November 2008 Archives
"Prime Minister Stephane Dion" is a scary phrase.
"Finance Minister Jack Layton" is even scarier.
But now CTV reveals that there's a third option for scariest political phrase of the year: "Foreign Minister Gilles Duceppe"?
CTV has audio tape of Jack Layton boasting to his caucus about how he's cooked up a secret deal with the Bloc Quebecois -- who he describes as strong Canadian boosters.
I did make an error -- I said Layton came in third in the election. No, he came in fourth.
Here's his column in the Toronto Sun, which will likely run in other newspapers in the Sun chain. Here's a few interseting sentences from it:
The Canadian Islamic Congress complaint -- as I wrote following its dismissal by the CHRC in June 2008 -- made Canadians take note, unlike any previous complaint, how the censorious provision of Section 13 is a blot on Canadian democracy.
Canadians got instruction as never before, due to the Canadian Islamic Congress complaint, on the principle and value of free speech as the foundation of an open democracy.
I predict that Salim Mansur, who is Muslim, will be denounced as anti-Muslim, just as I have been denounced as a Nazi, even though I'm Jewish.
That's the last, best defence the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its few, lonely defenders have: trying to paint anyone who disagrees with them as racist.
Nope. We just believe in freedom.
So many Canadian newspapers have come out against section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act -- the censorship provision -- that it's almost impossible to keep track. But here are a few more columns:
Rory Leishman in the London Free Press lists some of the most egregious censorship cases, including those targeting Rev. Stephen Boissoin, Mark Steyn and me. And he ends thusly:
One key question remains: When, oh when, will our supposedly conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally summon up the political courage to authorize the introduction of a government bill to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of its power to suppress the fundamental rights of Canadians to freedom of expression?
Freedom of speech is a cherished right in our society; admittedly, sometimes exercising one's freedom of speech means somebody else will be offended.
And Toronto's Eye Weekly weighs in again on the subject, this time adding:
We’ve seen human rights investigators planting racist messages of their own online in order to find grounds to expose nutjob losers as anti-Semites so they too can be dragged before commissions.
It seems that our Parliamentarians are a touch distracted these days. But I'm sure this kind of unanimity hasn't gone unnoticed.
But his later years were not so kind to him. He became a crank.
In 2002, at a Saskatchewan Indian conference, he delivered a rant about Jews. Here's part of it:
But ah, the Germans used to tell me, and I got to know them well because I played soccer against them and with them and so forth. But they used to tell me that you guys are blessed. What we know about the Indians in Canada. They are blessed. But that blessing is being destroyed by the, by your immigrants that are going over there. Especially the Jews, they say, you know. The Second World War was created by the Jews and the Third World War, whatever it is, right now that war ... that wages on Israel in the Arab countries. I was there too. But there’s gonna be a war because the Israelis and the “Bushies”, you know, the bully, the bully, the ah the bigot and so forth in the United States that tells you that if you’re not with me you are against me.
After his speech, he reiterated his remarks to a reporter, saying:
The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. ... That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe. That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the goddamned world. And look what they're doing. They're killing people in Arab countries.
How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?
In other words, it was a weird mish-mash of racism, conspiracy theories, and leftist foreign policy, all woven together. So sort of like the Daily Kos.
He later told another reporter:
when a group of people, a race of people, can control the world media, then there's got to be something done about that.
So, pretty much what Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress says, but without Elmasry's fatwa approving of terrorist attacks.
What's my point?
My point is that Ahenakew is a kooky old man. He's racist. I doubt it's a deep racism, frankly -- I mean, how many Jews does Ahenakew bump into in a typical year in his home province of Saskatchewan, especially in his circles? It sounds like he's spent too much time surfing Left wing conspiracy theory sites -- I bet he's a 9/11 truther, too. The fact that he's Indian is just an interesting wrinkle -- he's basically a cranky old coot who has a long list of grievances, and the Jews are one of his many scapegoats.
Is Ahenakew violent? No, Does he advocate violence? No.
Does anyone in the world actually give a damn about what he says? No, other than his grandchildren who have to listen to him whenever they visit. But they probably ignore the old man, too.
David Ahenakew is a former somebody, who is now a nobody, who has views that are distasteful.
If a reporter hadn't been at the conference, none of us would know about it.
A reporter was there, and the resultant publicity marginalized Ahenakew even more in life, including stripping him of his Order of Canada. He was denounced nationally. He became a pariah.
And that's how it should be.
And it should have ended there, in 2002.
But it's 2008 now, and Ahenakew is still front-page news. And his nutty views, which should be in obscurity along with him, are in the news again, too. He's praising Hitler again, and hating Jews -- and the national (and even international) media are eating it up. Google News says there are 453 stories about him in recent days.
If you're in the PR business, you know that getting 453 different news stories in a week is an astounding achievement. That's a multi-million dollar advertising buy -- except that news stories carry much greater credibility with readers than do ads. Ahenakew could never have received such an audience for his views on his own.
Six years after the fact, and Ahenakew is facing his second trial for saying those bad words (his first conviction was overturned on appeal, and a new trial was ordered). I have no idea how many millions of dollars that has cost the justice system, but it's a lot. And all to persecute a man's foul words -- a man whose deeds of military service and educational reform were extraordinary. Ahenakew has never hurt a fly. But he's been charged with the crime of saying bad things.
He's being tried in criminal court, under the criminal code prohibition against hate speech. That's the only reason why he was acquitted -- because he's in the real court system. Had he been charged before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, he would have lost -- they have a 100% conviction rate.
I wonder if he'll be acquitted again. I mean, look at his words -- they're nutty, they're rude, they're anti-social, they're rambling, they're racist. But so what? Is that really a crime in Canada? (Actually, yes it is.)
In his first conviction, Ahenakew was fined $1,000. So let's say there's a great victory for Canadian justice here, and Ahenakew is convicted again, and fined, say, $2,000.
What has been achieved?
Other than the erosion of our right to have dissident opinions, I mean.
Well, there's the vast resources of the state that have been spent on him -- money diverted from fighting real crimes.
Ahenakew himself is obviously unrepentant. To the contrary -- he's surely now convinced, more than ever, of a Jewish conspiracy to silence him.
But that's not even the real achievement here.
The real achievement here is that a broken-down nobody is a media superstar, and that his odious views are receiving massive attention. No doubt, some Aboriginal youth look up to him as having stood up to the White Man, and stood his ground. He's a role model for defiance who made the white government blink at least once.
There is a glamour attached to him and his views that just wasn't there when he was a rambling old fool at a conference. Now, he's such a danger to the state -- his ideas must be so powerful! -- that the government has to silence him, using the brute force of the law.
It was the Official Jews who pushed for the creation of hate speech laws, both in the criminal code and in human rights commissions.
And what have those Official Jews achieved in this case?
They have turned a bigoted nobody into a bigoted somebody.
They have turned racist comments muttered to a hundred snoozing conference-goers into racist comments read with interest by hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
They have turned a baseless whiner into someone with a basis for his whining -- six years of prosecutions by the state being his basis.
Jews have always made the best talent agents. Michael Ovitz was apparently too busy to take Ahenakew's case. So the Canadian Jewish Congress stepped in.
Congratulations. They've created another monster -- just like Zundel, Keegstra, Taylor and others.
I know building up Ahenakew into a menace is great for fundraising letters sent to little old Jewish ladies. But really, other than that, can the CJC say they've achieved anything other than to promote the career of a little bigot on the prairies?
P.S. Here's my Calgary Sun column on Ahenakew, when his first conviction was overturned in 2006:
David Ahenakew's criminal conviction for "spreading hate" was quashed last week by no-one less than the chief justice of Saskatchewan.
The septuagenarian aboriginal leader isn't free to go just yet. He wasn't acquitted. His conviction has been set aside. The province may have at him again.
Already, a chorus of "human rights" groups clamoured for a retrial, forgetting freedom of speech -- even foolish, wrong or hateful speech -- is a human right, too.
Ahenakew should not have been charged in the first place. He muttered some conspiracy theory about Jews, and uttered some childish admiration for Adolf Hitler.
The proper response by colleagues, the public and the government should have been to rebut his absurd claims or ignore him.
He should have been socially marginalized by polite company, as any bigoted buffoon should be. But to criminalize such harmless dissension is an affront to the Canadian belief in the right to be wrong.
A retrial will likely fail for the reason the first trial failed: The law will probably find Ahenakew didn't have the requisite criminal intent to spread hate -- he was just riffing to a reporter. And should he indeed be convicted, he will surely appeal to the Supreme Court.
The zealous human rights set will transform this nobody into an international celebrity, like they did for Ernst Zundel, who was actually acquitted of his charge, "spreading false news" about the Holocaust.
Ahenakew shouldn't just be let go because bad ideas aren't a crime. He should be let go because he has become a giant placebo for the human rights set -- a distraction from real issues, real threats. He's a safe way for them to beat up on some harmless, old fool and feel pretty pleased with themselves.
Canada has real hate crimes to worry about, and real anti-Semites to battle who are far more dangerous than an old man in the prairies. We've got 17 or more men arrested in Toronto for allegedly plotting to blow up the CN Tower, storm the CBC and Parliament, and behead the PM, all because of a hateful philosophy of jihadism.
Where are the hate crime charges there?
Instead of addressing the hateful beliefs that united those suspects, the police went to extreme lengths to deny the obvious -- to deny that these men share the belief that Christopher Hitchens dubbed Islamofascism.
The Toronto suspects weren't motivated by money. They were motivated by hate of our western society and hate of the infidel Jews and Christians. Unlike Ahenakew, according to police, these men were actually planning to do something about their hate.
But hate laws aren't really about hate.
They're about abusing and stretching the criminal code to criminalize political dissidents. And, for whatever reason, radical Islam has been granted a special exemption by the arbiters of political correctness.
Why wasn't the head of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Mohamed Elmasry, charged with a hate crime when he went on TV last year, stating that every adult Jew in Israel -- which would include pregnant women, old men, young folks at a pizza parlour or dance club -- are legitimate targets for Palestinian terrorism?
Surely that was a lot more specific than the tired ramblings of old Ahenakew. Ahenakew has some politically correct Teflon -- he is aboriginal -- but Elmasry can trump that poker hand: He's a brown-skinned Muslim from Egypt who speaks with an accent.
Is there any other reason he got away with his apologia for the murder of Jews but Jim Keegstra the WASP was convicted for his more passive anti-Semitism?
Time to abolish this foolish law.
Mike Duffy had me on his CTV show on Tuesday, not as a Conservative strategist, but rather to talk about freedom of speech.
I can't find the video on CTV's website (a friend says he'll YouTube it and send it to me that way), but here's a copy of the transcript.
Those CTV transcripts -- they're so accurate, all of my uh's and um's are in there! Here it is:
MIKE DUFFY: Well, now let's go to a commentator who has had his own share of dealings with human rights commissions. Ezra Levant is a lawyer, and he's joining us now from Calgary. Ezra we've got these two things happening on one day, the Carleton University cystic fibrosis is the white male disease, and then we have Queen's University with these dialogue facilitators. Where is this going to end?
EZRA LEVANT: Well I think it's political correctness run amuck. And I think that the danger is that people like Mark Freiman and the Canadian Jewish Congress would stop us from being able to criticize it. I would just like to point out that I happen to be Jewish too, and the Jewish Congress doesn't speak for me. They've never done a survey of Canadian Jews. It's just a handful of radical censors who, you know,they dress it up in legal language, but they want to stop people from speaking out. Listen, I think that one of the great things about Canada is that we can have wide ranging raucous debates. And it starts from, you know what they say, a fish rots from the head down. If the Canadian government has these censors in the human rights commission, it's not surprising, Mike, that you see, for example, these student eavesdroppers at Queens University listening in to see if they hear someone say something and then ratting on their friends. It's because they see this example. That's why I'm such an advocate for free speech. And, by the way, Mike, you and me normally talk, and I'm a Conservative strategist or whatever. This isn't a partisan thing. Whether you're left wing or right wing or no wing, you believe in freedom of speech if you're a Canadian, and that's part of our plurality, our diversity of views. So I think these universities are on the wrong track, and the Jewish Congress is offside. In fact they're sort of the 21st equivalent of book burners. They should know better.
DUFFY: Well, one of the things that strikes me in talking to people here in the precincts of parliament today about these stories that are going on, I've had a number of Conservative MPs say to me, Duff, this will be used by people at Queens of a left wing persuasion to go after Conservatives. They'll try to bait the Conservatives into conversation and then have the speech police have them up on charge for daring to defend their political point of view which is at odds with the lefties.
LEVANT: Well that could happen, and a left winger could be in trouble too. You know what, let me give you a couple of left wing examples for free speech. There's a gay rights lobby called EGALE, and they're against all these speech codes, they're against the human rights commission, because they remember that not long ago if you said something pro-homosexual you'd be censored. And PEN Canada, that's a pretty lefty group, Mike. The Canadian Association of Journalists, even the Toronto Star may be the most Liberal paper in the country, they have all come out for free speech because even the lefties know that today it might be a Conservative who's under the gun in human rights commissions, and I think you're probably right, it's mainly Conservatives and Christian pastors, but it could be anyone tomorrow. Because once you set the precedent that some busy body from the Jewish Congress or some student eavesdropper can tell you what you can say or not, everyone's a potential target. And you know it's not just universities. Even the media. Even CTV and other networks are under the thumb of the Broadcast Standards Council. I think Canada has too many people listening in and censoring. I think we should be more robust. I think Canadians are strong enough to have vigorous debates. We're the most tolerant country in the world, we don't need to be walking around on eggshells. Let's have free discussions in this country, Mike, that's the true Canadian way.
DUFFY: That's Ezra Levant, he's joining us tonight from Calgary, appreciate it very much for you joining us. Stay with us.
Here's a clip of me debating Liberal strategist Susan Smith on CTV today (I think I called her Nancy by accident.) I think it's astoundingly undemocratic that Liberals and NDP would presume to topple the Conservative government just weeks after Harper's clear win in a general election, and just days after the opposition supported the Conservatives' throne speech. It's obvious what's changed: they were prepared to abide Harper's economic plans (as they did dozens of times over the past three years, including all of Harper's budgets) until those plans included losing their own taxpayer subsidies. Then they balked. They still have that entitlement mentality.
The NDP and the Liberals combined have 114 seats -- down 18 from the last election. The Conservatives have 143 seats, up 19 from the last election. On what mathematical basis can the Liberals and NDP form a government?
None of the opposition parties campaigned on a Liberal-NDP coalition. In fact, the opposite -- Stephane Dion and Jack Layton each categorically ruled it out. Here's a video clip of Dion on the subject.
Oh well. I looked at my clip again, and I kept on saying that Finance Minister Bob Rae was terrifying. It is. But the coalition would surely mean Finance Minister Jack Layton -- that's the whole "coalition" part!
I'm not quite sure which of the two of them is scarier. Probably Jack Layton. Either way, I'm pretty sure severely normal Canadians -- i.e. those who aren't part of the political-media establishment on Parliament Hill -- would be shocked at this coup d'etat, just weeks after they gave Stephane Dion the Liberals' lowest vote share in Canadian history.
I'm not an expert in Parliamentary procedure or the constitutional questions afoot. Putting aside the morality, mechanics and the durability of such a coalition, I don't know if the Governor General will reward the opposition's non-confidence motion by asking them to form their coalition, or if she will put the question back to the Canadian electorate. If that latter happens, I don't think the electorate's judgment will be as kind to the opposition's putsch as the national media seem to be. Rather, I think the reaction will be: Stephane Dion is still here?
What do you think? (Other than I need a haircut?)
Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, put out an unintentionally hilarious press release. You can see it here. Here is the full text of it, with my thoughts interspersed:
An RCMP investigation into a complaint against three employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has been concluded, and resulted in no charges being laid.
Can you imagine how bad things must be at the CHRC that this is considered good news? Perhaps they should put up a big sign in the CHRC offices, like those at construction sites that say "25 days accident-free". In this case it would be "25 days without a police investigation of our conduct". Time to celebrate! Maybe the old gal will get back on a jet and go to some exotic five-star getaway in Switzerland or Africa at taxpayers' expense, like she does every other month or so.
Commission employees had been accused of improper investigative techniques while investigating cases of hate on the Internet.
Yes, they had been accused of that. But the RCMP doesn't investigate things that are merely "improper". They investigate alleged crimes. In this case, that CHRC staff hacked into the private Internet account of a citizen, so they could go online and visit neo-Nazi websites.
