Bigger than Ezra II


 

Some more discussion of the defamation of religions article over at the American law professor blog The Volokh Conspiracy.


 

Bigger than Ezra II

  1. 1) Ironic that you would link to a paper the main goal of which is to discourage U.S. legal types from paying heed to international law in order to help folks like Ezra ignore domestic Canadian law so as to ape the U.S. system.

    2) And that is really all the connection I can see between the blog post you link to and Ezra. And if it isn’t about bashing Ezra, where’s the fun?

  2. bigcity, the blog post directly cites Ms. Savage’s article, which is about the broader issue of using both international and domestic law to kill free speech. I think there’s a connection there.

    It also seems that people think killing free speech is fun. Yay.

  3. Just noticed T. Thwim’s comment (July 29) where he criticizes Luiza for not mentioning “that the case was subsequently dismissed in Ontario and the CHRC”. What he fails to mention is that while the OHRC chose not to prosecute the case, it publicly condemned MacLeans, without a hearing. Is that your idea of justice and how a tribunal should behave itself Mr. Thwim? By the way, in the same Release, the OHRC begs the Ontario legislature for Section 13 type powers. The OHRC obviously envies the other HRCs that do have these powers and I don’t doubt for a second they would have used them if they had them. Meanwhile, it took the CHRC months to reject the complaint. That was after much public outrage against the CHRC, the Warman fiasco, and the announcement of official investigations into the corruption and practices of the CHRC. Interestingly, Thwim fails to mention this point to. Also, Thwim lets on that that case isn’t a real issue seeing that two commissions have “dismissed” it. He’s misses the point entirely. The complainants have abused the system in filing in three separate jurisdictions. It isn’t double jeopardy, it’s triple jeopardy. In fact, the complainants could have filed in 10 additional Canadian jurisdictions had they wanted to. I suppose they ran of money… oh, wait, human rights complaints are financed by the state, no matter how frivolous they may be.

    Thwim’s cynicism is also apparent when he says “this case is the best thing that could have happened to him [Levant]”. As a lawyer representing two organizations who are forced to defend (and pay legal bills) against the most frivolous cases imaginable, I think “this case” is the best thing that could have happened to expose the inherent unfairness, inefficiency, corruption and inadequacy of the Canadian humans rights industry. The “case” itself is exposing serious problems, abuses, corruption etc. Instead of focusing on this, and instead of making sound argument, Mr. Thwim would rather use this forum to call Mr. Levant a “whore”, a “fear-monger” and a “spinmeister”. Lame to say the least!

  4. I don’t think it’s ironic that it’s not about Ezra. It’s bigger than Ezra. Get it? Oh, never mind.

  5. Get it? Oh, never mind.

    Ok we will. For anyone interested in real journalism from a prize-winning journalist with some understanding of “public interest,” I recommend this.

  6. Lalonde:

    “As a lawyer representing two organizations who are forced to defend (and pay legal bills) against the most frivolous cases imaginable, I think “this case” is the best thing that could have happened to expose the inherent unfairness, inefficiency, corruption and inadequacy of the Canadian humans rights industry.”

    Is this satire?

  7. Ironic that you would link to a paper the main goal of which is to discourage U.S. legal types from paying heed to international law in order to help folks like Ezra ignore domestic Canadian law so as to ape the U.S. system.

    And I suppose consciencious global citizens such as yourself would have democratic states obey “international law” by censoring their presses on the say so of Islamist dicators and the U.N. ninnies who enable them?

    Is this satire?

    If you find thoughtful, well worded arguments humerous then sure.

    Lalonde is right. If anything can convince the government to put Human Rights commissions out of commission, it’s this debacle.

  8. Benito, I happen to agree with Lalonde about the case, but the point was one of the lawyers involved finds this expensive case very satisfying. But perhaps that isn’t humerous. Remind me what humer is again?

    It’s worth pointing out for the umpteenth time that this talk of lawyer’s bills is misleading. You don’t need a lawyer at the HRC’s, that’s the point of its being a kangaroo court. Having two good lawyers did Maclean’s no good that I could see. Save the lawyers for the appeal.

  9. “Benito”? Really?

    You don’t need a lawyer at the HRC’s, that’s the point of its being a kangaroo court. Having two good lawyers did Maclean’s no good that I could see. Save the lawyers for the appeal.

    Oh, I see. Why would a magazine being dragged before a trial with the power to prosecute them for legitimately expressed opinion want to have legal experts to represent their side of the case? Clearly, they should have relied on the common sense of the so called “judges” who admitted into evidence the testimony of a Buffy the Vampire expert and didn’t see the need for the person who actually brought the complaint (Mohamed Elmasry) to actually testify himself.

    As I recall, Steyn talked about this subject on the Al & Mike political podcast. He explained that Macleans decided that to maximize the chances of winning an appeal in a real court (where outdated concepts like “rules of evidence” actually apply) they needed to demonstrate an interest in the trial’s outcome. If they boycotted the trial or sent someone with no legal experience, the argument might be “well, you had your chance to fight these charges and didn’t etc., etc.)
    http://westernstandard.blogs.com/western_standard_radio/2008/06/al-mike-show-li.html

  10. Benito, you are too endearing to go without a diminutive.

    I perceived from Coyne’s liveblogging that this was the Maclean’s legal strategy, though I happen to think it’s misguided. The point should not be to win on appeal because the HRC are totally ignorant of regular procedure: the HRC’s should go down because of the threat they pose to liberty, not because they are incompetent. Surely you would not be willing to accept Section 13 even if fairly adjudicated. The noise about HRC incompetence distracts from this, the really important point of principle.

  11. To clarify about Steyn’s point: what about an HRC case in which the defendent could NOT afford a lawyer? Would the BC HRC’s denial of the rules of evidence be laughed away by a court of appeal if expensive lawyers had not pointed it out at the hearing? I sincerely hope not, but I dread an appeal ruling (if we ever get there: I fear the HRC will have been intimidated by Maclean’s lawyers and deny us a real ruling) that censured HRC procedure without addressing the constitutional position. But that is now what we are likely to get, if Maclean’s appeals (assuming it gets the chance) on procedural grounds.

  12. Should the HRCs be canned for their illiberal nature or their complete disregard for legal rules and procedures? Answer: both.

    Even if they stuck to investigating non section 13 abuses (like, for instance, the comedian who was recently charged for discrimination by making unfunny jokes about a pair of lesbian hecklers) these commissions would still be unfit to exist. Macleans is preforming a great public service by fighting them tooth nail, thus drawing attention to both their proto-fascist leanings and their laughable incompetence.

  13. It’s interesting to see how the message gets ignored because of who the messenger is.
    If Mother Teresa or Al Gore told you that 2 apples + 2 apples =5 apples, would you believe it because you like them?
    If George Bush or Dick Cheney told you that 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples, would you disbelieve them because you don’t like them?
    Ezra is right on this. To support the enemies of free speech because you disagree with Ezra or his politics is the height of stupidity.
    It’s a dangerous and immature approach and any responsible citizen should be embarrassed to see their fellow Canadians doing it.

  14. I am often offended by the remarks of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. I find them, frequently, to be bigoted, xenophobic and just plain offensive. But does that mean that they should be tried for their remarks? No, because we don’t go running to the courts when we’re offended. We write letters to the editor, etc. In fact, I seem to recall that in Macleans’ interview with the man who brought the case against Ezra he said that he had been mistaken in that he thought that because it was offensive to him and to other muslims, that this was how we do things inn Canada when we are offended. He admitted that he was wrong. To parahrase..err..someone: I will never agree with them, but I will defend to te death their right to be asses.

  15. Hear hear, Sophie: the sooner the HRC’s are scrapped, the sooner Levant, Steyn, and their ilk will be deprived of the “poor little me” propaganda line. À bas les CDH!

  16. Sophie, Jack..you make a lot of sense. Are you sure you’re in the right thread?

  17. Jack M I think it takes a lot of chutzpah on your part to compare others to fascists when you are quite happy to condemn a jewish man for speaking out against a court that has no due process and does not allow you to face your accuser.

  18. These commissions must be scrapped for the most important principle: basic human freedom. The desire to deprive the allegedly “wrong” people of “poor little me” propaganda is an unconvincing argument. Whether a defendant chooses to employ counsel at these hearings in a non-court is entirely up to the defendant; unless I am a shareholder in Rogers (checking assets in right front pocket: nope!), I really don’t have a say in that decision. Since I am a shareholder in the taxpayer-financed HRC nonsense, I say burn them down. Fast.

