Ezra Levant, liberal

Ezra Levant swing by the office this afternoon; he was in town pimping his new book Shakedown, a pretty devastating look at the Human Rights industry in Canada. I’ve never met him before, but he seemed almost giddy when he showed up, fresh from a signing at a downtown Chapters where — apparently — there was a healthy lineup to get him to sign copies of the book.

Good on him. I was never a huge fan of Ezra’s political leanings, and the Western Standard was not really my cup of tea. But printing the Danish cartoons was courageous, and his subsequent fight with the AHRC was deeply principled and very nicely handled. Anyway, we had a nice chat for an hour or so, about everything from the origins of the human rights commissions to constitutional interpretation to the Galloway affair. He’s smart, engaging as hell, and his book is going to sell boatloads.

I’ll have a review of the book soon, and I might try to publish our discussion as a Q&A somewhere. Meanwhile, my personal  takeaway from our discussion is the subject line of this post. More later.




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Ezra Levant, liberal

  1. I agree he is small l, but then again Canada’s big L liberals are in many ways (MANY MANY) not small l liberal at all.

  2. Potter must be referring to classical liberalism, as opposed to the social liberalism most people think of when they hear the word “liberal”.

  3. “and his subsequent fight with the AHRC was deeply principled and very nicely handled”

    I spit my drink on my computer screen from that one.

  4. You’re right, he is a genius at selfless, highly principled self-promotion.

    • Personally, I’m not prepared to engage in ad hominem speculation about Ezra’s motives, which are unknowable to all but him. Most authors and prominent activists are self-promoters, regardless of their ideology. What interests me is whether Ezra, by testing the sytem, has produced useful insights on pertinent issues like free speech, human rights legislation, the deficiencies of the AHRC, etc.. If he does, everyone benefits, regardless his motives.

      • Meanwhile, however, the line between small-l liberalism and xenophobia has been blurred. Thanks, Ezra.

        • Got any evidence to support the xenophobia comment? Just curious – I haven’t really followed Ezra’s adventures enough to form an opinion of him.

          • I haven’t checked out his comment section yet, but it occurs to me that a free speech activist may not be all that interested in policing his blog comments. Stirring up a howling mob, you say? Perhaps Ezra refuses to censor his wingnut followers as a matter of principle.

          • He has also long been accepting donations from them — to what extent, who knows. Let’s just say there’s a certain symbiosis between the anti-HRC righteousness, the right-wing agenda (as per his posts & past history), and the festival of xenophobia that is his comments section.

          • Perhaps Ezra should devise some sort of magic litmus test so that he only accepts donations from his non-xenophobic followers. Seriously, you probably have a point about Ezra benefiting from some sort of unholy symbiosis between ideological free speechers and raving xenophobes who seek the freedom to express their abhorrent beliefs. But I’m not sure it’s evidence of hypocrisy or some sort of moral failure.

          • How about not accepting donations at all? Or not having a comments section when it’s full of wackos? (Or was; it seems to have calmed down now from where it was a year ago after his viral YouTube coup; I guess people have lost interest.) He didn’t need the money: as Mike T. comments below, he was never in danger of being fined — the complainant was a moron; he chose to engage a lawyer, chose to incur legal costs — despite the fact that he himself is a lawyer! His website is just a huge noise-making machine.

          • His website is just a huge noise-making machine.

            Ezra himself is a huge noise-making machine. As I mentioned, I don’t really care about his motivations or his alleged character flaws. If, through his actions, he has exposed fundamental defects in human rights commissions across our fair land, then he has performed a useful public service.

          • I wouldn’t deny that — that he’s done good work on this particular file, I mean. In fact that’s what I find so infuriating. Ah well, nobody civilised stepped up to the plate, so I guess one has to concede that it’s sometimes useful to have an evil little sharp-toothed hobbit around. Credit where credit is due.

          • Check out the controversy around his “hijab wearing bus driver”. The column was pulled and it is rumored thats why the Calgary Herald (I think) gave him the boot. Xenophobia doesn’t begin to describe it.

  5. I wish I had the courage to make myself the centre of attention by exploiting controversies that have nothing to do with me.