“The employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission abide by the highest standards of professionalism and ethics in all aspects of their work,” said CHRC Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Q.C. “The CHRC is pleased to have this matter resolved.”
This is the money quote in the whole press release. Every single word in it is untrue, including "the" and "and".
First, employees of the CHRC do not abide by ethical or professional standards at all, let alone "the highest". As I've disclosed before, an internal government audit, stamped confidential on every page, found that the CHRC has no written ethical policy at all. Lynch is just lying.
And "professional" standards? What exactly does that mean, when it comes to censorship? Is there a censoring profession, with standards? What a crock.
But the biggest lie is that the matter is "resolved". Oh, really? Do tell: does Nelly Hechme, the woman who, according to Alain Monfette, Bell Canada's security officer, had her Internet signal accessed by the CHRC, does she think it's resolved?
Or how about the Privacy Commissioner, who is also conducing an investigation? Does she think it's resolved? Oh but Lynch thinks it's resolved. That's the problem.
The RCMP criminal investigation was launched following an allegation made by the respondent in a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal proceeding held in March 2008.
Even that isn't true. The RCMP didn't launch its investigation based on Marc Lemire's allegation. RCMP don't do that. They launched their investigation based on Bell Canada's sworn testimony that the CHRC accessed Hechme's account, and Hechme telling reporters that was shocked to learn of it. That's why the investigation was launched -- stunning facts, sworn to under oath.
Friends, could you imagine if the entire government was run with Jennifer Lynch's moral code? Imagine if the only test was: can we get away with it? Her style of management is to cover things up, and hire expensive lobby groups and PR firms to deodorize a festering wound, instead of to actually disinfect that wound. In other words, she's part of the problem. If she were a cabinet minister, she'd be sacked -- not just for her scandalous conduct, and not just for the embarrassment to the government, but for general incompetence. Things have got worse under her tenure, not better -- but that hasn't stopped her from jaunting around the world, chumming it up with Third World dictators.
Let me close with a correction -- a correction to this very blog post I'm writing now. I have titled it "Jennifer Lynch's ethical standard: at least we weren't charged with a crime!". But I don't even think I can say that's accurate.
Regular readers will know that Lynch's right hand woman in the section 13 censorship investigations is none other than Sandy Kozak. Kozak used to be a real police officer -- the first woman on her force, in fact. But then she started hanging out with a criminal herself -- a criminal her own colleagues were pursuing. She was corrupt. She was crooked. She had no moral compass. She couldn't tell wrong from right.
She was charged with offences that apply to crooked cops. And, instead of going through with a full trial, she took a plea deal -- she left the force, never to be trusted as a police woman again.
With that in mind, look at Lynch's press release again. It's a pack of lies.
Lynch says no charges were laid against her staff. No, not in the hacking case. But charges of corruption were filed against her right hand woman on section 13, Kozak.
Lynch said CHRC staff operate at the highest standard of ethics and professionalism. But Kozak, Lynch's mini-me, had such low standards, she was thrown out of a professional police force in disgrace.
The biggest error in her press release isn't a lie. It's just plain old wishful thinking: Lynch says this matter is resolved.
Like hell it is.
Fire. Them. All.
The Sheldon Chumir Foundation has uploaded some video clips from their November 1st conference in Halifax on the media's "right to offend". Here is a clip of me on a good rant. (I didn't get to 90% of my prepared talk -- I had to parcel that out during the Q&A session that followed!)
I had just heard Krista Daley, the chief commissar of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, tell us about how her organization was going to usher in a "near-utopia", and that until that Eden was achieved, our freedoms would have to be circumscribed.
Really. She said utopia. What a nut-bar.
So here's my opening rant. That's what the whole Koresh thing was about:
By coincidence, Daley had given a speech just a day or two earlier at another freedom of speech conference in Halifax, too. Two journalists who attended that event told me a shocking thing that I have been meaning to write about.
As I've written before, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald has been hit with a human rights complaint by a radical Muslim imam, because they published a cartoon. (Sound familiar?) Here's the cartoon, which I publish partly for your information, and partly to irritate Koresh, her imam puppet-master and her fellow HRC censors:
Anyway, by the time Daley was speaking at these conferences, the complaint against the newspaper was already six months old -- and the newspaper had no idea what the status of its case was.
That's part of the water torture that HRCs use as a form of punishment -- the process itself is abusive, and designed to be costly, slow and demoralizing. HRCs are lawless, rogue courts, with no procedures. Victims like the Chronicle-Herald are kept in the dark, denied disclosure, denied a speedy trial, denied all information -- in short, denied natural justice.
The newspaper had no idea what the status of the case against it was.
But two journalists at the Chumir event, who had also been at the previous event, told me this stunning fact: Daley had, casually, in a break at the conference, told them not to worry, the complaint was going to be dismissed.
Just stop for a moment and think about that.
A legal entity (the Chronicle-Herald) and a legal person (Bruce MacKinnon) were both ensnared in a legal process that threatened their liberty, pocketbook and reputation. Lawyers were hired, money was spent, time was wasted and -- perhaps worse than all of that -- the newspaper and MacKinnon were publicly smeared as bigots for six full months.
And -- like in most HRCs -- there was no way they could apply to a real judge for a "summary dismissal" -- to throw out just a nuisance suit. They were trapped in it.
But, over a coffee break, the chief kangaroo of the HRC casually, informally, just-making-chit-chat, told two non-parties that the charges against the Chronicle-Herald and MacKinnon would be dropped.
That's not justice. That's an out-of-control, lawless, rogue gossip, who no doubt uttered that acquittal as if it were some whimsical gift from a monarch to her lucky subjects.
It certainly wasn't law
Real judges don't decide cases over coffee with non-parties.
Real judges don't substitute chatty gossip for legal rulings.
Real judges follow rules. Real judges respect confidentiality; respect legal standing; understand that the power they wield is not their own, but power entrusted in a civic office with strict rules.
It's not just Daley's bizarre utopian mission that is Koresh-like. So is her self-image, her belief that she personally decides what is or isn't just, and she'll do it over coffee, in a gossipy chat with strangers just as soon as she'll do it in a courtroom with the parties present.
If Krista Daley were a real judge, she'd be hauled before the judicial council for discipline.
But she's not a real judge. She has no rules -- so she can't break them.
She'll violate every norm of justice in the pursuit of her utopia.
What an embarrassment to Nova Scotia.
Fire. Them. All.
Peter Worthington is a great journalist, with about a half century in the business. He was one of the founders of the Toronto Sun, and he's still one of their most popular columnists.
Here's his column on the Canadian Human Rights Commission, entitled "End threat to free speech". Some excerpts:
...it is not "hate" that Section 13 was used to oppose, but free speech -- making censorship into a weapon.
The fact that every Canadian media outlet -- plus the Conservative Party's policy convention (including Justice Minister Rob Nicholson) -- and a phone list of others want this section repealed, or at least modified, should be enough to persuade Parliament to repeal Section 13.
One hopes every publication in Canada picks up the theme and harps on it until government undoes the damage done by this unnecessary legislation. Most newspapers have already opposed the abuse of hate legislation, but now that the CHRC's commissioned report urges the same thing, there is ample reason to follow up and ensure that Moon's gritty recommendations are not ignored or diluted.
Abolishing Section 13 would also put an end to the human rights police -- the "thought police" -- who now have the power to censor the Internet and media.
...Get rid of damned Section 13.
There are so many stories and editorials condemning the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and its section 13 censorship provision, I can’t even keep track of them. Here are a few – I already mentioned the Toronto Star’s editorial.
Dr. Keith Martin, the Liberal MP who got the ball rolling earlier this year with his private member’s motion on the subject, calls for Parliament to get cracking in an Op-Ed in the National Post.
The Globe and Mail writes what I think is their third editorial this year on the subject, here.
This must be the tenth editorial or column that the Calgary Herald, the Prime Minister’s hometown paper, has written calling for the repeal of section 13.
Those are just the editorials. Many more papers ran straight news stories about Richard Moon’s surprise report calling for the scrapping of section 13. Google News says there are 146 hits when you search “Richard Moon”.
It’s safe to say that if you were reading the newspapers or listening to the radio over the past two days, odds are you read or heard these calls for freedom.
And you can be sure the daily news clipping services at the PMO and the Justice Minister’s office had copies of these – and, if they still do it like they did when I worked in Parliament, each clipping had the newspaper’s audited readership stamped on it.
And you know that the CHRC obsessively reads every one of them, too – desperately wishing there was some way to censor it all. Oh, how they yearn to go back in time, even just a year, when they could gag Canadians, violate natural justice and the rule of law, and generally do whatever the hell they wanted to, without any public scrutiny.
Those days are gone forever. This tidal wave of public resolve can’t be stopped. And a lot of the credit belongs to the blogosphere. Thanks and congratulations to all who have put their shoulder to the wheel.
But let’s not let up until section 13 is put in the dustbin of history!
P.S. Are you pumped up? (I am.) Take one minute to send two letters of encouragement about this.
Sent the first one to the Prime Minister, by clicking here. Tell him it’s not just politically safe to scrap section 13 – it’s politically dangerous for him not to, given the clear national consensus!
And send the next one to Michael Ignatieff, the likely next Liberal leader. He’s got a good track record on freedom of speech issues. His own MP, Keith Martin, has led the charge in Parliament. He should make this the non-partisan issue it should be, and come out for the repeal of section 13, too. Send him an e-mail – and remember: non-partisan!
The Toronto Star is Canada's largest newspaper. It is also Canada's most liberal (and Liberal) newspaper of record, hard-wired by its own corporate bylaws to be left-wing. Which is why its call earlier this year to repeal section 13, the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, was so important. The Star showed that this isn't a partisan issue, or an issue for only one side of the political spectrum. It's an issue for anyone who believes in the spectrum of ideas at all -- the right to disagree with each other.
The Star has done it again today, in a plain-spoken editorial.
I've got a question for my friends in the Conservative government. Two actually:
1. If the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, CBC, etc., etc., are all on side with repealing section 13, what's the political risk anymore? Other than a washed-up old Adscammer and a few lawyers who make their money off the censorship racket, is there anyone in the country who supports it? In fact, wouldn't repealing section 13 be a great way to reach out to the intellectual Left -- such as PEN Canada, EGALE, and other liberal groups -- and show that the government respects freedom of expression? Wouldn't that be an interesting way to counter charges made earlier this year about the government's approach to free expression in arts grants? In other words, isn't it clear by now that repealing section 13 is not only not dangerous, but it would be a positive political win?
2. More briefly: doesn't it feel weird to have the Toronto Star outflank a Conservative government on the issue of freedom? Does the government really want to be seen as the last people to wake up to the threat of section 13, and to do so reluctantly and in a miserly manner? Shake your head!
Here's the editorial in full:
Canada's Criminal Code is tough on hate speech, and rightly so. Those who incite or wilfully promote hatred against identifiable groups can spend two years in jail.
Beyond that, does society need to cast additional chills on freedom of speech and spirited public discourse, to combat hatred? In the Star's view, no.
But a controversial section of the Canadian Human Rights Act does just that. Section 13 makes it a "discriminatory practice" to communicate "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt" via the Internet. That can be interpreted to cover defaming or stereotyping, a wider net than inciting hatred. Unlike the Criminal Code, there's no need to prove intent. And the penalty is serious. The federal rights tribunal can order the offending party to desist, to smarten up, and to pay as much as $30,000 in damages and penalties.
Given Criminal Code protections, this needlessly chills free speech.
That's why Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government should heed the advice of Richard Moon. In a cogent report released this week, the University of Windsor law professor argues that Section 13 should be repealed. The report says the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) should let the courts police hate speech advocating violence. Moon is right.
The CHRC commissioned Moon's review after complaints were made against journalists Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant for allegedly exposing Muslims to contempt and hatred. Moon concludes that "less extreme forms of discriminatory expression" that stereotype or defame "although harmful, cannot simply be censored out of public discourse." That is an important perspective.
Moon also notes that Canada's press councils exist to field readers' complaints that publications fall short of the craft standards. The Star, a member of the Ontario Press Council, publishes decisions affecting us. But many publications do not belong to the councils. Moon believes they should. That too is sound advice.
First the Tory convention votes to repeal section 13 overwhelmingly.
Then the Justice Minister himself publicly calls for its repeal, too.
Then Keith Martin re-introduces his private member's motion to repeal it -- and tacks on another for a full-scale investigation into the Canadian Human Rights Commission's conduct.
Then Prof. Richard Moon stuns everyone -- most importantly the CHRC -- by calling for the repeal of section 13.
Is the public interested?
Well, 59,000 unique visits to this blog over the past week tells me: they're interested.
Tonight, another dam breaks in the battle against the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its abusive censorship powers.
The Canadian Jewish News has done something I honestly never thought it would do. It ran a news story by staff reporter Paul Lungen, at some length, revealing the CHRC's dirty little secret: CHRC staff regularly go online and post hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay "hate messages", all in the name of fighting hate. Here's the story.
I'm impressed and I'm surprised. (That's happening a lot these days!)
There are two major Jewish newspapers in Canada: the CJN, which tends to be more supportive of the Canadian Jewish Congress and has a liberal leaning, and the Jewish Tribune, which is the house organ of the B'nai Brith and tends to be more right-wing. For the CJN to publish such a balanced story is impressive, given their close orbit to the "Official Jews" of the CJC. And for them to break their silence on the neo-Nazi memberships of the CHRC is positively stunning. Again, here's the full story, and here's the startling excerpt:
The Lemire case has further discredited the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Levant asserted. Evidence at the hearing showed Commission staff went online to join neo-Nazi organizations where they posted hundreds of bigoted messages.
“The CHRC is a leading disseminator of anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay bigotry in Canada. In fact, I believe they’re the largest, and certainly the best-staffed and best-funded, hate group in Canada,” Levant said.
“It’s hard to believe, I know. I only found out about it because the CHRC had admitted to it under oath.
“In various Section 13 cases, CHRC employees and ex-employees have testified that they joined neo-Nazi organizations, like the U.S.-based Stormfront and Vanguard.”
Levant said the Tories would find support in all political parties for a move to rescind Section 13. Canadians from all ends of the political spectrum – including most Jews – would back such a move, he said.
According to the CJN's media kit, they have an audited circulation of 45,000 and a readership of about 170,000. If only a quarter of those readers read this story, that's still 40,000 Jews who will come face to face with facts that are, in my opinion, game-changing. The newspaper lands in mailboxes later this week.
As I've written before, a year ago if someone had told me that the CHRC employs government bureaucrats, on taxpayers' expense, to join U.S. neo-Nazi groups and publish countless bigoted messages, I would have called him a crazy conspiracy theorist and told him to get back on his meds. But then I did my research -- I read sworn testimony by CHRC staff, especially by Richard Warman, confessing to hundreds of such bigoted posts; and I went online to verify those bigoted posts with my own eyes.
To see these facts presented very fairly and objectively in the CJN is a huge landmark. It means we're now deep inside territory that would have been safe CHRC country a year ago. It means that even some Official Jews -- at least those writing and editing the CJN -- have come to realize that there is a sickness in the CHRC, and it has to be excised.
Today is a milestone -- it's worth two sirens, I think.
Because, seriously, how could Bob Rae ever find a better
self-promoter credit-taker self-Googler Adscammer super-duper master strategist than Warren Kinsella?
Debunking the Cult of Warren: Liberal strategist getting more credit than he deserves
Tuesday, June 26, 2001
Byline: Paul Wells
OTTAWA - In a torrent of news releases, press conferences and newspaper and magazine columns, the slumbering Canadian nation is being enjoined this week to ponder the magnificence of Warren Kinsella. As trivial pursuits go, Warren-worship at least has the virtue of being entertaining.
Mr. Kinsella is a lawyer just past his 40th birthday with a nice view of Toronto from his office in a shiny Bay Street tower. He used to write speeches for Jean Chretien when Mr. Chretien was doing a bad job as Opposition leader, although not as bad as the job can be done. He has stayed in touch with Mr. Chretien since the boss found better work. He was present in the rapid-response "war rooms" during the Liberals' 1993 and 2000 campaigns. In 1997 he was absent, busy losing as a Liberal candidate in British Columbia.
At a Toronto news conference yesterday, Mr. Kinsella was "revealed" as the "mystery" author of a fab new book, Kicking Ass in Canadian Politics. The book isn't actually available yet. It will be in the autumn and Mr. Kinsella's publisher figures it's never too soon to start beating the drums. His publisher has collected a number of media quotes about Mr. Kinsella's place in the politico-punditocratic firmament.