  19. I’m stunned at the number of posters who somehow believe that individuals and companies don’t need to have a lawyer with them when they are in front of an HRTs. I would never appear before ANY government tribunal without a lawyer. And in the case of HRTs, where there are no rules of evidence, no legal training for staff of HRCs or members of the HRTs is required, staff of HRCs commit highly questionable (and likely illegal) acts in pursuing investigations, and where the HRTs can fine you for real money and censure your speech (including ministers, pastors etc from ever preaching the tenents of their religion) – you would be an absolute fool not to have a lawyer with you. But the complaiant, once they have filed the complaint, need never to do anything further. The staff at HRC will do the rest -the complainant is not even required to show up at the hearing and present evidence. What kind of system is that? It is the kind of system that you would expect to find in some third world run by some tin pot dictator – not Canada!

  20. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the procedural charges made against human rights tribunals have a modicum of merit. Why go to the expense of lawyers if the system apparently operates so far outside the confines of existing law?

  21. Hear hear, Sophie: the sooner the HRC’s are scrapped, the sooner Levant, Steyn, and their ilk will be deprived of the “poor little me” propaganda line.

    I can hardly wait. Won’t it be just ever so much fun to have a media where “truths” are presented unexamined and unchallenged to manipulate the citizenry in so many interesting and unusual ways?

  22. The question is not whether “truths” go unchallenged — but what are the appropriate limits on the role of the state in this enterprise. Also, as far as I understand “truth” is not a defense before an HRC.

    And Ti-Guy — as for your earlier link to that Savage guy: sounds like a jerk. Pity the poor woman who married him. ;-)

  23. Ti-guy:

    I can hardly wait. Won’t it be just ever so much fun to have a media where “truths” are presented unexamined and unchallenged to manipulate the citizenry in so many interesting and unusual ways?

    Yeah, because clearly the Canadian citizenry are too hopelessly stupid to challenge and examine what they read on their own. They obviously need the government to tell them what they can and can’t think.

  24. The question is not whether “truths” go unchallenged — but what are the appropriate limits on the role of the state in this enterprise.

    Why is the State’s role so much more significant than the role of any other powerful entity (such as media conglomerates) in this enterprise? As I mentioned before, we have some reasonable expectation that the State will be subject to democratic oversight, transparency and accountability. We have no such expectation even while we witness the media conglomerate’s ability to control expression (in terms of who gets to hear what others have to say) and to shape public opinion.

    If I were optimistic, I’d imagine that the current need for State entities to intervene in this enterprise might be diminished in a media environment where errors and distortions are quickly corrected and bad ideas (hate speech, defamation, vilification and outright lying) are challenged with an immediacy that limits their ability to become established truths or “truths.” But I have no illusions that that’s going to happen anytime soon.

  25. Ti-Guy: There is a difference between ‘truths’ and opinion. I’ve already stated that Levant and his ilk manage to offend me 90% of the time, and make me want to scream the other 10%. However they are not writing news articles. Moreover, they don’t even pretend to: they present their opinions and beliefs straight up. Are they nauseating, bigoted and xenophobic? Often, yes. But we don’t punish people for their opinions. The difference between what they write and ‘hate speech’ is that they don’t try to present it as straight facts, they try to make a case for what they believe. Hate speech is presenting an unsubstantiated claim against a race or group as fact. Surely there are other ways of dealing with true injustices and racism. The denying of civil or human rights or the suggestion that civil or human rights should be denied based on colour, religion, gender, etc. actually has the potential to harm people. The opinions of middle-aged right wing right men, writing in their own columns, which is the appropriate place for them to present their opinion, isn’t.

  26. Unlike government, the media can’t force anyone to do anything. We can’t fine you, imprison you, gag you, force you to issue apologies, etc. We can write articles and you can read them or not read them, agree with them, debunk them, deconstruct them, dispute them, whatever.

  27. Yeah, because clearly the Canadian citizenry are too hopelessly stupid to challenge and examine what they read on their own.

    No, they’re not; from from it. And I’d like it to stay that way.

    It’s an imperative in a democracy to be concerned about what most people believe and you don’t do that by insisting most people become experts at demystifying manipulative or obscurantist language or by forcing them to engage in lengthy research activities to determine whether the assertions they’ve been presented with are grounded in any kind of evidence. The world is very complex, most people have neither the time nor the interest to do that, and, as we’ve seen with the lies fabricated by the Bush administration and communicated by a so-called independent press, the consequences are dire and the damage done long before anyone can do anything about it.

    They obviously need the government to tell them what they can and can’t think.

    If only the State and the Corporations were this transparent and clear. Unfortunately, when you end up believing Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and that weapons of mass destruction were present in Iraq, you’ve already been told what to think, without even realising it.

  28. Unlike government, the media can’t force anyone to do anything. We can’t fine you, imprison you, gag you, force you to issue apologies, etc.

    Why is that so much worse than being manipulated, deceived or prevented from commanding an audience proportionate to the one the media enjoys (and, in the case of the airwaves, one the public has licensed to them) to robustly challenge what the media has presented?

    By the way, the corporate-media conglomerate can SLAPP you, which is something that doesn’t get too much attention in the mainstream media.

    To be a little facetious, I’ll take the assertions about what the media can and cannot do on faith, since there’s no way I can compel the media to tell me what it actually does unless it breaks the law.

  29. If only the State and the Corporations were this transparent and clear. Unfortunately, when you end up believing Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 and that weapons of mass destruction were present in Iraq, you’ve already been told what to think, without even realising it.

    And yet the Canadian public didn’t buy into that reasoning, which is a large part of why we didn’t go into Iraq. The Canadian people didn’t need to be experts in foreign affairs to know that going into Iraq was a bad idea because they were able to rely on their common sense and critical thinking.

    The strength of Canada is a people that is able to think for themselves. Of course, there is a good chance that this could lead to an electorate that sometimes makes poor decisions (ie: the U.S.in Iraq) but I’d take that risk any day. The alternative would be a country like China where the government does all the thinking for its people and cracks down on “biased” media reports about how sending soldiers to slaughter Tibetan monks isn’t such a good idea.

  30. However they are not writing news articles.

    Well, Ezra Levant did write one that I know of, the journalistic malpractice of which was so egregious that the Calgary Sun had to delete it. And when someone’s free expression is featured prominently in news and current affairs media, what is the average media consumer expected to think? That they’re reading fiction?

  31. Obviously the media has enormous effects on the things we believe. However, the media’s job (in reportingnews, not in columns)is to present the facts in as unbiased a fashion possible. As consumers, it is our job to look for bias in all media we consume, and to assess the apparant extent of that bias. After doing this for a while, we should be able to come to reasonable conclusions about which media outlets we trust for news (again, not columns or opinion)The news outlets can’t force us to do or say anything. It is our responsibility to decide what to believe and what opinions we disagree or agree with. It is the media’s job to clearly identify them as such and then put them out there.

  32. Tiguy, you really can’t see the difference between news and opinion?
    You are really in dire need of the nanny state to control what opinions you are exposed to?
    If you are not qualified to judge what you see and hear, what makes you think some bureaucrat is?
    Are you a child or an adult?

  33. Why do you insist on underestimating the intelligence of the average Canadian? Believe it or not, we are capable of distinguishing editorializing and opinion from pure, unadulterated fact. I think you underestimate the intelligence of the average Canadian because in the mandatory civics class I took in secondary school, an entire unit was devoted to detecting media bias. When someone’s opinions make the news, they are almost always identified as such (indeed, if they aren’t, it can be considered slanderous to the people/companies the opinions are about) Our country is not a fight on the playground: we don’t punish or muzzle those with whom we disagree. The appropriate response can involve writing letters, organizing protests or asking for an apology. (I would go with the first one, if I were you. The last two can be a bit extreme) The opinions of a few extreme right )or left, for that matter) columnists or bloggers are not a threat to our society, or to our basic human rights. There are real threats to those rights out there, but surely there is a better way to deal with these threats, or at least to screen the kind of lawsuits brought up, because the cries of Steyn and Levant not only do nobody any good, they also distract from real threats to human rights, as well as undermining our justice system. After all, if this system allows these kind of ridiculous proceedings, what are we to think of their decision-making in real affronts to human rights?

  34. And yet the Canadian public didn’t buy into that reasoning, which is a large part of why we didn’t go into Iraq.

    Are you that confident about that? Around the time of the Iraq invasion, support was startlingly high, to the extent that our current Prime Minister felt compelled to denounce the government of his own country in front of a foreign audience for not going along with it. And support increased in the first few months when we were told that everything was going swimmingly.