    • I’ve got a great idea, Darrell. We’ll wait until Monday when fresh. Then I’ll libel you — it would help if you could give me some details on who you are — on these blogs. We’ll have to choose something controversial; are you a farmer, by any chance? Or a lesbian Gypsy? Anyway, we’ll sort that out. So you sue me, and I set up a website for my defense and countersue you. You can set up a website too. We’ll both have “donations buttons” and we can blog away about how unfair it is and how cruel our lives have become. Also talk radio. When nobody notices, we can blame the journalistic conspiracy. Meanwhile the donations will go through the roof. Is it better to pool the donations and split it 50-50, do you think, or should we just each keep our own donations? We’d both be aggrieved, I guess, but those who enjoy insulting lesbian Gypsy farmers are probably more numerous than said farmers themselves, so I might raise more money than you; 50-50 would be fairer, maybe. Anyway, let me know your details and we can make this thing work.

      • We should talk offline.

        You’ll be happy to know that I’m engaging as hell.

  6. Sure, Darrell, nothing to do with him, save for Sowhardy’s human rights complaint, which was directed against, you guessed it, him.
    Next time, get your facts straight before you post.

    • The cartoons. Did he draw them?

      No. He courted controversy by publishing them long after they had already caused controversy elsewhere. This was his alleged ‘courageous act’.

      The human rights complaint came after.

      • ‘long after they had already caused controversy elsewhere’

        If memory serves correctly they were published concurrently to said controversy thus shedding light. Also, who cares when they were published.

  7. I imagine he’s extremely ingratiating to anybody who works for a paper that can afford to pay people.

    And whatever he told you about the Human Rights Commission was probably irrelevant, misleading, a lie or all three.

    • I don’t see Potter as some credulous fool who got suckered by Ezra’s slick ingratiation. It seems like Potter formed a positive impression of Ezra’s work, despite the obvious political differences, so I’m curious to find out why.

      • It’s that Levant is on the very firm ground indeed with his small-l liberalism and the HRC complaints. That couldn’t help appealing to Potter. From one point of view, Levant is indeed the standard-bearer of Free Speech, which almost everyone is in favour of. The problem arises when Levant, who is not a very deep thinker, equates the fight for free speech with his own particular political ideology, which is not liberal-minded at all (to say the least).

        • If you mean on firm ground with the HRCs in that the complaints, despite his grandstandng and protestations, were unlikely to succeed and any penalties would be trivial, then I agree (If I recall correctly, they were dropped without even going to a hearing).

          • There are costs incurred even if the complaints are dropped without going to a hearing. It would be nice if those costs could be recouped from your accuser if they have no basis. Y’know, like in a real court.

          • Like what, photocopies?

          • Some people’s time is valuable (unlike an internet blog commentator) and you still would be advised to retain legal counsel. Even lawyers themselves are also advised to retain legal counsel for their own protection, because it is best to have a second opinion.

            So some means in which punishing those who bring nuisance complaints would be ideal. Of course, the best way to determine whether someone is bringing a nuisance complaint is to have someone qualified to do so… like a judge!

          • Administrative tribunals are extremely efficient in terms of costs when compared with real court and a person is much more able to represent themselves or have an agent. The costs argument is an extremely overblown and tiresome canard

          • So put reforms in place to ensure that the canard truly has no basis. Even small costs are great when people have little, and again, the cost of a person’s time and reputation are not insignificant. Plus, I could represent myself in a court as well, but as hell am not going to. If I ever get dragged before the Human Rights Commission of course I’m going to hire a lawyer, and I imagine you would too.

          • If you are talking about every single tribunal from employment standards hearings to labour boards to utilities reveiws to professional organizations then i have no particular qualm with that argument although I may disagree. If like so many hacks on the subject your only talking about human rights commissions than I think the criticism is unfair.

        • So Jack, only your “particular political ideology” is free speech worthy?
          And if not donations, how does an individual fight the taxpayer supported HRC inquisitors.
          I’d be curious to know how many defendants in HRC cases caved due to lack of funds. I’ll bet the HRC never has that problem.
          One other point. It was the HRC that left the reservation. They decided to chase boogie men. Even “wackos”
          have the right to defend themselves.