"He has been called 'The master of the Liberal war room' (Montreal Gazette), 'the architect for the Grit victory' (The Hill Times), 'the Liberal party's resident pit-bull politico' (Canoe) and 'a political hit-man' (The Toronto Sun)," the promotional material informs us.
Once we scribes convince ourselves of a figure's importance, we can be hard to dissuade. Here's Peter C. Newman informing us in this week's Maclean's that "Perhaps [Allan] Rock's most astute move [in the Liberal pre-leadership race] has been to sign up Warren Kinsella," a fellow Mr. Newman adjudges "impressively networked."
With the advent of a weekly Kinsella column in The Ottawa Citizen and the attention of the bored press gallery turning to internal Liberal politics, the Cult of Warren threatens to become even more overwhelming than it has already been. So perhaps it is not too early to do a little truth-squad work.
Fun facts: Mr. Kinsella was not "the architect for the Grit victory." He was not "the master" of the war room. In private moments, he has even been known to admit as much. (Full disclosure: We had lunch in a swishy Hogtown bistro last week, our second lunch date in three years.)
The election was won by a smallish army of Grits whose distinguishing feature is an aversion to self-promotion. The main campaign organizer was John Rae, a Montreal lawyer so self-effacing most Ottawa scribes couldn't pick him out of a police lineup. Mr. Rae would chair morning campaign meetings with a stern warning that nothing said around the table could leave the room. The first thing he did when the staff moved into campaign headquarters was to hang signs on every floor: "When losing, say little; when winning, say less."
The "war room" -- the communications and quick-rebuttal side of the campaign operation -- was run by John Milloy, who is on TV even more often than Mr. Kinsella: As a senior advisor to Mr. Chretien, he can generally be seen trailing behind as the Prime Minister strides into the Commons. Mr. Milloy is hard to miss. He's the tall, nervous-looking guy whose mouth is shut.
Under Mr. Milloy's organization, the campaign message was honed by Francie Ducros, Mr. Chretien's much-maligned communications director. She was helped by Ken Polk, a speechwriter who came up with most of the funny lines that get attributed to Mr. Kinsella; and by the campaign's undisputed MVP, a bespectacled Albertan named Kevin Bosch.
Mr. Bosch was responsible for opposition research against the Alliance. He showed up at Liberal HQ toting a pile of briefing books taller than himself, each crammed with quotations from every important Alliance official stretching back more than a decade. He is said to have the sort of eerie memory that allows him to remember everything Stockwell Day ever said, when he said it, and in which context.
He was a devastating weapon. "I don't know that I can say enough good things about Kevin," another war-room denizen told me yesterday.
Mr. Kinsella? He was designated a "floater," which means he had no specific job at all. He was there because of Jean Chretien's personal affection for him. He chipped in, as everyone did, at idea-generating bull sessions. He went on TV because the other Liberals, terrified of Mr. Rae's gag order, wouldn't.
And what do you remember about his TV appearances? Precisely: the Barney the Dinosaur toy he hauled out of a gym bag to mock Mr. Day's beliefs about creationism. Except the Barney analogy wasn't his. It came from Sophie Galarneau, yet another near-anonymous Grit. Mr. Kinsella only acted it out.
The Cult of Warren is only partly Mr. Kinsella's fault. It also demonstrates a perennial flaw in journalists' psychology. How many times have you seen "senior sources" or "high-ranking sources" quoted in a news story? Thousands. Now how many times have you seen a reporter hang a quote off an unnamed "mid-ranking source of uncertain influence," or a "hack addicted to his Rolodex?" Less often. Reporters are addicted to grade inflation: Anyone reckless enough to talk to us becomes the most important guy in sight, because the fact he talks to us makes us feel important.
Which is how a floater becomes king and a nation becomes even a little more ill-informed than it already was. As for Mr. Rock, he should be at least as grateful to have nailed Raj Chahal and Randy Pettipas as he was to get Mr. Kinsella. Never heard of them? Precisely.
Remember back in May, when the Canadian Jewish Congress trooped into the National Post for an editorial board meeting about human rights commissions? Burny and friends lamented that:
some human-rights commissions had become dumping grounds for political hacks without the skills to make it in truly merit-based jobs.
I agree with Burny, by the way -- though he's not one to make insults about "political hacks".
I'm shocked -- shocked! -- that after the CJC trash-talked their errand-boys at the CHRC, that the CHRC issued a report that Burny didn't like!
He's not just the King of the Jews -- he's the Henry Kissinger of our generation, a diplomat par excellence!
Below is Jonathan Kay's blog entry at the National Post's blog, Full Comment, which I cross post here with his permission:
Lots of knowledgeable people have already weighed in on Richard Moon's report to the Canadian Human Rights Commission on the regulation of hate speech — including Ezra Levant in the pages of today's National Post. Most of these commentaries have focused on Moon's welcome call for the repeal of Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, which authorizes the CHRC to act as the nation's politically correct censor-at-large. But aside from that marquee conclusion, the report also contains some other interesting nuggets, a few of which I'd like to touch on here:
(1) Give Richard Moon credit: He is the first person (to my knowledge) who has properly articulated the fundamental tension between the concept of human rights and the regulation of hate speech. He does so in Section 4(b) of his report, which I would urge readers to peruse carefully — especially this part: "The principal recommendation of this report is that section 13 be repealed so that the censorship of Internet hate speech is dealt with exclusively by the criminal law. A narrowly drawn ban on hate speech that focuses on expression that is tied to violence does not fit easily or simply into a human rights law that takes an expansive view of discrimination and seeks to advance the goal of social equality through education and conciliation. For reasons discussed in the next part of this section, the process established in the Canadian Human Rights Acts (CHRA) for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination is poorly suited to section 13 complaints. More generally, there is a tension between the general purpose or ethos of the CHRA and the narrow definition of hate speech adopted by the CHRT and, with some refinement, supported in this report."
This is an important insight, and one that critics of the CHRC (such as me) would do well to appreciate. As Moon writes (in not so many words), the CHRA is a touchy-feely document designed to address every imaginable psychic threat to minority communities. It is therefore understandable that bureaucrats tasked with upholding the CHRA would bring this all-encompassing mission to every aspect of their labours — including censorship. The result, Moon notes, is "a tension between the general purpose or ethos of the CHRA, and the narrow definition of hate speech adopted by [Moon himself]."
This, more than anything else, explains why Section 13 can't be fixed with tweaks: It is not the statute per se that is the problem, but rather the conflict between Canada's free-speech constitutional tradition and a CHRC bureaucracy whose mission in life is statutorily guided by bleeding-heart political correctness.
Upshot: As a law professor, Moon clearly understands the importance of free speech, and its preeminence over other lofty principles.
Or so I thought until I got to the section on press councils …
(2) Richard Moon's suggestion that media be forced to join press councils smacks of the totalitarian attitudes he disparages elsewhere in his report. In Section 5(b), Moon writes: "The familiar refrain of those who oppose the censorship of hate speech or group defamation is that the answer to bad speech should be "more speech" – hate speech should be answered, not censored. But if we are serious about the "more speech" answer, then we must think about the real opportunities individuals and groups have to participate in public discourse and respond to speech that is unfair and discriminatory … To advance this end, all major print publications should belong to a provincial or regional press council that has the authority to receive a complaint that the publication has depicted an identifiable group in an unfair or discriminatory manner and, if it decides that the complaint is well-founded, to order the publication to print its decision. A decision by the council that its code of conduct has been breached results not in censorship but in "more speech" – the publication of a statement that the newspaper breached the code and, more particularly in this context, that it published material that unfairly represented the members of an identifiable group. If the major publications in the country are not all willing to join a press council, then the establishment of a national press council with statutory authority and compulsory membership should once again be given serious consideration. A newspaper is not simply a private participant in public discourse; it is an important part of the public sphere where discussion about the affairs of the community takes place. As such, it carries a responsibility not to defame or stereotype identifiable groups within the Canadian community."
The word "press council" sounds warmer and cuddlier than "government commission." But if these councils have the coercive power of the state behind them, then there really is no difference. Moreover, forced speech is just as offensive to our free-speech traditions as gagged speech. Recall that the whole legal fight between Maclean's magazine and the Canadian Islamic Congress began when the magazine's editor refused the CIC's demands to prominently publish a lengthy rebuttal to Mark Steyn's hit-job on Muslim radicalism. If Maclean's had the right to say no to the CIC, why should it have to say yes to a press council?
There is another flaw with the press-council idea: In coming years, many — perhaps most — of the complaints that can be expected to be filed under Section 13 of the CHRA will stem from spicy commentary published on personal web sites, blogs and Facebook pages. Are all of these fleeting electronic media supposed to join press councils, too — and pay dues, and be bound by their bureaucratic dictates and forced publication edicts? If Mr. Moon's answer is no (which I suspect it is, since his report makes mention only of "major publications") then his press-council idea will be pointless. If the answer is yes, then it will be completely unworkable.
Upshot: As a law professor, Moon doesn't seem to have a perfect grasp on how the media actually works.
(3) Moon's proposal to strip Canada's hate-speech law of its Attorney-General sign-off requirement is a bad idea. As I do, Moon thinks that the best way to regulate truly extreme forms of hate speech is through our criminal law, not our human rights commissions. In this regard, he points to Section 319 of the criminal code, which covers anyone who "willfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group" — but which also notes: "No proceeding for an offence … shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General."
In Section 4(b) of his report, Moon argues that government should consider doing away with this hurdle, because some fear that Section 319 prosecutions might be red-lighted "for political reasons." As I see it, though, the involvement of a politically accountable official is one of the great virtues of Section 319. It ensures that when a media outlet or pundit gets spuriously prosecuted for hate speech, elected politicians won't be able to wash their hands of it.
Which is to say: The government will have to take ownership of the act of censorship, rather than simply hide behind unelected bureaucrats working behind closed doors — as is now the case under Section 13 of the CHRA.
Final upshot: Moon's basic idea to get rid of Section 13 is admirable. But one wishes that he had stopped there, instead of adding in all sorts of unfortunate ands, buts and howevers.
What can Canadian Jews do about the fact that the ethnic hustler who claims to represent us -- Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress -- has hijacked the Jewish community's voice with his own radical, left-wing agenda?
It matters, because just like people might mistakenly believe that "human rights commissions" protect human rights, people might mistakenly believe that the Canadian Jewish Congress represents Canadian Jews. They don't.
I first realized what a bunch of partisan political hacks they were back in 1992, when the CJC endorsed the Charlottetown Accord, a constitutional amendment that had absolutely nothing to do with Jewish or Israel affairs. It was sheer prostitution for the sake of government grants and Burny was an exceedingly eager lass.
It's 2008, and Burny has moved even further to the left -- while Canadian Jews have, if anything, become more conservative, especially on the key issue of the day: the threat of radical Islam. Burny, by contrast, is shovelling Jewish charity money out the door to the Somali community. Huh?
Of course, the most embarrassing thing is Burny's fetish for book-burning. It's not surprising that his latest recruit is Warren "Adscam" Kinsella, who joined the CJC as a consolation prize after he was fired from the National Post. It's fitting, because both Burny and Kinsella believe in the 21st century analog to Nazi book burning: Internet censorship. The fact that Kinsella is a partisan Liberal hack means he fits right in with Burny and the CJC; the fact that a judicial inquiry found that Kinsella's unethical conduct during the Sponsorship scandal was "highly inappropriate" means that, like Burny, he has no problem with the corruption of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. And the fact that Kinsella sees a Nazi under every bed -- and in some boys' bathrooms -- fits in with the CJC just fine, too. Kinsella and Burny will do anything to avoid seeing the evil in radical Islam -- Kinsella actually gave help and advice to the anti-Semitic Canadian Islamic Congress. But they think Canada is overrun with Nazis -- including anyone who dares to criticize them.
So what can a Canadian Jew do?
I was talking about this with my father the other day, and he told me what he did several months ago.
Earlier this fall Calgary's United Jewish Appeal -- the Jewish community's central charity, like the United Way -- called him for his annual donation. My father agreed, of course, but insisted that none of his funds be sent to the CJC, which receives a small percentage of all Calgary UJA proceeds.
My father is not the biggest donor in Calgary, of course. But he's a serious contributor. And he was adamant that not a dime of his money go to the CJC and its book-burners.
The UJA was happy to comply, and they even went so far as to set up a separate bank account for my father's donation, with the promise that none of it would go to the CJC, and that it wouldn't "replace" other money that could be diverted to the CJC.
Again, there are bigger donors than my dad in town; and Calgary doesn't send a lot of dough to Burny's CJC. (The CJC feels the same way about Calgary, of course -- Calgary and Winnipeg were the only two Jewish communities not to go along with Burny's demand that we support the Charlottetown Accord. He's never forgiven Calgary for that, and we've never stopped calling him a lady of the night.)
What would happen if dozens, even hundreds, even thousands of Canadian Jews politely asked that their donations to UJA be "ethical donations" -- that they not go to the unethical CJC, with Book Burning Burny and Warren "Adscam" Kinsella steering the ship?
I mean, seriously: just about every other charity on the UJA's list is more worthy than the CJC's fetish for censorship. That's not even a charity -- that's the Liberal party at prayer.
And even if Jews wanted to support censorship (there might be a few, though they probably all work for the CHRC), would it really make sense to send money to an organization with Kinsella on board? This was a man who, when he was chief of staff to a Liberal cabinet minister, demanded that the civil service divert money to Chuck Guite, the criminal at the center of Adscam. Even if I were a Jewish censor like Harvey Goldberg or Ian Fine, I'd want to make sure Kinsella had no control over the CJC's budget.
So when the UJA calls you, give and give generously. Just make sure you say you want to make an "ethical donation" -- one where none of the funds are allowed into the hands of the CJC. If you're in Calgary, they already know how to do that. If you're elsewhere, tell them how Calgary does it, and for them to do the same.
If our new group -- call it "Jews against book burning" -- can divert even just a few thousand dollars away from Burny and Adscam towards real charity, well that's what I'd call a mitzvah.
The blogosphere and mainstream media alike are cheering the news that Richard Moon's report has called for the repeal of section 13, the "hate speech" provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act that has been used as a weapon of political censorship.
I have spotted some frowning faces, though: Canada's Official Jews, who have dined out on section 13 for thirty years, are apoplectic that their meal ticket is about to be shut down.
What a perverse world when it's the Gentiles who are for free speech, and the Jews are the book burners. I'd be embarrassed to be a Jew if I thought that Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress or Karen Lazar of the B'nai Brith spoke for anyone other than themselves. Frankly, they're a shanda to the goyim.
As I've pointed out before, the vast majority of Canadian Jews who have opined on the subject are for free speech and against section 13 -- see my partial list here.
Burny doesn't speak for the Jews. He speaks for the hard left. He revealed his colours during the recent federal election campaign, when he forced the CJC to join an anti-Tory coalition against global warming -- because you know that's a Jewish issue -- and then when he was the architect of the obscenely partisan election brochure published by the Official Jews. I was working in the Conservative war room at the time, and we called it the Jewish Green Shift -- the only difference between it and the Liberal campaign platform was it had no mention of a carbon tax.
Farber hates free speech, and he despises the Conservative government. He demonstrated that during the election, and his vitriolic response to Moon's report today just emphasizes it.
I've spoken at length to PMO staff and cabinet ministers about Farber's malign influence in the Jewish community. I've pointed out that he represents no-one other than himself, and how Farber is little more than a left-wing activist. My views are shared by many of the people in the Conservative government, who have actually complained to me that, on the rare occasion when they consult Farber on various issues, he leads them astray, giving his "blessing" to radical Muslim groups that later embarrass the government. That's not hard to believe, given Farber's love affair with anti-Semites like Mohamed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and Haroon Siddiqui of the anti-Israel Toronto Star.
Farber is a left-wing hack and an embarrassment to Jews. But what's the excuse for the B'nai Brith? They put out a press release denouncing Moon's report, too (I'll link to it when it's online). But the B'nai Brith has traditionally been more in touch with Canada's grassroots Jews, and less susceptible to politically correct leftism masquerading as the Jewish interest.
More to the point, the B'nai Brith itself has been hit with a spurious human rights complaint, merely for participating in a post-9/11 seminar in Winnipeg. The complainant in that case is a Muslim bigot named Shahina Siddiqui, formerly associated with the radical group CAIR-CAN, whose American affiliate has been named an unindicted co-conspirator with terrorist groups. In other words, the B'nai Brith itself is now trapped in a spurious, corrupt, abusive, endless human rights complaint itself -- and yet it still defends the process.
