Richard Warman has sued me -- and other conservative bloggers
Today I was sued by Richard Warman, Canada’s most prolific – and profitable – user of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. As readers of this site know, Warman isn’t just a happy customer of section 13 and its 100% conviction rate, he’s a former CHRC employee, an investigator of section 13 thought crimes himself. In fact, he was often both a customer and an investigator at the same time.
Being sued by Warman is like being sued by the CHRC
It’s impossible to criticize section 13 without criticizing Warman, because without Warman, section 13 would have been defunct years ago – almost no-one else in this country of 33 million people uses it. I’d call it “Warman’s Law”, but I’ve already given that title to another law enacted because of Warman. Warman’s Law is a law brought in by the B.C. government specifically to protect libraries from Warman’s nuisance defamation suits. (We should find some way to set up a Warman’s law to protect universities from Warman, too.)
Warman doesn’t just “use” section 13. As I’ve documented here before, he actively interferes with other CHRC investigators working on his complaints. For example, he called up Hannya Rizk, a fellow investigator he trained, and told her to improperly withhold information from the person Warman had complained about; he told Rizk to slow down her work to fit his other plans; he tried to get Rizk to improperly disclose confidential information about cases to third parties.
And then there’s Warman’s direct interference in the investigation of his own complaints – wandering right into the CHRC offices, hopping right on investigator’s computers, using their passwords, and just having a ball – violating not only privacy and confidentiality, but the integrity of the CHRC’s evidence – not that such sloppiness has detracted from their 100% conviction rate.
Warman isn’t solely responsible for the corruption of the CHRC, of course – he couldn’t get away with his antics without the cooperation and even encouragement of the rest of the CHRC staff, which happens to include some decidedly ethically challenged people. But Warman is the central figure in its abuse. That is a source of great pride for Warman, who professes a philosophy he calls “maximum disruption”.
The more I learn about Warman, the more I write about him. And, like the CHRC, he hates public exposure. Earlier this year, Warman’s lawyer served me with a lengthy Libel Notice, which I posted to my website here, with my commentary on it here.
Warman’s new lawsuit, which you can see here, covers much of the same ground – but not all of it. For example, you’ll see that part 4 of his Libel Notice – which made up a third of his lengthy complaint – has been dropped from his lawsuit. That part was Warman’s threat to sue me for discussing his conspiracy to assault his nemesis, David Icke. I guess it’s pretty tough to complain about that, when the whole thing was caught on video.
Warman’s suit would censor the conservative blogosphere
Warman’s not just suing me. He’s suing some of the biggest names in the Canadian blogosphere – from Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals to Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury (or, Five Feet of Furry, as the lawsuit says on page 2), to Free Dominion, the largest conservative chat site in Canada. Warman’s goal is breathtaking in its chutzpah: he wants to muzzle the Canadian conservative Internet. It’s not just his goal – it’s the goal of the CHRC itself, and its friends at the Canadian Jewish Congress, who have stated their goal is to “tame” the Internet – or at least those voices they disagree with. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the CJC was bankrolling Warman’s lawsuit – they’ve done joint legal work together before, and Warman’s number one defender is on the CJC’s legal committee. The CJC hates conservatives, and this would be a way for them to do damage to the conservative blogosphere without taking the political flak for it.
Take a look at the language Warman’s lawsuit uses to smear Free Dominion. At paragraph 17, Warman calls them an “extreme right-wing discussion forum”. Look at that language – hardly distinguishable from the CHRC’s and CJC’s boilerplate insults reserved for neo-Nazis. That’s what this lawsuit is about: an attempt by the CHRC’s biggest star to try to marginalize Canadian conservatism. And why not? The CHRC has moved from targeting white supremacists to targeting mainstream conservatives like Mark Steyn; the Alberta HRC has already gagged Christian pastors and taken a run at Calgary’s bishop, and two years ago they charged me with publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Surely attempting to criminalize conservatism is just the next, natural step for these congenital censors.
Warman has admitted to posting anonymous, hateful comments
I’m not going to go through every line in the Statement of Claim; the bulk of it refers to the revelation that Warman published bigoted comments about Sen. Anne Cools under a pseudonym, calling her a n*gger and a c*nt. I’m a little surprised that Warman would choose this as his hill to die on – after all, he has already confessed to calling gays “sexual deviants” who are a “cancer” and he would sign off his online remarks with Nazi shorthand for “heil Hitler”, so I’m not sure how denying his Anne Cools remarks salvages his reputation. Warman has a habit of trying to revise history when it’s embarrassing to him. Here are some excerpts from a transcript where he vigorously denies – then sheepishly admits – making bigoted remarks online under a fake name. And sometimes when Warman himself won’t fess up, he forgets to coordinate his answers with his fellow CHRC staff, who confess his dirty deeds for him. That kind of crap might fly in a Human Rights Tribunal – then again, what doesn’t? But good luck with those kind of shenanigans in a real court, with a real judge who’s wondering why his time is being wasted adjudicating a political dispute with no legal merit dressed up as a defamation action.
