    Actually, we call him that because he’s like Madonna to us. Okay, Miley Cyrus maybe. Now Mark Steyn — HE’s Madonna!

    But you don’t have to call him Ezra like you just woke up next to him. Just waking up would be sufficient.

    Another cheap joke. Try and stop me.

  77. But seriously, how exactly has Ezra tried to silence people?

    Haven’t there been a few…uh…libel suits?

    I’m trying to be vague here, since I don’t want Ezra to sue me.

  78. Our friend Ti-Guy is fairly gunhoe about blaming the Coulters, Limbaughs and Fox News of the world for irrational beliefs among the American public.

    Yeah, like I pulled that out of thin air myself.

    I think it’s worth noting that Michael Moore fanclub has more than it’s share of looney toons as well.

    You’re making a point about something no one is talking about. This is just the tedious right/left split that governs American public discourse. Are you an American?

    Anyway, no one’s launched an immoral/illegal invasion based on anything Michael Moore has said and, as far as I know, he’s not a 9/11 conspiracy fanatic (although he, like most people should, wonders if all questions asked have been answered truthfully).

  79. I believe he is a defendant in all of them. That means the plaintiffs are suing him for what he said or wrote. So it’s the plaintiffs who you might say are trying to “silence” Ezra.

    I have just searched his blog for “Statement of Claim” and can only find posts discussing the suits in which he is a defendant.

    Personally I don’t like to call libel suits attempts at “silencing” (unless it is plain that they are frivolous) because libel is a reasonable restriction on free speech.

  80. Ben -

    “Nothing Levant has written qualifies as bigotry or xenophobia. If you think otherwise, you should back up your claim.”

    Every third post at his blog is about how the Muslim terrorist imam extremist madmen are coming to deprive him of his god-given right to blow hard. Everything is framed in terms of Islam. It could be that he is too stupid to realise this is taken as anti-Islam propaganda by friends and foes alike; that Levant is one of those clever children who can do three-digit times tables in their heads but can’t tie their shoes; I’ll give you that.

    Joan:

    “But you don’t have to call him Ezra like you just woke up next to him. Just waking up would be sufficient. Another cheap joke. Try and stop me.”

    Alas, you stoop to the macabre. But what are the odds that Levant’s fans will ever wake up? Besides, the man is quite self-sufficient.

  81. Personally I don’t like to call libel suits attempts at “silencing” (unless it is plain that they are frivolous)

    How would one know that before the case is tried?

    Making these distinctions between libel, human rights and criminal law aren’t all that important; each is intended to mediate or resolve a dispute within a particular context.

    I know that if we only have libel, then we will have the situation where exercising one’s freedom of expression will depend on one’s wealth. This is illiberal and anti-democratic.

  82. Jack:

    “Everything is framed in terms of Islam.”

    Gadzooks! It’s almost as if it’s a blog written by the only person in the western world to be prosecuted for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. You think he should break up his play-by-play breakdown of his showtrial with more posts about the weather or his pet cat?

    No religious ideology should ever be a taboo when it comes to legitament criticisms (as Levant’s are). Islam, which currently has serious issues with violent extremism and the like, is certainly no exception. Besides, Levant saves his harshest criticisms for non-muslim entities (the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ed Stelmach’s government, the CBC, every Human Rights Commision under the sun, etc.)

    I find it ammusing how you go on and on about Levant’s alleged “bigotry” but can’t muster a single quote to back up your claim. Not very convincing.

    Ti-Guy:

    “Making these distinctions between libel, human rights and criminal law aren’t all that important; each is intended to mediate or resolve a dispute within a particular context.”

    Except that libel and slander actions are conducted in civil courts, with rules of evidence, an impartial judge, etc. Truth and fair comment ARE a defense and if the claim is found to be groundless the complainant can be made to compensate the defendant for launching a nuisance suit. These stand in stark contrast to the mockery of justice that takes place in Canada’s HRCs.

  83. Except that libel and slander actions are conducted in civil courts, with rules of evidence, an impartial judge, etc. Truth and fair comment ARE a defense and if the claim is found to be groundless the complainant can be made to compensate the defendant for launching a nuisance suit. These stand in stark contrast to the mockery of justice that takes place in Canada’s HRCs.

    What drama.

  84. “http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/10/ezra-levant-shrieks-muslim-muslim.html”

    Sorry, you’ll have to do better than that. Mistaking a Russian head covering for a Muslim one might be a sign of carelessness, but hardly proof of bigotry or “race hatred.” Regardless, I’m not particularily convinced of the logic behind letting bus drivers wear head covering myself.

  85. Ben:

    “I find it ammusing how you go on and on about Levant’s alleged “bigotry” but can’t muster a single quote to back up your claim. Not very convincing.”

    I can’t bring myself to type in his URL; his very IP address stinks. As to “convincing” people like you, who lionise a traitor (yes, he went down to Washington to attack Canada), I think I’ll save my breath.

  86. “Nothing Levant has written qualifies as bigotry or xenophobia. If you think otherwise, you should back up your claim.”

    Try these links:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2008/03/how-will-ezra-blame-this-one-on-muslims.html#links

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/10/ezra-levant-shrieks-muslim-muslim.html#links

    It was after the column in question that Ezra nd the Sun Newspapers (Cal. Herald I think) parted ways. Ezra blamed it on the Sun going politically correct on him. However, I think we can all agree its cuz the column is nutz.

    (By the way, I did finally read the paper version of the article and it confirmed my suspicions. Thank god I didn’t pay for copy).

  87. 87 comments! Whoever gets to 100 wins a set of steak knives from Joe’s House of Increasingly Vitriolic Comment Threads.

  88. If it wasn’t bigotry, why mention the woman’s religion at all, Ben?

    It’s like saying “Timothy McVeigh, a devout Christian, set off a bomb in Oklahoma”, or “Jim Adkisson, Catholic, opened fire in a Unitarian Church, killing two.”

    Actually, the second is probably more appropriate, considering I have no idea about Mr. Adkisson’s religion, and neither did Levant about the religion of the bus-driver, except that she was wearing a head-scarf.

  89. There should be a second prize for “100th Repetition of the Same Argument.” Perhaps a year’s supply of nicorette.

  90. I see my previous comment has been held for moderation, perhaps because the blog owner doesn’t like me linking to my own blog, or perhaps because of liability worries. Here is a link to another blog

    http://hallsofmacadamia.blogspot.com/2007/10/talking-with-ezra.html

    that confirms that the Calgary SUN found Ezra’s Oct. 22 ’07 column “too hot to handle”.

    You can look at his wiki entry to see that the Sun ended association with Ezra at round the same time.

    Sorry, are we allowed to discuss facts on this news blog or not?

  91. bigcity: The site seems to automatically hold comments with more than one or two links in them, probably as an anti-spam mechanism.

  92. Ah, then my apologies to the blog owner.

  93. “How would one know [whether a libel suit is plainly frivolous] before the case is tried?”

    If one has a good understanding of libel/slander and the defences to same, which most lawyers and journalists would have. That’s how.

    Besides, I’m not talking about not going to trial; I’m talking about making an informed opinion about whether a libel suit is an attempt to silence someone or not.

  94. If Ezra Levant is inciting violence, or deliberately harming someone’s reputation with lies, or stealing anybody’s copyrighted work, throw the book at him. In a real court, with proper rules, an impartial judge/jury, protections for the accused to have a fair trial and a vigorous defence, all the stuff we would want for ourselves if brought before justice.
    If you happen to not like what he is saying, either (a) rebut with your own free speech, or (b) pout in dignified silence.
    If he is wrong when defending an opinion, refer back to choices (a) and (b) above.
    “Sniff, that bad man HURT MY FEELINGS!” prompting a submission to a government agency that forces that “bad man” to defend himself against the co-opted power of the state? Absolutely no place in a free and democratic society. I could loathe that Levant character for being a self-aggrandizing woe-is-me blowhard all I want (FTR, I don’t), but to use that low opinion of a fellow citizen to justify restrictions on freedom of speech for all, and to be adjudicated in non-courts, is pretty frightening.
    “He is a bad man because, well, just look at the commenters his blog attracts!” is not worthy of any further comment; it is so lacking in any useful intelligence as to rebut itself.

  95. Jack:

    True loyalty for one’s country does not mean supporting whatever your government does without question. Being a patriot sometimes means standing up to one’s government when they betray the principles of liberty and justice they are meant to protect. Levant deserves an Order of Canada for doing just that.

    T. Thwim:

    I can’t know what was going on in the man’s head, but it seems to me like an honest mistake. As someone who is not an expert in headcoverings, I think I would have assumed it was a muslim garmet just to look at it – simply because alot of Muslim women wear head coverings. In any case, the article was not written as a denounciation of the woman as a child killer – but instead arguing the broader issue that head coverings impair the ability of bus drivers to drive safely.

    Speaking to your point about labeling a bomber or a shooter as a Christian or a Catholic, it would not be a sign of bigotry as long as the reporter was opperating from the belief that this was, in fact, true. Whether or not it is relevant depends on whether the attack was related to their religion in some way. That’s the way I see it, anyway.

  96. madeyoulook:

    “”He is a bad man because, well, just look at the commenters his blog attracts!” is not worthy of any further comment; it is so lacking in any useful intelligence as to rebut itself.”

    Um, why? Levant’s blog is filled with people who are not as clever as he is in packaging their bigotry in code. Where he says, “Nothing against Muslims, but a Muslim woman driving a school bus is a recipe for death,” they just come out and say it: Muslims suck. They read his posts and rephrase what they find.

    So basically what the Levant apologists are saying is that a man can write an article blaming the hijab for a school bus accident and then claim that it’s mere coincidence that his blog features lots of attacks on Islam, because the blog is about freedom of speech, not about Islam. As I’ve been saying too often, freedom of speech is wonderful & I’m 100% in favour of it, but Levant is using it as a smokescreen for xenophobia.

  97. No, Ben, no. The column asserted that the bus driver crashed the bus because she was wearing a hijab, and if it wasn’t a hijab it was enough like a hijab that Muslims were somehow to blame for the bus crash because political correctness had cowed white folk from disallowing immigrant types from wearing head-gear when they were driving vehicles.

    Wallow in the nuttiness of it.

  98. Ben:

    “True loyalty for one’s country does not mean supporting whatever your government does without question. Being a patriot sometimes means standing up to one’s government when they betray the principles of liberty and justice they are meant to protect.”

    Indeed, sir. You’re just not supposed to do it in the capital of a foreign power, like a child whining to its grandparents that its mommy is too mean.

  99. Okay. How about deliberately harming the reputation of the people on the HRC commissions and tribunals with such bogus claims as “..the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that one of the employees there has a human right not to wash her hands when working in their kitchen.”?

    He keeps perpetuating this myth, even though it’s been pointed out to him in the comments that what McDonald’s was found guilty of wasn’t that they fired her for not being able to keep her hands under water due to a skin-condition/allergy documented by a doctor (and incidentally, lies about how a doctor did verify the condition) but found guilty because they didn’t even take basic steps to find out if there was some way they could accomodate this woman in a different position in the restaurant. They were found guilty because she essentially said “I have a disability and can’t do that particular job any more, is there anything else I can do?” and their response essentially being “Disabled? Bugger off.”

    Still Levant continually lies about this, and makes strong implications that the HRC commissioner in the affair is stupid, ideologically blinded, or worse.

    Yet you know damned well that if the commissioner tried to sue Levant for libel, he’d be up in arms about them trying to squelch his free speech, and essentially having a field day of paid publicity for his lying, no doubt egged on by a bunch of anti-HRC and “free-speech uber alles” folks who don’t bother to actually look up the facts. It’s this last crowd that Levant relies on for his continued support and for his “legal defense fund”.. (A fund, incidentally, that is entirely his choice, since he could have chosen to respond to the allegations via a registered letter outlining his side of the case.)

  100. Lets not talk about the lawsuits Ezra is facing over this shall we? There’s too many to count.

    Hah! 100! I get the steak knives!

  101. Jack: If you want to tar “clever” Levant with the “less clever” crowd he attracts, you are missing a very serious point about the importance of free speech, and you have proven that my “not worthy of further comment” seriously overestimated the intellectual sophistication of at least one commenter here. Please pause for a little reflection on who is responsible for whomever’s words. Reflection over? If you came up with any answer besides “whoever expressed those words,” please go back and try again. We’ll wait.
    Jack, again: “freedom of speech is wonderful & I’m 100% in favour of it, but Levant is using it as a smokescreen for xenophobia.” Are you therefore justifying the harrassment he’s getting from taxpayer-funded non-courts? If so, please deduct a suitable number, say maybe 100, from your percentage.
    T. Thwim: I don’t claim to know enough about Levant or the case you cite, but look what you just did less than half an hour ago. You used your right of free speech to rebut Levant’s statements, and you highlighted that Levant even tolerates such dissent in the comments of his own blog. If you are right (that Levant is a liar unfairly harming the reputation of a BCHRT worker), then (a) you would prevail in any libel action Levant might choose to pursue against you for calling him a liar, and (b) that HRT person has a slam-dunk case IN A REAL COURT OF LAW against Levant. Why should you care who might support his legal defense? Further, why should any of that have anything at all to do with whether Levant is the “ideal” poster boy for freedom of speech?
    Freedom of speech only matters for that speech that the majority can’t stand. So many here don’t seem to get that, and that’s a shame.

  102. BCL:

    Thanks for providing a link to the entire article. I think the key point of Levant’s argument was as follows:

    “Of course, it doesn’t matter if the woman was Muslim or not, or it if was a religious hijab or just a winter scarf. What matters is that a school bus driver was allowed to operate while wearing a hood.”

    Maybe we’re reading different articles, but it sounds to me that while Levant was mistaken about it being a Muslim headscarf his real point is that head covers ought not be worn by busdrivers. Agree or disagree, that doesn’t strike me as a bigoted argument, but a legitament one.