    Canada dodged a bullet at that time, and had we had a different government, (as the Australians and the British had, two nations with very respectable traditions with regard to freedom of the press and expression) the outcome would most definitely have been different.

    Of course, there is a good chance that this could lead to an electorate that sometimes makes poor decisions (ie: the U.S.in Iraq) but I’d take that risk any day.

    In case like Iraq, you’re not risking anything. It’s other people who have become victims of your choice and that’s not even a risk that you are legitimately allowed to take.

    The alternative would be a country like China where the government does all the thinking for its people and cracks down on “biased” media reports about how sending soldiers to slaughter Tibetan monks isn’t such a good idea.

    Complex issues just don’t have two sides. In any case, the present situation *is* the alternative to free speech absolutism.

  35. Stan:

    Tiguy, you really can’t see the difference between news and opinion?

    When did I assert or manifest that?

    Sophie:

    Why do you insist on underestimating the intelligence of the average Canadian?

    When did I underestimate the intelligence of the average Canadian?

    Believe it or not, we are capable of distinguishing editorializing and opinion from pure, unadulterated fact.

    When did you become the spokesperson for all Canadians?

  36. our current Prime Minister felt compelled to denounce the government of his own country in front of a foreign audience for not going along with it.

    And yet he abandoned the sentiment when he actually had to campaign for election, and any government that tried to follow Bush into Iraq would have faced the harsh wrath of the Canadian voter.

    Regardless, this is an extremely dumb argument for giving the government extraordinary powers to censor legitimate opinions. HRCs could never have kept American or Canada out of Iraq. The only hope for averting such disasters is the ability of the public to think critically – which is endangered as soon as you pass that responsibility along to the nanny state. It’s the first step towards Chinese style authoritarianism.

  37. Please note that there are only 37 responses on this thread so far, and it’s been up for more than 24 hours. A far cry from the Ezra Levant threads of yesteryear. We can do better! And we will! More venom! More tautologies! More rhetoric! Come ON, people!

  38. And yet he abandoned the sentiment when he actually had to campaign for election,

    Whoopee.

    The only hope for averting such disasters is the ability of the public to think critically – which is endangered as soon as you pass that responsibility along to the nanny state. It’s the first step towards Chinese style authoritarianism.

    Speaking of dumb arguments.

  39. Please note that there are only 37 responses on this thread so far, and it’s been up for more than 24 hours.

    What’s I’ve noticed with the free speech absolutists is that their position doesn’t require much argument. How much articulated thought is required to support the assertion that you should be free to say whatever you want and that’s it? And yet, they do spend an awful lot of time presenting the case for free speech absolutism.

    I guess that’s a lot easier than actually doing anything substantive to change a law or modify a process one doesn’t like.

    With defenders of freedom like that, it’s no wonder a lot of us are feeling uneasy these days.

  40. God, I am so easily lured by trolls. jwl, some time ago:

    “Jack M I think it takes a lot of chutzpah on your part to compare others to fascists when you are quite happy to condemn a jewish man for speaking out against a court that has no due process and does not allow you to face your accuser.”

    I was just wondering what this could possibly refer to, and drawing a blank, when it dawned on me: I was addressing Mr. Ben Hicks as “Benito”! FYI, jwl, “-ito/a” is the usual Spanish diminutive, here applied to Ben. It’s pretty funny that it immediately meant “Mussolini” to your mind.

    I can’t recall condemning that man Levant for defending himself against the HRC; there are too many other attractive reasons to condemn him. In fact I find it profoundly irritating that I have to support him in his quest for justice in this case.

    In case you’re curious about history, jwl, the Italian Fascists spent 15 years persecuting people like me before they got around to killing the Jews. They flourished because they exploited the middle class’s sense of grievance and allied themselves with reactionary social views; once they had scared the population sufficiently they found themselves with carte blanche. So while the HRC’s are a slightly frightening phenomenon, at least as regards their intrusion into free expression, it’s also slightly frightening (for the same reasons) to see some journalists and lawyers trying to ramp up the volume of fear. Fortunately we are not likely to slide into authoritarianism on account of either; but it is from an awareness of modern history that I feel both should be condemned.

  41. What’s I’ve noticed with the free speech absolutists is that their position doesn’t require much argument. How much articulated thought is required to support the assertion that you should be free to say whatever you want and that’s it? And yet, they do spend an awful lot of time presenting the case for free speech absolutism.

    You are so right. Any idiot can defend the time honoured traditions of our 800 year old democratic system. It takes a brave intellectual such as yourself to say we should give up on such outdated concepts like freedom of expression because we Canadians are too dimwitted to make our own decisions. You’re a true visionary Ti-guy.

  42. Ti-Guy
    What exactly are you feeling uneasy about? Are free speech absolutists arguing too much or too little? Are they trying to change the law or what? Exactly how can proponents of free speech threaten anyone, since their purpose is to allow anyone to speak…freely?

  43. Ti-Guy, we free speechers are also free to keep quiet. The more you go on and on defending regulation-of-speech-by-committee, the more I just sit happily back and watch you destroy your own position with your arguments.
    By all means, carry on explaining why individuals with an opinion and — gasp! — publishing corporations are sooooo dangerous that we absolutely MUST have some political flunky judge wannabe oversee people’s hurt feelings. The floor is yours. Do go on.

  44. Ben:

    You are so right. Any idiot can defend the time honoured traditions of our 800 year old democratic system.

    That’s right out of Steyn’s script. I heard it on CTV a while back. Another part of that tradition is habeas corpus, which disappeared a few years back in the US with nary a peep from you freedom warriors.

    It takes a brave intellectual such as yourself to say we should give up on such outdated concepts like freedom of expression because we Canadians are too dimwitted to make our own decisions.

    When did I assert this? Remember, the situation in Canada is one we have had for decades.

    It seems a little weak to be opposed to some restrictions on freedom of expression when there is this tendency to accuse people of saying things they’ve never said. Shoving words in other people’s mouths strikes me as fasc…well, let’s just say authoritarian.

  45. Bill:

    Are free speech absolutists arguing too much or too little?

    Too much and/or badly. It’s quite clear that I am a staunch supporter of the status quo (and plan to be even more active and assertive about it should the role of the HRT’s be threatened) and yet I’m startled by the sheer volume of vitriol (which is entirely futile, I might add) that’s directed towards me.

    That’s not defending freedom or rights. That’s just hectoring and badgering a fellow citizen. I’ve witnessed all this and more in the culture war being waged to the South of us, and none of that has stopped the Bush administration from shredding the Constitution and abusing power.

    Freedom of expression is one freedom. It’s not the only one.

  46. Uh-oh, Ti-Guy is feeling badgered. Everyone, call your lawyers (just don’t tell Jack Mitchell, he’ll mock you for taking comedy seriously), the HRT summons is on its way.
    I never quite get how proposing opposing arguments in a debate gets labelled vitriol, hectoring and badgering; I do get why the so-easily verbally wounded seek to have a taxpayer funded tribunal to go running to. I don’t support it, but I get it.

  47. An example of bad argument:

    The more you go on and on defending regulation-of-speech-by-committee,

    This is the type of thing we’ve been hearing for months now: confusion between thought and expression and equating HRC’s complaints with charges of throught crimes (they’re not, of course), characterisation of the HRT’s as Star Chambers and Kangaroo Courts (complete distortions) and the deliberate confusion of the libel suit against Ezra Levant with human rights cases.

    Bads arguments all around.

    I’ve recommended before that people should invest as much time learning to express themselves as much as they do defending freedom of expression, but once again, I believe most people consider that…too hard!!!

  48. I never quite get how proposing opposing arguments in a debate gets labelled vitriol, hectoring and badgering; I do get why the so-easily verbally wounded seek to have a taxpayer funded tribunal to go running to. I don’t support it, but I get it.

    I don’t characterise what you’re doing as vitriol. I consider what you’re doing juvenile.

  49. Anyway, Ms Savage disappeared without responding to my points, so I guess there isn’t much point continuing, as it will just end like the last time…better get outta town before the Aryan Guard shows up again.

  50. Ti-Guy,
    It is pretty tough to have any other kind of freedom with out it.

  51. Another part of that tradition is habeas corpus, which disappeared a few years back in the US with nary a peep from you freedom warriors.

    My gosh someone here has George Bush on the brain. Yes, as it happens, I’m against the suspension of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees as well. How you can accuse me of not speaking out about it when you don’t even know me is something I find mystifying.

    When did I assert this?