Just how stupid do you have to be, to be victimized by the HRCs, and still defend them? The B'nai Brith is doing its best to destroy the one positive stereotype Jews enjoy -- that we're a smart.
But here's the good news: no-one gives a damn what Burny and B'nai Brith think. We know where the public stands; we know where the civil libertarians stand; we know where Liberal MPs like Keith Martin stand; and now we know where the CHRC's own consultant stands.
It's one thing to be pig-headed, like Burny and BB. But at what point to the bosses at both of those organizations cut their losses? How much longer will the Official Jews keep doubling down on their bets against freedom?
I tell you one thing, if you wanted to increase anti-Semitic feeling -- and ill-will in the Christian community, which is actually the Jews' best friend -- there is no better way than to be the new fascists of Canada. Are they trying to out-bid Elmasry for that dishonourable title? How bizarre, that not 70 years after the Holocaust, it's our tribe that is the bully, our tribe that is calling for a limitation of freedom, and our tribe that is so disdainful of public opinion.
Thankfully, it's not really our tribe -- just the self-appointed King of the Jews, Burny, and his me-too chorus at B'nai Brith.
I'll have a post soon about how we can hurt Burny where it counts -- in the pocketbook, the one Jewish stereotype he fully manifests. He doesn't give a damn about freedom. But if 10,000 Jewish donors cut off the CJC from their annual UJA donations, he'll be forced to listen. More on that later.
(with apologies to Mindy for stealing her headline)
My Op-Ed in tomorow's National Post is online now. You can read it here.
The scandal-plagued Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has had a rough year — and it just got rougher.
On Monday, Richard Moon, a University of Windsor law professor, released his report on the CHRC’s troubling penchant for Internet censorship. Moon had been hand-picked by the CHRC to review its conduct, so the whole arrangement had at first looked pretty cozy. In the past, Moon had written favourably about government limits on free speech. That, plus a large payment for his brief report, made Moon’s review look like a PR stunt, especially since the CHRC simultaneously hired the pricey lobby firm Hill & Knowlton to provide “communications” advice. It all looked like a strategy to offset six months of bad press — not to mention embarrassing investigations into the CHRC’s conduct by the RCMP, the Privacy Commissioner and Parliament’s Justice Committee.
But to the surprise of critics like me, Moon recommended that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act — the so-called “hate speech” provision, which empowers the CHRC to censor the Internet and other electronic media — be repealed. Instead of a whitewash, Moon’s report was the opposite — another nail in the coffin of the thought police.
The CHRC was surprised, too, and obviously not pleased. Although Moon’s report used the word “repeal” 11 times — it was his primary recommendation — that word appears nowhere in the CHRC’s press release announcing his findings.
In fact, the CHRC has already thrown Moon under the bus, minimizing his report as merely some “suggestions,” and announcing that they want a do-over. In the very same press release, they announced another round of consultations on the subject, at untold public expense — and this time they’ll be more careful about who’s allowed to participate.
It’s a lot like Quebec separatists and their referendums. They’re just going to keep on asking the question until they get the answer they want: the power to censor Canadians.
In the meantime, Canadians have run out of patience. Earlier this month, 2,000 delegates to the Conservative party’s national policy convention voted nearly unanimously to repeal section 13. That’s not too surprising. But what was surprising is that Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister, publicly cast his vote to repeal section 13 as well — an incredible statement from the man in charge of Canada’s laws. And just last week, Keith Martin, the Liberal MP from Vancouver Island, introduced two private member’s motions attacking the CHRC — one of them to repeal section 13, and the other to investigate the CHRC’s conduct (such as their staff’s routine practice of joining neo-Nazi organizations on an “undercover” basis, and publishing hate propaganda themselves in an attempt to entrap real hate-mongers). Rick Dykstra, a Conservative MP from St. Catharines, Ont., is expected to reintroduce a similar resolution in the Justice Committee, too.
Moon’s report is not without its flaws. But it does restate some basic truths to which the CHRC, especially its chief commissioner, Jennifer Lynch, have become blind.
Moon points out that because of its abusive process, the CHRC has a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression, “even if the complaint is dismissed by the CHRC at the end of the investigation process.”
He also condemns the CHRC’s scheme to pressure Internet service providers to do the CHRC’s censorship dirty work for them.
Ordinary Canadians accept some very limited infringements on speech, but only in extreme cases — such as when the speech is a real incitement to violence. That’s already covered by the criminal code, however. We don’t need redundant prohibitions in our human-rights law.
The fact that the CHRC continues to cling to its censorship powers — even after Moon’s dramatic rebuke — shows how out of step with Canadian values the CHRC has become. When it was created in 1977, the CHRC was designed to be a shield, protecting the civil rights of Canadians. A generation later, they’ve mutated into a sword, violating our freedoms. And their Kafkaesque conduct violates our norms of natural justice, too.
It’s no longer even a matter of serious debate in Canada. The entire political spectrum has rebelled against section 13, with critics as diverse as Egale, the gay rights lobby, PEN Canada and the Toronto Star joining the National Post, the Canadian Association of Journalists, Noam Chomsky and even TV’s Rick Mercer calling for section 13 to be repealed. The only people who don’t seem to get it are those with a personal stake in censorship — the bureaucrats and lawyers who make a living off the law; as well as the community groups that support them, such as the Canadian Jewish Congress and Canadian Islamic Congress.
It’s Parliament’s turn to act. A Liberal named Keith Martin and a CHRC consultant named Richard Moon both support repeal of section 13 — the Conservatives should make it unanimous and non-partisan, and just do it.
Richard Moon’s report was released this morning. To my surprise, he called for the repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the so-called “hate speech” law:
The principal recommendation of this report is that section 13 be repealed so that the censorship of Internet hate speech is dealt with exclusively by the criminal law.
I’m surprised, because Moon was hand-picked by Jennifer Lynch, the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s chief commissar, and was paid more than $50,000 by her for his 42-page report (nice work, if you can get it.)
Last night, I expressed extreme skepticism that Moon would do anything more than to offer up some cosmetic changes to section 13. I’m delighted to have been proved wrong.
Despite the contractual obligations on Moon to have his report cleared (twice) by Lynch, he apparently stuck to his guns.
There remain other flaws with this report, and I’ll discuss them later. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that Richard Moon, Jennifer Lynch’s hand-picked white-washer, didn’t do what he was expected to do (expected to do by me or by Lynch!)
Will Lynch and her fellow bullies now concede defeat? Are you kidding? And admit that they’ve been conducting themselves inappropriately for thirty years? And admit that they are violators of human rights, not protectors of them? And lose all that power over people – the power to destroy and humiliate? And lose staff and budgets?
If so, then you don’t understand that being a bully is in the DNA of human rights thugs.
Lynch is already trying to throw Moon under the bus.
In her press release announcing his report, which you can see here, you’ll notice something is missing: Moon’s recommendation to repeal section 13. He uses the phrase repeal again and again in his report – but you won’t find it in Lynch’s revisionist press release. It’s like the chapter in George Orwell’s 1984, where Winston is busy cutting out embarrassing items from old newspapers, and replacing them with the new, politically correct truth. That’s what Lynch is doing already.
She’s also trying for a do-over, a mulligan. She’s clearly furious at Moon for his betrayal. So she’s announcing – surprise! – further reviews. She’s going to keep doing this until she gets the result she wants. If she has to burn up another $50,000, $100,000, a million dollars of taxpayers’ money, she’ll do it – anything to keep her iron grip on power, and to avoid embarrassment in front of her best friends in Cameroon and Kenya. They haven’t given up their powers, so why should she?
Lynch has become a gross embarrassment to the government. Hand-picking Moon to do a very narrow and selective review – in the face of Parliament’s own reviews – was an act of insubordination, and an act of political usurpation. She’s a bureaucrat, not a lawmaker. But she was acting like an MP. She’s not. She’s a second-rate appointee, who presides over a corrupt agency. She prefers damage control and PR to actually fixing the problem in her rotting agency.
It’s the Prime Minister’s move now. He was too tolerant with Lynch, letting her upstage Parliament. Now she proposes to have hearings and consultations – clearly Parliament’s function. How much longer will Lynch continue to give her bosses orders? How much longer will they allow her to play MP?
I’m surprised by Moon’s recommendation, and I’m glad I was proved wrong. Lynch was surprised, too, and now she wants a do-over. Lynch has made herself the chief obstacle to reform.
We’ve seen how Stephen Harper has excised other media-hounds, prima donas and saboteurs from the civil service before. Will he apply the same standard to Lynch? Or will he continue to allow his government to be led around by the nose?
Lynch isn't part of the solution, she's part of the problem – and now she’s a cover-up artist. It’s time for Harper to show leadership.
Fire. Them. All.
Today, the Canadian Human Rights Commission will release a report by Richard Moon, the professor hand-picked by the CHRC to examine their section 13 “hate speech” inquisitions.
Prof. Moon is an obscure professor specifically chosen by the CHRC for one reason: he is one of the few Canadian academics who has written in favour of government violation of freedom of the press. In other words, he’s the perfect man to whitewash the CHRC’s own violations of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. And, just for certainty, the CHRC paid him $50,000 for a few months work. Gee, I wonder what he’ll say?
We’ll find out soon enough. But what taxpayers read today won’t be the report Moon originally submitted. It will be Jennifer Lynch’s redacted version of his report. According to the terms of his contract, Moon was told he “shall take into consideration” the CHRC’s orders about the direction his review could take, right from the outset. Note the word shall – not should, or could, or might. Shall. And Moon also had to privately submit his preliminary report to the CHRC, and they reserved the right to edit it, too. Again, it wasn't a discussion or a debate between Moon and Lynch; his contract says he “shall” take the CHRC's response into consideration. This isn’t Moon’s report, and it’s not a report done by Moon and the CHRC discussing things together. It’s Lynch’s report. And if Moon doesn’t like it, he can give back the $50,000.
Again, it's not likely that the Lynch’s “corrections” were a problem for Moon – he’s already gone on record saying he believes the government has a right to interfere with citizens’ freedom of speech in a book he wrote. He just never thought he'd be paid $50,000 to say the same thing in an essay for the government.
Under his contract, Moon was specifically ordered by the CHRC to keep his remarks general and political. He was specifically forbidden to review many of the real problems with the CHRC and section. As I wrote when this review was first announced:
So it is not a review of the CHRC's corrupt conduct -- their hiring of corrupt staff, drummed out of real police forces; their tampering with evidence; their tampering with official transcripts; their lying under oath; corruption and interference with investigations; their rejection of complaints that would embarrass them; their own serial commission of Internet hate speech offences, etc., etc. And it certainly doesn't deal with the current elephant in the room: the RCMP and Privacy Commissioner's investigations of the CHRC for hacking into a private citizen's Internet account.
None of that is covered in Moon's mandate. All of that is being ignored. That's no coincidence…
But look at what Moon will review: existing laws; what other government agencies do; Canada's obligations under treaties, etc.
Good idea -- for Parliament to do. The CHRC has been given a job -- a job they've been doing awfully. But instead of Moon looking at the corrupt manner in which they've been doing that job, he's been given the job of brainstorming what their dream job should be. Thanks, but we've got an elected Parliament to do that.
The third problem is that Moon's review will happen in a bubble. It is not a judicial inquiry; he cannot compel people, such as Richard Warman, the CHRC's former investigator, current chief complainant, and prolific author of online posts on neo-Nazi websites, to answer questions. He can't subpoena recalcitrant witnesses, like the CHRC's Ian Fine or Dean Steacy, or their documents. He has no powers to actually investigate -- but, as I mentioned above, he hasn't even been authorized to investigate anything, other than what Lynch's dream job would be.
Moon will not travel; he'll work in his office, with a visit or two to CHRC headquarters. He'll have no staff of lawyers or other investigators. But, again, it's not an investigation; it's a brainstorming session by a professor.
I predict that Moon will make a few token recommendations to tweak the section 13 inquisition process. He’ll probably parrot what the Official Jews at the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith have offered up as a lame “compromise”, such as having some political oversight to “ensure” that section 13 is not abused -- abuse meaning whatever the CHRC says it means. But application of section 13 is not the real problem. The real problem is section 13 itself – it’s an immoral, unconstitutional law, no matter who applies it, and no matter who is victimized by it. It's morally wrong. We don’t need another layer of human rights bureaucracy at the CHRC, we actually need a lot fewer of them.
I’ll write more about this when I read the report itself. But there’s really not much point – Moon is already on side with censorship, he’s been forbidden to investigate the CHRC’s corruption, and he was hand-picked and handsomely paid by the very people he's "investigating."
Moon is a distraction – a desperate attempt by Lynch to pretend that she’s open to accountability, and to head off Parliament before it reforms her itself. Moon's report is a slap in the face to Parliament, especially to St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, who proposed to the Justice Committee a real investigation of the CHRC. But Lynch regards herself as much bigger than some mere MP – she’s an international superstar, hobnobbing with tyrants from Cameroon to Kenya. What does she care about Canada’s Parliament? Her moral North Star is the United Nations -- just ask her, or just read her contract with Moon, which specifically requires him to consult foreign treaties and foreign jurisdictions, almost all of which are less free than Canada.
Let me sum up:
1. Richard Moon was hand-picked because he is on the record as pro-censorship.
2. He was paid an enormous sum by Jennifer Lynch -- $50,000 for a few months work – so he’s in a conflict of interest.
3. His contract specifically required him to submit a preliminary copy of his report to the CHRC, and to adjust his report as they direct him to. It’s not Moon’s report on Lynch, it’s Lynch’s report on Lynch.
4. His contract specifically excluded him from investigating abuses and corruption at the CHRC.
5. The few subjects left to his report are not properly his or the CHRC’s to comment on – that’s a job for Parliament.
6. The fact that the CHRC commissioned this report in the face of various Parliamentary efforts to have a true review shows Lynch's contempt for Parliament and its authority over her.
Moon’s report is actually a political IQ test for the Conservative government. Moon’s report, by design, doesn’t address the rot at the CHRC. And even if Moon does the unthinkable, and recommends section 13 be abolished, only Parliament has that power. It's no more and no less than a political ruse to obscure Lynch's own corruption.
Will the Conservatives be suckered by it?
Will the Conservative government – just a week after its party convention voted nearly unanimously to scrap section 13 – buy this Potemkin review? Have Justice Department bureaucrats and the CHRC’s expensive lobbyists been able to mau-mau Rob Nicholson into abandoning his public declaration to repeal the law?
We’ll find out.
P.S. Here is my submission to Moon’s review. There are 46 questions here; I doubt he’s answered ten of them, and I doubt Lynch will allow even those ten to make it to the final draft.
Procedural details about your review
1. Other than the published terms of reference of your review, have you received any other instructions, in writing, verbally, or in any other form, from the CHRC or anyone else? If so, what are those instructions?
2. Have you been instructed that there are certain issues that you are not to discuss?
3. Have you had any interim meetings with Jennifer Lynch, or any other CHRC staff, or others, during which you have been asked about the status of your work, or been given feedback or direction on your work to date, or otherwise received instructions?
4. Have you received any instructions, advice or input from the CHRC’s public relations or government relations staff or contractors?
5. Will anyone see your report prior to its final publication? Will it be reviewed, edited or embargoed by the CHRC prior to its release? Will you release it, or will the CHRC?
6. Have you been granted access to CHRC records, including computer files, internal memoranda, meeting minutes or any other CHRC resources? Have you been granted authority to interview CHRC staff, or former staff? Did you do so?
7. What compensation will you receive for your review? Have you been promised any other future consideration?
Inappropriateness of the CHRC reviewing Parliament’s mandate
8. Under what authority is the CHRC reviewing the mandate given to it by Parliament? What statutory or regulatory provision authorizes the CHRC to second-guess its standing orders given to it by the elected legislature?
9. Who, if anyone, did the CHRC consult prior to its announcement of your review? Did it consult MPs? The PMO or PCO? The Justice Minister? Any public relations or government relations staff or contractors?
Other contemporaneous reviews
10. Were you instructed to avoid reviewing the matters currently being investigated by the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner into the unauthorized access of a private citizen’s Internet account by CHRC staff?
11. What is the status of those investigations? What CHRC staff, former staff, contractors or former contractors have been interviewed?
12. Have any search warrants been issued relating to CHRC records or other property such as hard drives? Have the CHRC offices been searched? Has anything been seized?