    (Congrats on the steak knives.)

    Jack:

    “Indeed, sir. You’re just not supposed to do it in the capital of a foreign power, like a child whining to its grandparents that its mommy is too mean.”

    I don’t see why not. Every Canadian should be ashamed of what’s taking place, and if our neighbours to the south want to give Levant a megaphone to spread the word he is perfectly entitled to use it.

  103. Ben,

    …And somehow the fact that the woman was allowed to wear head-gear is the fault of Muslims who have cowed our culture into political correctness. C’mon, don’t play stupid on me. You think the Sun would have disappeared the column if it was really about bus safety?

    Face the nuttiness!

  104. Ben:

    “Every Canadian should be ashamed of what’s taking place, and if our neighbours to the south want to give Levant a megaphone to spread the word he is perfectly entitled to use it.”

    Like Jane Fonda . . .

  105. Oh my, Jack, stop trying. Like Jane Fonda? Do we have Canadian soldiers imprisoned in the USA, and did Levant use self-aggrandizing propaganda, in support of a totalitarian enemy regime, to make matters worse for those Canadian prisoners?
    If you cannot tell the difference between a treasonous betrayal of fellow citizens and a citizen speaking his mind on foreign soil in the hopes of improving his own country, the friends on your own side of this debate will be by shortly to confiscate your keyboard — you just keep making matters worse for your argumants.

  106. On the contrary, madeyoulook, I and many patriotic Canadians are sick and tired of watching rightwingers like yourself publicly abjuring their country in favour of the great neocon paradise to the south. (You’re about to get walloped there, but whatever.) Everything about the States is best, in your eyes, but best of all is the fact that anti-Muslim sentiment there is sky high and the Israel lobby is all-powerful. Oh, if only, if only it were so in Canada! I know what I’ll do: I’ll get on a plane and get back at those Canuckistanians by playing to every prejudice the Republicans have about my country, and then I’ll brag about it on my blog! What a shot in the arm! If we can’t get Alberta join the States, at least we can dream. Someday. Well, do me a favour and don’t come back.

  107. Indeed, sir. You’re just not supposed to do it in the capital of a foreign power, like a child whining to its grandparents that its mommy is too mean.

    You can’t blame the rank-and-file; they get it from their overlords. Our current Prime Minister has done this, once in his speech before the right wing American Council for National Policy in 1997 and in 2003, when he and Day wrote that editorial denouncing their nation’s duly elected government for not joining the illegal/immoral invasion.

    These fifth column traitors embarrass themselves when they make these whiny pleas to the Americans.

  108. madeyoulook

    “If you cannot tell the difference between a treasonous betrayal of fellow citizens and a citizen speaking his mind on foreign soil in the hopes of improving his own country, the friends on your own side of this debate will be by shortly to confiscate your keyboard — you just keep making matters worse for your argumants.”

    Which was it when Ezra advocated Quebec seperatism as a means of destroying multiculturalism in English Canada and vaulting Preston Manning to power?

  109. Jack, you know nothing about my patriotism, you know nothing about my feelings for or against the USA, you know nothing about my feelings towards Islam and Muslims and Israel, you know not what is in my eyes, so I will ask that you stop presupposing what I might be thinking, and just worry over what you are thinking. There seems to be more than enough there to worry about, from your comments here. And if you believe that standing up for free speech makes one a rightwinger, well…
    If you truly believe that other peoples’ reactions to Levant’s opinions justify restrictions on Levant’s freedom of speech, or that Levant should not be allowed to exercise that free speech in Washington DC, please expand on your desire to “100%” support free speech except for when you don’t. I on this side of the debate look forward to you digging a deeper hole.

  110. T. Thwim: I don’t claim to know enough about Levant or the case you cite…

    This is so free-a-licious. That’s what freedom of expression means; freedom to lie and freedom to remain ignorant.

    God, the nobility of these proud freedom warriors is making me swoon.

  111. bigcitylib: “Which was it [treasonous betrayal vs. speaking his mind] when Ezra advocated Quebec seperatism as a means of destroying multiculturalism in English Canada and vaulting Preston Manning to power?”
    You’re kidding, right? You must be kidding. Are you trying to suggest that “maybe we’d be better off without Quebec” is treason? That “multiculturalism as it has turned out was a bad idea” is treason? That supporting Preston manning was treason?
    That any of the above is remotely close to Fonda’s conduct in favour of her country’s enemy?
    Or are you suggesting that any of the above concepts are worthy of surrendering one’s freedom of speech?
    Here’s your shovel, feel free to dig deeper.
    Boy oh boy, I am old enough to vaguely remember that individual freedom was a *liberal* concept. I still think that linguists place “liberal” and “liberty” very close together on the English language’s family tree.

  112. Ti-Guy, you’re “swooning” with a heap of sarcasm, I think. Correct me if I have a mistaken impression. Otherwise:
    “Freedom of expression (means) freedom to lie.” Well, to a point. If you want to confidently state “Sprite is a dark soft drink” or “the earth is flat” or “Eve popped out from Adam’s rib,” indeed you have that right, because you are harming no one except, perhaps, yourself. If your lies are harming other people (“Levant is a liar,” “Don’t trust Mr. Raymond down the street, because he kills puppies,” “Fire!”), you are liable for your conduct.
    “Freedom of expression (means) freedom to remain ignorant.” Duh, Yup! I have the right to remain ignorant, about ANY topic that does not sufficiently attract my interest, and so does everyone else. Would you care to explain how enlightened Ti-Guy, or any of your fascist friends, feels empowered to force me to enlighten myself, and just what is the list of “approved” bits of information we are all required to agree on? This will get interesting.

  113. Ti-Guy, or any of your fascist friends, feels empowered to force me to enlighten myself, and just what is the list of “approved” bits of information we are all required to agree on?

    I’m not arguing that you should do anything. I’m just saying it’s astonishing how arrogant and conceited you freedom warriors are when your freedom (that, yes, we liberals do fight for when it counts) is used to do nothing other than to remain ignorant and to defame and vilify everyone who doesn’t agree with you.

    And you expect the rest of us to defend you? What kind of intellectual corruption is that, exactly?

  114. madeyoulook, I do indeed know enough about your patriotism – a flag when it suits you, bitter venom when anyone attacks St. Ezra & his DC pilgrimage, and of course the all-purpose whine about freedom of speech. How do you manage to buy milk, I wonder, without trotting that out?

    As to myself, how many times must one say that one is in favour of freedom of speech, and against xenophobic speech? Apparently every time I say anything the right wing disagrees with. Oh what freedom!

    Well, carry on if you want to debase the civic virtue of freedom of speech. It’s fast turning into a synonym for bigotry. If that happens, as I hope it does not, Ezra Levant and his self-righteous followers will have no one but themselves to blame. But since the whole exercise was about reveling in cost-free martyrdom, I guess that will count as their victory.

  115. (that, yes, we liberals do fight for when it counts)
    So much for that 100% defence of liberty. When exactly do my freedoms not count? When you disagree with me? When I am being too conceited in your mind? How many of my fellow citizens have to call me ignorant and conceited for my rights to no longer be worth defending?
    defame and vilify everyone who doesn’t agree with you.
    If that’s how you respond to an opponent in a debate, I can see why you are fast and loose with freedom of expression. “Defamation” and “vilification” are pretty strong charges to lay against someone who disagrees with you. Go ahead and back up those charges with concrete examples, or please consider withdrawing the charge.
    And you expect the rest of us to defend you?
    FINALLY you are beginning to get it. YES!!! In a free and democratic society, I expect freedom of speech to be defended, whether or not you agree with that speech. Your speech, my speech, everybody’s speech! The answer to dumb speech? More speech. The answer to wrong speech? More speech. The answer to hurtful speech? More speech. The answer to insulting speech? More speech. The answer to deliberate lies that create damages (that can be proven in a real court of law) to others? A legal action in pursuit of a remedy in a real court of law.
    Sadly, it obviously bears repeating. Freedom of speech only matters for that speech that the majority can’t stand. So many here don’t seem to get that, and that’s a shame.

  116. I do indeed know enough about your patriotism – a flag when it suits you, bitter venom when anyone attacks St. Ezra & his DC pilgrimage, and of course the all-purpose whine about freedom of speech.
    Jack, you obviously do not know anything about me or my patriotism, and if you define my main point (debate Ezra with more speech instead of supporting the erosion of his rights) as “bitter venom,” I am done having a conversation with you. Your “all-purpose whine about freedom of speech” comment says everything we need to know about your alleged and now thoroughly discredited “100%” protection offered earlier. Thank you for clearing that up beyond any shadow of a doubt.
    Well, carry on if you want to debase the civic virtue of freedom of speech. It’s fast turning into a synonym for bigotry.
    Only if bigoted speech goes unopposed in the marketplace of ideas. The answer to bigotry, when it occurs, is vigorous opposition with more speech: denounce it, mock it, debate it, compete with it for public approval, and win. The DUMBEST thing you can do is see to it that someone should suffer at the hands of the state for his or her thoughts. A bigot cannot make himself a martyr unless the state, with the support of enough useful idiots, makes sure of it.

  117. When exactly do my freedoms not count?

    Your freedoms always count, but the freedom to defame, vilify, lie and be ignorant is not on my list of priorities to defend.

    Let me know when: you are subject to an illegal search, are arrested without being charged, when your right of habeas corpus is not respected, when you are being subject to brutality, when you are being surveilled illegally, when you become the victim of police entrapment and when the US renders you to foreign jurisdiction to be imprisoned and tortured.

    In a free and democratic society, I expect freedom of speech to be defended, whether or not you agree with that speech.

    Get it through your head…you do not live in the United States of America. And if you don’t like the law, you know what is required to change it. And if you can’t be bothered to that, well, too bad. Suck it up or emigrate.

    How arrogant, authoritarian and, quite frankly irrational to demand that I defend you from laws that are not only in place, but that I agree with, just because you don’t like them.

  118. The answer to bigotry, when it occurs, is vigorous opposition with more speech: denounce it, mock it, debate it, compete with it for public approval, and win.

    Yeah, that’s really worked really well with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and Melanie Morgan and Michael Savage and Michelle Malkin and probably hundreds of more American hatemongers I’m not even aware of, but who will be doubtless reduced to penury and marginalised good and proper any day now.

  119. Hey, Maclean’s editors, please add a limit to the number of posts per person per thread, so that the loudmouths do not drown out everybody else.

  120. You’re right, SF. Please…go ahead.

  121. Ti-Guy, I fully recognize that I live in Canada. Before you continue to assert that freedom of expression does not exist in the country immediately to the North of the USA, please have a look at “Fundamental Freedom” 2(b) of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ours, not theirs.
    freedom to defame, vilify, lie and be ignorant is not on my list of priorities to defend.
    There you go, proving how essential it is to defend freedoms, even for those people we disagree with or find repugnant. If those, um, priorities are not worthy of any defense, now it is my turn to suggest you might be happier if you emigrate to certain countries way down at the bottom of the individual freedom lists. I refer you again to 2(b).
    How arrogant, authoritarian and, quite frankly irrational to demand that I defend you
    Don’t worry, you have proven how unhelpful you would be in defending individual freedoms; I do not expect anything from you. I just hope for my country that there are enough people who understand what “Your freedoms always count” actually means.
    As to your next post about all those alleged evil American hatemongers, you need not worry, I get your point. If you disagree with them, and especially if they are attracting an audience, they are therefore not worthy in your eyes, and they deserve the erosion of their freedoms.
    It is sad that there are enough people willing to live with that sentiment.

  122. Feel the love.

  123. It is foolish to suggest that one must defend all speech which one disagrees with. I disagree -strongly – with anti-abortion activists, flat-taxers, and Iraq-war apologists. Think they’re ridiculous and wrong-headed, even dangerous if their views became too widely held. But I would defend their right to free expression.

    I so no reason to extend that same courtesy to those who promote hate propoganda. Doesn’t mean I’m not a huge supporter of the principles of free expression. The Supreme Court, in upholding the anti-hate speech provisions in the Federal Human Rights Act, reached the same conclusion:

    ***
    Parliament’s concern that the dissemination of hate propaganda is antithetical to the general aim of the Canadian Human Rights Act is not misplaced. The serious harm caused by messages of hatred was identified by the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada, commonly known as the Cohen Committee, in 1966. The Cohen Committee noted that individuals subjected to racial or religious hatred may suffer substantial psychological distress, the damaging consequences including a loss of self-esteem, feelings of anger and outrage and strong pressure to renounce cultural differences that mark them as distinct. This intensely painful reaction undoubtedly detracts from an individual’s ability to, in the words of s. 2 of the Act, “make for himself or herself the life that he or she is able and wishes to have”. As well, the Committee observed that hate propaganda can operate to convince listeners, even if subtlely, that members of certain racial or religious groups are inferior. The result may be an increase in acts of discrimination, including the denial of equal opportunity in the provision of goods, services and facilities, and even incidents of violence.

    Since the release of the Report of the Special Committee on Hate Propaganda in Canada, numerous other study groups have echoed the Cohen Committee’s conclusion that hate propaganda presents a serious threat to society. Affirmation of the Committee’s findings may be found in the 1981 Report Arising Out of the Activities of the Ku Klux Klan in British Columbia by John D. McAlpine, the 1984 report of the Special Committee on Participation of Visible Minorities in Canadian Society, entitled Equality Now!, the Canadian Bar Association’s Report of the Special Committee on Racial and Religious Hatred, also released in 1984, and the 1986 Working Paper 50 of the Law Reform Commission of Canada, entitled Hate Propaganda. It can thus be concluded that messages of hate propaganda undermine the dignity and self-worth of target group members and, more generally, contribute to disharmonious relations among various racial, cultural and religious groups, as a result eroding the tolerance and open-mindedness that must flourish in a multicultural society which is committed to the idea of equality.