    You’ve said that Canadians “have neither the time nor the interest” to think rationally about important issues such as the Iraq war because “The world is very complex.” You’ll forgive me if I read into your euphemisms that you are calling Canadians too stupid to form rational opinions, hense the need for HRCs to protect us from scarely right wingers eager to spread their lies.

    Remember, the situation in Canada is one we have had for decades.

    And it’s been an abomination for decades, even when the subjects of repression were basement dwelling neo-Nazi losers. The only difference now is how embarrassingly obvious it is that the HRCs are a flawed and illiberal concept.

    It seems a little weak to be opposed to some restrictions on freedom of expression when there is this tendency to accuse people of saying things they’ve never said. Shoving words in other people’s mouths strikes me as fasc…well, let’s just say authoritarian.

    Sorry friend, this is the precise opposite speak repression – this is the rough and tumble world of debate. I can tell your thin skinned sensibilities make it difficult to deal with differing points of view, which probably why you long for the day when HRCs can purge all the disagreeableness from daily life. You have my sincere pity.

  52. Waaaaaah, that bad man called me a bad name! Juvenile? Sniff. That hurt. No vitriol or hectoring or badgering for me, just… juvenile. Why, as soon as I put down my rattle and Mommy changes my diaper, I’m telling!
    We’ll cook up some half-assed likely-to-promote-contempt argument on the downloadable PDF, and voilà! I don’t even have to do anything after that, except for apologizing to my fellow taxpayers for wasting the fruits of their labour.

  53. If it wasn’t the HRC, it’d be the full courts, people. In either case, it’s the supposed nanny state deciding what’s allowable or not. Thus, you can’t argue against the concept of the HRC’s and section 13 without arguing against the entire concept of libel/slander/hate-speech laws.

    If you’re not going to do that, then we’re reduced to arguing against the HRCs on procedural grounds. Now, given the choice of having to defend myself with a lawyer following full rules of court procedures, and being able present my case by either showing up myself, or even simply by sending in a registered letter. I’d prefer the latter thanks. That Mr. Lalonde, a person who apparantly makes his money from defending people from silly cases such as those that might appear before the HRC, is unsurprising, as it threatens the bread on his table. (ad hominem? Perhaps, but it’s only countering ad verecundiam, so what does it matter?)

    And, if we’re arguing against the HRCs based on procedural grounds, then what we really should be doing is looking at the actual judgements rendered and see whether they make sense or not.

    On the other hand, if you think libel, slander, and hate-speech are all perfectly valid examples of free speech, then there’s nothing really to discuss, as we’re simply down to subjective opinion. My personal opinion is that these things are not valid examples of free-speech, and as such having some means whereby we as society can say “What you are claiming is unfairly doing damage to people. Stop it.”

  54. Err.. 2nd paragraph should read “That Mr. Lalonde … doesn’t like it, …” Seems editing ate that portion out of the message.

  55. Libel and slander are not hate-speech. Given that, your argument sort of crumbles thereafter.

  56. Sorry, I didn’t include “inciting hatred against an identifiable group”, it just seemed a little long and I didn’t expect the pedantry to ramp up quite so quickly.

  57. Bill:

    It is pretty tough to have any other kind of freedom with out it.

    I maintain that if you don’t have freedom of conscious or of belief, you cannot have any other freedom. If you are made to believe things that aren’t true, particularly when those things have dire consequences for anyone other than yourself, you not only have no freedom at all, but you become a danger to the freedom of others.

  58. Ben:

    You’ve said that Canadians “have neither the time nor the interest” to think rationally about important issues such as the Iraq war because “The world is very complex.”

    I never said that.

  59. Maybe this is the heart of the problem for those of you who think that HRC’s should be governing our speech.

    Libel and slander are defined types of false or malicious speech that damage people’s reputation and lead to a measurable monetary harm.

    Hate-speech is saying nasty offensive things about people or groups of people.

    Section 13 seems to be any kind of speech which is likely to cause offense.

    Is this complicated?

    Am I arguing too much?

    If

  60. Ti-Guy,
    Your arguments are becoming absurd and barely parse.

    Thwim – if pointing out the flaws in your argument is pedantry, then I accept the compliment.

  61. Actually, it’s any kind of speech which is likely to expose an identifiable group to hatred.
    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowDoc/cs/h-6/bo-ga:l_I::bo-ga:l_II//en?page=2&isPrinting=false#codese:13

    So it doesn’t have to be offensive to be hate speech, and it doesn’t have to be hate speech just because it’s offensive.

    If you’re going to be pedantic, you could at least be consistent about it.

  62. T. Thwim:

    If it wasn’t the HRC, it’d be the full courts, people. In either case, it’s the supposed nanny state deciding what’s allowable or not. Thus, you can’t argue against the concept of the HRC’s and section 13 without arguing against the entire concept of libel/slander/hate-speech laws.

    I have no problem with laws against libel, slander or inciting violence. In all such cases, truth and fair comment are a defense.

    What the HRCs are doing is another kettle of fish, since they have given leway to prosecute anything “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” So Schindler’s List could easily quailify, since it could easily cause “hatred or contempt” feelings toward Germans for the Holocaust. Same with any article about child abuse in Catholic churches, even if every word is objectively truth.

    Ti-guy:

    I never said that.

    No?

    “It’s an imperative in a democracy to be concerned about what most people believe and you don’t do that by insisting most people become experts at demystifying manipulative or obscurantist language or by forcing them to engage in lengthy research activities to determine whether the assertions they’ve been presented with are grounded in any kind of evidence. The world is very complex, most people have neither the time nor the interest to do that, and, as we’ve seen with the lies fabricated by the Bush administration and communicated by a so-called independent press, the consequences are dire and the damage done long before anyone can do anything about it.”
    -comment by Ti-Guy on Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm:

  63. Sigh. No, make that double-sigh. Ti-Guy, if you believe that properly protected freedom of speech somehow impinges on freedom of conscience or freedom of belief, please take a moment to think a little more. And if you still don’t change your mind, you keep your grubby paws off my Charter of Rights and Freedoms, if I may so juvenilely request.
    If anybody says something that (a) I disagree with, or (b) I vehemently disagree with, or (c) is untrue, my head does not suddenly explode and get replaced by a contaminated mind. Freedom of speech does not force anybody to “believe things that are not true.” Freedom of speech gives people a chance to say silly, outrageous, even wrong statements, and it also gives us a chance to denounce and/or rebut and/or correct those who say things that are not true. Wow, it feels wierd just having to explain all that to anyone. Have our schools become so awful that they actually remove our innate ability to think for ourselves?
    It sadly obviously does not go without saying: And incitement to violence, libel, slander, dishonouring contracts and copyright infringement have REAL COURTS to settle the criminal or civil matter.

  64. Your arguments are becoming absurd and barely parse.

    How facile.

  65. Comment awaiting moderation. Only a single link in it, and that to laws.justice.gc.ca

    At any rate, what I said was hate speech, according to section 13 of justice canada, (which interested parties can find if they google for it, I’m sure.) specifically says that hate speech is “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

    So in other words, just being offensive isn’t hate speech. Similarly, it can be hate speech without being offensive. The key is that it is speech (or writing, or whatever) that is likely to expose people to hatred based solely on their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental ability, or physical disability.

    Now, if you think we SHOULD be allowed to expose people to hatred based on those things, we’ve nothing to talk about.

  66. Exactly, Ben. I never said the you cobbled together in that last quote. And I’m not defending what I never said.

    Come on, absolutists, pull yourselves together. Stop misquoting and making false inferences (and, in madeyoulook’s case, being churlish and juvenile). You’re not journalists.

  67. And if you still don’t change your mind, you keep your grubby paws off my Charter of Rights and Freedoms,

    Is this a threat? Am I being threatened? Has the Aryan Guard descended already?

  68. The key is that it is speech (or writing, or whatever) that is likely to expose people to hatred based solely on their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental ability, or physical disability.

    And like I said in my last post, that is absurd. “Likely to expose…” is extremely vauge and would allow the government to censor a movie like Schindler’s list because it should, possibly, perhaps expose Germans to hatred because of their role in the haulocaust. In other words, an objectively true movie (or article or cartoon depiction) is suddenly unlawful. That is an abuse of free speech if ever there was one.

  69. Geez, what’s a guy gotta do to earn vitriol, hector or badger around here, anyways?
    If ever Ti-Guy wants to stop spewing epithets and get back to debatable points…

  70. Exactly, Ben. I never said the you (sic)cobbled together in that last quote. And I’m not defending what I never said.