          • So Jack, only your “particular political ideology” is free speech worthy?

            Give it a rest, glak. For the record, this is exactly the kind of trap that Levant has baited and set with his anti-HRC crusade.

            Do you see, Mr. Potter, do you see? Do you see what glak and Levant are doing here? As soon as I express my distaste for Levant’s views (well, not “as soon as” but pretty quickly) I get attacked (mildly, here) for my alleged appetite for censoring those views. I do not want to censor them. I believe in free speech. But free speech is merely being used as a shield against legitimate political debate (or, in this case, random insult from me). Levant is as guilty as the HRC’s of turning free speech into a partisan charade.

    • “I imagine he’s extremely ingratiating to anybody who works for a paper that can afford to pay people.”

      I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it.

      “And whatever he told you about the Human Rights Commission was probably irrelevant, misleading, a lie or all three.”

      Nice to be as omnipotent as you. Question; do you ever deal in facts?

      • see above.

  8. Was printing those cartoons so brave – maybe, but hardly selfless. My view is basically a libertarian one. You should be able to say whatever you like about anyone, providing yr prepared to accept the consequences if it should come to libel or slander. But the burden of proof should always lie squarely with the alleged injured party – at least to my limited understanding of such things.
    But getting back to those cartoons – is the right to speak yr mind the same as a duty to? When does a right to speak yr mind- free speech cross over into unnecessary provocation? Sure you can do it, but should you? Always! My feeling on Ezra is that he likes controversy, maybe even craves it. These are just opinions, but i find it difficult to respect a man who seeks out confrontation, and then proclaims to all the world that he’s only acting from a simple desire to defend his ancient freedoms. Ezra Levant looks like a provacative victim to me

    • “When does a right to speak yr mind- free speech cross over into unnecessary provocation?”

      All the while claiming to be the victim.

    • Then wouldn’t it be best if we handled it through libel law? It would starve the Ezra Levant’s of the world as well as protecting them. Win/win right?

  9. By the bye, Mr. Potter, can you please post a link to your LRC review of John Ralston Saul’s book, when it comes online? It’s a terrific review and we should comment upon (as opposed to snipe at) it.

    • Gee Jack thanks. So nice of you to take a pause from the insults and hostility.

      • Hey, give me something substantive and I respond every time.

  10. Amazing how seemingly smart people still have trouble with the concept that free speech only counts if you are prepared to defend the rights of those with whom you disagree the most .

    • No no, MYL, it counts all the time. And it is perfectly consistent to say that one defends Levant’s right to free speech and wishes he were dropped off the CN Tower.

    • Even more surprising are people who actually feel that if you are against hate speech you are against all speech.

      • Well, it is just you are so inconsistent about it. You are just fine with calling something hate speech, but then when someone of your tribe says the same speech but changes the nouns, then that’s not a problem.

        Yeah, our tribe does that too, and abuses that power. All the better to ensure the process has sufficient legal protections for everyone. You never know which tribe is going to be in charge of which instrument of power. I have the suspicion that many people on the left don’t mind the irregularities of the Human Rights Commissions because they are confident that the people who are employed by them are the “right kind of people” and therefore can be trusted. What if the people who are employed by the HRC’s are people like me with the same amount of discretion and lack of oversight? They might be someday you know. You don’t even need a proper education in the law.

        You know, if I was staffing HRC’s by appointment, I might think clergy would be ideal to determining human rights, given their strong background in ethics and community involvement…

        • yawn.

  11. Read comments from Critical Reasonning and Jack Mitchell.

    Two examples of Ezra Levant’s crossing the line between liberal and xenophobia and homophobia :

    1. Questionning Dion’s loyalty to Canada because he holds dual citizenship. I believe Ezra started this.

    2. The Pettigrew and his chauffeur affair. You can easily find the article on the web where Levant cannot imagine that, in a country where same-sex partners have the same rights as heterosexual couples, that suggesting a romantic entanglement between one man and another man would qualify as any sort of slander. And yet, doesn’t it seem like there might be more to this tale of the minister and his driver than a strictly professional relationship?

    Did Ezra Levant ever bother to phone and ask before publishing this? Obviously not.