13. Were the actions being investigated done in the course of CHRC duties? Who approved those actions?
14. Has the CHRC paid for criminal lawyers for those being investigated? Who has been investigated so far?
15. Has the CHRC made any offer of a settlement to Nelly Hechme?
CHRC investigative tactics that spread hate
16. What is the CHRC policy on impersonation and entrapment by CHRC investigators and other officers? Is there a policy? Who wrote it? Has it been promulgated to the staff?
17. What is the CHRC policy regarding CHRC staff committing section 13 hate speech offences while impersonating neo-Nazis or other bigots? Is there a policy? Who wrote it? Has it been promulgated to the staff?
18. Does the CHRC continue to use false personas?
CHRC lack of ethics code
19. In a recent internal governance audit, the CHRC received a failing grade for ethics, and was found not to have a code of ethics. Since that time, has the CHRC adopted an ethics code?
20. If so, what is it? How is that ethics code being implemented? What operational changes, if any, have resulted from that? What are the penalties, if any, for violating ethical norms?
21. What ethical standards, if any, does the CHRC use to screen candidates for employment? Is it appropriate that a former police officer who was drummed out of the force for corruption works as an investigator at the CHRC?
Improper investigation of political websites
22. The CHRC has admitted to investigating political websites, such as Free Dominion, even in the absence of any complaint. What political websites is the CHRC currently investigating?
23. What is the CHRC policy about investigating websites before a complaint is made? If that policy prohibits such investigations, has that policy been enforced, and have CHRC staff been disciplined or otherwise corrected?
24. Does the CHRC have any oversight committee, or even a single manager, who ensures that CHRC investigators do not engage in personal political vendettas?
CHRC improper use of police powers, evidence
25. The CHRC regularly asks Canadian police forces (and CSIS) for information and evidence to which the CHRC is not statutorily entitled, including evidence seized by police pursuant to criminal search warrants, where the CHRC's interest is not disclosed; access to the CPIC police database; and police and CSIS surveillance. What is the CHRC's policy regarding evidence acquired in this manner? Who drafted this policy?
26. Has this policy been approved by any judicial review? Has it been disclosed to the police departments' respective oversight bodies? Has it been disclosed to Parliament?
27. Richard Warman was a CHRC employee from 2002 to 2004. While he was at the CHRC, he began filing section 13 hate speech complaints that were reviewed by his colleagues. He has continued to do so since he left. He has filed half of all complaints, and 12 out of 14 cases that have gone to the CHRT over the past five years have been Warman's complaints. The CHRC calls Warman as their witness in his own complaints, thus enabling them to pay his expenses for being a witness in his own complaints. Does Warman have any status with the CHRC whatsoever, other than as a complainant?
28. Does the CHRC have any policy regarding the conflict of interest of having current or former staffers file CHRC complaints?
29. Does Warman have any access to CHRC offices, e-mail accounts, computer files, passwords or Internet aliases such as Jadewarr? When was that access cut off?
30. What compensation does Warman continue to receive from the CHRC? Does he have any ongoing contracts with the CHRC? When he appears as a witness for the CHRC, does he receive any fee whatsoever, including a per diem payment? What are those payments? Do any other CHRC complainants receive them?
31. Warman’s use of false identities to entrap CHRC respondents has been criticized by the CHRT. What review, if any, has the CHRC done of Warman’s tactics? Have they made any policy changes in response to the CHRT’s criticisms?
32. Section 13 hate speech complaints filed against Warman for his bigoted posts have been rejected by the CHRC, despite an investigator’s assessment that Warman did in fact breach section 13. Why are CHRC staff and former staff exempt from section 13 hate speech investigations?
CHRC lack of respect for Charter values
33. Dean Steacy, the senior section 13 hate speech investigator for the CHRC testified that "freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value... It's not my job to give value to an American concept." Does Steacy's testimony represent the CHRC's view of freedom of speech?
34. If not, what is the CHRC's view of freedom of speech? Has that view been promulgated within the organization? Has Steacy been corrected in his view or disciplined? How?
35. If the CHRC has changed its view, or if Steacy’s view was a rogue view, have there been any changes to the way that Steacy and other section 13 hate speech staff operate?
36. Will the CHRC publicly state its new policy regarding freedom of speech to contradict the impression left by Steacy?
CHRC failure to comply with natural justice
37. The CHRC regularly refuses to comply with rules of natural justice, and even its own rules of procedure. On what legal basis does the CHRC redact its disclosure, contrary to its rules of procedure, as in the Lemire case? On what legal basis does the CHRC disclose documents after the hearings have begun, as in the Lemire case? At what level of the CHRC has this process been approved?
38. The Information Commissioner has recently ruled that the CHRC is in violation of its access to information obligations. What changes, if any, has the CHRC made to comply with the law?
39. In the recent Lemire hearing of March 25, 2008, the CHRC made a transcript of the hearing, but did not disclose it to the respondent, despite his requests – but sent it to journalists. Who approved this decision? Is it standard CHRC policy to withhold transcripts from respondents?
40. That transcript was found to have been inaccurate in a substantial manner that would have disadvantaged the respondent. Was that transcript edited at the instruction of the CHRC?
41. The CHRC regularly calls for publication bans; withholds evidence; and has even applied for a respondent to be physically barred from the hearing room during parts of his own hearing. In one case, the identity of a complainant was withheld from the respondent by the CHRC. Who approves these abusive legal tactics? Is there a CHRC legal procedural manual?
42. 91% of the CHRC's section 13 hate speech targets are too poor to hire lawyers. Why is it acceptable to the CHRC to prosecute people who are unrepresented by competent counsel, without providing them with legal aid?
Improper political influence
43. The B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress, two groups that are parties or intervenors in support of CHRC complaints, are registered lobbyist targeting the CHRT. What was the CHRC’s involvement with this lobbying? Is it appropriate for parties before the CHRT to lobby the CHRT ex parte? Are there any other quasi-judicial tribunals in which such explicit attempts to influence decision-making are considered legal?
44. The CHRC has never prosecuted a section 13 hate speech complaint against a Canadian from a minority background -- 100% have been white. This is odd, given that there is evident "hate speech" within various ethnic minorities in Canada including, just to name a few, from Tamil, Sikh, Muslim and other immigrant communities, including amongst those communities, between radical and moderate elements. Does the CHRC have a policy to only prosecute white hate speech cases? If not, why have no other prosecutions been made?
CHRC bullying of its critics
45. In response to my criticism of the CHRC’s conduct, I have been sued in civil court by a CHRC lawyer, Giacomo Vigna, specifically for criticizing his work as a CHRC lawyer. Vigna has threatened me with a second lawsuit. He has also filed seven law society complaints against me -- all for my criticism of his conduct with the CHRC, or of the CHRC in general. Does the CHRC have a policy regarding lawsuits by staff against CHRC critics?
46. Were CHRC managers or staff aware of Vigna's lawsuit before it was filed? If so, what feedback was Vigna given as to the appropriateness of a lawsuit being filed against a political critic of the CHRC?
I've been in plenty of high security buildings in Ottawa -- including the U.S. Embassy, the Israeli Embassy and the Prime Minister's Offices -- both in the Langevin and Centre Blocks of Parliament. Each of them feel secure; the U.S. Embassy's layers of steel and bulletproof glass seeming the most obviously ready for a suicide bomber.
All of them try to be pleasant to visitors; all try to minimize any feelings of intimidation or discomfort associated with security.
But nothing I've seen at those places sounds anything like this bizarre report from Connie Fournier, who visited the Canadian Human Rights Commission's bunker last week:
Yesterday Mark and I drove all the way to Ottawa to take some paperwork to the CHRC. They have been stonewalling us since April on our Access to Information request for the files on Free Dominion and I had a document that I wanted to give them in person that would clear the way for them to fulfill our request.
We got to the building on 344 Slater St. and took the elevator to the 8th floor.
When we walked in, we did not encounter a receptionist like we expected. There was a security guard behind glass, instead. When I wanted to hand him the letter with my case number on it, I had to slip it through a little slot in the glass.
He directed us to sit in two chairs across from his station and he disappeared into the back. He came back out in a couple of minutes and told us that he had given the letter to someone who would pass it along until they found someone who could "give us an answer". I thought that was rather strange since I had already said that I just wanted to talk to Heather Throop and give her a document.
As we were waiting, we heard a huge commotion in the outside hall, which had been utterly deserted. A guy came barrelling down the hall with a cart loaded with files, grabbed an elevator, and disappeared. I turned to Mark and whispered, "There go our files".
A few moments later, a young, timid-looking girl came out and handed something to the security guard, whispered something to him, and then retreated quickly from our sight. I honestly thought the poor girl suspected we were wired with bombs!
The security guard then told us that Heather Throop wasn't in, but asked if we would like to talk to Deborah Cansick. I said that that would be fine because I have talked to her by email several times.
Mark and I stood waiting as the security guard walked out the back door of his booth and we prepared to go in to see Deborah Cansick.
To my utter astonishment, he, instead, picked up a phone in the waiting room, dialed a number, and handed it to me. I wasn't even allowed to see Deborah Cansick...I had to speak to her on a phone while she hid in another room!!
Well, to make a long story short, Cansick told me there was no point in giving her the paperwork I brought because they weren't planning on fulfilling my request.
I hung up the phone, took my letter back through the little hole in the window, and Mark and I left the office for the elevator. As we were waiting, an older woman and a guy with a bunch of earphones attached to him came and waited with us and got on the elevator as we rode down. I said to Mark later that it seemed like they appeared out of nowhere to make sure we actually left the building!
Both Mark and I were spooked by our experience at the CHRC. It was unlike any other government office we have ever seen. Talk about "faceless bureaucracy"! It is absolutely frightening that these people, who spend their days hidden behind a security guard and bulletproof glass, have the power to utterly destroy the lives of Canadians, and they don't even have to look their victims in the eyes.
George Orwell must be spinning in his grave.
Sorry, that's just nuts. But it's quite revealing, as to the CHRC's perception of itself. They really do think they're Canada's secret police, like East Germany's Stasi. Their office isn't tricked out as an East German prison because they have real security needs. It's designed that way to project their image, both to themselves and to any poor shmoe unfortunate enough to be hauled before them. And, just like the Stasi, their opponents are a harmless mix of political dissidents and Christian clergy.
The CHRC's bunker, complete with earpiece-wearing thugs, thick glass, and bizarre "you can only talk to me through the phone" rules, is about them keeping up their paranoid, Stalinist personality. Working in a poisoned atmosphere like that, is it any wonder that CHRC staff would think nothing of writing volumes of anti-Semitic bigotry on neo-Nazi websites, or hack into a private citizen's Internet account? Their Stasi role models would. I bet some of them even dress in dreary Soviet-bloc styles.
It's about their self-image. And it's about terrorizing anyone who comes into contact with them, about destroying their Canadian expectations of what to expect from their government -- courtesy, fairness, rule of law, sanity -- and replacing it with a Soviet-style experience -- confusion, terror, uncertainty, and the whiff of potential violence.
Jennifer Lynch is the perfect chief commissar, and this is the perfect lair for her.
How embarrassing to Canada -- and to the Conservative government.
Fire. Them. All.
Who does Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, look up to as a role model?
A grotesque speech that she gave a few weeks ago, at the ironically-named Discrimination Prevention Forum in Ottawa, gives us a window into Lynch’s warped world. You can see her full remarks here. Below is her speech in italics, with my comments interspersed.
Welcome to the 2008 Discrimination Prevention Forum. This marks the fourth year we’ve brought together decision-makers from the private, public and non-profit sectors to identify emerging issues, share knowledge and develop tools to promote human rights. We are certainly gaining momentum.
Gaining momentum? I like confidence in a gal, but this is just laugh-out-loud funny. The past year has been an annus horribilis for the CHRC; not a week goes by when some new illegal act on their part doesn’t come to light, or some gross violation of natural justice is traced back to them. They’re a national – no, international – laughing stock, and Jennifer Lynch herself is a source of major embarrassment in the Conservative government. The Justice Minister, once Lynch’s defender, is publicly calling for the trimming of her powers. Gaining momentum? I think Lynch must have hired Baghdad Bob as her speech writer.
I think Albert Einstein would be impressed… The Nobel-prize-winning scientist once observed that intellectuals solve problems, but geniuses prevent them. So thank you all for showing up to apply your particular genius to the prevention of discrimination.
Ah yes. The human rights commissions – full of geniuses, eh? You know, all the best people go to work for them. Winners like Muslim supremacist Arman Chak, who came in dead last in Alberta’s bencher elections; Sandy Kozak, drummed out of a police force for corruption. These are “Canada’s finest?” As Golda Meir would say, Lynch should be more modest – she has plenty to be modest about. But would Albert Einstein really be impressed with Lynch and her crew of bullies? Einstein was a German Jew who fled the Nazis. Lynch’s staff, as a matter of course, join neo-Nazi organizations, and spread anti-Semitic filth online. I’m guessing Einstein would use phrases like “national embarrassment” or “disgrace” or “offensive to the memory of the Holocaust” or "Never Again" to describe Lynch and her neo-Nazi staff.
From year to year, we generate more interest in the global human rights community. I extend a warm welcome to our distinguished international guests, Mr. Divine Chemuta Banda, Chief Commissioner of the Cameroon National Human Rights and Freedom Commission, and Mr. Moise Segue, also from the Cameroon Commission.
Sorry, did I say national embarrassment? I meant international embarrassment. When I worked in the Conservative Party’s war room during the election, I met two senior Conservatives who were involved in Lynch’s appointment. Both brought up the subject of Lynch with me, unsolicited. And both were quite sheepish about it. One told me that Lynch’s personal aspiration is to be seen as an nternational human rights champion, and that her passion is jetting around the world as some sort of Louise Arbour wannabe. What a laugh. It’s true, Lynch has spent tens of thousands of taxpayers dollars jetting to five star hotels in various continents, living the high life while talking about “human rights”. But look at who she’s praising here: Cameroon’s “National Human Rights and Freedom Commission”. She gives them a “warm welcome”. She calls them “distinguished”. Of course, that’s just Lynch’s way of hoping they’ll give her some invitation to go to Cameroon on Canada’s dime for some week-long junket. But who exactly is she praising so highly?
Cameroon is one of the world’s worst countries, in terms of democracy, human rights and freedom. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that there is an inverse relationship between countries that have “human rights and freedom commissions”, and countries that actually practice real human rights and enjoy freedom. It’s just like names of countries: democratic states have boring names like the Dominion of Canada or the United States of America. Dictatorships usually have names like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or the old Democratic Republic of Germany. If you have to use your name to assert that you’re a free country, you probably aren’t.
Cameroon has been ruled by a brutal dictator, Paul Biya, for 26 years. Transparency International ranks Cameroon 138th in the world in terms of corruption – that is, it’s one of the worst. Is that where Lynch got the idea to hire Sandy Kozak as her right hand woman?
Parade Magazine’s annual list of tyrants ranks Biya one of the 20 worst dictators in the world. Here’s their charming write-up of the man.
And here’s part of Freedom House’s 2007 description of press freedom in Cameroon:
Journalists were arbitrarily arrested, detained, harassed, intimidated, and physically abused in 2006, while some publications were confiscated by the state. In January, unidentified assailants set fire to Freedom FM, a private radio station that had yet to begin operations. In 2003, the government had originally forced the station to close before it ever began operating and refused to lift the ban until 2005. In November, after receiving numerous threats leading up to a radio show asking listeners to offer their opinion about the Paul Biya regime, Agnes Taile, host of the popular program on the local Sweet FM, was abducted from her home, beaten, and left for dead. Other instances of harassment of journalists included the illegal five-day detention of Duke Atangana Etotogo, managing editor of L’Afrique Centrale, by the military security services in September after he published articles addressing corruption and incompetence within the army.
I bet Lynch is so jealous! In Cameroon, political censors don’t just get to harass websites – they can go after radio stations and newspapers, too!
And here’s an excerpt from Freedom House’s 2007 country report freedom about Cameroon:
The courts are highly subject to political influence and corruption. The executive branch controls the judiciary and appoints provincial and local administrators. Military tribunals may exercise jurisdiction over civilians in cases involving civil unrest or organized armed violence. Various intelligence agencies operate with impunity, and opposition activists are often held without charge or disappear while in custody. Indefinite pretrial detention under extremely harsh conditions is permitted either after a warrant is issued or in order to “combat banditry.” Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and detainees are routine, and inmates routinely die in prison. Amnesty International called for an investigation into reports that dozens of extrajudicial executions were carried out in 2002 as part of an anticrime campaign. Despite repeated requests, the Cameroonian government has never granted entry to Amnesty International’s representatives. In the north, traditional chiefs known as lamibee control their own private militias, courts, and prisons, which are used against the regime’s political opponents.