    My paraphrasing was fair. You’re entire premise is an insult to the intelligence of the Canadian people. If I misunderstood you, why not explain again why Canadians can’t be trusted to decide for themselves which opinions are valid.

  71. Okay. So your objection is the law could be abused.

    Unfortunately, any law can be abused. A judge could interpret any statement you say as untrue, causing you to be guilty of libel. Do you rail against that as well?

    Even worse, did you know there are a lot of laws out there that use the judgement of a “reasonable person” as a valid test as to whether something was allowable or not? My god! It’s a wonder we haven’t sunk into anarchy and wholesale corruption yet.

    In truth, laws give leeway because situations aren’t black and white. In which case what becomes important is to examine the *judgements* of these various bodies to ensure that they are being applied in ways that we, as a people, agree with.

    So run along. Find *judgements* of the HRC you disagree with. If you can find one where it isn’t pretty damned obvious that the speech in question would likely expose a group to hatred, you may have a point.. for that judgement.

    However, there’s more than that in the bathwater you’re attempting to toss.

  72. Okay. So your objection is the law could be abused.

    No, I’m saying the law itself is an abuse. Merely “exposing someone to hatred or contempt” is never a justifiable reason to deny them freedom of speech. Unless what they have written is factually untrue or inciting violence, it should not be the government’s concern.

    It’s society’s responsibility to debunk and denounce hateful views. The answer is more speech and intense debate to show such people for what they are in the public square.

  73. This is more like it! Nearly twice as many posts as before I went for coffee. Keep it up, boys, we’re still 200 posts short and the clock is ticking!

  74. Thank you, T Thwim for responsibly demonstrating the value of back-and-forth debate with actual points. This is what makes a useful conversation possible.
    It may not surprise you that we disagree, but at least I have an opportunity to expand on where we disagree, and why.
    The “reasonable” standard is a useful legal standard, you will have no quarrel from me on that one.
    What makes the legal system so careful is indeed the chances that “any law can be abused,” or that any one judge can totally blow it. Hence the appeals courts, etc.
    What makes the HRCs and HRTs so despicable (and, may I turn your phrase, unreasonable) is that the process itself is a punishment to the defendant, regardless of the outcome, and at no cost whatsoever to the complainant. No way (well, less way maybe) a responsible & competent lawyer lets complainants move forward with demonstrably frivolous crap in a real court. IN HRCs and HRTs, it has been argued, we have helpfully done away with lawyers and all that due process rules of evidence crap. Personally, I would do away with “helpfully” and “crap” from the previous sentence. It SHOULD be difficult to mount a legal assault on an alleged wrongdoer; the wrong should be substantial enough, and the likelihood of success high enough, to make it worth the effort. When pipsqueaks can cause undue costs & stress (or, ahem, “maximum disruption”) by simply filling out a form, without any attempt to see the process through (see “in absentia” v. Macleans, judgement pending, I believe), or even without actually being the direct or indirect target of the formerly-known-as-free speech in question (see R Warman v. “lots of folks,” lots of judgements), then I feel society has a big problem.
    I see no baby in that bathwater, T.
    And, since I hear drumbeats already: Zundl, I believe, went through REAL courts. But even there, this churlish and juvenile absolutist would prefer dozens of Holocaust-denying (etc.) Zundl’s to be publicly humiliated for their own stupid (but free) speech and keep all Canadians’ thoughts and speech out of tribunals and courts.
    And since I hear drumbeats already: incitement / threats of violence, libel, slander, copyright infringement, do not share the same stage.

  75. So, as mentioned above, you really don’t have a problem with people being exposed to hatred or contempt based solely on their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, mental ability, or physical disability.

    But you think that the corrective action is to allow them to remain exposed to this hatred while society holds its intense debate, regardless of what effects that might have on the person while they live their very real lives on a day to day basis, and regardless of the very real facts that often those who listen and act on the hatred are not looking for the intense debate which would correct the views.

    It doesn’t take a society to commit violence or discrimination against someone, it only takes one badly informed person. Me, I’d rather we take steps to prevent that before it happens, and make it society’s responsibility to not only show such people for what they are, but also to attempt to prevent, as much as possible, the damage that they do.

  76. Agh. Sorry, reread that first paragraph, again editing. Please add “..as a necessary evil of allowing free speech” on the bottom.

    I guess the difference is, I don’t feel it necessary.

  77. My paraphrasing was fair

    No, it wasn’t.

    You’re entire premise is an insult to the intelligence of the Canadian people.

    No, it isn’t.

    why not explain again why Canadians can’t be trusted to decide for themselves which opinions are valid.

    First tell me where I asserted that “Canadians can’t be trusted to decide for themselves which opinions are valid?”

    I’m not defending nor explaining things I never said nor implied.

  78. It doesn’t take a society to commit violence or discrimination against someone, it only takes one badly informed person.

    I agree. But I’ve yet to see a proven link to such acts of violence and someone expressing their opinion. It’s the same argument people use when they want to ban certain video games in order to prevent the next school shooting. I’m of the belief that smacking scumbags who attack minorities with a stiff jail sentence is the better route in deterring such acts of barbarism. Turning basement dwelling neo-Nazis into martyrs doesn’t solve anything. Moreover, it betrays the principles of freedom and democracy our ancestors found in two world wars to defend.

  79. T Thwim, from the time stamp I will guess your reply was to Ben, not to me, but since last I checked we still enjoyed some free speech, and since your comment could be judged by a reasonable person to be a reply to some of my verbiage too, let me offer this:
    Violence and discrimination? Illegal. Whatever boneheaded evil speech by moron#1 may be twisted by a HRC/HRT into potentially inspiring real or imaginary violence and discrimination by a real or imaginary moron#2? In our Canada at present, liable to end up before a non-court tribunal. My wish: Not to be touched by a non-court, only sparingly to be handled by a real court. My ultimate extreme freedom-loving fantasy that will never materialize in my lifetime: what Ben said, let us responsible citizens respond to stupid evil speech with more speech, and leave the courts out of it.
    Pre-emptive disclaimer re incitement / threats of violence, libel, slander, copyright infringement…

  80. Moreover, it betrays the principles of freedom and democracy our ancestors “found” in two world wars to defend.
    -Me

    Oops. Make that “fought”. My bad.

  81. A section 13 complaint has been filed in Quebec against a salafi imam who spreads his teachings on the internet. He teaches that Muslims are superior to Kuffars (miscreants), that Jews are the worst people on earth (corrupt and greedy), that Muslim families should not send their kids to schools alongside kuffar children (they are all “perverts”), that homosexuals deserve to be killed, that it is the religious duty of Muslims to overthrow kuffar rulers as soon as they are strong enough, that non Muslim women in Quebec are perverts. He writes that “human rights” are nonsense because they promote “equality”, thereby denying that Muslims are superior to kufrars and men to women. He also writes that slavery is OK.

    Interestingly this imam is quite consistent. He says that since only Allah is a legitimate source of law, Muslims should not be running to human rights commissions and Amnesty International and rather seek the assistance of Allah. He also writes that his brand of islam is the “true islam”, and every assertion he makes is “proven” by lengthy references to the Quran and hadiths.

    Let’s see if the CHRC will open an investigation (we should know soon) or refuse to do so. If they refuse to investigate, it will prove their “double standard” and we will be able to conclude that an imam has the fundamental right to advocate the abolition of the fundamental rights of others and of democracy.

  82. Annie, do you have any news reports to which you might direct us on, regarding your post of about a half hour ago?
    Also, somewhat circuitously on-topic, I note that your comment on Bigger-Than-Ezra I (linking to your French translation of Ms. Savage’s article) has been removed from the thread. What happened? Annie, or Ms. Savage, or anyone at Macleans/Rogers, was there indeed a copyright ownership issue? Is your translation still up at your site, Annie?

  83. Madeyoulook,
    I did not notice the removal of my posts on the other thread. I emailed the person identified on Maclean’s site as responsible for authorizations and copyrights and informed her of my translation, asking whether I should remove it or not. So far, I have not received a reply.

    The complaint against the imam was covered by francophone medias in Quebec. If you read French, I will research links and post them.

  84. Merci, Annie.
    If the event was widely covered, I will pick my way through Google News (Canada Fr) for the reports.
    As far as I see, only the original post linking to your translation has disappeared in Ezra I. You might even still see it from your cookies-enabled computer, with an “awaiting moderation” line somewhere around it. It has vanished from my page views.

  85. Here is a link to the book by the imam, who teaches at a mosque in Montreal.

    http://www.box.net/shared/static/rvvqogykdf.pdf

    He also posts on the Internet numerous audio documents with his teachings.