    • Your number 1 is a political argument. Your number 2, if it’s slander, has a remedy available to any victim.

      Your overall thrust suggests that Mr. Levant is somehow not worthy of free speech, which calls for a re-read of my comment of about 45 minutes ago.

    • I use substitution a lot to understand arguments. So I’m going to posit a scenario.

      I need to crap and I’m free to do so.

      I choose Main Street instead of my bathroom.

      People are upset with me and suggest my practice be curtailed.

      What should I do?

      • You, and the people who are upset with you taking a dump in the street, appeal to a proper judiciary I expect.

        • I might surrender to public opinion. That would be the likely outcome, since I wouldn’t want anyone imitating my bad behaviour. But then I’m not Ezra, who apparently believes people should be able to do whatever they please in defense of the human condition.

          • Sometimes liberty, or the human condition, needs to be defended by activists and instigators who “test the system” so the rest of us don’t have to.

  12. And as to “advancing the cause” of free speech, if you look around the political landscape, you see the sight of nothing happening. An important component of this nothingness is due to the fact that its Ezra leading the charge. Ezra and a boatload of fringe crazies

    • You nailed it, bigcitylib. An idea that should be fresh & pure as snow now smells slightly of sulphur. Perhaps Mr. Potter will become the new standard-bearer and we can get behind him instead. I wouldn’t back Ezra Levant if he were the only voice advocating the liberation of the serfs.

    • I realize that social liberals generally consider themselves to be the origin of all big ideas, and the culmination of all human thought, which is why they are “progressive.” Therefore, if someone not of their tribe brings something to their attention, it should be immediately discounted.

      • I realize that social conservatives generally consider themselves to be devoid of ideas, and to see the culmination of all human thought with the Rapture, which is why they are “regressive.” Therefore, if someone not of their tribe brings something to their attention, that someone should be immediately stoned to within an inch of their life.

        • Ah, regressive is a label you guys use, along with reactionary. Your ideology has a much more recent example of using bullets and reeducation camps to ensure you can deal with those regressive reactionaries.

        • I see you enjoyed my “reverse engineering” of your comment. I don’t “believe” what I wrote. I am merely trying to show you the meaning of the term “logical fallacy”.

          • I was myself responding to “Ezra and his boatload of crazies” and “the issue now stinks of sulfur”. One good ad hominem deserves another.

          • Therefore, if someone not of their tribe brings something to their attention, it should be immediately discounted.

            I don’t think this is what bcl and jack are saying at all. In fact, they’re saying the opposite of that, imho (which is what archangel was trying to get at with his attempt to display a “logical fallacy”). They’re not saying that Levant’s worthy points SHOULD be discounted because Levant is who he is, they’re saying that they are now, and probably will continue to be, discounted, because of who Levant is. They’re lamenting that fact.

            BCL’s point isn’t “Levant’s a nut at the head of a bunch of crazies, so we should ignore everything he has to say, even it it seems like a good idea”. His point is “Isn’t it too bad that because Levant’s a nut at the head of a bunch of crazies, people will tend to ignore everything he has to say, even if it seems like a good idea.”.

    • It is always ‘crazies’ that need defending when the state starts to persecute them. Liberals are rarely persecuted in Canada for what they say. Why would they be? All of the rights that we have in Canada come from hated people winning them in court in the face of entrenched power and opinion.

      There was a case in British Columbia a few years ago where a policeman followed a trail of blood into a house and arrested a man for murder. The evidence gathered in that situation was thrown out because the police did not respect the person’s charter rights for privacy and that no warrant was had to enter the house.

      Do you think that a person who says something objectionable should have less rights than someone who allegedly murdered?

      The reaction of people like you to what Ezra is doing says more about you than Ezra. And it is not complementary. Maybe you should sue me for thinking such vile thoughts about you personally.

      Derek

  13. Well, some topics really bring out the best in this lot.

    • Not bad eh?

      • I suppose what I should have done is have the man over for a civil chat, and then proceeded to unload on him with partisan sniping and insults on my blog. I guess that’s what a real journalist would have done. I’m still learning this game.