I could quote Amnesty International, etc., etc., but you get the point.
Every dictatorship has a Potemkin “human rights” division like the one Lynch praised, designed to trap foreigners in a fake liberal discussion, while the dictatorship conducts its brutal activities. It’s a form of propaganda – a political front, designed to confuse. I don’t know if Lynch is stupid enough to buy it, or if she knows full well it’s a ruse, and actually appreciates fellow practitioners of Orwellian sleight of hand.
On with the speech:
We are pleased to have with us Mr. Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages, and Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our gathering.
Barbara Hall brings a wealth of experience and knowledge? I suppose that’s technically true. It’s one of those ambiguous phrases, like when a friend writes a truly awful play or novel, and asks you “well, what do you think?” and you say “you’ve done it again!” Yes, Barbara Hall has plenty of experience as a politically correct censor and abuser of liberties.
Just last week, our Commission participated in the Kenya International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions. On behalf of the CHRC, I serve as Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
The aim of the ICC is to promote and strengthen National Human Rights Institutions. We do at an international level what the CHRC does here in Canada, through conferences, training programs and working groups.
Did you know that Jennifer Lynch chairs the “International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights”?
Do you think that’s a good idea? Do you think a woman who presides over a beehive of corruption like she does should be teaching Kenyans about rights and democracy?
Or – is it the other way around, again? She holds tyrannical Cameroon in the highest esteem. How about Kenya, a violent country where it’s universally accepted that the president rigged the last election, plunging the country into chaos?
When member organizations identify gaps in human rights protection, the ICC brings the issue to the attention of the international community through the United Nations.
Right. The United Nations, where human rights abusers like China and Russia have a permanent veto at the Security Council, and where dictatorships like Iran sit on the Human Rights Council. I’m sure they’ll get right on human rights abuses.
There has been an enormous advance in human rights in the last several decades, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Incidentally, 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a significant milestone in our history. So much has evolved and progressed, but we acknowledge that not all is perfect and that there are issues in the workplace that need to be addressed.
Of course there has been human rights progress since 1948, but it’s been slipping away. Latin America is falling under the thrall of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez; Islamic fascism is gripping Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and is seriously infecting Nigeria, and has eyes on Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, etc. Somalia and other African countries are failed states where human rights are meaningless. And Russia hasn’t been this unfree since 1989. China is more brazen than ever in its disregard for human life. This is more self-congratulatory blather from Lynch.
Other countries see the Canadian Human Rights Commission as a source of innovative ideas, and a catalyst that inspires advances in human rights around the world.
More self-love from Lynch. God help those poor countries if it’s true. Perhaps Lynch is teaching them how to get 100% conviction rates for political crimes like section 13.
The three-pillar approach we take – resolving disputes, expanding knowledge and, most importantly, preventing discrimination – is widely imitated by others.
Here in Canada, with your help, our emphasis is shifting more and more away from a focus on complaints processing and compliance, to a focus on prevention.
What does “prevention” mean in the context of hate speech? I know what it means: creating a chill in the public square such that journalists, bloggers, and even large media companies like Maclean’s are reluctant to talk about anything politically incorrect for fear of being abused by the CHRC’s processes. That’s hate speech “prevention”. Fr. Alphonse de Valk of Catholic Insight was toyed with by Lynch’s right hand woman, Sandy Kozak, for months – forcing the septuagenarian priest to spend $20,000 on lawyers – before being let go.
That’s prevention. Do you think Fr. de Valk will offend Frau Lynch (Frau Lynch – I think I’m going to keep using that) again? No. He’s been inoculated.
Of course, we must maintain effective methods for processing complaints, and we do.
That’s just a gorgeous sentence. Just read that again.
Effective processing of complaints? Forget their abusive investigations into hate speech. Look at some of the CHRC’s other abominable work – including a case that took them 25 years to try. That’s effective? Did Lynch’s audience giggle when they heard her say that whopper?
Yet human rights complaints are essentially the “back end” of the process. They represent a failure of prevention. And such failures are expensive. They cost us in civility, in morale, in time, in energy, reputations and in money.
Oh really? That’s true for the victims of Frau Lynch. Her victims spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars – or, more often, go to trial so poor they can’t afford a lawyer. It burns up their time, for sure. But for Frau Lynch and her brownshirts, such delays and expenses are the stuff bureaucratic empires are made of. Without such “failures”, they’d be out of work.
In increasingly tough economic times, it’s important to remember that the investment we make in preventing discrimination is not an expensive frill; it’s prudent business practice.
But it’s not tough economic times for the CHRC, whose budget and staff complement are at an all-time high – over 200 brownshirts, many making six-figures. And “tough times” haven’t slowed Frau Lynch’s jet-setting or expensive lunch tabs one bit.
Furthermore, resolving problems after the fact doesn’t deliver systemic change. To do that, we need to focus on the “front end” – to fully integrate human rights into daily practice so as to prevent violations from happening in the first place.
What would a world be like where Frau Lynch’s twisted view of human rights were “fully integrated” into, say, the workings of a newspaper’s editorial offices, or the correspondence of MPs? We have a word for the total integration of the state’s viewpoint into the lives of its citizens: totalitarianism, the exact word used by Stephen Harper in 1999 to describe HRCs.
Coming together in fora like this one has helped us clarify what it takes to create a respectful and inclusive human rights culture in the workplace: it means putting overarching policies in place, building employment equity measures into business plans, measuring human rights as a core competency, supporting it with training, and modernizing communications in tone and content.
It’s actually pretty hilarious to hear Frau Lynch talk about business practices. The CHRC was audited in a confidential government review, and received poor or failing grades in every single benchmark that was assessed. They received a total failure in having a written code of ethics – they simply don’t have one. If the CHRC was a country, and Frau Lynch was its president-for-life, I’m guessing Transparency International would rank it below Cameroon.
All of those measures add up to fulfilling the pledge of Corporate Social Responsibility, which can only be achieved when an organization’s internal culture is truly aligned with the expectations it sets for its frontline employees.
Hey. I’ve got a question. Again, it’s a touch rich for a “human rights” commissar whose staff join neo-Nazi organizations to lecture anyone about corporate culture. But who the hell appointed Frau Lynch to be the corporate nanny for Canada? "Corporate Social Responsibility"? From this corrupt political hack? Forget the personal chutzpah of it – where the hell does the Canadian Human Rights Act say that this sort of corporate meddling is Frau Lynch’s mandate? Like I’ve been saying for months, when you appoint Joe Clark’s chief of staff to be the chief commissar of the CHRC, you get what you pay for.
The emerging field of Integrated Conflict Management Systems offers some relevant methodologies for achieving this.
Here at the Commission we are currently developing a Maturity Model for human rights. This is a tool that your organization will be able to use to promote a self-sustaining human rights culture and monitor your success. Later this afternoon, you’ll be listening to and learning from world expert Deborah Katz from the United States Department of Homeland Security about how a Maturity Model works.
I’d like to see the CHRC try a “self-sustaining human rights culture”, on themselves first. How do hundreds of neo-Nazi posts on websites fit in with that "Maturity Model"?
We hope this initiative – and others that you’ll have the opportunity to explore during this Forum – will support you in continuing to build capacity, anticipate diverse needs and integrate the protection and promotion of human rights into your daily practice.
Your commitment to realizing these goals is evident in your presence here today, and we appreciate the contribution your participation makes to our shared understanding of current and emerging issues.
We trust that the dynamic exchange of information and experience will support us all in building on past successes to conceive and implement the measures necessary to enhance human rights in the future.
At the end of the day, the differences we make in our individual workplaces have an enormous collective impact on the world we share, making it more just and more equitable.
Thank you for being here, and enjoy the next 2 ½ days.
Are you embarrassed that Frau Lynch was speaking for our country? I am.
But I think I have a better understanding of what she’s about. She’s want to be part of the global human rights industry, jetting around, first class, from five-star hotel to five-star hotel, reading meaningless clichés to people who are playing on their BlackBerries instead of paying attention. All of this goes on under brutal security, and with plenty of caviar. Outside, behind a row of riot police, are people whose real human rights are being abused. Seriously: Cameroon? Kenya? Those places are civil rights cesspools; Frau Lynch is meeting with their propaganda arms -- she's a willing part of their deception. And she's well-paid, and well-perked for it.
And who can blame her? Whenever she goes into her office in Ottawa, she’s met with more embarrassing stories about the conduct of her own staff. A real leader, loyal to Canada, would clean up her agency. Frau Lynch would rather travel the world – and hobnob with the tyrants of Cameroon, and pledge loyalty to the UN. Seriously -- at the Remembrance Day ceremony this month, she didn't even mention our Canadian wars, but she praised the UN. Exactly who is she loyal to?
Perhaps Cameroon will give her an honorary doctorate from the University of Yaounde. That’s about what she’s worth.
Fire. Them. All.
I see that Keith Martin, the Liberal MP from Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, has reintroduced his private member's motion to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision that has been twisted into a political censorship provision.
Private member's motions usually don't even make it to a vote, let alone into law, but it's an important symbolic expression -- and, again, it shows that the Liberals are, so far, in the lead in terms of legislative reform. This is a non-partisan issue. Frankly, it's time for the Conservatives to catch up.
Here's the exact wording of the motion:
M-153 — That, in the opinion of the House, subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act should be deleted from the Act.
Martin has also introduced a second motion, too:
M-156 — That, in the opinion of the House, the government should hold public hearings as part of a review of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its tribunal.
That's just as important. It's not just a foul law that the CHRC is applying. The CHRC's conduct is abusive and corrupt. It's not enough to change the law. There has to be a deep investigation -- I say a forensic audit -- into the bullying and corruption there.
Take a moment to send Dr. Martin a quick note of encouragement. He and other Liberal MPs have said that support for his motion is broad in the Liberal caucus. I believe him -- now he has to get those other Liberals on the record, too.
Mohamed Elmasry, an immigrant to Canada from Egypt, is a Jew-hating bigot. In keeping with his Egyptian style, he’s the president-for-life of the grandiosely-named Canadian Islamic Congress. Simply put, he wants to import Egyptian values of censorship, anti-Semitism and authoritarian government to Canada. And he knows the best way to do that: through Canada's illiberal human rights commissions.
If the HRCs actually applied their laws neutrally, Elmasry himself would have been charged with “hate speech” when he declared on Michael Coren's television show that terrorist attacks against Jews were legitimate. Instead, he’s used Canada’s HRCs as a weapon against those who would criticize radical Islam -- Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine in particular.
Joseph Brean has an interview with Elmasry in today’s National Post. It’s an interesting read, with all sorts of Egyptian ideas about strangling political dissent. But I’ll just point out one minor detail.
Elmasry admits what useful idiots like John Miller have denied, but what the rest of us have known all along: Khurrum Awan and the other Muslim law students who have been pushing the HRC complaints against Maclean's in the media were nothing but the PR front-men for Elmasry himself. They were his pawns. Elmasry is so toxic politically, he had to find little bigots-in-training who were not quite as discredited as him.
Fools like Miller bought the charade. Today Elmasry revealed he was the puppet master all along. Says Elmasry:
Prof. Elmasry said both those men [Awan and Faisal Joseph], in their numerous public and media appearances, were always acting "upon my instruction."
Like all petty tyrants, Elmasry has an enormous ego (I was on a panel with him in 2006 where he actually took credit for inventing the BlackBerry. Seriously.) Flattered with Brean’s interview, he just couldn’t help himself – he had to “take credit” for the foolish antics of Awan and Joseph, although by doing so he undid the purpose of having surrogates.
There’s not much more to say about Elmasry. I agree with Brean that Elmasry has been a key figure in the battle against censorship laws such as the Canadian Human Rights Act, because it would be impossible to create a proponent (and user) of those laws more odious, more offensive, less sympathetic, and less in line with what Canadians think real human rights are. As Brean put it:
In the evolving history of human rights law in Canada, the Internet has made this review of online hate speech laws necessary. But among those who can take credit for making it possible, Prof. Elmasry has few competitors, save perhaps the blogger and free speech advocate Ezra Levant.
I appreciate the compliment, but as I’ve said before, the illiberal conduct of the Elmasrys and Jennifer Lynchs of this country are what has made denormalizing the HRCs so easy. Any severely normal Canadian who read Brean’s interview with Elmasry would correctly come to the conclusion that Elmasry wants to destroy Canada’s freedoms, and make us more like his putrid Egypt. No, thanks, you foul bigot – but thanks for illustrating what’s wrong with the system.
Joseph Brean of the National Post reports tonight that the RCMP have concluded their criminal investigation of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and have concluded that they don't feel they have enough to convict the CHRC or its staff of a crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Ottawa Police had asked the RCMP to investigate, when Bell Canada testified that the CHRC hacked into the Internet account of a private citizen. You can see the sworn testimony of Bell Canada's officer, Alain Monfette, describing the exact details of the hacking in this transcript, at pages 5645 and 5646.
This was the Warman v. Lemire hearing that the CHRC desperately tried have a publication ban on the proceedings. No wonder.
Brean reports that the Privacy Commissioner's investigation continues. That will be more interesting; the Privacy Commissioner enforces different legislation, and the burden of proof is not "beyond a reasonable doubt", like tha of the criminal courts.
Here's my quote in Brean's story:
Ezra Levant, whose blog has become the centrepiece of the campaign against human rights hate speech law, said that, "while the conduct of the human rights commission may not have reached the level where the police thought it was criminal beyond a reasonable doubt, that is not an acceptable standard for our government."
"I think the behaviour of the CHRC is morally grotesque, but that's not a crime," he said. "I think it's politically scandalous, but that's not on the books either."
But my quote isn't the most interesting. Look at this sheer idiocy from Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a supporter of the CHRC, said this allegation has been a damaging "albatross" for the Commission for many months.
"It was just, in my view, not possible," he said. "And as a result many people were wrongly pointing a finger at the CHRC, accusing it of all kinds of nefarious work. This will, I think, allow some breathing room and allow discussion to evolve around the important issues, as opposed to stupid allegations that should never have been brought forward in the first place."
Mr. Farber said it might have been "ideal" if the CHRC had managed to prevent Mr. Lemire from eliciting the woman's name in the first place, but that the investigation was in the end a "healthy process" to demonstrate that the commission behaves within the confines of the law.
First, Burny says it wasn't possible -- "it" presumably being that the CHRC hacked into Nelly Hechme's Internet account. That's just historical revisionism -- Burny's become a denier. Bell Canada swore to the facts, and they remain uncontradicted by any other evidence. The only question is whether that hacking reached the level of a crime; the RCMP thinks it didn't.
Burny called them "stupid allegations". Nelly Hechme, the woman who was hacked by the CHRC, didn't think so. She's furious. Why doesn't Burny call her up and tell her she's stupid, directly? Maybe he can smear her as a neo-Nazi -- that's Burny's other debating tactic, other than calling people "stupid".
Hey, speaking of neo-Nazis, why hasn't Burny mentioned a word about that? Because the CHRC's neo-Nazi activities were the whole reason why they hacked into Hechme's account in the first place -- the CHRC was trying to cover their tracks as they signed on to a U.S. neo-Nazi website using one of their membership accounts, codename "Jadewarr".
The CHRC has published literally hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black comments on neo-Nazi websites, and Burny hasn't said a word -- oh, except to deny the whole thing. How lost does an Official Jew like Burny have to be when he thinks the problem here is Hechme's complaint about being hacked, not the neo-Nazi hackers? What the hell is wrong with him?
But it gets better. Look at Burny's ideal outcome: that Marc Lemire, one of Burny's nemeses and the CHRC's target, would have been "prevented" from finding out about the neo-Nazi publications. Of course that's Burny's daydream -- the CHRC's too -- because then they would have been spared the scandal of a government agency engaging in neo-Nazi propaganda, with Burny's blessing.
Burny doesn't care about Lemire's freedom of speech -- so why should he care about Lemire's legal right to disclosure of the illegal antics of his prosecutors?
But the last line is the best. Burny thinks this was some sort of victory, because the CHRC has been proven to be a non-criminal organization.
That's the great man's standard of public ethics -- the police couldn't lay charges, despite a six-month investigation, so obviously everything's fine! It sounds like Burny has been taking lessons in government ethics from his friend Warren "Adscam" Kinsella.