    In seeking to prevent the harms caused by hate propaganda, the objective behind s. 13(1) is obviously one of pressing and substantial importance sufficient to warrant some limitation upon the freedom of expression. It is worth stressing, however, the heightened importance attached to this objective by reason of international human rights instruments to which Canada is a party and ss. 15 and 27 of the Charter.

    ***

  124. As to your next post about all those alleged evil American hatemongers, you need not worry, I get your point. If you disagree with them, and especially if they are attracting an audience, they are therefore not worthy in your eyes, and they deserve the erosion of their freedoms.

    Not only arrogant, conceited, authoritarian but presumptuous.

    My point was that challenging their hate speech with more speech doesn’t work. Why? I don’t know. I’m not an American.

  125. Forgive my presumption, Ti-Guy. I just read your lament that “more speech” was failing to dent the popularity of those Americans you charge as hate speakers (speachers?), while you also mount many arguments in favour of selectively defending freedom of speech. I just put two and two together…

  126. you charge as hate speakers (speachers?),

    Hatemongers. And it’s not just me; not by a long shot. And it’s not an issue of simply disagreeing with them. As Mike T. noted above, I’ll defend the right to all kinds of expression I disagree with, except for the kind that is actionable under Canadian law. And I’ll defend everyone’s right to due process.

    I don’t even think you understand laws have any meaning if you don’t like them. And that concerns me.

  127. If a newsmagazine publishes some cartoons to explain the worldwide goings-on, so that readers may judge for themselves what all the fuss is about, and that is “actionable under Canadian law,” and you’re cool with that, especially when that action is taking place in a non-court that makes a mockery of the “due process” you claim to defend, I will defend your right to make such pronouncements, but I do sincerely hope you are in the minority in this country. I would rather hope that Canadians would be shocked to learn that the state could go after someone in such a fashion just because somebody complained about it. Shocked enough, even, to begin a debate about whether that is the kind of limitation of a fundamental freedom we want to perpetuate.
    Feel free (or not) to address any other of my points that you have left hanging. It’s your choice. It is, last time I checked, a free country.
    And if these sentiments make me conceited, arrogant, and authoritarian, oh well, I will still sleep fine tonight, and I will think about scribbling new definitions in my dictionary tomorrow morning. Good night.

  128. As a Christian, let me just compare briefly the different responses to the “Jesus sucks” banner and the Mohammedan cartoons. Is not the true God, who made the universe, the world, and everything in it, and who maintains it by the power of his word, not able to speak for himself and defend his name? He speaks and mountains move, he speaks and storms arise, and they quiet. In contrast, anything that man can do is puny indeed. So then, why does man feel that he alone can defend the name of the true God? That is why worshippers of the true God wait on him to defend his name.

  129. I enjoyed your article. You are right. This is much bigger than Ezra. I also know people who are angry at Ezra but not one person feels the orginal ARC complaint in regards to the cartoons is valid. Ezra does have a right to protect himself.
    cheers

  130. Ti-Guy:

    Freedom of thought and expression aren’t American concepts. They’re human concepts, and your state-sanctioned thought control will never change that.

    This will probably irk you to no end but you inadvertently proved the author’s point. Your rabid hatred for all things American has you completely blinded to the fact that your own freedom of thought and expression is on the line as well. The issue is bigger than your perception of those who support it.

    Now, just for fun, let’s guess how you’re going to respond. Will you:

    a) leave a not-so-snappy unrelated one-liner,
    b) change the subject,
    c) resort to ad-homs,
    d) rant about BushHarperMcChimpHitler,
    e) blame it all on KKKate over at SDA,
    f) wax philosophic about how the peons shouldn’t be allowed to think for themselves, or,
    g) look in the mirror, admit that your position is oppressive and apologize to those you’ve been attacking?

    Options ‘a’ to ‘f’ haven’t been working for you so far, maybe you should give something new a try.

  131. madeyoulook:

    “…a newsmagazine publishes some cartoons to explain the worldwide goings-on, so that readers may judge for themselves what all the fuss is about, and that is “actionable under Canadian law,” and you’re cool with that…”

    Sobered by Ed’s beautiful post, I’ll make one last attempt to explain my position (though I realise you were rebutting Ti-Guy and everyone, especially sf, must be sick of me by now).

    The Mitchell Position ™ is that the HRC’s are wrong to prosecute Levant and others like him, and that this is a potentially dangerous (and certainly unconstitutional) affront to Canadian freedom. I happen to think that HRC hubris will destroy them, via appeals, but I am glad that people like yourself are voicing opposition to them.

    At the same time, the fact that someone’s right to freedom has been violated does not make that speech morally legitimate. Levant’s defense of his publication of the Muhammed cartoons does not strike me as at all convincing. Of course he should have the legal right to print them; but it would be morally irresponsible not to point out that the printing of them was deliberately provocative, a deliberate thumbing of the nose at civic decency. (Imagine pretending the Western Standard was anybody’s source of news! Please, it was always an opinion magazine.) I doubt Levant had any idea of the bonanza of publicity he was going to reap thanks to the publication; at the time I’m sure he was playing to the tastes of his readers, chip-on-the-shoulder style. Imagine his joy when the HRC’s volunteered to knock that chip off. Well, you don’t need to imagine it, you just need to read his blog. The man has been high on himself since January.

    To point all this out is not to express support for the prosecution of Levant. I mean, personally I would be happy to see him tarred and feathered at taxpayers’ expense, but unfortunately that would endanger our heritage of civic freedom. His right to freedom of expression exists precisely in order to prevent people like me from coming after him with a washboard and a soda spritzer; mine exists to prevent the same from happening to me. But I do not concede that, because he should be free to express his opinions, those opinions have any legitimacy, and I will not be prevented, legally or rhetorically, from persecuting him and his ilk with my (verbal) wrath; in fact I believe so strongly in freedom of speech that to see it used for such ad hoc partisan political purposes as Levant uses it is deeply upsetting. Enfin.

  132. Hey, sf, Jack’s back. And so am I! And if you’ve had it with us loudmouths, have a peek at the top right square of your window. Click on the X, and you’ll be much happier. Go ahead, our free speech does not impose an obligation on you to listen. Click the X. Feel the power…

    Jack, nice to see you’re glad I am voicing my opposition to the ludicrous non-courts harrassing a fellow citizen. It goes with some of your original thoughts, defending freedom of expression while not agreeing with the current victim of the loss of said freedom. Still bewildered that you see these non-courts as comedy (easy for you — you haven’t had your posterior hauled before one!). Still bewildered how I deserved any of your accusations of lack of patriotism or any other unsubstantiated charge. Still bewildered how you feel it appropriate to assign any responsibility for a blogger’s commenters to the blogger himself; it would be like, like, well, like sf getting all mad at Ms. Savage because of anything I as a guest of Rogers might have been permitted to drop into this site. Still outraged that you would equate Levant’s trip to Washington with Fonda’s to N Vietnam. All in all, puzzled how you would know what Levant writes in “every third post” when you confess to being incapable of even typing in his allegedly xenophobic URL…
    His right to freedom of expression exists precisely in order to prevent people like me from coming after him
    Enfin, indeed. You don’t have to like Levant or anything he stands for. You just have to (hopefully) not like his persecution even worse.

  133. Mike T.: “The Supreme Court, in upholding the anti-hate speech provisions in the Federal Human Rights Act …”

    The Supreme Court made a serious mistake that the politicians should correct.

    Mike T.: “In seeking to prevent the harms caused by hate propaganda, the objective behind s. 13(1) is obviously one of pressing and substantial importance sufficient to warrant some limitation upon the freedom of expression. It is worth stressing, however, the heightened importance attached to this objective by reason of international human rights instruments to which Canada is a party and ss. 15 and 27 of the Charter.”

    The phrase “pressing and substantial” comes from the Oakes test used to impose s.1 of the Charter. What is missing is that the purpose of goverment, and the Charter, is to protect individual rights, and anything “pressing and substantial” should be considered only in this context. As for the actual Charter sections you quote, s.27 (multiculturalism) should be abolished, and s.15 (equality) should be substantially reduced: s.15(2) (affirmative action) should be abolished and s.15(1) should only apply to government and its agents.
    There are other errors in the Charter that need to be fixed, such as the lack of property rights.

    Ti-Guy: “I’ll defend everyone’s right to due process.”

    Which, as you surely know by now, is what is missing from the “human rights” commissions.

    Ti-Guy: “What drama”

    Resorting to sarcasm and snide comments (as usual) when faced with irrefutable arguments.

  134. madeyoulook:

    “Still bewildered that you see these non-courts as comedy (easy for you — you haven’t had your posterior hauled before one!).”

    Neither have you, for heaven’s sake. And of course they’re comedy: didn’t you read Andrew Coyne’s liveblogging? Everyone treats them as comedy. And they *are* funny. I don’t take them seriously yet because no speech ruling of theirs has been appealed to a real court yet. If that happened and, somehow, the real court upheld Section 13, *then* I’d be worried.

    “Still bewildered how I deserved any of your accusations of lack of patriotism or any other unsubstantiated charge.”

    You were defending Levant’s little trip to Washington to attack your country, as I recall.

    “Still bewildered how you feel it appropriate to assign any responsibility for a blogger’s commenters to the blogger himself; it would be like, like, well, like sf getting all mad at Ms. Savage because of anything I as a guest of Rogers might have been permitted to drop into this site.”

    I noticed you were getting bewildered. 90% of Levant’s commenters say the same thing: Muslims bad. Since that jives with his posts, there’s no analogy to Rogers or this blogger’s space, onto which we have intruded as 3rd parties. Levant’s commenters are not his guests, they’re his rank & file.

    “Still outraged that you would equate Levant’s trip to Washington with Fonda’s to N Vietnam.”

    Actually, AFAIK Fonda didn’t want to turn her country into North Vietnam, she was just expressing solidarity with the bombed-out peasants. Levant has gone a few steps further.

    “All in all, puzzled how you would know what Levant writes in “every third post” when you confess to being incapable of even typing in his allegedly xenophobic URL…”

    Ah, but you see I am a fallen angel of Levant’s tacky little libertarian heaven.

  135. Ah Yes Paul – now 134 posts and over 1/3 of them made by BigCityLib and Ti Gi. Can “Special K” and “Lucy” be far behind?

    And all in their attempt to attack Ezra and try and rehabilitate the image of Grant Bristow, Bernie Farber and the others in the CJC.

    So transparent.

  136. Jack your sense of comedy could use a bit of help. Everyone treats them as comedy? Really? Tell that to the self-righteous thought police busybodying their way to a pension, or to the defendants trying to recall what country they live in, or to the taxpayers footing the bill for all this.
    Levant’s commenters are his rank & file? Oh? He’s their boss? their shephard? their cult leader? No, no, no and no. They are his audience, is all.
    But the piece de resistance: Fonda was just expressing solidarity with peasants, and Levant went a few steps further. Wow, I should have known better, and left well enough alone when I declared our conversation over after an earlier absurdity of yours. You are in serious need of a history lesson on how Fonda betrayed American prisoners in North Vietnam. If Levant’s address to US lawmakers, warning our American friends how the creeping erosion of freedoms underway in Canada might also infect their country, somehow counts as “a few steps further” than Fonda’s shameful betrayal, words truly fail me. Best to let that disgusting nonsense just linger long enough for most to hopefully recoil at its breathtaking ugliness. And, beautiful country that we live in, I still defend your right to spew such garbage.

  137. They didn’t have to spend a cent. That’s why the HRTs exist, so that people don’t have to bring lawyers. That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap.
    -T Thwim

    Quite correct. There is no point in hiring lawyers, spending money, or presenting evidence since it won’t do any good. Virtually all defendents are convicted because there is no defense against someone’s assertion that their feelings were hurt. Obey the state or go to jail, comrade.

  138. This is an American tradition and it is a distinction without any substantive difference. How can the State (which is subject to democratic oversight) necessarily be considered more corrosive to freedom of expression than large media conglomerates (which are not subject to democratic oversight) direct public discourse, most often through the public airwaves licensed to them by the State?

    It simply doesn’t matter anymore whether it’s the State or the Corporation that poses a danger to freedom of expression.
    -Ti Guy

    Actually, in America we understand that the key difference would be that a state like Canada uses police who can put you in jail for expressing your opinions; a magazine can’t even force you to buy it. So I believe it simply does matter. Try to keep up.

  139. madeyoulook:

    “Best to let that disgusting nonsense just linger long enough for most to hopefully recoil at its breathtaking ugliness. And, beautiful country that we live in, I still defend your right to spew such garbage.”

    You are a true gentleman.

  140. “Making these distinctions between libel, human rights and criminal law aren’t all that important; each is intended to mediate or resolve a dispute within a particular context.”
    -Ti Guy

    Except that libel and slander actions are conducted in civil courts, with rules of evidence, an impartial judge, etc. Truth and fair comment ARE a defense and if the claim is found to be groundless the complainant can be made to compensate the defendant for launching a nuisance suit. These stand in stark contrast to the mockery of justice that takes place in Canada’s HRCs.
    -Ben Hicks

    What Drama
    -Ti Guy

    No actually Mr. Hicks presents a rather un-dramatic but eloquent evisceration of your mindless Lib babble.

  141. How arrogant, authoritarian and, quite frankly irrational to demand that I defend you
    -Ti Guy

    Don’t worry, you have proven how unhelpful you would be in defending individual freedoms; I do not expect anything from you. I just hope for my country that there are enough people who understand what “Your freedoms always count” actually means.
    -MadeYouLook

    Wow. Just Wow.

  142. It’s always nice to see an American weigh in on human rights. How’s that Cuban concentration camp working out for you?

  143. Freedom Fan: Virtually all defendents are convicted because there is no defense against someone’s assertion that their feelings were hurt. Obey the state or go to jail, comrade.

    I’d be interested to know where you got the “virtually all” figure from. Also, I don’t believe that HRTs have the power to send anyone to jail.