I’ve got a few more things to say about the Statement of Claim, but for strategic reasons and for legal reasons, I’m going to save them for my Statement of Defence. But there are a couple more things I’d like to point out.
A comedy of errors
Defamation law and law in general is a details business. So it makes me chuckle to see a Statement of Claim, that has obviously been in the works for three months, so riddled with little typos. I laughed out loud when I saw Kathy Shaidle’s site, Five Feet of Fury, called Five Feet of Furry on page 2 of the lawsuit. I don’t know exactly what that means, but it might even be cause for Kathy to file a defamation suit against Warman!
On page 4 Warman brags about his “Saul Hayes Human Dignity Award”, but on page 16 it’s the “Saul Human Dignity Award”. On page 14 he calls the Justice Minister Rob Nichols, not Rob Nicholson.
Or take the various names by which the National Post’s Op-Ed blog is described: on page 4 it’s “Full Comment”, on page 18 it’s “FreeComments” and by page 20 it’s “FullComments”, “Freecomments” and “FullComment.com”, all on the same page.
Kate’s first name is spelled Catherine on page 2 but Catherin on page 22. Her last name is spelled McMillan on page 2 but MacMillan on page 22.
Obviously, none of these typos will determine the outcome of this suit. But the kind of sloppiness that doesn’t even get the name of two of the websites and one of the defendants right is the same kind of sloppiness that makes other, more serious errors. The Statement of Claim is the foundation of a lawsuit – it’s the primary document. I love the fact that everyone – including the judge – will read typos and grammatical errors on almost every page and wonder: “what else is wrong with this?” My lawyers will be there to answer that question.
The inexplicable decision to sue the National Post
As per the typos, there are two other defendants in this suit: the National Post and its editor, Jonathan Kay. Six weeks ago, Kay briefly – maybe for an hour or two – posted a column about Warman’s Sen. Cools comments on the National Post’s website. But as soon as Warman complained, Kay took it down, and the Post later published an apology both in print and online. I obviously disagreed with that decision, but I’m not the one responsible for putting out a newspaper every day on a tight budget. Kay and the Post are in the business of publishing, not suing. They made the decision to cut bait, and move on to other, more important fights – as they have done with their outstanding coverage of the CHRC ever since.
But that act of over-generous magnanimity – legally unnecessary in my view, but probably a smart business decision – did not exempt them from Warman’s litigious nature. He’s suing them nonetheless. I’m not sure what Warman hopes to get from them – they’ve already apologized in a disproportionate way. It will be interesting to see how the Post responds. Will they try to cut bait again? If so, how? Or have they reached a point with Warman where they realize he is using this lawsuit as a punishment to them – maximum disruption-style – for their excellent reporting on Warman and the CHRC?
Warman will never sue Rogers
Speaking of big, corporate defendants, where is Maclean’s magazine and Mark Steyn on the list of defendants? I would never wish a Warmansuit on Maclean’s or Steyn, of course. But next to the Post, nobody’s been tougher on Warman and his bigoted, anonymous online comments then them. Could it be – perhaps? – that Warman doesn’t want to sue Maclean’s, which is owned by Rogers – which just happens to be the ISP through which the Cools comments were posted? Is Warman afraid that they will prove what he doesn't want them to prove -- that it was he who posted those bigoted remarks? I don’t know, but I’m curious. And I think a judge will be curious as to why comments in Maclean’s magazine, with its 2.8 million readers, weren’t regarded as actionable, whereas a few bloggers were. In a lawsuit that already reeks of politics, not serious legal matters, it’s just one more reason for judges to raise an eyebrow.
That’s because what any defamation suit is about is how much the plaintiff’s reputation has been reduced, and whether that reduction was fair. Warman and the CHRC have taken a shellacking in the press for three months, based on the true facts of Warman’s hyper-litigiousness, his confessed anonymous bigotry and other malfeasance. Warman has let the vast majority of these publications go (though he has tried to pick on a McGill university student). Just what is his reputation worth these days, what with all the revelations? What is he implying by ignoring Maclean’s pounding of him, month after month? And, regardless of what Maclean’s says or does, when a self-described human rights hero admits to posting anti-gay, neo-Nazi bigotry, as Warman does, what’s left of that reputation to defend?
Warman will avoid examinations for discovery
There is one more matter of interest in this lawsuit: the dollar amount at stake. Warman is suing for $50,000 plus costs and interest. From one point of view, that’s small potatoes – though I’d imagine that each of the defendants will spend close to that in legal fees. But it’s unlikely that Warman is suing for that sum out of modesty, or out of recognition that he has damaged his reputation through his own misconduct. The reason is more likely Rule 76 of Ontario’s court procedure, which permits a streamlined trial for claims of that size. In other words, by limiting his claim, Warman can avoid an examination for discovery – the extended pre-trial questioning, under oath, that parties have to submit to in normal trials. Under the expedited rules, Warman can escape such an interrogation until the trial itself – which will likely mean less questioning, less follow-ups, and a lot of “I can’t remembers”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise – like the rest of the CHRC apparatus, Warman prefers to avoid scrutiny of his actions.