And that's really the question for Stephen Harper and Rob Nicholson, isn't it? Is it good enough that Jennifer Lynch and her crew are not criminals? (I'm not sure if that's even true -- Lynch's right hand woman, Sandy Kozak, is a former cop who was drummed out of a police force for corruption).
That may be the moral standard for Burny. But is that the moral standard for this government? Any cabinet minister who ran this kind of gong show would have been shuffled out. Why is Lynch -- a Joe Clark feminist -- being allowed to erode the government's reputation for integrity and good governance?
And neo-Nazi memberships? To this day? Unapologetically? In a government agency?
Under a Conservative government? Have we forgotten how easily the old Reform Party was (unfairly) tagged as sympathetic to white supremacists? True conservatives could be forgiven for thinking that Lynch is actually setting Harper and Nicholson up.
Fire. Them. All.
P.S. Just curious -- speaking as a taxpayer, now. Who did the RCMP interview at the CHRC? What documents did they review? And did taxpayers foot the bill for criminal lawyers to come in to defend the CHRC's Nazi operatives and Internet hackers?
Lori Andreachuk, the anti-Christian bigot who convicted Rev. Stephen Boissoin of "hate speech", has been quietly removed from the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
The Government of Alberta announced today that Andreachuk will be given a golden parachute -- a patronage appointment to the Alberta Health Services Board.
I note that Andreachuk will serve alongside with Gord Bontje, formerly the chair of Catholic schools in Red Deer.
Bontje would do well to keep his mouth shut about his faith whenever he's in a room with Andreachuk -- or else he could find himself the subject of a six year smear campaign ending in a government order to repudiate his faith, the way Rev. Boissoin was.
It's encouraging that such an anti-Christian bigot was removed from the human rights commission. But it's puzzling why such a disreputable thug would be given any new government appointment whatsoever.
Today I received news that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has acquitted me of a section 13 "hate speech" complaint. You can see their one-page letter to my lawyer here.
I note that the letter says the commissioners -- led by Joe Clark's former chief of staff, the radical feminist Jennifer Lynch -- reviewed "any submission(s) filed". We know that's not true, because my submission had portions blacked out by a CHRC staffer before it was shown to the commissars.
But the fact is the fact: I've been acquitted.
This was a perfect scientific experiment. You see, I had republished, word for word, the very same "hate speech" that Rev. Stephen Boissoin had published six years ago in Alberta. Rev. Boissoin was found by both the Alberta HRC and the CHRC to be guilty of hate speech.
So I controlled all the variables but one.
I published the exact same words Rev. Boissoin used.
I published the words in the exact same jurisdiction that Rev. Boissoin did -- in Alberta.
I published them in contravention of the exact same laws that Rev. Boissoin did -- the Stalinist human rights acts.
And a complaint was brought against me, just as it was against Rev. Boissoin.
Only one thing was different. Rev. Boissoin is Christian. I'm Jewish.
In the entire history of section 13, stretching back to 1977, not one single Jew, Muslim or gay has been taken before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by the CHRC.
Gentle reader, do you really think that not one single Jew has uttered hate speech in 31 years? I'll answer that for you: I published hate speech on my own web -- I published Rev. Boissoin's comments. I know that's hate speech, because both the Alberta HRC and the CHRC said so.
Do you really think that not a single Muslim radical, or Sikh radical, or Tamil radical, has uttered hate speech in 31 years?
Don't be ridiculous. But Lynch's McCarthyist inquisition has never gone after those. 100% of the CHRC's targets have been white, Christian or conservative.
And, of course, the conviction rate before the tribunal has been 100%.
This is not the rule of law. This is not a real court. The CHRC are not lawful prosecutors. They are rogues -- corrupt rogues, including a disgraced ex-cop who was drummed out of the real police for corruption.
Jennifer Lynch presides over that rotting mass.
Jennifer Lynch presides over her staff joining neo-Nazi organizations, on government time.
Jennifer Lynch presides over this slow-motion anti-Christian persecution.
I was let go because I'm a Jew.
The CHRC's letter came up with a pretend excuse. I was let go because, they said, I had the "goal of furthering a public debate".
Of course, that's exactly the goal Rev. Boissoin had. And Lynch convicted him.
In fact, anyone who publishes any political or religious statement, especially one that is dissident or offensive, is obviously trying to have a "debate".
But only Jews like me are allowed to have such debates.
That's not just corruption.
That's not just a violation of the rule of law.
That's the Canadian Human Rights Commission pursuing a slow-motion pogrom against Canada's Christians.
I shall now republish the Rev. Boissoin's words again. I'm not publishing them to further any debate. I'm publishing them as a personal insult to Jennifer Lynch. And why not? Her continued employment on the taxpayers' dime is an insult to every Canadian who believes in equality before the law.
The only question I have is: now that Lynch's boss, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, has publicly condemned section 13, how long will he allow his rogue commissar to continue bullying Christian pastors?
This issue has been on his radar screen for a full year. How much longer does Nicholson think he can wait to weed out Lynch, before her own anti-Christian bigotry will be on his hands?
Here's the text again. It's legal for a Jew like me to publish it. It's illegal for a Christian like Rev. Boissoin to publish it. That's sick.
Homosexual Agenda Wicked
The following is not intended for those who are suffering from an unwanted sexual identity crisis. For you, I have understanding, care, compassion and tolerance. I sympathize with you and offer you my love and fellowship. I prayerfully beseech you to seek help, and I assure you that your present enslavement to homosexuality can be remedied. Many outspoken, former homosexuals are free today.
Instead, this is aimed precisely at every individual that in any way supports the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s. I cannot pity you any longer and remain inactive. You have caused far too much damage.
My banner has now been raised and war has been declared so as to defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth, that you so eagerly toil, day and night, to consume. With me stand the greatest weapons that you have encountered to date - God and the "Moral Majority." Know this, we will defeat you, then heal the damage that you have caused. Modern society has become dispassionate to the cause of righteousness. Many people are so apathetic and desensitized today that they cannot even accurately define the term "morality."
The masses have dug in and continue to excuse their failure to stand against horrendous atrocities such as the aggressive propagation of homo- and bisexuality. Inexcusable justifications such as, "I'm just not sure where the truth lies," or "If they don't affect me then I don't care what they do," abound from the lips of the quantifiable majority.
Face the facts, it is affecting you. Like it or not, every professing heterosexual is have their future aggressively chopped at the roots.
Edmund Burke's observation that, "All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," has been confirmed time and time again. From kindergarten class on, our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators.
Our children are being victimized by repugnant and premeditated strategies, aimed at desensitizing and eventually recruiting our young into their camps. Think about it, children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.
Your children are being warped into believing that same-sex families are acceptable; that men kissing men is appropriate.
Your teenagers are being instructed on how to perform so-called safe same gender oral and anal sex and at the same time being told that it is normal, natural and even productive. Will your child be the next victim that tests homosexuality positive?
Come on people, wake up! It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.
Regardless of what you hear, the militant homosexual agenda isn't rooted in protecting homosexuals from "gay bashing." The agenda is clearly about homosexual activists that include, teachers, politicians, lawyers, Supreme Court judges, and God forbid, even so-called ministers, who are all determined to gain complete equality in our nation and even worse, our world.
Don't allow yourself to be deceived any longer. These activists are not morally upright citizens, concerned about the best interests of our society. They are perverse, self-centered and morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease into every area of our lives. Homosexual rights activists and those that defend them, are just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities.
The homosexual agenda is not gaining ground because it is morally backed. It is gaining ground simply because you, Mr. and Mrs. Heterosexual, do nothing to stop it. It is only a matter of time before some of these morally bankrupt individuals such as those involved with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Lovers Association, will achieve their goal to have sexual relations with children and assert that it is a matter of free choice and claim that we are intolerant bigots not to accept it.
If you are reading this and think that this is alarmist, then I simply ask you this: how bad do things have to become before you will get involved? It's time to start taking back what the enemy has taken from you. The safety and future of our children is at stake.
Rev. Stephen Boissoin
The Conservative Party is nearly unanimous: section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the so-called “hate speech” provision that has become a weapon of censorship used against political dissidents, must be scrapped.
I was hopeful that the Conservatives would do the right thing at their convention; I didn’t expect it to be so unanimous; and I never would have imagined that the Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, would have publicly committed himself to repealing the law.
But the Conservatives only have 143 seats in the House of Commons – 12 short of a majority. So where do the other parties stand?
We already know that a number of Liberals stand for the repeal of section 13. Keith Martin, the Liberal MP from Vancouver Island, moved a private members motion early in the year that got the repeal ball rolling in Parliament. Martin has gone further in his comments, noting that it’s not just the substance of the law that needs reform, but the grotesque conduct of the Canadian Human Rights Commission itself.
Other Liberal MPs have joined in, too. Paul Szabo has called the CHRC a “threat to our democracy” and says many other Liberal MPs share his view.
Liberal Dan McTeague supports the repeal of section 13, too. Liberal Andrew Telegdi said section 13 was “alarming”, though he did not win re-election (by a mere 17 votes!), but his successor, Peter Braid, is a Conservative and thus likely to support repeal.
I suspect that a great many other Liberals – true Liberals, who remember that the root of the word liberal is the latin word for freedom – support repeal of section 13. I think the reason why we don’t have more names (though we’ve got a good start) is because many of the blogger activists on this issue have been conservative, and have thus pestered their Conservative MPs. There is no reason whatsoever to doubt McTeague, Martin and Szabo when they say their colleagues agree with them. We just have to ask them now.
But how about Michael Ignatieff? Conventional wisdom has it that he’s the front-runner for the Liberal leadership. What’s his view on section 13?
By coincidence, Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury happens to live in Ignatieff’s riding, and happened to be home when Ignatieff knocked on her door during the recent election. Here’s her report about that encounter:
So Ignatieff comes over and shakes our hands and I explain that we are mostly concerned about Section 13 and Human Rights Commissions over reach, and that we feel a Harper majority would go a long way into getting the war against free speech reigned in.
Ignatieff became very thoughtful and interested. He clearly knew what we were talking about, and said he believed that "hate speech" complaints should be heard in criminal court and not the HRCs.
He assured us that many Liberal MPs were very concerned about this issue, too.
… He thanked us for our time and assured us that the issue really was on the minds of many Liberals.
… Ignatieff seemed very well informed and "on side" with the issue. Make of that what you will.
I did a quick news search for Ignatieff and the phrase “freedom of speech”, and I came up with two interesting quotes. The first was from his 2006 leadership campaign. You can see it here. The subject wasn’t “hate speech”, but it was an attack website aimed at Ignatieff himself. His response?
I want to make it very clear my campaign would never attempt to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of opinion. So we're not trying to shut this thing down.
I like the sounds of that.
Back in 2001, Ignatieff also joined in a civil liberties protest against security provisions at the Quebec City “Summit of the Americas”. Ignatieff joined with other free speechniks – including Rick Mercer – to say:
government is constitutionally obliged to protect both freedom of speech and assembly.
You can see that here.
Ignatieff’s conversation with Kathy must be discounted a bit – a politician speaking privately at a doorstep is tempted to tailor his message to the voter at hand, though it sounded from Kathy’s report that Ignatieff didn’t quite do that.
Ignatieff’s comment from 2006 is more heartening – it shows a respect for freedom of speech, even offensive speech, even offensive speech targeting him. That’s encouraging.
Lending his name to a petition for “civil liberties” in 2001 is the least persuasive evidence point, but it’s still heartening.
Based on the above, and my sense of his politics in general, I’m confident that if Ignatieff became leader, he would be at least open to his fellow Liberals voting freely to repeal section 13. And I bet he’d actually vote for it himself, too – as a lifelong academic (and, often, a politically incorrect one at that), he understands the value of allowing dissident political views to be heard.
But, actually, there is one more piece of compelling proof that Ignatieff is against section 13: he’s gagged Warren Kinsella on the subject.
Until Kinsella joined Ignatieff’s team a week ago, Kinsella was Canada’s most virulent opponent of repealing section 13, spitting venom at anyone who proposed it, calling them Nazis, threatening to sue them (and in my case, actually suing me!) and generally making a public ass of himself.
Since joining Ignatieff’s team, Kinsella hasn’t gone totally mute on the subject, but his volume knob has been turned down 90%. I’m sure Kinsella would have been in full dudgeon about the Conservative Party’s convention vote on the subject had he not on Ignatieff’s campaign.
It’s obvious that’s the only reason why Kinsella has cut back the vitriol – nothing else has changed, except that Kinsella is answering to some grown-ups now, and he can't embarrass his boss.
I’m hopeful that Michael Ignatieff would make the repeal of section 13 a truly bi-partisan affair – as it should be. Freedom of speech ought not to be the preserve of one side or another of the political spectrum. It belongs to anyone who believes in the very idea of a spectrum.
His career as an academic; his public statements about civil liberties and free speech; his private comments to Kathy – all of these are encouraging.
But they’re just words. The fact that he managed to shut up Warren Kinsella on the subject is an act of astonishing strength and good judgment.
Folks, let’s be grown up about this, too. Let’s put aside our partisanship for a moment, and realize that we’re fighting for freedom for all Canadians, regardless of political stripe.
And let’s send a note of encouragement to Michael Ignatieff, telling him that section 13 is an affront to all Canadians, Liberal or Conservative. (Don’t antagonize the man by mentioning Kinsella – no doubt it's punishment enough on its own.)
I’m a free man, a Canadian and a Conservative – in that order. I think Michael Ignatieff is a free man, a Canadian and a Liberal in that order, too. I’m counting on it, in fact.
So let’s send him a note of encouragement to join Keith Martin’s lead and make it a bi-partisan business: let’s repeal section 13.
E-mail him here.
Here's Wally's pro-freedom team. I don't know where this was shot -- is that a club? a coffee shop? Wally's living room? -- or what they were doing before or after the clip, but they sure looked like they were having fun.
Oh, maybe a little bit like this. 99.5% approval -- including the Justice Minister -- and a spontaneous standing ovation.
I like checking my blog's visitor statistics package to see where my readers come from geographically, what sites they click in from, and what pages they think are interesting. So far this year, I've had 1.6 million unique visits, or about 5,000 a day. I'm amazed that so many people take the time to read my posts, which are much longer than most blogs.
I looked at my stats today, and I was startled to receive more than 17,000 unique visitors in 24 hours -- one of the five busiest days I've ever had. Almost all of those visits were to a single post. And almost all of them were visits from the U.S.
I'm not surprised -- talking about "quasi-judicial tribunals" can be pretty bland, without something to spice things up. Perhaps a U.S. cable show mentioned her.
I visited the CBC website's story about Ms. Ouwroulis, and she has been actively posting comments about her own case. Some of them are biographical details, most of them are declaring that she's prettier than her photo makes her look. But I thought these two were a hoot:
We all got hired at other clubs; oddly the other clubs we were hired at were all owned by caucasian owners. Mr. Sit is Asian; and I believe is more predjudiced and youth driven...than other club owners. Too bad for me; and the others.
That Mr. Sit! He's Asian -- and you know how Asians are!
Perhaps Mr. Sit could file a human rights complaint against Ms. Ouwroulis. He could accuse her of racism (if "Asian" is a race), and she could accuse him of ageism. I wonder which ism would trump the other, in this game of politically correct poker. She's an ageing woman; he's just an Asian man. I think he'd lose -- Asians don't do well in the grievance business. As a group, they're too successful to be "victims".
But Ms. Ouwroulis? If she can just avoid trash talking blacks, gays or Jews or a little bit longer, I think she could be in the money. She sure thinks so:
Firstly; there are damage awards in Human Rights; for example Age Discrimination, Humiliation in the workplace, Loss of Income, since june 6,
these categories add up some times; combined with a 'loss' of income; I actually didn't come up with the 100 grand amount; the original reporter did; I am seeking damages; and don't know how much it would actually be. *that is in the application the damages; but not listed amounts as such
$100,000? Why not? She's got the lingo down pat -- "humiliation", "damages", etc.
I think I might get in on the game. Sure, I might be a little old, fat and male for the New Locomotion night club. But why don't I apply to Mr. Sit (that prejudiced Asian with his focus on youth!). When he turns me down, I'll be able to complain on the grounds of age, appearance and gender. If Ouwroulis can get $100,000 for just being old, I should be able to get $200,000 for my welt of grievances.
Paul Schneidereit, the great freedom of speech advocate at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, has a fun column today about the denormalization of Canada's out-of-control human rights commissions. I call it fun because it's flattering to me. But it's actually quite a serious column.