        • Further to the “nothing happening”. It looks as though Alberta Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett is very slowly backing away from his Alberta Human Rights Act reform pakage. Earlier discussions in caucus were deferred and today he is indicating that the package might only “possibly” be this spring.

          Ezra may not even be able to push his agenda through a Tory majority legislature in Alberta.

          But I mean he’s not the only holdup. You had the Aryan Guard out raising trouble a week ago in downtown Calgary. Their numbers have been on the increase the last year, and apparently they are all drawn to Alberta as the land of freedom.

          Draw the connections as you see fit.

          • bigcitylib, it’s attitudes like yours which cause Albertans to loathe “big city liberals”. At the rally, twenty members of the “Aryan guard” were drowned out by a vastly larger number of anti-racism demonstrators.

            Personally, I don’t see Neo-nazis as a big problem in Canada. They are the lunatic fringe of a lunatic fringe, a microscopic flea riding on the back of a tiny flea. Probably two-thirds of them have some sort of mental health issue.

            There are perhaps 200 neo-Nazis in a country with a population of 33 million. Instead of trying to “draw” tenuous connections, you should do the math.

          • I’m an Ezra Levant supporter, so I’m unsure of the “moderation” needed. The comment was to underline the fact that people of many persuasions are drawn to Alberta and not just the kooks “bigcitylib” refers to. My submission was not out of line with the previous post.

        • It’s called tall pol syndrome.

        • Sorry you’re offended by the reaction of some to Ezra Levant. A few of us probably best remember him as one of the more ludicrous of the Reform talking heads back in the day. Stiff competition with Jason Kenney.
          Both among the great minds of the 18th century. Anyway, enjoy.
          That’s why God made scroll wheels.

        • The effect is the same as dripping blood into a shark tank.

          Andrew, your civil chat with Ezra certainly piqued my curiosity. I look forward to reading the full report.

        • Gee, another disappointed subscriber ? Oh, well. Alberta Report. Western Report. Western Standard.
          Maybe you can get in line and appeal to the Donner folks.

        • I suppose what you should have done is not post about how impressed you were with Ezra Levant, without saying why. If that’s not an open invitation to character assassination, what is? Do some research on the man first. You are new at this, I guess.

        • My comment was a bit of cheeky humor, nothing more.

          • Didn’t strike me as funny. But that’s the way i am i guess. Full marks for almost apologizing.

  14. The problem arises when Levant, who is not a very deep thinker, equates the fight for free speech with his own particular political ideology, which is not liberal-minded at all (to say the least).

    Well let’s face it Jack…that’s because nobody else is stepping up to the plate to protect the free speech of conservative thinking individuals.

    Look at all the press coverage about the threat to left winger George Galloway’s freedom of speech (never mind the fact that his case is not a freedom of speech issue). It’s a media circus. And he’s not even a Canadian citizen.

    Where was this attention from the media when Ezra was being ground through the AHRC machine? He, and a few columnists and editorials, were the only ones speaking up.

    • Well I have to disagree with you on that one re: Galloway not being a free speech issue. Unless the Conservatives can provide something that makes him a security threat, then what else *can* this be other than a hamfisted attempt to suppress his ability to speak in Canada based on a difference of opinion?

      • Unless some sort of ministerial impropriety is demonstrated, this is a border security issue, not a free speech issue. Personally, I think there should be some sort of formal review process for CBSA rulings. I don’t think Galloway is a threat, so he should be allowed in.

    • That’s a very fair point, john g, and a true indictment of us all (esp. those with media clout who could have weighed in). I wish, I wish that Levant were not the standard-bearer on this.

      The Brits don’t seem all that excited about Galloway & free speech; perhaps the more one knows about the Levants and Galloways the less one is inclined to jump on their bandwagons. We couldn’t have two more depressing poster boys.

      • I don’t see Levant as a “standard-bearer”. He’s more a one-off who capitalized on a flaw in our judicial system. The flaw being unfettered busy bodies.
        If only kangaroo courts were always this easy to slap down.

        • “If only kangaroo courts were always this easy to slap down.”

          Yeah, well, exactly. Where’s the political action to remove speech from their purview? I guess some Brodie has decided it would alienate the GTA ridings the Tories have their sights on. I don’t think it would, though: if properly handled, it would be a non-issue. Just leave the extremists out of it on both sides and pass a law on principle. You wouldn’t be shutting down the HRC’s, just removing speech from their purview.