    Jack Mitchell: What on Earth does Guantanamo have to do with this? I’m perfectly willing to believe that one can be American and believe in human rights, no matter what their government gets up to.

  144. Incidentally, the Supreme court of Canada is a big fan of the tribunal process for human rights disputes (the ‘kangaroo courts’ that some people refer to). It’s part of a process called administrative law, which also includes hundreds of venues such as professional oversight bodies, securities commissions, utility boards, the CRTC and hundreds more.

    When the issue came before the supreme court, there was a minority decision which felt that a some restrictions should be placed on the anti-hate speech provisions of the Federal Act (the majority felt the provisions passed muster and were constitutional). However, even the minority stated that the tribunal process was an exemplary way of dealing with human rights complaints:

    ***

    For establishing the necessary balance between promoting harmony and dignity on the one hand, and safeguarding freedom of expression on the other, the process of this Act is exemplary. It is well designed to minimize many of the undesirable aspects of curbing free expression. This approach to curbing hate propaganda is far more appropriate than the all or nothing approach inherent in criminalization of such expression.

    ***

  145. “What on Earth does Guantanamo have to do with this? I’m perfectly willing to believe that one can be American and believe in human rights, no matter what their government gets up to.”

    Possibly but I think that it is fair to say that Americans have lost the right to criticize others in their application of human rights given what they have allowed their own government to do.

  146. Boudica: There are plenty of Americans appalled at Guantanamo, and it is individual Americans that are doing the most to publicize its excesses and try to shut it down. Are we to demand some perfect standard from people’s governments before we listen to them as individuals? Because that basically means that no one on Earth is allowed to have an opinion, except possibly the Swedes.

    I disagree with Freedom Fan on his characterisation of HRTs, but I’m not going to ignore his points because of an accident of geography.

  147. 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

    b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication

    john g you missed the subclause where it says lefties only get that right.

    Libel is separate from free speech as no one I know of who supports free speech thinks they should be exempt from libel which doesn’t go to a HRC so you can do things like say, well it’s the truth.

    Against the HRC the truth is no defence those above who confuse the 2 are showing their intelligence.

  148. “Boudica: There are plenty of Americans appalled at Guantanamo, and it is individual Americans that are doing the most to publicize its excesses and try to shut it down. Are we to demand some perfect standard from people’s governments before we listen to them as individuals? ”

    Mark, I would have probably agreed with you on that one were it not for the fact that Bush Jr was re-elected to office. This, after American voters were clearly shown that the man has lied to them on just about every front and has deliberately thumbed his nose as international law and their own Constitution when it comes to human rights.

    Sounds like an endorsement to me. I stand by my statement. Americans have no right to criticize other country’s human rights record.

    Mind you, the way Harper and his team are handling things, we Canadians soon might have to stop doing that too.

  149. And of the millions that voted against him?

  150. Mark, I did not vote for Harper but he is still my Prime Minister and his actions are done in my name and yours.

    The same applies for Americans. Whether they voted for Bush once or twice or not at all, the mess he has created around the world and the concentration camp that bears the american flag in Cuba was also done in their name.

    Bush hasn’t just shamed himself, he shamed his citizens too. Knowing what they knew about Bush and his policies, he should have never been able to set foot in the White House again yet there he is.

    Until the American people do what is right which is to correct the mistakes made in their name, specifically burn Gitmo to the ground, they do not have the right to criticize anyone else.

  151. I disagree with Freedom Fan on his characterisation of HRTs, but I’m not going to ignore his points because of an accident of geography.

    It’s not a characterisation of the HRT’s. It’s a complete fabrication, grounded in his appalling anti-Canadian prejudices.

  152. Mark, your point, responding to Freedom Fan, is probably the most relevant one responding to this article.

    Despite all the moaning and crying going on, it should be pointed out, or to be more specific, should already have been pointed out by Ms. Savage in the original article that this global conspiracy of OIC’s to change our laws and prevent our freedom of speech by legal means has essentially hit a brick wall here in Canada. Repeatedly, our HRC’s have taken the complaints, and after investigation and allowing both sides to present their case denied them.

    To be honest, I fail to see how freedom of expression is being damaged one whit. If anything, it’s being fully supported by the HRCs, who are even going so far as to allow the muslim’s concerned the right to express their displeasure in a means that leaves no doubt as to our (the public, the government etc) response.

    What this thread should be about is what is Ms. Savage’s intent in keeping that information out of her article. After all, if you’re going to accuse someone of some sort of vast global conspiracy, unless you’re hoping to whip up some sort of mob frenzy, it stands to reason you should point out that “here at home, it’s not working.”

  153. boudica, the Harper government is not perfect. I’m sure you’ll agree they’ve made many messes in our name.

    Therefore, using the (il)logic you spouted above, even though you didn’t vote for Harper you have no right to criticize the Americans until we re-elect your perfect Liberals.

  154. I think you’re a little off base here boudica… Am I not allowed to criticize Michigan’s building of coal-fired power plants because the recently relected Ontario government still hasn’t shut down our coal-fired power plants, despite their promises to do so?

    And I didn’t even vote for the McGuinty Liberals in the last election — have I lost my right to criticize because others voted him in?

    And what of those who voted the Liberals in for a different reason (ie. those who disagreed with their decision to keep the coal-fired plants open, but agreed with all their other policies so held their nose on that one)? Should they be denied the right to complain?

    Would you also deny folks the right to protest any government who had back-to-back majorities?

    I don’t get it.

  155. That’s interesting coming from you, john g. Glad to see that you agree with me that the Harper govt is on a path towards human rights violations. And if you scroll back a few posts, you will find the one where I stated that we Canadians were soon to follow in not being able to point fingers at anyone on this matter.

    Believe me when I say that I got an earful from my american friends and family when Harper got elected. No more lectures from you, they said.

    In fact, one of them pointed out to me that we Canadians seemed to hold a double-standard when it comes to Bush and Harper. He pointed out that Harper and Bush’s only political disagreement was over our border policies. Beyond that, not only does Harper agree with everything Bush says/does, he’s further to the right of Bush (he actually read Harper’s old essays). So he couldnt’ understand how polls show that Canadians really don’t care for Bush yet give Harper the support that he currently holds among us voters.

    Good question.

  156. Scott, I’m not sure how else to explain it beyond what I said above. In the context of pointing out the wrongdoings of another country’s government, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously let alone pay any attention to you when your own government is engaged in the same wrongdoings.

  157. “Glad to see that you agree with me that the Harper govt is on a path towards human rights violations.”

    boudica, I was writing from your p.o.v. to illustrate the ridiculousness of your argument that having an imperfect government denies you the right to criticize anybody else.

    I don’t think Harper is a perfect leader (though he’s the best of the options before me). Does that mean I can’t criticize Bush? By your (il)logic that would seem to be the case.

  158. john g, no one is asking for perfection. I know I’m not. I simply expect my Prime Minister to abide by international laws and consider human rights to be sacred.

    What is ridiculous, in my book, is to criticize Bush yet vote for Harper.

  159. Boudica: You’re also claiming it’s ridiculous to NOT vote for Bush, and then criticize Harper.

    To follow on your American friend’s point: do you feel like you’re following a double standard when you criticize Bush? I would assume not. So why should an non-Bush supporting American?

  160. Mark, on my friend’s point, I am not guilty of double-standard because I’m not one of those who support Harper. What I’m no longer able to do, though, is lecture him on how America allowed Bush to return to office.

  161. “Boudica: You’re also claiming it’s ridiculous to NOT vote for Bush, and then criticize Harper.”

    Missed that one. Let me try this another way:

    Do you think that the American people would be entitled to criticize the Afghan govt’s ill-treatment of its prisoners? Do you believe that the Americans would still have the right to criticize any government that uses torture to extract information from its prisoners?

  162. Mark and boudica;

    If you two are finished with your little BushHarperMcChimpHitler bash-fest, would you mind getting back on topic?

    Regardless of your politics, your freedom to think and express freely is being subverted. Are you willing to put partisanship and personal feelings aside in order to address the larger issue or not?

    You need to choose. Are you on the side of freedom or are you on the side of fascistic oppression?

  163. Comment by T. Thwim on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 6:50 pm:

    “If it wasn’t bigotry, why mention the woman’s religion at all, Ben?

    It’s like saying “Timothy McVeigh, a devout Christian…”

    You haven’t been listening: McVeigh’s radical far-right religious views are brought up CONSTANTLY by the left.

  164. Last week I got a call from a pollster who mostly wanted to know how much I cared or didn’t care about Dion’s green plan. When I answered that the MOST important issue that would be determining my vote was freedom of speech, they ignored my answer and went back to asking my opinion of the green plan. Over and over.

    Reading a few of the serial posters to this blog and their weak attempts at defending the case against Mcleans/Ezra/east coast cartoonists/Toronto comedians etc…I am becoming convinced that there is a choreographed campaign by those with a vested interest in the various human rights councils/tribunals. I can see no other way to explain such arrogant flippancy to this important an issue. And of course, posting on net forums is old hat for this clan. (almost misspelled it with a ‘k’ there)

    It’s only the Liberals with courage who realize how important this issue is and are speaking out. The rest don’t want to be bothered with having to look at the merits of an argument from those they normally demonize reflexively.

  165. “You need to choose. Are you on the side of freedom or are you on the side of fascistic oppression?”

    LOL!!!

  166. James, and presumably you think that’s a bad thing, right? This just cements my point about Mr. Levant’s column.

  167. …and which one of you is Lucy?

  168. you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously let alone pay any attention to you when your own government is engaged in the same wrongdoings.

    Maybe if you’re a politician in that government, but if you’re not I think most discerning people recognize that individuals can hold vastly different (and often better) views than their government.

    Would you bar Martin Luther King Jr. from speaking against Apartheid whilst also looking for similar changes in his own country?

  169. “Do you think that the American people would be entitled to criticize the Afghan govt’s ill-treatment of its prisoners? Do you believe that the Americans would still have the right to criticize any government that uses torture to extract information from its prisoners?”

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Because it’s ludicrous to suggest that because your government (regardless of whether you voted for it or not), does something you don’t agree with, that you can’t criticize anyone else for doing something similar.

    Nobody agrees with everything their government does. You pick the best option you have at election time and then keep trying to make things better.

  170. It would be fascinating to see how many of these posts in support of trampling free speech are coming from tax payer funded desks?

  171. When I answered that the MOST important issue that would be determining my vote was freedom of speech, they ignored my answer and went back to asking my opinion of the green plan. Over and over.

    Methinks they were polling on the issue of the Green Shift at the time. I know I hate it when they ask me about what brand of toilet paper I use when I’d prefer to be polled on my environmental policy, but them’s the breaks. No conspiracy there.

  172. I am curious if the pundits keep track of comments for each of their posts and compare numbers with one another. Surely this post by Luiza has to rank fairly high on record number of comments.

    A Coyne’s numbers were high when he was liveblogging BC HRC case last month but they were random comments, not like here where people seem to be still responding to one another. It’s nice to see people take speech issues so seriously.

  173. Comment by T. Thwim on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 11:47 am:

    “James, and presumably you think that’s a bad thing, right? This just cements my point about Mr. Levant’s column.”

    It isn’t a bad thing perhaps, just hypocrisy. Our society allows Muslim and left-wing comments on Jews that wouldn’t be allowed by right-wing “Christians” like McVeigh.

  174. “freedom of speech is wonderful & I’m 100% in favour of it, but Levant is using it as a smokescreen for xenophobia.”

    A useful rule for deciphering an opinion:
    Everything before the BUT is bullshit.

  175. It would be fascinating to see how many of these posts in support of trampling free speech are coming from tax payer funded desks

    With the exception of boudica’s odd little fascination with minimizing the opinions of individuals in a country who had voted back in a government who disagreed with their opinion on a topic, I don’t see anyone “in support of trampling free speech”.

    In fact, I don’t think boudica’s saying those people shouldn’t have a right to say something, she’s just saying their opinions should be ignored. Oh, and I don’t see anyone stepping up to support her on that one, btw.

    Who do you think is “in support of trampling free speech”? Why?

  176. “I am curious if the pundits keep track of comments for each of their posts and compare numbers with one another. Surely this post by Luiza has to rank fairly high on record number of comments.”
    -jwl

    Exactly the reason I am convinced that there is a concerted campaign by the “Friends of the HRCs”.

  177. Scott, MLK would be an exception given the fact that African Americans in the South were barred from voting. It’d be a stretch to hold him accountable for the actions of that govt at the time.

    Want to try another example? Perhaps with Jesus this time?

    You and I will just have to agree to disagree. I firmly believe that America has lost its moral high ground and its ability to wag its fingers at other jurisdiction who engage in human right violations. Given the actions of that country in the past 8 years, many people would likely tell Americans to take care of their situation at home before pointing the fingers at others.

    The United States, like Canada, is still a democracy. Bush wasn’t imposed on anyone. Yes the first election results were quite fishy indeed but he did get in a second time. So I believe that all Americans bear some responsibility for the actions of their government.

  178. James: If it’s hypocrisy, then the only people committing it are those who suggest Mr. Levant’s commentary against that busdriver isn’t the product of bigotry while similar comments against McVeigh are, or vice versa. I’m not one of those, I haven’t heard of one of those, and unless you can cite an actual first-hand source, I’d be willing to wager that you haven’t either.

    As pointed out above, you retain the freedom to stay uninformed, but it should also be pointed out that as a patriotic citizen, we all have the duty to get as informed as we can about issues we comment on so that we can help this country become better.

  179. Scott M., oh so now I am in favor of trampling free speech?

    Please explain that one for me. I’m all ears.

  180. “Methinks they were polling on the issue of the Green Shift at the time. I know I hate it when they ask me about what brand of toilet paper I use when I’d prefer to be polled on my environmental policy, but them’s the breaks. No conspiracy there.”

