Reading Ezra, Writing Ezra -

Reading Ezra, Writing Ezra


Hokey doke, here’s my 1800-word review of Shakedown. For those with better things to do on this beautiful Sunday, the takeaway, I think, is this:

…you should probably read Shakedown. Because what is really at issue here is not official discrimination, free speech or the growing power of Muslims. It is about something even more fundamental: the right to due process and the dangers of arbitrary government….


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Reading Ezra, Writing Ezra

  1. It is about something even more fundamental: the right to due process and the dangers of arbitrary government….

    Snort. It’s about Ezrah’s bloated ego.

    • Idiot.

      • Ezrah isn’t an idiot. You can’t become a snake oil salesman of his caliber by being an idiot. Now as for the rubes who line up to buy his snake oil, that’s another story. They’re so enthralled by Ezrah’s pitch that calling them an idiot would actually be considered a compliment.

        • It’s Ezra, idiot, not “Ezrah”. For pete’s sake Andrew Potter has it in head-size type and you still spell it wrong.

  2. Did you really have to start with a 616-pixels-tall close-up of angry Ezra Levant face? Because that was kind of jarring.

  3. “Except no evidence is given for this…”

  4. Finally a scapegoat… JMD ruined the global and Canadian economies!

  5. That’s an interesting take, because it tends to be in procedural areas where Levant asks his followers to swallow steaming mouthfuls of horse-pucky (see his last column in MacLeans, where an employer not making any attempt to accommodate an employee suddenly becomes OMG HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS MEAN MCDONALDS EMPLOYEES DON’T HAVE TO WASH THEIR HANDS!!!) Ezra is in no way a man dedicated to providing a realistic picture of how human rights commissions work, and that has to be kept at

    If you don’t feel there should be restrictions on hate speech, fine. I disagree but I don’t think the view is necessarily crazy. But the “this is how HRCs work” tales of the far right drive me crazy with their misleading statements from the few and repitition by the less-informed many.

    I would also be interested in how you arrived at your conclusion that Ezra’s six figure costs are “real”. Did he just pile a bunch of receipts on the table and say all were connected to the case? Was this fact checked or taken at face value? Were any legal fees checked against work performed or at least evaluated in assessment proceedings? This is a matter I would like to see properly documented once and for all.

    • and of course, the first paragraph should end “kept in mind”

    • Mike T, read the ruling for yourself if your hatred means you can’t stomach the thought of reading Levant’s synopsis. The ruling actually stated that there was no evidence of:

      •the relationship between food contamination and hand-washing;
      •the risk to the public if Datt’s hand-washing was limited;

      Perhaps the BC government should be brought before the HRC, for writing in section 21-3 of its Food Premisis Regulations that “Every operator of food premises must ensure that each employee washes his or her hands as often as necessary to prevent the contamination of food”? If there is no evidence of the link between handwashing and food safety, then obviously the entire act is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attack on people who can’t wash their hands.

      It also says McDonalds was advised by the employee’s own doctor that she was not capable of working in a restaurant.

      But you go ahead and keep suggesting that Levant is the one spreading misinformation. I’m pretty comfortable with his facts, when yours are the alternative.

      • I have read the determination and my analysis is correct. Yours is faulty.

        • I stated 4 facts in my argument:

          1) That the tribunal ruled there was no evidence between handwashing and food contamination
          2) That the tribunal ruled there was no evidence of risk to the public if Datt didn’t wash her hands
          3) That section 21-3 of the BC Food Premises Regulations states that employers are required to ensure adequate handwashing by employees to prevent food contamination
          4) That McDonalds was advised by the employee’s own doctor that she was not capable of working in a restaurant.

          Care to provide an example to counter any of the facts I presented? Or just content to spread misinformation?

          • You made four statements. The first two are outright fabrications.

            “Fact” three isn’t incorrect but you “conveniently” forgot that the tribunal showed that McDonald’s never considered whether the employee could be employed in some capacity and still meet legal food safety requirements. Funny how that little bit never comes out, isn’t it?