          What troubles me even more is that there hasn’t been an appeal ruling striking down the HRC’s, possibly because no one has appealed it. I was rather ticked off at Maclean’s, for instance, that they put up such a fight (in terms of lawyers and in terms of propaganda) at their Steyn hearing, instead of a bare-bones approach that might have seen them fined. If they’d been fined, they could have appealed the constitutionality of the HRC’s; if there was ever an open-and-shut Charter case, this is it. But no, they dropped the ball, and we’re left with the status quo.

          • You’re mad at an unrelated defendant in a stupid tribunal process this defendant did not deserve, on the basis of how they chose to (successfully) defend themselves? Dude! Maclean’s does not owe you a single-handed risk of martyrdom in order to stand up for the rights we should all bloody well be standing up for ourselves!

            This is just weird, Jack. Your comments often demonstrate the gift of perspective. What happened?

          • Well then, enough with the martyrdom pose, from Maclean’s & from Levant. You can’t have it both ways. Either you’re fighting to overturn the law (in which case you need to lose & appeal) or you’re just some random dude. If Levant and Maclean’s haven’t got the guts to appeal, who does?

          • Haven’t followed Levant much, eh Jack? That uppity Calgarian came just short of spitting in their faces with a come-and-get-me attitude from the get-go. Even reprinted the proven-by-conviction offensive homophobic rant of one already convicted Albertan. Alberta’s bureaucrats ran away whimpering from Ezra, Jack. You can’t “have the guts” to appeal when the other side forfeits in fear. Feel free to read up on the Levant & Maclean’s cases a wee bit, mate. You’re suggesting that two defendants used cowardice to win their cases, when it is the HRC’s that cowered away from the publicity when they could see that actual real live Canadians started watching what they were up to. Get up to speed, and your comments will likely return to their more well-informed selves.

          • Thanks for the condescension, MYL. You give to the needy from your ample store.

            Of course I’ve followed the Macleans’s/Levant epic. Day-by-day, during the peak period. You are willfully misunderstanding my point. By baring his fangs so ferociously, Levant scared the Alberta HRC mightily; likewise the Maclean’s legal team in BC. If their object was merely to win their own cases, that was the right strategy; if they’d meant to actually effect change in the law, they would have had to lose the case, be fined, appeal, roll out the big guns, and win the constitutional argument. As it is, they both give the impression of being so scared for their own skins in their particular that they didn’t lure the HRC’s into the trap of a constitutional challenge. That would have needed guts, and it would not only have publicised the HRC’s but overturned the law. Every moment you complain about the HRC’s henceforth, remember that there are two reasons they still exist: Levant and Maclean’s.

          • You left out the third reason for the HRC still exists – limp governments.

            Jack, your possible the most prolific poster ever. Is there more than one of you. Like a brace of grouse or a murder of crows, is it possible there’s a sniggering of Mitchells toiling in some deep dark library cellar.

          • Your wit is delightful, glak. You must practice, you have talent.

  15. I do remember Ezra speaking at a Liberty Summer Seminar, in which he referred to himself as a “liberal.” By which he meant “classic liberal” of the type that existed during the late 18th and 19th centuries, the “inglorious bastards” who started the newspapers and political tracts that were the forerunners of today’s punditocracy.

  16. Perhaps he is thinking of John Wilkes, who was another pretty disagreeable individual who none the less moved the cause of liberty along in England in the late 18th century.

  17. Re: “…and his book is going to sell boatloads.”

    Fearless prediction: No it won’t. It will be hello remainder bin in no time.

  18. I have read “Shakedown” and found it interesting . However I also found a gross error not one of omission but one of commission.

    Early on in the book Levant makes the claim that the Canadian Jewish Congress “paid John Garrity,a small time mercenary,to build up the fledgling Canadian Nazi Party….Garrity – and the CJC’s money – built the Canadian Nazi Party into a media sensation.”