    He writes that his teachings are based on the Quran, which was dictated directly by Allah to his messenger, the Quran is therefore the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Trutyh and its prescriptions apply to Muslims today everywhere in the world and until the final Judgment Day.

    If the CHRC opens an investigation, they will run into big problems. How can they conclude that the Quran is “hate speech”?

  86. Ah, I see. Getting a little self-referential, there, madame Lessard, n’est-ce pas?
    Are you guys doing this in the same spirit of the “Jesus sucks” complainant (exposing HRCs and HRTs as stupid tax-dollar-sucking monstrosities deserving to explode in their own contradictions) or because you legitimately feel that you are thus part of a group of persons likely to suffer contempt?

  87. madeyoulook, I really would suggest that you check out Annie’s website before getting too cozy. IN case you don’t speak French, here are the headlines:

    LATEST NEWS
    Canada – A Jewish group denounces the Arab-Canadian Association’s tacit approval of antisemitism inspired by Muslim Brotherhood ideology
    Norway – Mullah Krekar files a complaint about “inhuman treatment” with the European Human Rights Court
    China – Those responsible for the Xinjiang attacks were carrying documents that called for Jihad
    Canada – “Kill the Jews” painted on a poster for the Museum of Human Rights in Winipeg
    ….

    VIDEOS
    * [Arab dude being interviewed] The Earth is flat (Koran 15:19). To deny it is heresy!
    * [Pic of Sarko] Mr. Sarkozy, don’t roll back democracy
    * [Tiananmen Tank Man] If you value freedom, don’t take a single step back!
    * [Woman in chador, crescent moon superimposed on Union Jack] Will Great Britain survive multiculturalism?
    * [Hitler & Mufti] Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem
    * [Screen shot: “Murder”] Honour killings in the USA (link to a Fox News report)
    * [Tehran street scene] Torture in Iran

    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

  88. sorry, madeyoulook, wrote my last post before seeing your last. Anyway, just a public service announcement, not directed at you.

  89. Jack, I am not sure what justifies the suggestion that I am getting cosy. Recent history shows that I am happy to carry on conversations with people I agree with just as well as with people I do not. Now Annie, chérie, please don’t hog all the covers…
    I have only heard a bit of one “news” story of the four you translated. Are you suggesting the other three are unrtue, Jack?
    Or is there something scandalously offensive about any of the videos you cite that should make me reconsider exchanging words with Mme Lessard? Please recall that I am one of those scandalously unpatriotic free speech zealots, who (go figure) believe Ezra Levant’s trip to Washington did not reach the same treasonous plane as one Ms. Jane Fonda, so your response would have to cite a pretty egregious example for me to be swayed.
    But thanks for the warning. Now, if you will excuse me, Annie has that special je-ne-sais-quoi twinkle in her eyes…

  90. Sorry, Jack, wrote my last post before seeing your last.

  91. *winces* errr…. lets all go to bed. The earliest in can be is 7:40. Surely we have better things to do on a weekday night.

  92. Well, Sophie, didn’t know you felt that way; I’ll see if Annie is cool with that…

  93. Five-to-one says madeyoulook won’t be able to resist briging in a “Bigger than Ezra” line given the recent turn in the thread…

  94. No problem, madeyoulook, I really do apologise for lumping you in. “Bigger than Ezra” – I fear the possibilities are infinite in that direction.

  95. I don’t know what you may find offensive about the videos or news.

    For example, the one about Sarko is an exchange between Sarko, now president of the EU, with the British representative, illustrating two different visions of Europe (should nations circumvent referendums or listen to the voice of the people).

    The other “If you value freedom” is a Spanish video made by an association of catholic parents (having link with a group of catholic parents in Quebec) who believe their right to freedom of conscience is infringed by the new mandatory class on “citizenship” they find ideologically-oriented and full of cultural relativism.

    If you find this objectionable, then let’s listen to the imam and abolish democracy!

    A proud koufar

  96. Infinite? Oh, Jack, you have no idea. BEYOND infinite, heh, heh, heh…
    Ecoute, Annie, koufar préférée, Sophie attend toujours à la porte…

  97. Jack Mitchell, since you read French, why don’t you read the book by the imam (link above) and tell me what you think?

  98. Geez, Jack, thanks for nuthin’, now you got Annie all fired up…

  99. If you do an honest job browding to the site, you will notice many pieces by Canadian Muslims like Salum Mansur, Tahir Gora, Tarek Fatah and their French counterparts.

    Of course, they are the dissidents among the muslim community, they live under death threats. They are very happy that their voice is broadcasted to a francophone audience, they send me their articles for translation and posting.

    Well, I guess these Muslims are islamophobic, bigots and racists.

  100. Quatre-vingt dix-huit,
    Quatre-vingt dix-neuf,
    .
    .
    .
    CENT-sationnel!
    Hey Wells, is there free shipping on those steak knives?

  101. Oh, dear. I actually meant that it is 11:26, EDT, and the fun antagonists have appearantly gone to bed. Okay, I actually am leaving now.. damn, these forums are addictive.

  102. Wait, Sophie, don’t leave so soon…
    Grrrr, Jack, you’ve ruined everything!

  103. The complaint is strategic. I am not offended at being labeled a koufar. I am offended that mainstream medias do not expose this kind of ideology to public scrutiny. I am offended that this imam could freely advocate the abolition of my freedoms, and that if I criticize him, I am bieng called “islamophobic”. This is Orwellistan…

  104. Annie, you seem like such a nice person that I’m actually willing to believe you are acting in good faith. The more so since you keep turning the other cheek to my outrageous assaults; what could be more tranquilising?

    I checked out the book (skimmed). At a glance I could tell that the author is one of those religiosoes who feel that the modern world and the traditional world are totally incompatible and who consequently rejects the modern world. Once one has accepted that idea, in any particular form, the modern world is going to look like a pretty horrible place and vast reserves of malice will be built up and released. I’ll take your word for it that the book is full of racist, misogynist sentiment; frankly I’d be surprised if it were anything else.

    We have to recognise that the people who reject modernity are not madmen; on the contrary, they have a strong case. As a student of antiquity, I fully realise how much has been lost in the modern world (though I would add that a lot was also lost with the rise of Christianity and Islam): society lost a lot of cultural richness and the individual lost a sense of rootedness. It is generally the latter sense of loss that drives people like this author.

    For my part, I would say that, though the loss is real and substantial, the benefits on the whole outweigh the gains. More importantly, there is no way to go back. That is what these reactionaries don’t understand. Even if they succeed in bringing back religious law (as in Iran), technology alone would suffice to keep the society modern and the individual alienated; with the unfortunate addition of an authoritarian state. So I think they are deeply misguided. Who knows, maybe they think so too, in their heart of hearts, and rage all the more zealously against the fact.

    So much for guys like the author. Almost everybody else, of every persuasion and background, wants to keep some aspects of the past; people like me wish there was *more* of the past available today. We differ in what aspects we want to keep, but few and far between are those who want to keep anything inconsistent with a free and open society (certainly I don’t). Almost all Canadian Muslims share this approach, though differing to a certain degree on how much of the Old Country should be retained: the head-scarf thing is one touchstone there. I do admit that the clergy is more conservative than most; but that is the nature of all clergymen; full-on antimodernists are few and far between even among them.

    My problem with your site is that anyone would think you are talking about all Muslims, not just the few antimodernists. Muslims especially would perceive that to be your intention. Imagine a website run out of BC that did nothing but catalogue every folly coming out of Quebec in a given week: its very existence would be a byword and source of resentment even among moderate Quebec nationalists. Your site can only serve to drive moderate Muslims into the hands of the antimodernists. Unless your goal is to expel Muslims from Quebec (& the West generally), either by literally expelling them or by making them so unwelcome that they want to leave, your approach is counterproductive.

    Do you really think that Islam per se is the motivating factor behind these various absurdities? But would that not equally apply to Christianity? There was a time, you know, when any number of crimes were justified by Christian reactionaries, and when many Christian antimodernists equated Christianity with antimodernism. This is precisely the same phenomenon, and yet nowadays you would have to be a really hard-core atheist to say that Christianity is incompatible with, say, freedom of religion; certainly no Christian I’ve ever met has claimed that as his personal view. Thus, religions do evolve, if given half a chance. I hope you will give up demonising Islam, intentionally or unintentionally, because of what a few quotable antimodern lunatics have to say. Your Muslim brothers and sisters deserve no less.