    You notice I never mentioned that the pollsters were part of any conspiracy. I was merely saying that one of first questions of the poll was “What do you consider the most important issue for the upcoming election?”
    To which I answered: Freedom of Speech.
    Yes the poll was clearly to see how people stood on Dion’s plan. I understand how polls work. My point was that I have yet to get a call about my opinions of the various HRCs.

    And who do I think is supporting “trampling of free speech”? Well I would say an argument could be made (and has been, see Rex Murphy etc.) that several of these more high profile “human rights” cases are in fact an attempt to trample free speech. This Canadian issue has attracted attention world wide. So pardon me if I group some on this forum who are defending those complaints, as being on the side of the tramplers.
    I could pull frightening quotes all day from above but I won’t:

    “That’s why the HRTs exist, so that people don’t have to bring lawyers. That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap…”

    The above comment is merely one of many that bring to mind Lenin’s “useful idiots”.
    The fact that tax payer dollars are being wasted on persecuting free speech to get around “the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap” is extremely frightening to me.

    And the fact that it took mere minutes for someone to quote and counter my question about how many of these posts are coming from tax payer funded desks…kinda makes me feel even more strongly that that is the case.

  181. And Luiza, great and important article. Keep up the good work.

  182. boudica… Martin Luther King voted in presidential elections as early as 1952. The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act was enacted in 1965.

    Clearly, as he was voting in elections as early as 1952 your argument is invalid.

    Really, sit back. Think about your argument. You’re saying that every individual from a country should keep their mouth shut because they disagree with a government who has won re-election.

    Really? You think Martin Luther King Jr. should have not spoken out against apartheid until after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed?

  183. Scott M., oh so now I am in favor of trampling free speech?

    Oops, you must have misread what I said, or stopped early. Here’s the part you missed:

    In fact, I don’t think boudica’s saying those people shouldn’t have a right to say something, she’s just saying their opinions should be ignored.

  184. And Scott M., you seemed a tad touchy on my question about people possibly posting from their tax payer sponsored desks, but I couldn’t agree with your above comment more (re- Martin Luther King Jr.)

  185. “You need to choose. Are you on the side of freedom or are you on the side of fascistic oppression?”

    LOL!!!

    You’ve avoided the question. Do you want to be on the side of freedom or on the side of fascistic oppression? If you won’t answer the question, we’ll have to conclude, based on your posts above, that you’re for oppression. That really makes you no better than your average Marxist.

    I don’t see anyone “in support of trampling free speech”.

    The whole ‘revisionism thing’ doesn’t work when it happens in the same thread as the original comments. Scroll up!:

    comment by Ti-Guy on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm:

    comment by Greg on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 1:28 pm:

    comment by Jack Mitchell on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 11:16 pm:

    comment by Mike T. on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 10:26 am:

    comment by Ti-Guy on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 2:31 pm:

    etc…….

  186. What this thread should be about is what is Ms. Savage’s intent in keeping that information out of her article. After all, if you’re going to accuse someone of some sort of vast global conspiracy, unless you’re hoping to whip up some sort of mob frenzy, it stands to reason you should point out that “here at home, it’s not working.”

    Which was obvious when Ms. Savage conflated Ezra Levant’s self-agrandising crusade against human rights (and let’s make no mistake about that…Levant is on record stating he believes there’s something socially distorting about human rights laws…remember ‘It’s the stupid Charter?’) with irrelevant UN discussions about laws against blasphemy, for which one would have to imagine a radically different Canada (some hysteric’s Eurabia, for example) to be concerned about such laws being considered popular in this country anytime soon.

    The real challenge to islamist intrusions in our society is to robustly support those legal protections for gays and women…and it’s no end of baffling irony that those conservatives who are the most hysterical about a renewed Caliphate overwhelming Canada are also those most opposed to those protections.

  187. Nice way to read out of context, tdot. My statement you quote about rules of evidence was in fact referring to the defendants in these cases. Defendants are not hamstrung by having to hire expensive lawyers to defend themselves against accusations like that because of the HRCs. Otherwise, a well-monied group could bankrupt their detractors by simply stretching out a false libel or slander case until their detractors had to give in because they couldn’t pay. I’m really not sure how you see that as promoting freedom of speech.

    Now, I realize that this doesn’t fit into your comfortable world-view, especially one where you seem to have a strong desire to categorize, label, and.. well.. let’s be honest.. prejudge people, but there it is.

  188. ” Defendants are not hamstrung by having to hire expensive lawyers to defend themselves against accusations like that because of the HRCs.”

    Actually, you are correct; they are actually more hamstrung by the 100% conviction rate of the tribunals. Kind of negates the need for a lawyer doesn’t it?

  189. Scott M What code you using to embed your links? I would like to know how to do it so I don’t have to copy/paste long urls that screw up board.

  190. Richard Evans thank you for sifting through some of the drivel that I couldn’t bear to read again.

    But one did catch my eye as I scrolled back up:

    “Have you considered how wealthy Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are? Is this what freedom of expression is supposed to do? Is this a “marketplace of ideas” where bad ideas are marginalised?”
    -Ti-guy

    Yes Ti-guy, this is what freedom of expression is supposed to do. It rewards those in the market who have ideas and opinions that people are willing to pay to hear. Whether you agree with them is not really the point. Don’t buy their books.
    I could point out that “documentary” filmmaker Michael Moore is quite well off too. But so what?

  191. Are you serious?

    Scott M., it is a well known fact that despite being given the right to vote, most African Americans in the South were still barred (killed even) from doing it.

    Though this is turning into the Song That Never Ends, I’ll say it again. Do not expect to be taken seriously when lecturing others on their govt’s human rights violation when your own govt is doing the exact same.

    I didn’t say that you couldn’t voice your opinion or that you should shut up as you have tried to suggest, Scott. This conversation would be easier if you would just stick to what I actually stated as oppossed to making things up to bolster your argument.

    Americans are free to say/lecture whoever they want but they have lost their credibility on the subject as far as I am concerned.

  192. Perhaps we differ on the meaning of “trampling”. Everyone here seems to accept the libel/slander restrictions on free speech, and the fire/theatre restrictions. So we all agree unfettered free speech (which would have to include the above) is not reasonable.

    Now we’re onto the touchier subjects of hate law, etc. I agree the HRTs should deal with the cases quicker, and if they find with the defendant ALL COSTS should be paid (that’s not the case now, I’d like to see it though).

    But I don’t see a major chill on free speech. In fact, if anything all the more stupid HRT goings on (like letting the Maclean’s thing stretch on and on) has *increased* the level of debate, not decreased it.

    So no, I don’t think any trampling is going on.

  193. “The real challenge to islamist intrusions in our society is to robustly support those legal protections for gays and women…and it’s no end of baffling irony that those conservatives who are the most hysterical about a renewed Caliphate overwhelming Canada are also those most opposed to those protections.”
    -Ti-Guy

    Hmm….and here I was thinking that the “baffling irony” was that those on the left who should care about legal protections for gays and women are usually the first to defend the islamists in the name of multiculturalism?

  194. Scott M., it is a well known fact that despite being given the right to vote, most African Americans in the South were still barred (killed even) from doing it.

    But Martin Luther King Jr. had the right to and *did* vote. So he was a part of the Americans who had “lost credibility” on the Apartheid issue.

    I’m sorry, it’s a perfect parallel.

    Despite the fact he, himself, could be held responsibile for all of the actions of his country because he had been voting for over 10 years, Martin Luther King had complete credibility when it came to complaining in 1962 about Apartheid in South Africa while his country had many of the same problems until later that decade.

    Citizens who disagree with their re-elected government have no credibility problem at all.

    It’s a shame you feel that way — clearly you’re going to be discounting the many ideas and opionons of smart people in this world just because they haven’t managed to enact change in their own country.

  195. Comment by T. Thwim on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 12:31 pm:

    Sorry john. They didn’t have to spend a cent. That’s why the HRTs exist, so that people don’t have to bring lawyers. That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap, so that laymen like you and me can get up in front of the tribunal or commission and make our case in the best way we know how.

    Sorry, I can’t take anyone seriously who didn’t write this paragraph as satire.

    And we see another example of The Always Right Left.

    Don’t spend money on a lawyer, lose, and have them say “well, you’re guilty, what do you want me to do about it. That’s the system”.

    Spend money on a lawyer, win, and have them say “well, you didn’t really need a lawyer anyway, see”.

    And just so I can get informed as much as possible, as you put it, does anyone remember (so I don’t have to dig, lazy sod that I am) if all the intervenors in such cases are represented by lawyers or not?

    I would imagine no small number of Rights Commission employees are lawyers as well. Seems to be silly to, as they say, bring a non-lawyer to a lawyer fight.

    Its bad enough that your sort wants to make freedom of speech a footnote because its “just not Canadian”. But now you want to get rid of pesky “rules of evidence and that kind of crap”.

  196. (BTW, by that logic, Al Gore and David Suzuki should never leave their country too).

  197. “Perhaps we differ on the meaning of “trampling”.”

    Yes, as I find quite often the case in debates, it comes down to 2 people with similar beliefs about what is right, who are caught up with semantics and how each defines a certain word or concept. So point taken.

    “But I don’t see a major chill on free speech. In fact, if anything all the more stupid HRT goings on (like letting the Maclean’s thing stretch on and on) has *increased* the level of debate, not decreased it.”

    Again, not much for me to disagree with here. I guess I would say that the risk of a “major chill on free speech” is why this whole HRT thing is even an issue right now. I completely agree that it has obviously led to an increase in the debate…mainly, I think, because people see this as a slippery slope leading to curtailing free speech. Whether the chill on free speech is major or minor at this point seems like a mute point to me.

    Try explaining the Macleans case to people who have heard nothing about it. They are usually shocked that this is going on in Canada. The fact that the New York Times, YouTube bloggers from the UK (Pat Condell), papers from Australia and elsewhere have taken notice of this little Canadian story says a lot.

  198. But Scott M., if boudica is right about all Americans completely lacking in credibility because they happen to be American, well then that would have to mean that even someone like Michael Moore has zero credibility and….oh never mind.

  199. Yep, my point exactly tdotTim.

  200. “Sorry john. They didn’t have to spend a cent. That’s why the HRTs exist, so that people don’t have to bring lawyers. That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap, so that laymen like you and me can get up in front of the tribunal or commission and make our case in the best way we know how.”

    OK so you can’t try and use the “taken out of context” escape card…that is the entire paragraph. I am trying hard to understand your point T, I really am. So if a layman like myself gets hauled before a tribunal for hurting someones feelings, I am supposed to be happy that I don’t really need a lawyer since “evidence and that kind of crap” is not important to an HRC case? I’m supposed to be happy these things exist and that truth is also not a valid defense? Wow the government is really looking out for us little guys here isn’t it?

    Maybe you should have said that us laymen need not spend money on lawyers because pretty much EVERYONE brought before these kangaroo courts loses anyway.

  201. 200. Wells, contact me offline to make arrangements to ship me my steak knives.

  202. And Scott M, to answer youR quip about the pollster and favourite brands of toilet paper…anybody who’s favourite brand ISN’T Cottonelle is clearly a racist, a communist or both, and obviously lacks any credibility.

  203. Sorry I retract the thing about Cottonelle haters…I guess T.Thwin was right about my:
    “comfortable world-view, especially one where you seem to have a strong desire to categorize, label, and.. well.. let’s be honest.. prejudge people, but there it is.”

    But still…anyone who thinks it’s not the best toilet paper…

  204. “That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap, so that laymen like you and me can get up in front of the tribunal or commission and make our case in the best way we know how.”
    T.Thwim

    I especially like the spin on the last half of that. How you make it sound like any of us laymen who get hauled before one of these tribunals should be grateful for being bestowed the opportunity to “get up in front” of them and make our case. You almost make it sound enticing.

  205. Hmm….and here I was thinking that the “baffling irony” was that those on the left who should care about legal protections for gays and women are usually the first to defend the islamists in the name of multiculturalism?

    You don’t know what islamist means, do you? You think it’s the same thing as Muslim, don’t you?

    I detest islamism; it’s no crime to hold those beliefs or to express them within the confines of Canadian law, but I’m not prepared to support the encroachment of religious law of any type into our established tradition of secularism in a diverse society.

    I just oppose this campaign hysterical hatemongers have been on to try to convince everyone that Muslims should be subject to some kind of widespread social stigma or persecution. It’s immoral. Whatever real dangers are out there are supposed to be being taken care of by our intelligence and security services. If you’re concerned, you should turn attention to that, rather than accuse fellow Canadians of…well, whatever it is you’re on about.

  206. You see your post pretty much sums up what is wrong with the left these days.
    “You don’t know what islamist means, do you?”

    So let’s see, because I used the word islamist, you clearly take that to mean I don’t know what it means and you decide that I meant Muslim. Interesting.

    Then you make this point:
    “but I’m not prepared to support the encroachment of religious law of any type into our established tradition of secularism in a diverse society.”

    …a point which I am in total agreement with. But then you follow it up with this in the next paragraph:

    “I just oppose this campaign hysterical hatemongers have been on to try to convince everyone that Muslims should be subject to some kind of widespread social stigma or persecution. It’s immoral.”

    The last two words trouble me. For someone so concerned about “our established tradition of secularism”, why are you bringing your idea of what is or isn’t moral into it? The reason I agreed with the first statement is I don’t want other peoples morals inflicted on me. But you seem to think that what is immoral to you is the final word.

    All of my life racism has been at or near the top of issues that are most important to me (violence against women being the other), but in 2008, when I use the word ‘islamist’ on a forum, someone reflexively takes that to mean Muslim, and immediately comes to the (comfortable for them) conclusion that I must be a “hysterical hatemonger”. Not only do I feel that islamism is one of the worlds biggest problems right now, I am saddened that the continuing problem of racism has been used as a political tool to avoid debate and discredit those who’s views (or ‘morals’) aren’t in line with your own. People who jump to the kind of conclusions you just did are doing the cause of racism a tremendous disservice. Maybe you need to go back and read about the boy who cried wolf.