            “FAct” four is correct in that a medical professional told the employee she would never return to her position. But this evaluation was based on her work as the employer described it, not as it could have been if proper accommodation evaluation had occurred. Since it is the employer who knows how their workplace runs, it is up to them to examine if they can alter the workplace requirements.

            All of which is negated by the fact that the real deal is that McDonalds fired her without looking into whether she could be accommodated at all. They never ever budged from the requirement that to work in any capacity she had to follow the handwashing instructions to the letter. Since they didn’t evaluate her properly and the employee put forth some evidence that there were some jobs she could do and that she could wash her hands to a lesser extent, they failed in their duty. The tribunal was even quite clear that at the end of the day, it was possible that the employee couldn’t have been accommodated and there might have been no choice but to let her go. But since this wasn’t obvious and the employer made no effort to look into it, they failed in their duty.

            As it turns out, you are no more credible than Levant on this topic. I bid you good day.

          • You made four statements. The first two are outright fabrications.

            From the BCHRT ruling, page 66, paragraph 240:

            “Further, there was no evidence about the relationship between food contamination and hand-washing frequency.”

            Mike T, you are beyond spreading misinformation; you are an out and out liar.

          • Actually, I can accept that it wasn’t an outright fabrication, although it was closer to being so than being objective truth.

            The context to your cutesy little statement is that McDonald’s didn’t put forth any evidence. So really it’s No evidence from McDonald’s to show that the handwashing policy was necessary to meet health standards.

            And that’s a context Ezra doens’t want his followers to know. Generally, they’re more than happy to oblige.

            This is exactly the type of malarkey that Ezra likes to pull. Out of context, misleading, essentially a falsehood. But if we keep working, we can expose his chicanery for the load of bull it is!

      • No John G, that is not the case. The ruling states that McDonald’s policy of “frequent” handwashing was put in place for good reasons. Note that frequent here means quite a bit more often than once every half hour, because the complainants Dr. suggested that she probably would be able to wash her hands once every half hour. Macdonalds got into trouble because, as Mike T. states, they didn’t even bother to see if they could fit her into another position.

        After she had worked for them for 20 years.

        • Paragraph 67 of the ruling:

          On November 14, 2003, Dr. Kitson wrote to GWL stating that Ms. Datt could not work in the restaurant business.

          Paragraph 73 of the ruling:

          In her view, she could wash her hands every half-hour, which someone might consider to be frequent.

          It was not the doctor who suggested that she could wash her hands every half hour. It was her. The doctor categorically stated, in his professional medical opinion, that she could not work in a restaurant. Period. Get your facts straight.

          Let’s pretend the situation was reversed. Let’s pretend they tried to accommodate her in some way, kept her on board, despite being given a professional medical opinion that she was “not capable of restaurant work”. And somebody got sick or died.

          And it later came to light that McDonalds had on staff that day someone who was incapable of washing her hands according to standard, so much so that a professional medical opinion, which McDonalds was fully aware of, was that she was not capable of working in a restaurant.

          You think the legal department at McDonalds would be satisfied with that arrangement?

          • addressed and debunked above.

          • Check out 73:

            “Dr. Kitson said, in answering the questions set out in the report, that Ms. Datt could not perform any job requiring “frequent hand washing ever” and that she could not “currently” return to a restaurant position with McDonald’s. Ms. Datt said that, had she seen this report before she was terminated, she would have discussed with Dr. Kitson what he meant by the term “frequent”. In her view, she could wash her hands every half-hour, which someone might consider to be frequent. Also in his report when asked if Ms. Datt “could ever return to a restaurant position at her previous employer”, Dr. Kitson’s response was “yes”.”

            Although, admittedly his remarks are a bit ambiguous on this issue.

            All of which Ezra ignores, by the way.

  6. I wonder if you’d care to share the reason you add an H to the end of his name.

  7. But, that’s precisely what happened, to the detriment of a multibillion dollar company employing thousands of Canadians whose reputation rests on corporate cleanliness standards.