  105. Jack, since we’re all going all serious again…
    Exposing stupidities and outright crimes performed in the name of Islam most certainly does not equal condemnation of all Muslims. “Anyone” who “would think” that needs to think some more.
    How many Muslims have escaped their hellish corner of the world to get away from that totalitarianism? Condemning, not tolerating silently, but actually condemning examples of that totalitarianism that creep in here is doing our Muslim brothers and sisters a favour, and I find it also, oh what’s the word… patriotic.

  106. madeyoulook:

    “Exposing stupidities and outright crimes performed in the name of Islam most certainly does not equal condemnation of all Muslims. “Anyone” who “would think” that needs to think some more.”

    Indeed. But the thing is, they often don’t. Here please don’t accuse me of “underestimating the intelligence of the public”; most people do not sit at home weighing fine distinctions, as many an advertising executive will tell you. May I pay you the compliment, madeyoulook, of suggesting that you are more scrupulous than many of our fellow citizens in making the distinction between lunatic antimodern Muslim radicals and the ordinary Muslim in the street?

    In the US, for instance, where I lived from 2001-2007, the cumulative effect on public opinion of Fox News propaganda on the “bad” Muslims has undoubtedly been that Islam per se is a dangerous, often homicidal force. The “Obama is a Muslim” smear actually has some traction with the public, even though you and I would dismiss it with a laugh.

    I’m sure you would agree that it’s possible to present the facts in a way that is highly prejudicial to a particular group of people. It does not follow that it should be illegal to do so, but there is a strong case to be made that doing so is a sign of moral bankruptcy.

  107. If proprietors of a website choose as its theme the condemnation of totalitarianism in the name of Islam, and especially if they include commentary from many Muslims who share in the condemnation of the condemn-able, you and I differ on the question of moral bankruptcy therein.
    Happy to hear that you grant it should not be illegal. We are getting somewhere in the free-speech department.

  108. Jack Mitchell, why don’t you write to this imam and his followers and thell them they are “deeply misguided” instead of trying to convince me. The imam writes that his teachings are the “true” islam and that reformers or moderate muslims are apostates, heretics or blasphemous.

    Salim Mansur writes that radical islam, on the rise on a global basis, is a threat to democracy and that the progress of this ideology is facilitated by multiculturalists and I would add, by relativists like you who “contextualize”. If hinduism or buddhism was a global threat to democracy, I would also focus on these “religions”. Mansur says that islam is part religion and a big part of it is politics under the guise of religion. I focus on the political part of it, as well as the economic part (sharia banking), legal (sharia law), etc.

    Some ideas do not deserve “respect” or “tolerance”. Our site focuses on the ideology and those who promote it or facilitate its spread. Why should we offer a “balanced” point of view and dilute our strong opposition to the progress of this ideology?

    If a web site was dedicated to denouncing the separatists in Québec, I would not see this as hate speech, but as political speech fully protected.

  109. Sorry, another postscript: It’s not fair to fall back on logic when you’re in danger of offending the national feelings of a group. Certain groups have a stronger herd instinct than others, but by definition they all have some: that’s what makes them a group. Given the climate of opinion about Islam after 9/11, you can’t blame ordinary Muslims for being suspicious as to what might motivate people to attack radical clergymen. In a crisis, people tend to keep together: look at America rallying behind Bush for three years after 9/11, or the Serbs rallying behind Milosevic during the Kosovo war. In neither case did 90% of the population really support the leader, but they felt obliged (from fear, pride, etc.) to rally round. Something of the same thing happens, naturally enough, with Muslims when “Islamofascism” is discussed.

    The bottom line, for me, is: do these radical clerics really pose a threat? I can’t understand why anyone would think so. My life has not been affected in the slightest by their absurd views. Canadian society has not been effected (the HRC’s would be busy if Islam had never existed: they’re of our own making). Pakistan and Saudi Arabia want to wave flags at the UN? Why on earth should I care? The “slippery slope”? Give me a goddamn break. This is the real world, not some random online comment thread where fantasy becomes reality.

  110. Annie, my last note: I could not care less what Salim Mansur thinks or says or believes or preaches, any more than I care what some white supremacist writes on some random website. Neither should you. He may think that Islam and democracy are incompatible; but he is wrong! I write to you and not to him because frankly your opinion matters more; and I am more worried about your website than his gimmicks.

  111. OK, everybody, pipe down about all that totalitarian BS spewing out of the mosque. Why, you ask? Jack doesn’t believe it’s a big deal, and all that piping scares some people into being quiet.
    Wow, glad that’s settled. I’ll sleep better, although slightly less fulfilled than I had earlier hoped, thanks to one Jack Mitchell. Don’t understand why? Well, then, you don’t know Jack…
    Bonne nuit à tous.

  112. jack, you can worry about me as much as you worry about Ezra and Steyn, and even file a complaint to HR commissions. But this is much, much, much bigger than Annie Lessard!

    These are my last words, otherwise it will be endless.

  113. I do agree that the majority of Muslims are ordinary people and not adherents of radical Islamism. Certainly the ones I’ve known personally are friendly, decent human beings.

    The thing is though, I think people need to reach a point where that would go without saying. We ought to be able to talk about religious extremism like adults, without being oblegated to lace every criticism with politically correct platitiudes. In my view, if the rise of HRCs tell us anything it’s that Canadians need to grow thicker skin.

  114. Ben, I agree entirely with your last post. Unfortunately, I could list any number of other points that people need to reach for us to truly have an open, democratic, and fair society.

    Until then, however, we need to deal with what we’ve got, in the best way that we can. And again, that means protecting people from being hurt by idiots where we’re able, not merely showing that the people are idiots after they’ve caused their damage.

  115. Jack, I find it condescending that you call the salafi imam “deeply misguided”. He studied in Saudi Arabia, the country where Islam was born, with learned scholars in prestigious schools of theology. Suppose a catholic priest has studied at the Vatican in Rome with the best theologians and experts on canon law, who writes that his teachings reflect the purest tenets of the Roman Catholic doctrine. And (assuming you are not catholic) after a cursory look at his book, you label him a “deeply misguided” person…. As a catholic, I would dismiss you as “deeply ignorant”.

    I can’t believe you don’t care about Salim Mansur and other Muslims in the same situation. They live under death threats, here in Canada, because of the very people who are inspired by the teachings of radical imams. They are deprived of their liberty and sense of personal security. And you don’t care? And you say I should not care? What kind of moral values are you promoting?

    Salafi imams don’t care about Salim Mansur either. They feel very secure knowing that authorities will never bother them and will rather go after people like me who fight kuffarphobia. People like you and Barbara Hall enable radical Islam to flourish in this country.

    If you read our site carefully, you will see that we don’t blame Muslims, we blame the supremacists and the radicals in their communities, and we also blame those like you who enable them and don’t care for the predicament of the Salim Mansurs of this country.

    We also support the dissenters in Muslim countries who are persecuted because …they dissent! We broadcast the campaigns of Reporters Without Borders to free Fareed or Tariq or Samira or others who dared challenge tyranny. Aren’t we dangerous? We should be silenced!!!

    And by the way, the video you listed above as objectionable, “Torture en Iran”, was smuggled out of Iran by young dissenters who resent the tyranny of the mullahs. We received the link through the Paris-based group Iran-Resist. Is this islamophobic?

  116. Interesting. The other day I spent half of my day off posting on Luiza’s first Bigger Than Ezra blog post, mostly because I was amazed that there were a few people so motivated to actually defend our current “human rights” industry.

    On that forum I (half jokingly?) wondered how many of the posts were coming from government sponsored desks. I figured if anyone from the HR “industry” was actually posting they would quickly take offense to my suggestion, and if I was just being paranoid, and none of the posters worked for any of the various HR councils, tribunals, or marsupial courts, that my post would be ignored.

    Very quickly I got 2 or 3 responses from people (who seemed to know the answer to my question somehow??), stating that it was ridiculous and a “conspiracy theory” to think that anyone who worked for the HRCs would ever post anonymously on the internet!

    And here we are in part 2 of Luiza’s blog, and it’s riddled with the same few familiar “names”. Unfortunately I don’t have the day off today so I won’t be able to entertain myself by reading there curious posts. They, however, must have jobs that allow a LOT of time for arguing/debating their opinions on net forums daily.

    Is this what is called “maximum disruption”?

  117. If these people are from HR commissions, then I would say: Fire.Them.All.

    This salafi imam is all over the Internet saying I am a prostitute, that my children are perverts, that Muslims should never befriend me, and that my freedom should be abolished.

    Then these people on this blog keep finding excuses for him and pointing fingers at me. They are like Barbara Hall.