    This is frankly just a lie. I am very familiar with this history and well before the Garrity incident Canadian Nazi leader John William Beattie and his gang had garnered the media spotlight. They were albeit small but by goosestepping down the streets of Toronto , wearing Nazi uniforms and distributing nazi propaganda which even made its way into schools they had the city’s Jewish community in fear. After all it was only less that 20 years since the Holocaust at the time.

    This chapter from a book by noted historian Franklin Bialystok tells the whole story not the made-up one by Levant.

    http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/cjs/article/viewFile/3474/2674

    I also have a copy of the actual MacLeans article that Levant based this fiction on. The story published in MacLeans on October 1st 1966, entitled “I spied on the Nazis” was written by by Garrity himself. As I recall his full expenditure was about $100.00, buying some alcohol and costs for copying lists and materials. These costs have been inflated by Levant to create an impression that the CJC boosted and funded the Canadian Nazi Party. It is gross and irresponsible writing. The fact that Levant would make up stories when the truth is there for any decent journalist to uncover tells us more about Levant than we possibly care to know.

  19. Kevin, you have to know that Ezra has basically bamboozled some very smart journalists into believing his fairy-tales. He was “outed” as a person who “makes things up” by Professor Richard Moon, who was hired by the CHRC to look at Section 13. Moon was livid at Ezra’s tactics of obfuscation and fibbing:

    Below From National Post

    http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1271435

    “Prof. Moon targeted Ezra Levant in particular, whose blog is a clearinghouse for skepticism of human rights law, and who claimed the day before Prof. Moon’s report was released that it had been “redacted by Jennifer Lynch,” the chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

    “The claim was false,” Prof. Moon told the all-party panel. “I was given complete independence, and when my report was released the following day and recommended the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the falsity of Levant’s claim was obvious. He had just made it up. He thought he knew what I would say and he sought to discredit the report in advance by attacking me and the commission rather than the arguments I might make.”

    And there is more. Ezra likes to tell people that the BC Human Rights Commission sided with a worker at McDonalad’s who refused to wash her hands and held up her right to have dirty hands. As usual for anyone who actually took the time to read the full decision will see quite clearly that

    http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/decisions/2007/pdf/aug/324_Datt_v_McDonalds_Restaurants_%28No_3%29_2007_BCHRT_324.pdf

    there was no argument that employees not wash their hands. The issue was that McDonald’s didn’t make an effort to work with the person to find an accomodation. She had a terrible skin rash and was unable to use soaps or solvents. This was a problem of insurance company case-workers not communicating with McDonald’s, and McDonald’s making a bad choice and refusing to do things that the law requires them to do: to try and find some other way for the employee to continue their job.

    The managers, when they gave it any thought at all, were directing their “creative energy” to all the ways an accomodation wouldn’t work, instead of thinking of possible accomodations. The Supreme Court has already noted that this is not permissable and th BCHRC was upholding the law.

    In other words there is enough in Levant’s writings then repeated in his book that are provably false. But reviewers are more taken with his bombast and never look past as Moon said “his making things up”. I am hopeful that when Andrew Potter really looks into Ezra Levant’s book he will expose it for what it is.

  20. “Or not having a comments section when it’s full of wackos?”

    I was going o suggest the same thing about MacLean’s, but then what would Jack Mitchell do with his days

  21. @Jack, a key point is that publishing the cartoons was the right thing to do. If it annoyed people like Sayed, it just proved the point further. Can’t anyone get that intentionally provoking an over-reaction using a cartoon demonstrates something fundamental about the people who sue and scream (and bomb)? The bard wrote it down: “me thinks you protesteth too much”

    Further if some bureaucratic bimbo wants to be involved in some self-aggrandizing judgement of supposed hate speech (“I will judge your intentions, for I am a tribunalist, and I perceive your heart from afar”), then she deserves to lambasted at every street corner. So, you want a more “reasoned” approach? Sometimes principle is at stake. Sometimes a pseudo-academic paper written by the same crowd of people that sit on the tribunal isn’t gonna cut it. Make some noise. Change things. Get off your butt.

    @Mike T, don’t even try to compare hate speech censorship to things dealt with on an “administrative tribunal”. One is a matter of fundamental principle. The other, well, excruciatingly boring minutia that courts don’t want to waste time on.

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