What happens next?
I don’t believe that all of the defendants have been served with the lawsuit yet. Depending on where they are in the country, they have up to 40 days to reply, or even more. If I know the other Internet defendants, they’re going to fight this like hell. I hope the National Post makes the same decision – especially since their magnanimous gesture to Warman was repaid with a lawsuit. As I mentioned above, I’m not going to blog about my Statement of Defence until I file it, for strategic and legal reasons. But, as I promised to do when I was first served with a Libel Notice by Warman, I can tell you that I’m not just going to play defence here – I’m going to use Warman’s lawsuit to put his conduct, and the very conduct of the CHRC itself, on trial.
When I started writing about Warman and the CHRC, I thought I would be a crusading journalist – uncovering ugly anecdotes about the commissions and their work. I actually haven’t blogged too much about my own case before the Alberta HRC, as that process continues to move along at their traditionally glacial pace. So the CHRC and its case against Maclean’s and other politically incorrect respondents was a natural focus for me.
But the CHRC and Warman don’t brook such criticism very well. I suppose, in retrospect, it was inevitable that Warman – probably the most litigious man in Canada – would sue me. In fact, I’m rather surprised that I haven’t been hit with a section 13 thought crimes complaint, too. Warman and the CHRC have one tool: censorship, whether in the form of an HRC hearing or a defamation suit. So when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything and everyone starts to look like a nail. Of course Warman is suing me, and Kate and Kathy and Connie and Mark. It’s what he does.
Well, not on my watch. I’m not going to describe the details of my fight-back plan now, but I’ll explain it as we roll it out. Suffice it to say, Richard Warman and the CHRC are used to shooting fish in a barrel. That stops now. If you think the never-ending saga of Canada’s HRC is interesting, well, things are just getting started.
What can you do?
Obviously, this fight isn’t just about Warman and the defendants. It’s about political censorship, the abuse of government power, and the freedom of the blogosphere. Warman wants to marginalize and perhaps even criminalize conservative ideas. Well, I want to denormalize the human rights commissions. It’s going to be a helluva fight – and an excellent opportunity to showcase the abusive, corrupt, bullying, censorious nature of the CHRCs and their star pupil, Richard Warman.
I don’t even think the importance of this fight is limited to Canada. The creeping censorship that Warman embodies is of the same breed as the censorship that Geert Wilders faces for his film, Fitna. It’s part of a global attempt to squelch ideas about liberty and other western values. It’s part of an unholy alliance between domestic leftists and foreign jihadis. In fact, it’s precisely what I’m talking about, with Mark Steyn, in New York tomorrow.
If you want to help, I can think of three things to do:
1. Help me and the other defendants with our legal bills. I don’t know how Warman funds his dozens of defamation suits. As I mentioned above, I suspect the CJC helps him out. I know Kathy, Kate and Connie and Mark and, like me, they don’t have an extra $30,000 or $50,000 kicking around to fend off this nuisance suit. And that’s probably how much it will cost each of us to take this to trial. In my case, it’s a double-whammy – I’m already on the hook for legal bills fighting against the Alberta HRC complaint about publishing the Danish cartoons. This is clearly the HRCs’ attempt to pile on.
2. Spread the word about this fight, and the other abusive distortions to our law that Canada’s human rights commissions and their courtiers are doing. That’s what I call denormalization – letting ordinary Canadians know that the agencies and advocates who used to promote our civil rights are now amongst Canada’s worst abusers of our civil rights – especially our freedom of speech.
3. And, remember the second step in our fight-back plan: once we’ve raised awareness about the dangers of Canada’s out-of-control human rightsniks, we have to press our politicians to act. This lawsuit has just a handful of defendants. But that’s misleading, because what’s really at stake here is the right for anyone to criticize Canada’s HRCs, and the existence of conservative blogs at all. If we lose, no-one else will dare to criticize the HRCs – certainly not politicians. And Richard Warman’s campaign of bullying and censorship will continue. But if we win – and, by the way, we’re already winning – we’ll expose the depths of the corruption of the HRCs and we’ll be able to prune them back, or uproot them altogether. Warman might think that the defendants and I will be on trial. I give you my promise that he and the CHRC will be on trial every bit as much – and far more so in the court of public opinion.
If you would have asked me late last year what I was going to do with myself after shutting down the Western Standard, I might have had a few guesses. But I never thought I would be fighting off a human rights complaint from radical jihadis in Alberta, and a defamation action from a radical censor in Ontario -- and trying to get our politicians to listen. But I’m up for the fight -- I just need help paying the lawyers.
Can you please help me?
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