    I feel like the battered wife who is told “shut up, be kinder, stop provoking him, you are a bad person, you are the one to blame”. It feels like being told to inflict to myself the Stockholm Syndrome.

  118. And again, that means protecting people from being hurt by idiots where we’re able, not merely showing that the people are idiots after they’ve caused their damage.

    And again, I think we can do that by prosecuting actual cases of inciting/carrying out violence in actual courts. Given the dubious connection between expressing one’s opinion and physical violence, supression of any citizen’s right to free speech on this basis is not justified. All it does is breed more contempt and turn the individual into a celebrity.

  119. I’m not going to indulge Mme Lessard; her agenda is quite clear; as long as she sticks to specific, documented evidence, I don’t have a problem at all with what she says. But as we’ve all learned from the Steyn debacle, when you go far and wide to cherry-pick extreme examples to cobble together a narrative that defames groups of people as a whole, then you’re walking a fine line between truth and bigotry. You’d have to have been born yesterday not to know that this is standard operation procedure for bigots.

    To put Mme Lessard’s paranoia to rest, I don’t work for any human rights commission. What I am is a bilingual, bi-cultural Canadian who’s lived all over Canada and the World to gain enough experience and wisdom to understand that you can vilify and defame any group of people, with great ease. The point is always to convince everyone of a danger more dire than it really is and, most importantly, to convince the general public to assume some sort of policing or surveillance (I won’t use the word ‘persecution’) role that is, properly, left to agencies that are explicitly charged with those responsibilities.

    Throughout these never-ending discussions, I’ve asked people like Lessard to explain me to me what they hope to accomplish by my noting all of the extreme examples? The only answer I ever got was that they wanted me, implored me almost, to BELIEVE.

    I find this laughable. I’m not going to change my beliefs and I’m not going to be as fearful as paranoiacs like Lessard are. What I am going to do to is continue to support the complex of laws in the country that have been developed to maximise freedom of belief and of expression that nevertheless ensure harmony in a fundamentally diverse society, and that means supporting processes for peaceful dispute resolution.

    Where real dangers lurk, I’m going to expect that the security and intelligence agencies that are legally tasked to protect us are doing they’re jobs by monitoring what they do. I have no other choice in that matter, and neither does anyone else.

    If Lessard is worried about the threats the Islamolucides are being subjected to, then she should encourage them to engage the full extent of Canadian law and vigorously support progressive Mulsim organisations in Canada, rather than rant and rave about some unknown Imam in forums like this. She’s wasting her time and everyone else’s.

  120. But as we’ve all learned from the Steyn debacle, when you go far and wide to cherry-pick extreme examples to cobble together a narrative that defames groups of people as a whole, then you’re walking a fine line between truth and bigotry.

    I disagree with your characterization of Steyn’s article. Certainly, he’s extremely critical of Islam (and I would say they are legitemant criticisms) but he hardly “defames” Muslims “as a whole”. In fact, he draws a clear distinction between radical Islamism and ordinary Muslims.

    Moreover, I don’t recall him ever trying “to convince the general public to assume some sort of policing or surveillance” as, you claim, is “always” the goal of his type.

    Throughout these never-ending discussions, I’ve asked people like Lessard to explain me to me what they hope to accomplish by my noting all of the extreme examples? The only answer I ever got was that they wanted me, implored me almost, to BELIEVE.

    I’m not going to pretend I agree with Annie in everything, but you are certainly being demonstrably unfair. It seems you are arguing her real crime was having the gaul to raise a subject you seem to think should be a taboo.

    Radical Islamism, as much as you may not like to admit it, is most certainly a legitament topic for discussion as it is a real and worrisome problem. It’s unfair to demand to know someone’s motives merely for criicizing radicals.

  121. “for criicizing radicals.”
    -Me

    Make that “criticizing”.

  122. Ben, you don’t seem to read very well. All I asserted specifically about Steyn is this: “…when you go far and wide to cherry-pick extreme examples to cobble together a narrative that defames groups of people as a whole, then you’re walking a fine line between truth and bigotry.”

    Whether his motive was to defame Muslims as a whole is something I won’t comment on too specifically. I have my personal reasons for believing this, since Mark Steyn has a history of chauvinism that tends to focus on an Other du-jour. I wish he’s just go back to vilifying Canadians…I’m on familiar territory with that one. And, of course, his network of associates is grounds for suspicion.

    But the point remains the same; what do people like Annie Lessard want the rest of us to do?

  123. Ti-Guy, you don’t understand the message. We are not putting together “extreme” examples, but examples that add up to creeping sharia and a radical change of our culture on an incremental basis. Also words like “racism” “islamophobe” “bigot” are now so common they don’t mean anything. When you lack arguments of substance, you shoot these words (read the article linked below: Rhétorique 101.

    Great Britain has 22,000 cases of excision a year. But the government chose to fund a 266-page report on how to detect and combat racism at an early age. An example of “racism” being toddlers at daycare centers who say “yurk” when presented ethnic food they are not familiar with. And so many follies of absurd post-modern cultural relativism and political correctness with an ever expanding role for the State to format the utopian New Harmonious Citizen who never offends anyone because he always agrees with everyone whatever they say.

    Islamists and Leftists have in common a desire to control everyone. They resent freedom. That’s why lefties love unbridled multiculturalism so much. It takes a high interventionist State to reformat citizens and to protect a growing number of Salim Mansur, dissidents, apostates, women fleeing forced marriage, radical imams, etc.

    Again, our site has a large number of pieces by Muslims from here and abroad. Read Mohamed Pascal Hilout, founder of the movement for a New Islam. He sends articles for posting on our site. And a number of contributors are immigrants in Quebec from North African and other countries. But you dismissed them as bigots as well. What can I say? You’ve made your mind.

    Read this great article by Radu Stoenescu, a French philosopher of Romanian origin: Rhétorique 101.

    http://pointdebasculecanada.ca/spip.php?article337

  124. But the point remains the same; what do people like Annie Lessard want the rest of us to do?

    I think you should clarify what you mean. What kind of “people”? Who is “us”? And what makes you think they want people to “do” aything?

  125. Wow! This is the thread that won’t die!

    We have gone over the differences between libel, slander, incitement to violence etc. and free speech.

    We have enumerated the sad lack of process within the HRC’s in accepting and prosecuting nuisance cases.

    We have had to listen to your complain that our free speech somehow impinges on your freedom of conscience and belief, though I can’t see for the life of me how that may be.

    We have agreed that much of free speech is disagreeable and even offensive.

    We have agreed also that you don’t have to agree with Mark Steyn and that you may find him a bigot and a chauvinist.

    Ti-Guy – what we want you to do is to stop trying to defend the use of government tribunals to govern what we believe is free speech.

    That’s all.

  126. Islamists and Leftists have in common a desire to control everyone. They resent freedom. That’s why lefties love unbridled multiculturalism so much.

    Ah, there we are. Finally. I was afraid I’d have to apply for a research grant to spend the time required to properly assess the issue Mme Lessard is highlighting here. Thank God, with this short statement, she’s told me everything I need to know.

  127. Ti-Guy – what we want you to do is to stop trying to defend the use of government tribunals to govern what we believe is free speech.

    Well, it’s clear I won’t do this. Got anything else?

  128. Ti-Guy, for example, I don’t want my tax dollars paying for intellectual masturbation like this example below. This is what I call “reformating” Canadians so that they never ever offend anyone.

    Link to the site of Foreign Affairs Canada on an interview of Patrice Brodeur on Religion and Canadian Foreign Policy.

    Patrice Brodeur is professor and Canada Research Chair on Islam, Pluralism and Globalization at the Université de Montréal

    “I teach at the Université de Montréal and my research topics include the intersection of contemporary Islam, pluralism and globalization—particularly, I would say, the more economic and political currents of globalization”.

    “First, I think it is very important that Canada’s foreign policy not emphasize just the religious dimension. What we need to promote in our policy is a multidimensional approach, one that can incorporate multiple ethnic, linguistic, religious, ideological and professional identities, social classes, etc., in such a way that this multifaceted approach makes everyone feel included, at ease and, above all, respected, whatever their own composition of identities”.

    “…this is within each of us as human beings, since each of us has multiple identities. We have to balance them and make them complementary so we can be better human beings. Also at the level of our respective groups, where there is always internal diversity, we must continually seek to make the different positions complementary”.

    Québec and the ROC have a different view of multiculturalism. What’s the problem?

  129. And by the way, this Patrice Brodeur is in favor of restrictions to freedom of speech so as not to “offend” anyone. He sides with the Canadian Islamic Congress on this issue.