    No it isn’t and that’s a prime example of how Ezrah has distorted the truth. The actual ruling cited that McDonalds failed to enter evidence to bolster their case that the employee needed to wash their hands for public health reasons. Considering there has been volumes written on the subject that establish this pretty much beyond the shadow of a doubt, it shows just how lazy the lawyers for McDonalds were. If you don’t enter evidence into any kind of court proceeding the judge is not required to acknowledge it. Ezrah is a lawyer who should understand the basic fact that lawyers are required to, you know, argue their case either for the plaintiff of defendant.

    The ruling also cited that McDonalds made no effort to place the employee in a position that would not require them to excessively wash their hands. All they kept doing was giving the employee time off and when their hands had healed putting them back into the exact same situation.

    I’ve read the ruling on this case and it’s pretty clear that McDonalds and their lawyers dropped the ball. And I’m certain McDonalds didn’t suffer any ill effects from this ruling, contrary to your silly belief that an HRC ruling in favour of an employee would harm a multibillion dollar company.

    • see?! see?! This is the type of discussion we should be having on this topic!!!

    • Dropped the ball? Just the fact this actually made it to trial is insane.

      And secondly, in a restaurant, there is no position that does not require hand-washing! Are you nuts? This isn’t a bowling alley, it’s a restaurant! All employees in McDonald’s restaurants handle food!

      • Just the fact this actually made it to trial is insane.

        Why? The employee had worked for McDonalds for 23 years and likely developed the skin condition as a result of their hand washing policy.

        All employees in McDonald’s restaurants handle food!

        No they don’t. The dedicated cleaning staff don’t handle food.

        • Facts are just too darned inconvenient for some.

        • There are no dedicated cleaning staff. I worked in a McDonald’s and there were no dedicated cleaning staff.

    • I’ve just read the ruling as well, and you are correct – they dropped the ball.

  8. Every single word of the above post is inaccurate and foolish. Sadly, it is typical of that particular side of the argument.

    We’d all be much better off if we stuck to “should there be restrictions on hate speech?” rather than pretending Levant was accurately portraying HRCs and their proceedings.

  9. Grrr, trust Andrew Potter to review a book in an evenhanded and thoughtful manner. A fine piece of writing. I wish someone would just appeal one of these cases, preferably a free speech case, so that we could get this all sorted out. We live, after all, in a country obsessed with rights, patrolled by the most interventionist judiciary in the history of mankind; I am quite sure that, if an appellate court were presented with a free speech HRC case, they would rule against the HRC’s, if there is indeed a case to be made against their authority and/or procedures.

    • Agreed Jack. This is why Maclean’s and Levant were hoping to lose their tribunal cases, so as to appeal them in a real court. In both cases, however, the tribunals saw which way the wind was blowing and chose self-preservation, prefering instead to stick to those without the resources to mount a proper appeal after being drained by the tribunal process itself.

      • Not to descend into the remote past, but is that what they were doing? Both hired hot-shot lawyers and publicised their struggles which, as you say, frightened the tribunals. If they’d wished to appeal, they would have looked weak initially and lured the HRC’s into an appeal. Seems to me they were both glad to have the publicity for their first round but didn’t care to help strike down the law.

        • I find the argument that Ezra’s/MacLeans publicity affected the outcome of their cases pretty spurious. Rather, I suspect that MacLeans and Levant are using it to further their persecution complexes.

        • No doubt Jack that doing so would have resulted in a conviction, at least in Ezra’s case. But without having the hotshot lawyers around from the beginning, I have to question how well an appeal would go. If you were going to mount an appeal of an HRC decision to the real legal system, you would presumably want the lawyer that you would use for the appeal around for the entire process, no?

          And Ezra doesn’t have deep pockets. He’s relied on donations from his readership to fund his legal battles so far. I have to question whether or not Ezra could have built the war chest needed to fund his legal defense and appeal by waiting for the inevitable conviction before starting his fundraising.