  207. Ti-Guy:

    “I just oppose this campaign hysterical hatemongers have been on to try to convince everyone that Muslims should be subject to some kind of widespread social stigma or persecution. It’s immoral.”

    A noble sentiment. It would be even more noble if someone was actually arguing that.

    But while we’re in the process of stating what we oppose, let me say that I’m definitely against canibalism. Also, kicking small dogs is bad. And I’m not too crazy about people who play the bagpipes.

  208. tdotTim:

    “…when I use the word ‘islamist’ on a forum, someone reflexively takes that to mean Muslim, and immediately comes to the (comfortable for them) conclusion that I must be a “hysterical hatemonger”.

    Careful: This guy will nuance his way out of that by saying “where did I say that”, meaning, he didn’t call YOU that.

    It is his MO.

    Just watch.

  209. “But while we’re in the process of stating what we oppose, let me say that I’m definitely against canibalism. Also, kicking small dogs is bad. And I’m not too crazy about people who play the bagpipes.”
    -Ben Hicks

    To me, anyone who dislikes those who play the bagpipes is Anglo-phobic and clearly a hysterical hatemonger. On kicking small dogs I would agree with you. Especially small ones.

  210. Bagpipes? Really?

    Bigot.

  211. James Goneaux,

    In fairness he didn’t actually say I was the hysterical hatemonger. But he did quickly assume that I must think that islamist and Muslim means the same thing. For no apparent reason. I constantly hear people who point out the actual human rights violations committed against women in islamist nations (yes Ti, I do mean islamist) being called racist, hatemongers etc.

  212. I notice that neither tdot nor James has put any thought into the second half of my paragraph. The point where free speech can be squelched by cash were it not for the HRCs. But hey, if the little guy can’t afford a lawyer, he deserves to have his speech squelched, right?

    As for the 100% conviction ratio of the HRCs, I honestly don’t have the time to fully refute this lie, so I’ll let this blog do it for me.

  213. “I detest islamism…I just oppose this campaign hysterical hatemongers have been on…”
    -Ti-Guy

    Just thought I would break down some definitions here since you obviously feel I am someone who does not own a dictionary:

    DETEST- verb-dislike intensely
    syn.- abhor, hate, loathe

    So I totally understand the fact that you detest, abhor or hate islamism.

    MONGER-denoting a dealer or trader in a specified commodity

    Now here is where it gets tricky. It’s fine for you to hold your opinion of islamism. But when you start dealing or ‘trading’ that opinion (like on an internet forum), does that not make you a ‘hate’ ‘monger’ as well by the very definitions of each word? Or did you think by cleverly using the word ‘detest’ instead of hate the no one would notice?

    Anyway Ti-Guy, fret not, the roster of supposed hatemongers and even “hatemongerers” (twice as hateful?) these days is pretty impressive. Welcome to the club.

  214. T.Thwim…2 hours and seven minutes between your last 2 posts. Are 2 hour lunches the standard at the HRCs?

  215. T.Thwim
    “I notice that neither tdot nor James has put any thought into the second half of my paragraph. The point where free speech can be squelched by cash were it not for the HRCs. But hey, if the little guy can’t afford a lawyer, he deserves to have his speech squelched, right?”

    So your actual argument is that the HRCs are defending free speech? And I’m not supposed to think you work there?

  216. “As for the 100% conviction ratio of the HRCs, I honestly don’t have the time to fully refute this lie, so I’ll let this blog do it for me.”

    T. Thwim, the CHRCs don’t convict anybody. They review the case, and if it has merit they refer it to the Tribunal, which is the “court” that “tries” the case. The Tribunals have the 100% conviction rate.

  217. Virtually all CHRT defendents are convicted because there is no defense against someone’s assertion that their feelings were hurt. Obey the state or go to jail, comrade.

    I’d be interested to know where you got the “virtually all” figure from. Also, I don’t believe that HRTs have the power to send anyone to jail.
    -Mark

    Really? So it’s cool to just ignore the ‘human rights’ commissars? Then why don’t we just stop blogging here … everyone go home … nothing to see here folks.

    Mark, your point, responding to Freedom Fan, is probably the most relevant one responding to this article.
    -T. Thwim

    It’s not a characterisation of the HRT’s. It’s a complete fabrication, grounded in his appalling anti-Canadian prejudices.
    -Ti Guy

    In the real world, as opposed to the Lib fantasy one, compliance with CHRT decisions are enforced by real courts where the charge of contempt of court results in … that’s right: JAIL. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to the first person convicted of section 13 “hate crimes”. Short of that, they can also fine you and collect by means of bank account seizure or garnished wages.

    Indeed T. Thwim assertion that Mark’s goofball statement is “probably the most relevant one responding to this article” is right up there with his illiberal insanity to which I was responding:

    “That’s why there’s none of the red-tape rules of evidence and that kind of crap, so that laymen like you and me can get up in front of the tribunal or commission and make our case in the best way we know how.”
    -T. Thwim

    Notwithstanding Ti-Guy’s characterization, I love Canada and Canadians. I especially admire Ezra and Mark who are scrappy defenders of freedom in the tradition of America’s founding fathers.

    What I abhor is police-state tyranny and its sycophants like Lucie Warman and Mr. Thwim, who believe that rules, requiring “evidence” in establishing someone’s guilt or innocence, are merely are bothersome “red tape”. I will criticize Canadian tyrants, U.S. tyrants, or tyrants and their supporters anywhere I choose. Thanks anyway. That’s called exercising “free speech” in America.

    As for the transparent Call-to-Perfection logical fallacy regarding Guantanamo, this prison houses particularly dangerous war combatants, not U.S. citizens. It is a prison which serves hallal meals, accommodates daily prayer, and presents each prisoner with a Quran on gloved hands. It was filled with Islamist combatants from Afghanistan after a few thousand of our citizens were incinerated in downtown Manhattan by Afghani-trained Islamists.

    But certainly feel free to criticize American National Security policy; I wouldn’t dare suggest that you be silenced just because so many Canadians support the boundless rampage of the ‘human rights’ Lynch mob.

    Oh and for Ti-Guy, here is the support for my “complete fabrication” that “virtually all” CHRC section 13 hate crimes result in conviction:

    Ms. Maillet added that the 100% conviction rate for hate speech cases that have reached the tribunal is not a sign of a flawed system, but a testimony to the commission’s efficiency.

    Indeed the CHRT is about as efficient in handling dissidents as the Gulag Archipelago.

  218. Listen to yourself john. “If it has merit”.
    Think really hard about what that means. Also, try looking for real info instead of parroting what you hear on second hand sites. I’ll make it easy for you and quote directly:
    From http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/proactive_initiatives/hoi_hsi/qa_qr/page4-en.asp?highlight=1
    “Is it true that the Tribunal has upheld all Section 13 Complaints?

    Since 2001, there have been 14 decisions rendered by the Commission on section 13 complaints. In all but one case the Tribunal determined that the respondents had breached Section 13.

    Seven cases referred to the Tribunal were settled by the Tribunal through its mediation process.

    Each case was reviewed by the Tribunal in accordance with the law and based solely on the evidence presented by the parties to the complaint including the Commission.”

    So to sum up, the Tribunal has said 13 out of 14 breached section 13.. that blows your 100% out of the water right there. Though not by much, I’ll admit. So we go on to the next sentence which points out that there were seven more cases referred to the Tribunal that the Tribunal didn’t decide on itself, but rather employed it’s powers as a mediator to let the two sides come to an agreement. That’s 21 cases. 13 breaches of the act. 8 other. 13/21= 61% by my calculator. A far cry from 100%, and that’s even after ignoring that these are the cases that have been found to have merit by another body. I dunno. I find it hard to take serious any accusations of them trampling rights.

    tdot, sit down and let grown-ups talk. If all you have to add to the conversation is ad hominems, don’t bother.

  219. “tdot, sit down and let grown-ups talk. If all you have to add to the conversation is ad hominems, don’t bother.”
    T.Thwim

    That is funny! Considering that some of the current HRC cases seem to be the very definition of an ad hominem attack.
    But I see you realize that people are catching on to the endlessly repeated cries of ‘hysterical hatemonger’ , so you have moved on to the logic of: those I agree with are the grown ups…everyone else, sit down.
    It’s nice that you can adapt your tactics.

  220. T. Thwim.

    Here are the details of the 14th case that didn’t result in a conviction. Judge for yourself.

    http://ezralevant.com/2008/07/what-about-the-chrcs-100-convi.html

    “In the end, the CHRT convened a hearing by conference call. But no-one showed up — not even beachesboy@aol.com, the secret accuser who was allowed to keep his secrecy. By that point in time, a hundred thousand taxpayers’ dollars had been spent. And the nominal plaintiff — even with his outrageous secrecy — didn’t even bother to attend.

    No complainant. No target. It was just the CHRT “judge” on the phone, like a fool. What could she do, but acquit.

    That is the only section 13 thought crimes case in the history of the CHRC and CHRT where someone who was referred to a hearing got off. Not because he was acquitted — just because of the incompetence of the prosecution, and the unreliability of the complainant.”

  221. tdot, sit down and let grown-ups talk. If all you have to add to the conversation is ad hominems, don’t bother.

    Luckily this is an hypocrisy free zone, or you’d set off detectors all over the place.

    Get another calculator, or some new glasses: of the 14 cases, 13 were convictions. That any number of cases WEREN’T tried, for any reason, is beside the point. You might as well add in every application that didn’t even make it past the receptionist reading it.

    Try here: http://ezralevant.com/2008/07/what-about-the-chrcs-100-convi.html

  222. The idea that you can go to jail for violating a Human Rights Code is a red herring. Yes, if you violate the tribunal’s order, a court could find you guilty of contempt of court, and jail would be a possibility. but that is true of any type of proceeding at all – from unpaid parking tickets to smoking in public (ZOMG! You can go to jail for unapid parking tickets! Police state!!!)

    In a modern state governed by the rule of law we obey the law. We are free to speak out against it (or, as is more and more the case, our misunderstanding of it), even peacefully protest it. If you dislike it, you can vote for elected officials who promise to change it. this is not fascism, this is being an adult. Thinking the law doesn’t apply to you simply because you don’t like it.

  223. 61%? An interesting approach. My take is that the only case dismissed by the CHRT was the recent highly-watched MacLeans case. Also MacLeans was convicted before trial by commissar Barbara Hall, who had no juristiction, but who concluded that the magazine was guilty of bigotry.

    “Mediation” where the mediators are the tribunal who will convict you if you refuse their solution, doesn’t sound much like justice. In the cases of “mediation” were the “hateful” defendants allowed to just kiss the tribunals’ rings’ then walk away?

    Also your figures do not begin to reflect the enormous human rights carnage wrought by the provincial army of thought police.

  224. I think I’ve already shown that Levant is not to be trusted so why you folks insist on quoting his rendition of events instead of going to the actual citations is beyond me.

    However, I find it interesting that you move the goalposts so readily. At first it was the 100% conviction rate of the tribunals. Then 100% conviction rate of the tribunals where the accuser shows up. Then 100% conviction rate of the tribunals where they decide mediation isn’t an answer and the accused shows up. Why not simplify and just start off with your intended goalposts of “100% convication rate of the tribunals where they find a breach of s.13″.. it’d save us both time.

  225. Thwim if you are not part of the vast “human rights” industry as I suspect, then what is your motivation for being such a defender of a process that has recently been condemned by every major newspaper in Canada, PEN Canada, Conservative and Liberal pols, various newspapers world wide, Alan Borovoy, people at the CBC…etc. etc.?

    I apologize if my question is an ad hominem, I just think many are curious about your motivation.

  226. The idea that you can go to jail for violating a Human Rights Code is a red herring. Yes, if you violate the tribunal’s order, a court could find you guilty of contempt of court, and jail would be a possibility.
    -Mike T

    Yes, a red herring indeed for the “hateful” guy sitting in the imaginary pokey courtesy of your imaginary police state.

    In a modern state governed by the rule of law we obey the law.
    -Mike T

    Yes, but in Canada the ‘Human Rights’ Commissars rule; these kangaroo courts operate outside the real legal system. As anyone following the MacLeans case knows, the tribunal is composed of PC-activists who know little about the law and care even less.

    The law is the commissars’ whim; you have no law in Canada, so I guess that makes you a post-modern state.

  227. “I think I’ve already shown that Levant is not to be trusted so why you folks insist on quoting his rendition of events…”

    The arrogance of that sentence is stunning in its proportions. We are all idiots because we just can’t see how you (some guy posting on a forum) has “shown” us clearly that Ezra Levant is not to be trusted. The fact that Levant uses logic and posts links to his sources must be blinding us.

    So yes T.Thwim…I’m sure you’d love to just discount everything that Ezra Levant is saying on this subject (and he’s certainly saying a LOT), because you have shown us something or other. Good luck with that.

  228. Jesus, Freedom Fan, there have only been a handful of HRC thought-crime cases. You should try visiting our beautiful lakes and forests; I fear your only point of access to Canadian politics is St. Ezra’s weblog.

  229. …oh and by the way, your desire to shut up Ezra Levant dovetails nicely with the desire of people in the “human rights” industry I’m sure. Coincidence?

  230. tdotTim, you just took the conspiracy theorists’ prize ribbon.

  231. “I think I’ve already shown that Levant is not to be trusted so why you folks insist on quoting his rendition of events instead of going to the actual citations is beyond me.”

    You mean, we should trust the word of the CHRC in defending the practices of the CHRC?

    Your double standard is showing

  232. why you folks insist on quoting his rendition of events instead of going to the actual citations is beyond me.