          • I don’t really buy the “Ezra doesn’t have deep pockets” line. He’s a successful lawyer. Either he could defend himself (not such a stretch, somehow), or he could forego that vacation to Mexico this year, or he could borrow a bit of money. Any which way, the fact that we are pitying Levant for poverty in the face of the legal system gets the whole thing back to front: it’s genuinely poor people who can’t afford justice in our system, not professional lawyers like Levant. Which is why the HRC’s exist in the first place.

        • There you go again, Jack. Second-guessing defendants for being justifiably successful.

          • There you go again, MYL. Making no sense at all.

          • I guess you need help, Jack. If you look back on the WordPress nest-mania, I am replying to your 2:38PM missive from April 12, summed up with: They …didn’t care to help strike down the law.

            Since when is the defendant obliged to strike down a law? If the people can’t get their representatives to do the job properly, why are you picking on successful defendants for their alleged failure to (get unelected judges to) re-write Canadian law?

            I will now let others compare your “making no sense at all” contribution to my own. But I must say I appreciate your commentary more when you actually have something useful to say. Happily, that continues to remain in the majority of your posts.

      • I love that line of reasoning;

        “If the HRCs had ruled against Macleans, it would have been proof that they are evil and corrupt, seeking only to maintain and increase their own power. However, because they ruled in favor of Macleans, it is proof that they are corrupt and evil, seeking only to maintain and increase their own power.”

        On the other hand, I suppose having to hold the possibility of more than one outcome would be too taxing to the intelligence for some.

    • An appeal against a ruling by the Federal Tribunal went all the way to the Supreme Court in a case called R. v. Taylor decided in 1990 [ 3 S.C.R. 892] The case deals only with the federal act which requires hate messages delivered telephonically, but it deals with tribunals in a procedural manner and likely has wide application. The decision is 5-2 in favour of how tribunals operate, and even the two dissenting judges found that tribunal complaints were a very good way of handling hate speech.

      • Aha! You are all over this. Well, that must put paid to the argument that the tribunals are per se kangaroo-ish.

    • “they would rule against the HRC’s”

      I wish I could share your optimism.

  10. I wonder if you’d care to share the reason you add an H to the end of his name.

    Rah, rah, rah pretty much sums up the blind cheerleading of Ezrah’s flock.

    • Very clever. Thank you. I hate having the joke explained but sometimes it’s necessary.

  11. How generous of you. Say, you must really be wearing out the proxies, eh?

  12. You can always tell when the right whingers are getting desperate. They’ll start pulling out their talismans to ward off the evil lefty.

  13. If Galloway is allowed unlimited free speech in the US, but denied that basic right in Canada, and he is not supported by Levant, then free speech can not be Levant’s main interest is his war against Canadian human rights authorities. Galloway is the free speech text book case, a basic litmus test.

  14. IP blocking is no match for him. Rumour has it that he’s inhabited the intertubes since 1989 or so.

  15. What I find interesting in this whole discussion is the assumption by everyone that MacDonalds can’t fire anyone for whatever reason they want. Since when did companies have to retain employees they do not want. Jobs aren’t meant to be sinecures.

    And the meme that Ezra’s only in it for the money. Has anyone have proof that Ezra’s become a millionaire or somesuch since he started his crusade against the HRCs? And I was unaware that the rest of us worked for free, because we love our jobs, while Ezra is a money-grubber only in it for himself.

    • You can fire people, but if you do so without cause you have to pay out reasonable notice. If you fire somebody and breach the human rights code while doing it, your liable for that as well.

      There, not even noon and you learned something today!

  16. Oh, and by the way, on Stormfront they are claiming that Ezra’s contentions re the CHRC all come from “research” Fromm, Lemire, et al conducted first. Which is quite true. Ezra has quite literally regurgitated claims made by Neo Nazis (in some cases by Neo Nazis who’ve done time, in the case of Mr. Black).