    Hmm. Ok:

    http://www.chrt-tcdp.gc.ca/search/view_html.asp?doid=895&lg=_e&isruling=0

    I find that the complaint has not been substantiated and the complaint is hereby dismissed under s. 53(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

    How could you write what you just wrote, demand that we scamper over to see the actual ruling, and not have actually read the ruling yourself?

    beachesboy@aol.com
    v. Heather Fleming and Ronald Fleming was DISMISSED. No acquittal for the accused. Ezra is right, 13 of 14 have ruled, in the words of the TRIBUNAL ITSELF: “the respondents had breached section 13.”

    BTW, this would be hilarious, if it weren’t so tragic: the complainant couldn’t even find time to TELECONFERENCE

    “[7] The Registry Officer also filed copies of correspondence from the Complainant indicating that he would be unable to attend the hearing for three months due to work commitments, and that he was also unable to participate in a teleconference due to work commitments. The Registry Officer filed a copy of the electronic mail that was sent to the Complainant on February 25, 2008, from the Tribunal indicating that the Tribunal is required to conduct inquiries into complaints of discrimination on an expeditious manner. Given that the Complainant was not available to discuss the issue of an adjournment prior to the commencement of the hearing, the Tribunal ordered that this matter be dealt with at the outset of the hearing on Monday, March 3, 2008.”

    So, beyond any crap about “not needing a lawyer”, “its no big deal, you don’t really go to jail”, apparently, you can make a complaint then officially not give a shit one way or the other. No wonder, no cost to you…

  233. I think I’ve already shown that Levant is not to be trusted so why you folks insist on quoting…
    -T. Thwim

    A fine example of the Ad-Hominem logical fallacy. Yes, no need to dispute the statements of someone who cannot be trusted. I once had a Lib challenge my quote from the Wall Street Journal as an unreliable source.

    However, I find it interesting that you move the goalposts so readily. At first it was the 100% conviction rate…

    A fine example of the Straw-Man logical fallacy. Here is my statement:
    Virtually all CHRT defendents are convicted…

    So virtually all cases except the ones where the plaintiff can no longer be located.

  234. Jack Mitchell…with the wacko conspiracy theories floating around out there (Zeitgeist the movie etc.) if you want to give me a prize ribbon for giving some thought to the CRAZY idea that some HRC crats would actually spend their time posting on internet forums…well, perhaps I would accept a set of steak knives, but I couldn’t possibly accept the prize ribbon.

    The jig is up with them posting on neo-nazi sites now that it’s a matter of public record…so they have to do something with their time. Crazy as it may sound.

    Now if I had said T.Thwim was a shape-shifting lizard who works for a HRC and was in on the inside job of 9/11…then I might be in the running.

    But please don’t flatter me unnecessarily .

  235. Luiza, I found your article so important that I translated it in French and posted it on a Quebec web site that was set up precisely to alert people in Quebec about a major threat to freedom and democracy. The Maclean’s and Levant saga is the most underreported story in Quebec. I am grateful to Maclean’s and Levant for defending the freedom of the press and my freedom.

    Réprimer la liberté d’expression au niveau mondial, par L. Savage, Maclean’s
    http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/spip.php?article542

  236. Thanks, tdot, much more reasonable. And no, I’m not in the employ of the HRC’s at all.

    As for it being condemned by all these places, I’m not sure I agree. I know they’ve done stories on the Macleans issue, but any condemnation I’ve seen done has primarily been done by commenters, often those who haven’t actually bothered to look up the facts, but are simply going off of “what they heard”. Too often if you trace their source back, it comes back to Mr. Levant or occasionally to Mr. Steyn.

    I support the HRCs because, as far as I’ve seen, they *haven’t* been egregiously prosecuting s.13 cases. Read through some of the actual rulings. I admit, they’re not exactly “fun” reading.. pretty dry and boring, but when you read through them, you find that the people giving the decisions seem to make reasonable conclusions given the facts presented. I haven’t read them all myself yet, but a couple I’ve read might stand a reasonable chance in a full court of law as well, as there are threats of violence and incitement to violence within them.

    However, what’s important about the HRC’s is that they allow these cases to be brought, and defended against, without requiring a person spend money on their accusation or defence. This supports free speech, in my view, because as I pointed out before, if a well-monied interest doesn’t like what you’re saying, they can sue you to oblivion, because regardless of whether you’re right or not, the guy with more money can make the case too expensive to pursue.

    HRC’s prevent the little guy, who doesn’t know the rules and procedures of law and who can’t afford their own defence, from being squelched by the big guy.

    Yeah, the HRT’s have a high conviction rate. That’s because the cases go first through a commission which tosses out ones that don’t look like they’ll have a good chance of going forward. Again, it’s protecting free speech.. because most of the baseless accusations are thrown out before it even gets to the HRT phase.

    Do some get through, (like Macleans) that shouldn’t? Sure. And it’s a shame that they do, but we hope with multiple levels, those that aren’t promoting hatred and violence (like Macleans) are not wrongfully convicted. Even then though, the HRT can opt for a mediation process where they think that will work. And in about a third of the cases, that’s what they’ve done.. so rather than prosecuting, they help accuser and accused come to an agreement, and hopefully learn about the other, hopefully curtailling bigotry.

    All of these are laudable things in my mind, and that’s why I defend the HRC’s.

    (Now R. Warman? He’s a different story.)

  237. The answer to bigotry, when it occurs, is vigorous opposition with more speech: denounce it, mock it, debate it, compete with it for public approval, and win.
    -MadeYouLook

    Yeah, that’s really worked really well with Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and Melanie Morgan and Michael Savage and Michelle Malkin and probably hundreds of more American hatemongers…
    -Ti Guy

    Hey Ti-Guy, have you ever considered that it may be your twisted world view which has been successfully demolished by the “hate-mongers”.

    Notice above how Libs’ arguments wither in the sunlight of open debate. Since Lib ideas eventually lose in the marketplace, they must enlist ‘human rights’ commissars to stamp out free expression.

  238. Freedom fan: I think PeTIte Guy’s problem is that, while making pseudonymous comments on a blog he’s pretty tough.

    Otherwise, having to actually vigorously oppose bigotry with more speech, denouncing it, mocking it, debating it, etc., he isn’t very good.

    Really, holding Limbaugh up for mocking isn’t that hard, is it?

  239. FF: How is a world view bigotry? How is claiming that “We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals.” as Anne Coulter did anything other than bigotry or hate-mongering. Are these the types of statements and calls to action that you support?

    Mocking Anne Coulter has been going on for years. She’s still doing her stint, still calling for various people who disagree with her to be put to death, and still getting a media stage for it. If you’re willing to defend that kind of talk as reasonable, then I’m sorry, I can’t have any sort of rational debate with you, as I personally find that sort of thing heinous.

  240. Well there ya go. I knew we could find some common ground T.Thwim. And I am trying to get past my silly conspiracy theory about you or others posting in here today being in the “industry”. And I think I believe you when you say you aren’t. But then in the last paragraph you say : “but we hope…” which makes it sound like you are part of the industry of human rights. I’m gonna assume (often a bad idea) that by “we” you meant Canadians or your group of friends who agree with you on this issue.

    When I refer to all the condemnation, of course most of that was due to the Levant or Macleans cases. You seem to agree that the Macleans case was a mistake. And as a defender of the process of HRCs, you have to admit that when Alan Borovoy says in public that this wasn’t what they had in mind when they created them, that has to be troubling?

  241. [A] couple I’ve read might stand a reasonable chance in a full court of law as well, as there are threats of violence and incitement to violence within them.
    -T. Thwim

    Incitement to violence cases belong in real court; the CHRC presence contributes absolutely nothing.

    However, what’s important about the HRC’s is that they allow these cases to be brought, and defended against, without requiring a person spend money on their accusation or defence. This supports free speech, in my view…
    -T. Thwim

    So snuffing someone’s freedom of speech contributes to someone else’s freedom of speech … how exactly? Can you explain that more lucidly or were you dropped on your head as a small child?

    Section 13 has absolutely nothing to do with protecting anyone’s freedom of speech. Hate speech prosecution is about protecting a defenseless little member of a protected class from “hatred or contempt”, as defined by the state.

    And you’re right there is no requirement for any of that silly legal red tape protecting the accused such as “evidence”, “presumption of innocence”, “truth” or “due-process”.

  242. How is claiming that “We need to execute people like (John Walker Lindh) in order to physically intimidate liberals.” as Anne Coulter did anything other than bigotry or hate-mongering. Are these the types of statements and calls to action that you support?
    -T. Thwim

    I would characterize Ann Coulter as somewhat of a bigot. I also find her extremely smart, witty, and generally honest, unlike say the Libs’ hero Michael Moore.

    John Walker Lindh was a traitor, who was captured as he was fighting against his own countrymen, and supporting their killers, even after they had directly attacked our homeland. In earlier wars, traitors were routinely executed. I have little problem with her suggestion, except the part about using his execution as intimidation of liberals. If that offends you feel free to ignore my harmless patter.

    Ann Coulter has often gone over the top with gratuitously bigoted statements, and is now being shunned in many Conservative circles such as not being invited to CPAC this time; they got Mark Steyn instead. So I would say yes: freedom of speech works.

  243. Thwim, old chap, you STILL don’t get free speech, do you? Remember the original post was about freedom of speech being more than just one individual that some people may not like…
    Are these the types of statements and calls to action that you support?
    Nobody has to support the statement to defend the speaker’s right to make the statement.
    Those of you, and (scrolling up) there are far too many (alas), who cannot distinguish “defending another person’s right to say something outrageous” and “supporting / agreeing with the outrageous statement” are beyond help. Please get help, you’ll feel much better, then get back to us, ok?

  244. Annie Lessard:
    “Luiza, I found your article so important that I translated it in French and posted it on a Quebec web site that was set up precisely to alert people in Quebec about a major threat to freedom and democracy. The Maclean’s and Levant saga is the most underreported story in Quebec. I am grateful to Maclean’s and Levant for defending the freedom of the press and my freedom.”

    Annie,

    I hope Luiza sifts through a lot of the crap from people with obvious agendas above to see your post. As Rex Murphy said on the CBC, this is the most under reported story in Canada, not just Quebec. Keep up the good work!

  245. Well, now, here is an interesting freedom-of-speech wrinkle…
    Annie’s translation to French of Ms. Savage’s work can be seen as: (a) a flattering attempt to spread Savage’s message to a wider audience in Canada, (b) unathourized appropriation of Savage’s / Macleans’ intellectual property.
    Annie, I would have suggested you seek permission prior to posting the translation. What if, for example, l’Actualité desired to publish this piece from Macleans, with appropriate compensation to the writer for the publication of the translated work? Your effort, however well-intentioned, has devalued property that belongs to either Savage or Rogers, depending on their contractual arrangements. Also, depending on the quality of the translation, there may be unintentional linguistic ambiguities that the original author / publisher deserve to adjust / correct before the text goes “live.”
    May I suggest that you remove the translation until you have permission to use the work in this way. While you wait to receive permission, by all means post a French-language commentary with a link to the original English-language work. Selective quotes accurately translated are probably also fair game. But careful with wholesale republishing…

  246. Ah, madeyoulook, everybody’s nanny.

  247. MadeYouLook,

    How can you possibly favor copyright protection for intellectual property? Aren’t you a “free-speech absolutist”? ;-)

  248. comment by madeyoulook on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 4:54 pm:

    Those of you, and (scrolling up) there are far too many (alas), who cannot distinguish “defending another person’s right to say something outrageous” and “supporting / agreeing with the outrageous statement” are beyond help. Please get help, you’ll feel much better, then get back to us, ok?

    Minor quibble… You correctly indicated that those folks are beyond help and then suggested that they seek help. If they’re beyond help, why should they waste their time and ours seeking it? A better suggestion, in my mind, would be that they seek resident status in China. Judging by the political climate there, and the positions taken by many above, it’d be a perfect fit.

  249. Freedom Fan, almost 24 hours ago, my very first comment on this thread started with these words:
    If Ezra Levant is inciting violence, or deliberately harming someone’s reputation with lies, or stealing anybody’s copyrighted work, throw the book at him. In a real court, with proper rules, an impartial judge/jury, protections for the accused to have a fair trial and a vigorous defence, all the stuff we would want for ourselves if brought before justice.
    I am all for the property rights of people’s ideas and intellectual work. I would never want a non-court to deal with any of the issues I raise in the above text snippet.
    Hope that clarifies.
    Mr. Evans, point taken.

  250. Of course, MadeYouLook. I was tweaking the folks who use the term “free-speech absolutist”, as if any sane person believes there should be no legal restrictions on speech.

    But in the fetid cesspool that the speech nazis have created, the phony right not to be offended now trumps free expression. Since these elitists now attempt to regulate emotions like “hate”, they have moved beyond the realm of objectively enforcable law into the nightmare of chaos.

    Their lame argument seems to be that now poor people have the opportunity to help the bureaucrats play god with the lives those who refuse to worship at the Lib alter of multiculturism.

    It astounds me that any principled, intelligent person would want to live in a decadent society like that. But they seem quite proud of the capricious rubble which used to be a fair legal system.

  251. FF, thanks, I only caught the “wink” after I replied, you had me worried for a bit only because I neglected it.
    Nice to see a few more in the trench over here — it was lonely for a time last night, fighting the good rhetorical fight for freedom.

  252. @madeyoulook,
    Thank you for your concern relating to the unauthorized translation. The author, name, date and web link to the original article are fully disclosed. We don’t make any profit from someone else’s labor. The translation was made by volunteers, and access to our site is free. I believe no authorization is therefore required. Our readers know this is a “home made” translation, and they can refer to the original article. In fact, we probably draw readers to the article that would not otherwise have been aware of its existence.

    However, I will research this matter.

  253. Annie, you may well be right, but I am not positive that all those details completely protect you from legal vulnerability, so yes, for your own protection, by all means research further.
    A la prochaine.

  254. It warms my heart to see Canadians…anglophones, francophones…coming together in their shared islamophobic hysteria.

    J’ai les larmes aux yeux…c’est de toute beauté…

    Vive le Canada uni!

  255. Ti-Guy;

    Glad to see that, like a good monkey, you chose option ‘a’. Here’s your banana…

  256. I’m hearing some Sieg, Heils! somewhere…is the Grand Wizard of the Calgary Aryan Guard in the vicinity?

  257. Option ‘c’ this time… here’s another banana…

    Amigo, you’re too predictable…

  258. Richard: if you took 100 of his responses, and mixed them up in a bag, you could pull them out and use them for his next 100 responses, and not even notice the difference. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he was some sort of malfunctioning spam bot or something.

    Funny: he’s dropped all pretence of nuance. Must be getting tired to come up with recycled snark every time and make it sound fresh. So it’s now straight to the neo-nazi gibes. Nice on a blog entry about a Jew, eh?

  259. @Ti-Guy,
    One thing Anglos and French share in this country is a deep attachment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Anglos and French can debate endlessly, we can be political adversaries, but we are not “enemies”. In this time of threat from a totalitarian and subversive ideology, we need to unite to fight together our common enemy.

    For our web site, we use “islamolucides” instead of “islamophobe”. We do not have an irrational fear of the unknown. Rather, we educate ourselves and our readers about islamism, and consciously reject its tenets as incompatible with the values of freedom we defend. Religions and ideologies are not human beings, they don’t have human dignity. Criticising or opposing them is not a manifestation of hate or racism. It’s sound rationality.

    A number of contributors to our site are immigrants from Middle Eastern countries who are well aware of the threat we are facing, they fled their respective home countries because of it, and are fantastic sources of information to help raise awareness among our readers.

  260. Well I have sifted through these posts and am amazed at those blind followers of Mr. Levant. There are even some who deny he engages in slanderous ad hominim attacks. Imagine referring to Bernie Farber of Canadian jewish Congress as a “bookburner” accompanied by a picture of Hitler’s Nazis burning books; or calling him a dhimmi that supports terrorism against Jews….that is only a small sample of the almost obscene (some have described it as a fetish) attacks against an honourable man.

    Ezra is a typical schoolyard bully. He attacks the person not the idea. Whether its farber, Warren Kinsella, Richard Warman and any others who disagree with him, his silly childlike behaviour has done the cause of civil libertarians like Alan Borovoy incredible harm.

  261. One thing Anglos and French share in this country is a deep attachment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Anglos and French can debate endlessly, we can be political adversaries, but we are not “enemies”. In this time of threat from a totalitarian and subversive ideology, we need to unite to fight together our common enemy.

    Oh, voyons-donc. Tu me prends pour qui, toi?

    I guess you would know something about totalitarian ideologies, though. How’s La Charte these days? Or are we supposed to not talk about that anymore, lest it get the anglos all fired up and lose focus on the …*duh duh duh*…Common Enenmy.

    *snort*

    For our web site, we use “islamolucides” instead of “islamophobe”. We do not have an irrational fear of the unknown. Rather, we educate ourselves and our readers about islamism, and consciously reject its tenets as incompatible with the values of freedom we defend. Religions and ideologies are not human beings, they don’t have human dignity. Criticising or opposing them is not a manifestation of hate or racism. It’s sound rationality.

    I’m with you here, but the hysterics really make you look foolish and weak. I have confidence that our legal traditions, our secularism and our respect for diversity can withstand these “threats” and I defend them robustly. All you people are doing is shrieking and some of the people you’re finding coming cause with are out-and-out racists and bigots.

    Hey James Goneaux…if you’re looking for a laugh, google “Richard Evans” and NAMBLA.

    …and yes, Mr. Wells, it’s still going rather well.

  262. Hey James Goneaux…if you’re looking for a laugh, google “Richard Evans” and NAMBLA.

    While you’re at it James, check the source. Yup, I’m guilty of outing pedophiles and their supporters. I take no shame in that even if Ti-Guy thinks I should be leaving them alone because they’re ‘only expressing a different lifestyle choice’…

    Option ‘b’ this time Ti-Guy? Like I said, you’re too predictable. Here’s another banana.

  263. @Ti-Guy,

    Before calling me “racist” or “bigot”, look at my picture and that of the blog’s director (I am the one on the right). Justin Trudeau says we are protected by the Canadian Charter­. So please stop offending me!

    http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/spip.php?breve570

  264. Richard: not to worry, I’ve run into his type before. He DOES seem to be reaching for something, though. Maybe another bottle of squink (that’s squid ink, from my UseNet days).

  265. Squid ink… hmmm… a substance shot out by a less dominant species in order to cloud a threatening environment so said lesser species can escape said threatening environment (hopefully) unscathed. LOL I’ve never seen Ti-Guy’s tactics put into that context before but, based on his posts, it’s completely accurate.

    He’s already consumed options ‘a’ through ‘c’. Do you think he’ll venture into virgin territory or choose a path of strategic re-use?

  266. Being a redneked Albertan, I never much liked folks from Quebec until I read Annie Lessard’s post directly above (10:42pm). A new respect has developed…

  267. Richard Evans, get with the times. Quebec just had a whole Bouchard-Taylor Commission in which full-throttle Islamophobia was a recurring theme (albeit over-reported). I’m sure you can find a highlight DVD on eBay somewhere. You’ll end up a starry-eyed Quebec ethnic nationalist. You might consider a vacation in beautiful Hérouxville, the Mecca (as it were) of Canadian Islamophobia.

  268. To redneck Richard: you will like this one posted on July 6. It was a “special salute to our friends in Alberta in this stampede season”. Scroll down to see the picture of the guy with a cowboy hat:

    http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/spip.php?breve570

    We are connected to the francophone blogosphere and you would be amazed at how (largely thanks to our site), Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn are heroes admired in France, Belgium, Switzerland, etc. When the French version of Steyn’s book was released, it was BIG NEWS all over those blogs.

    With cyberfriends of the francophone blogosphere, we translated and produced sub-titles of a fantastic interview of Mark Steyn. We are in the process of doing same for the YouTube clips of Ezra’s audition before the Alberta human rights commission.

    We all do this on our spare time, because the stakes are so high.

  269. Richard Evans, get with the times. Quebec just had a whole Bouchard-Taylor Commission in which full-throttle Islamophobia was a recurring theme (albeit over-reported).

    I’m well aware of the story; The community in question was tired of being dictated to by a group of immigrants. Said immigrants were dictating that the community needed to change this way and change that way and the community got fed up. They put their foot down and told the immigrants that if they wanted to live in the community that they’d have to adapt.

    The same would be expected of any Canadian who moved to a foreign country.

    How is that, in any way, relevant to the discussion at hand?

  270. Sorry Richard, I provided the wrong link. Here it is:

    LOL The first one was better!

  271. Jack Mitchell, you should take a look at these data from Statistics Canada on hate-motivated crimes.

    http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/080609/d080609a.htm

    Quebec is the province – and by far – with the lowest rate of hate-crimes in Canada. And Muslims are – and by far – the least vicitimized. Data do not support accusations of rampant hysterical islamophobia.

    The Bouchard-Taylor commission was an opportunity for a national conversation, and I can tell you that no violence was related to the hearings. We debate, talk, blog and write to editors. We don’t burn down embassies, behead people or threathen to kill anyone.

    Political correctness is not our cup of tea. One also has to understand our special sense of humour.

  272. About Hérouxville. Here is what Jonathan Kay wrote in the National Post, in a column titled “In the Defence of Herouxville”:

    “But what starts in Quebec won’t end here. The debate will spread, and we should be glad of that. For all the rhetorical stock Canadians have put in multiculturalism over the years, the fact remains that it is fundamentally incoherent:How do you intellectually defend a doctrine that preaches “tolerance” toward imported cultures that, themselves, are fundamentally intolerant toward women, gays, heretics and infidels?”

    “Giggle all you like at the bumpkins of Herouxville. At least, they’re smart enough to know this question can’t be answered. Maybe when the rest of us anglos get over our own guilty Western hangups, we’ll come to the same realization.”

    http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=248178ce-db43-4f7d-9370-f80dd141b69c&p=1

  273. Ma chère Annie, many thanks for proving my point! Of course I don’t think Quebec is more xenophobic than other parts of the country, but one of your fellow zealots was expressing his surprise that he could find spiritual kinship with people like yourself.

    “We don’t burn down embassies, behead people or threathen to kill anyone.”

    Indeed. In Hérouxville it is actually a crime to burn down an embassy or behead someone. It is very much the most progressive township in the country.

    I’d like to say how wonderful it is to see xenophobic paranoia bringing people together like this across the linguistic divide. These are indeed universal, serious issues, passionately embraced by people with serious issues everywhere.

  274. Jack Mitchell:
    “Richard Evans, get with the times. Quebec just had a whole Bouchard-Taylor Commission in which full-throttle Islamophobia was a recurring theme (albeit over-reported).”

    To me, Quebec’s decision to lauch the Bouchard-Taylor commision demonstrated how juvenile the rest of Canada is in comparison. They gave everyone, no matter how outrageous their views, a public venue to voice their concerns. It was like an province wide venting period.

    Of course, in the rest of Cananda we could never have something similar. The idea behind the HRCs (and the hatephobes that defend them)is that Canandians are so feeble minded and impressionable that mere exposure to anything remotely hateful will turn the whole lot of us us into violent rascists – eager to commit unspeakable acts against the first member of a minority group foolish enough to cross our path.

    This is, of course, complete foolishness. I say the rest of Cananda should follow the Quebec example and air our dirty laundry in the open air of public discourse rather than use the state to silence dissidents.

  275. There may be part of the story about Herouxville, related to the topic of lawfare, that was not reported in other provinces.

    A young Muslim guy published a poem calling non Muslim women in Quebec (and non veiled women) “drunken sluts”. Of course, there was a public outcry and he was later ridiculed by talk show hosts. He is suing the journalist plus the TV station for defamation. He also filed a complaint to the Press Council, claiming he was traumatized by the reaction to his poem. He never apologized for slandering us.

    He later organized a delegation of Muslim women to visit Herouxville and lecture them about “tolerance”…. People in Herouxville may be hilbillies, but they know a hypocrit when they meet one.

  276. but one of your fellow zealots was expressing his surprise that he could find spiritual kinship with people like yourself.

    Well, if wanting to be a free man in a country of free men makes me a zealot, then I guess I’m guilty as charged.

    What I don’t understand, Jack, is why you and your comrades above are so eager to have others control your thoughts and expressions.

  277. Québec has tabled a Bill titled:

    An Act to amend the Code of Civil Procedure to prevent abusive use of the courts and promote freedom of expression and citizen participation in public debate

    http://www.assnat.qc.ca/eng/38legislature1/Projets-loi/Publics/08-a099.htm

    It will pass this Fall, all parties being in agreement. The Bill applies only to regular courts of law, not the Human Rights commission, unfortunately.

    to promote freedom of expression and prevent abusive use of the courts, in particular the use of court proceedings to thwart the right of citizens to participate in public debate.

    For that purpose, the bill allows the courts to promptly dismiss a proceeding that is abusive. It specifies what may constitute an abuse of procedure and authorizes the reversal of the burden of proof if the abuse of procedure is obvious.

    The bill allows the courts to order the payment of a provision for costs, declare that a legal action is abusive, condemn a party to pay the fees and extrajudicial costs of the other party, and order a party to pay punitive damages.

  278. Annie:

    Well, it’s nice to hear at least one government in this country cares about the rights of its citizens.

  279. Ben, I believe Jonathan Kay (link to his article above) is right, that resistance to curtailment of freedom will start from Quebec and spread to the rest of Canada. Being a minority, we have a strong sense of our identity and we defend our values, especially equality of women, secularism of public institutions and freedom of expression, very passionately.

    Also, as I mentioned, political correctness is not as strong here as it is in the rest of Canada. Various outfits of the marxist-islamist alliance tried to have the hearings shut down, and some in the Anglo press expressed dismay at how candid citizens expressed themselves at the hearings.

    Bouchard and Taylor acknowledged that there are not many countries in the world where a open debate on such sensitive issue could be held peacefully. This is democracy in action at its best. We need to fight to protect it.

  280. I want to thank Mr. Izchek for his post. I trolled through Mr. Levant’s garbage and also found that he trashes eminent criminal lawyer Leo Adler who also provides his estimable services to the Simon Wiesenthal organization.

    You really have to wonder about anyone who seems to make it a full time obsession to plant lies and exagerations about these 2 men who together have done more battling hatred in Canada than Ezra can ever hope to do. And perhaps that’s the rub, Ezra is jealous of real Jewish leaders knowing his buffoonery is laughed at by the mainstream of the Jewish community.

  281. Whoa Nellie, I actually just clicked on the “Annie Lessard” link (I tend to avoid doing that for some reason . . . I suppose to avoid writing direct ad homines).

    But, uh, man oh man.

    So it turns out that T. Thwim, Ti-Guy, et al. really HAVE been debating card-carrying Islamophobes & their fans for two days. And I was wondering why it felt like talking to a brick wall. Well, click “Annie Lessard” and pass the hat.

    Jeepers.

  282. Jack, members of the UN Human Rights Council say that criticizing stoning, flogging, amputations, denial of freedom of conscience, death penalty for blasphemy or apostasy is islamophobic. Our sites also documents persecution of religious minorities in muslim-majority countries.

    What exactly is your own definition of “islamophobic”?

  283. So it turns out that T. Thwim, Ti-Guy, et al. really HAVE been debating card-carrying Islamophobes & their fans for two days. And I was wondering why it felt like talking to a brick wall. Well, click “Annie Lessard” and pass the hat.

    Do you have anything to contribute besides the ad-homs? Maybe a comment on the idea that the right to free thought and free expression are more important than partisan politics?

  284. Jack: “So it turns out that T. Thwim, Ti-Guy, et al. really HAVE been debating card-carrying Islamophobes & their fans for two days.”

    Translation: “EEK! A WITCH!! I knews it all along I did! I knows witchery when I sees it.”

    You’re really out of ideas, huh?