Here's the whole thing, and here are some excerpts:
To roll back the increasing, dangerous encroachment of human rights bureaucrats in the realm of free speech, the former publisher of the Western Standard argued the general public’s – and many politicians’ – until-then benign impression of the commissions themselves first had to change.
The means to accomplish this, Ezra pointed out, was easy: Let people know exactly what the commissions were doing, in matters like his, the complaints laid against Maclean’s magazine for an article written by Mark Steyn, and other cases that showed the disquieting lengths these appointed government agents seemed prepared to go to infringe on one of democracy’s most fundamental rights.
As awareness grew, Ezra reasoned, as human rights commissions became more and more "denormalized" in the public eye, so too would grow the opportunity for real reform...
Back in January, if someone had predicted that the governing Conservatives, fresh off another federal election victory, would hold a policy convention in which delegates would vote overwhelmingly to repeal Section 13 of the federal Human Rights Act, I would have told them they were wildly optimistic.
But that’s exactly what happened last week in Winnipeg.
Paul's right: human rights commissions have been revealed as abnormal. By that, I mean they violate Canadian norms, norms of freedom, of tolerance of different opinions, of natural justice, and of political neutrality in our government. And, especially in the case of the federal Canadian Human Rights Commission, they are grotesquely abnormal, to the point where they have become the largest spigot of anti-black, anti-gay and anti-Semitic online bigotry in the country. I know that's hard to believe, but CHRC staffers have testified under oath that they have joined neo-Nazi organizations and published literally hundreds of hateful messages online themselves, in an attempt to entrap others in such "illegal" conversations. How perverse -- and how un-Canadian.
It's no longer enough for the government to "tweak" the CHRC. It is infected to the point where it need amputation, if not more. How could such a sick organization continue? Seriously: how can staff who joined neo-Nazi groups be allowed to continue with their employment at a "human rights" agency? And how can Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissioner who approved the neo-Nazi tactics, be permitted to remain at the helm of such a sick ship? And don't even get me started about other scandals, like their decision to hire a disgraced ex-cop as a "hate speech" investigator, someone who was drummed out of a real police force for corruption.
Good grief. Denormalize them? Absolutely. As Paul points out, that just means telling the truth.
Dear readers, I promise not to tax your patience much further with the tiresome topic of John Miller, "the jouralism doctor" who isn't a doctor, and doesn't really do a lot of journalism.
Yesterday, in my comments, he challenged me to a debate:
So you've taken a couple of shots at me (you went first, remember)and I've taken a shot at you. Where are we at?
The editors at J-Source, a journalism website, have asked me to approach you about the prospect of us facing off on freedom of speech vs. responsibility in an e-mail debate that they will put up on their site.
Interested? I see it as an online conversation, more intense than a long-distance bombardment which we are doing at the moment. It will afford us the chance to actually answer and parry each others' comments.
I am extending this offer with a generous incentive: You get to go first.
Let me know what you think.
In my post this morning about John Miller, I made an error. I wrote that John Miller was a PhD in journalism. It was an assumption on my part: he calls himself a "doctor", his website's address is thejournalismdoctor.ca, and he was the head of journalism at Ryerson's school of journalism for some years. So I assumed that he was, in fact a PhD.
He's not. In the sixties, he got a B.A. in English. That's it.
You can see his full CV here, taken from his website.
I think this is delicious. For a year, "the journalism doctor" has been lecturing mere bloggers like me (and mere international best-selling authors like Mark Steyn) about not being real journalists. We aren't responsible; we're not competent; we're not professional. What a hoot to learn that he's not a doctor at all -- nor does he have a master's degree, or even a degree in journalism itself. But he's so snobby about his "craft" that he pretends to have one.
Now don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against folks who aren't official "experts" or who have no formal education. I don't have a journalism degree myself -- and I'm not sure how J-school could teach anyone to be a critical thinker, or to have a sense of curiosity or skepticism. And trust me: having spent seven years in university myself, I can testify that plenty of students there are either on a leisurely holiday from real life, or are pursuing some useless pursuit that should properly be called a hobby, not an academic field. My point is that you just don't usually have Miller's kind of righteous preening from folks whose formal education is an English degree earned at London, Ontario 43 years ago.
I skimmed the rest of Miller's CV, and I had to laugh out loud. I think it's great that he listed every damn lunch talk he's ever given, including to the Rotary Club. They're good people. It's just a little, uh, light for someone pretending to be a "doctor".
This great writer has published one book in his career -- a self-serving whinge about how right wing journalism has become. Fair deal -- that's Miller's niche. But it's pretty sad when the best publisher he could muster was Canada's socialist imprint, Fernwood Publishing. I love their mission statement:
In an era when the restructuring of capitalism seems to be threatening to erase many of the gains that have been made by the oppressed in society, we think that our books have a part to play in bucking the trend.
On second though, I think Miller picked just the right publisher for his mush.
I did learn one more useful thing from Miller's CV: he's part of the taxpayer subsidized grievance industry. I don't see any cash flowing to him directly from any human rights commissions, but he's received about $150,000 of our money for various politically correct projects, including a "survey" of ethnic media in Canada. Nice work, on top of his other taxpayer-funded salary as a professor. He even got $10,000 from the race-hustlers at the Race Relations Foundation to develop a website for them -- who knew he had such talents? You might recall the CRRF; their chief, Ayman Al-Yassini, has his own CV that boasts that he was:
visiting professor at the University of Riyadh (King Saud University) in Saudi Arabia. He published extensively on the relationship between religion and state in Islam, religion and development and religion and foreign policy.
Nice fit. I wonder if the two of them kick back and watch some Al Jazeera together.
Anyways, this blog post is a correction. I suppose Miller's accusation was right: a better journalist than me would never have taken Miller's pretense to be a "doctor" at face value without double-checking to see if it was spin. My apologies to my readers. Despite his propaganda, Miller's no doctor.
I have only been able to identify four journalists in the entire country who support the censorship powers of Canada’s human rights commissions: Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star (despite that paper’s official stance against section 13 “hate speech” laws); Naomi Lakritz of the Calgary Herald (despite that paper’s leadership role in freedom of the press); Susan Cole of NOW Magazine; and John Miller, a journalism professor at Ryerson. Miller has the dubious distinction of actually applying to be an intervener in the Elmasry v. Maclean’s “hate speech” show trial at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (he was refused). What kind of journalism professor actively volunteers to join in the government’s censorship of a fellow journalist? It’s one thing to be a mouthy busy-body. It’s another to beg the tribunal for permission to fly across the country to condemn one’s peers in a government inquisition. Informant No. 1 would be proud.
(I assume Miller volunteered to testify against Maclean’s at his own expense. But perhaps the professor would be kind enough to confirm it. Would he really have taken time off work, flown to Vancouver and stayed in a hotel on his own dime? Or was someone going to foot the bill for him? His university? The Canadian Islamic Congress?)
When I finally met Miller a couple of weekends ago at a free speech conference in Halifax, I had hoped to find out what made him tick. I was disappointed: There was no grand theory, no complex philosophy at play. As Miller made clear in his opening remarks that day, he pretty much judges people – and their ideas – based on their race. Here’s what he said:
Aside from the other things that I was introduced as, I’m a white male WASP. In relation to the other journalists who have spoken here today, I have the unusual position of being in the minority. It’s very instructive to be in the minority. I’m not asking for sympathy: People like me have had our way far too long to invoke sympathy.
That’s all it was, that’s all there is to him. He’s all about liberal white guilt, and he’s all for reverse discrimination. He judges people, as Martin Luther King would say, by the colour of their skin, not the content of their character. MLK would call him a racist. I call him a sixties hippie who doesn’t understand how condescending he comes across. Not to whites, I mean – to them he comes across as a bore or a fossil. I mean how he comes across to minorities: he treats them like simple children who are unable of achieving success without some sort of hand-out.
Miller has truly taken up Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”. It’s the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Miller has made a career out of being a guilty white man. Take this “study” he did fourteen years ago, examining the race of every journalist in Canada. It’s junk science of course. Most Canadians aren’t as race-obsessed as Miller; most newsrooms wouldn’t have an inventory of staff by race; most staff wouldn’t participate in such a degrading catalog; and many people – oh, say, Barack Obama – are of mixed race, and wouldn’t quite fit with Miller’s white=bad, coloured=good way of seeing the world. (Hell, even the Nazis had more thoughtfulness than Miller when it came to lists of minorities: they invented various degrees of “mixlings”. In the U.S. South, they invented words like quadroon, octoroon, etc. If Miller is going to start making lists by race, he really ought to do it right. His friends at the human rights commissions can help him – the CHRC’s investigators are members of the neo-Nazi group Stormfront. They could teach him the proper taxonomy, right down to the pronunciation of mischling in the original German.
Enough preamble. As I mentioned in my report from Halifax, Miller’s hatred of Mark Steyn was palpable at that conference. He disparaged Steyn as not a genuine reporter, and “proved” it, by noting that he couldn’t find corroboration for a fact that Steyn had written in a column, namely:
Signora Fallaci then moves on to the livelier examples of contemporary Islam -- for example, Ayatollah Khomeini's "Blue Book" and its helpful advice on romantic matters: "If a man marries a minor who has reached the age of nine and if during the defloration he immediately breaks the hymen, he cannot enjoy her any longer." I'll say. I know it always ruins my evening. Also: "A man who has had sexual relations with an animal, such as a sheep, may not eat its meat. He would commit sin." Indeed. A quiet cigarette afterwards as you listen to your favourite Johnny Mathis LP and then a promise to call her next week and swing by the pasture is by far the best way. It may also be a sin to roast your nine-year-old wife, but the Ayatollah's not clear on that.
That’s Steyn’s column. Miller implied that Steyn just made the Khomeini quote up, and he did so to embarrass Muslims. Miller told the audience that the only place he could find corroboration of that quote was on some “right wing” blog.
It was a weird attack, as Steyn says exactly where he got his information – from the late Oriana Fallaci’s book. That’s her in the burka, interviewing Khomeini. I’d call her a pretty good source on what the pervy old Islamo-fascist said.
Miller was so smug, so condescending – and his criticism was so lame – I wondered if anyone was buying it at the conference. As I sat there, I Googled “Khomeini” and “sex” and some other terms, and quickly came across this Harper’s article from 1985, that quotes some of Khomeini’s nuttier fatwas. Check out fatwa 2,631:
2,631. It is loathsome to eat the meat of a horse, a mule, or a donkey if someone has had coitus with the animal.
That took me about a minute to find, and I mentioned it to the conference right after Miller said he couldn’t find it. Harper’s quote is not the exact same translation used by Fallaci, but the point is pretty clear: Steyn hadn’t made up the quote, and demonizing Steyn as a “right-winger” wasn’t enough to change the facts. Khomeini was a pervert, and Steyn got his facts straight. Miller’s debating technique – ad hominem attacks on journalists if they’re conservative – didn’t work so well anymore. Fallaci was a famously left wing journalist when she met Khomeini; Harper’s is the perfectly liberal magazine; and Harper’s source, Westview Press, is an imprint of Perseus Books Group. How liberal are they? Look at some of the other titles published by another Perseus imprint.
Mark Steyn doesn’t need my help proving that his facts are accurate and frankly, listing other liberal sources for that quote is ridiculous – that’s Miller’s game. But the reason I Googled the Khomeini quote – literally while Miller was talking – was to show just how laughable are Miller’s own pretensions about being some keeper of the journalistic flame. I’m no “doctor” in journalism like he is, but I could find the quote, in an impeccably liberal source, in two minutes. Another few minutes could find Khomeini’s book of fatwas itself, in English and the original Persian version. But, as Nova Scotia Scott has pointed out, any facts that conflict with Miller’s world view are discarded. I agree with Steyn: I’d hate to be a journalism student in Miller’s class.
Anyways, after my original blog post on the subject, Miller submitted a comment to my website. I waited to approve it, because I wanted to address his contention that the Harper’s quote wasn’t on point – and, as the Harper’s citation shows, it clearly was. Here’s his comment in full:
Hi Ezra Your little Google stunt in Halifax seems to have worked -- even you believe it. Only trouble is, you didn't know what quote I was talking about, and it isn't on any of the sites you refer to here.The quote, which Steyn used in a Maclean's column, was allegedly Khomeini saying it was okay for a man to have sex with animals, as long as he kills the animal after orgasm and doesn't feed the meat to his village.I suspected this was made up. Khomeini may be a nutbar but this is too way out for any religious leader, surely.Besides Steyn's column, I only saw it referred to on one right-wing blogsite. Your stunt was just a stunt, devoid of any substance. Of course I know how to Google thoroughly. I actually thought the most significant moment of the panel was when I asked you if you consider yourself to be a journalist. You didn't answer me. Which makes me ask your readers .... surely you don't take all that appears on this site to be factual, do you? Please tell me you don't.As for me being pro-censorship and a guilty white man ready to bend over backwards for minority rights, I never said I thought Khurrum Awan should have won his case in B.C. I was relatively happy with the ruling. I was trying to intervene to argue that Steyn did not practice responsible journalism. Perhaps, like you, he even has difficulty with the term "JOURNALIST."Aside from that, I enjoyed the debate. Hope we do it again sometime.
Let me touch on a few more points quickly.
I don’t recall my exact answer when I was asked if I regard myself as a journalist. I’d probably answer “yes”, simply because that word is so vague – a journalist is anyone who writes on the events of the day. I wouldn’t call myself a reporter, for that implies a neutrality that I don’t pretend to have. But I certainly do plenty of reporting in my columns and blog posts. One of my favourite things about blogging is that I can furnish so many primary documents for my readers to see, just by clicking on a link.
It obviously bothers Miller that someone like me would dare to practice journalism, if not positively call myself a journalist. He thinks it’s some sort of guild or profession, and he fancies himself some sort of guru or high priest of it. That’s why he thought that was the key moment of the conference – when he asked me if I dared to call myself by that holy name. What a laugh. But I think that colours his dislike for bloggers, or for great writers who haven’t wasted years of their lives earning meaningless degrees. I mean, really: a PhD in journalism?
One of my favourite moments at the Halifax conference was when a student asked a question, and in his preamble he mentioned that he transferred out of journalism school when he realized all he was being taught was political ideology, like Miller’s – he wasn’t being taught how to truly become a reporter. I thought that was a fascinating anecdote.
One last point in response to Miller’s comment, above. He says he “never said [he] thought Khurrum Awan should have won his case in B.C.” Again, a sloppy factual error for a doctor of journalism – Awan didn’t have a case against Maclean’s; the complainant was the anti-Semitic bigot, Mohamed Elmasry. Awan was not a party at all.
But look at the intellectual dishonesty: Miller didn’t want the complaint against Maclean’s to succeed? He didn’t? Then why was he demanding the right to be heard as a witness – against Maclean’s?
Let me close by showing you all you really need to know about Dr. John Miller, and how he sees the world. I think it’s perfect proof of my thesis that he’s nothing more than a self-hating white liberal who is a useful idiot, a pawn for those who would destroy the western liberal values Miller enjoys in his own life. Check out this book review he wrote about Al Jazeera.
He is willfully blind to Al Jazeera’s role as the media voice of Al Qaida. Miller positively has a crush on Taysir Alluni, an Al Jazeera newscaster who was given exclusive access to Osama bin Laden, and other convenient “scoops” that Miller calls “riveting”. Miller calls Alluni “courageous”.
Miller wrote his love letter to Al Jazeera in March of 2005. Six months later, a Spanish court convicted Alluni of being an Al Qaida agent, a collaborator and a courier for terrorists. The Spanish Supreme Court upheld the conviction.
John Miller will go to the ends of the earth to discredit an indisputable fact: that Ayatollah Khomeini, and much of radical Islam, believes in things that are abominable to the liberal west. He’ll attack or ignore reporters – even liberals like Fallaci and Harper’s – who contradict his theories. But he’s gullible in the extreme when it comes to Al Jazeera and others, like the Canadian Islamic Congress, who have malign intentions towards the West.
John Miller wants to know if I’m a journalist. I guess I’d call myself one, but it’s not an appellation of which I’m particularly proud, if Miller is its epitome.
The blogging I’ve done lately has been focused on the big news of the week: the overwhelming support at the Conservative Party convention for repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the “hate speech” provision that has turned the Canadian Human Rights Commission into a corrupt censor.
I should point out that the passage of the resolution was even more overwhelming than I originally noted. Dr. Roy Eappen, who attended the convention, notes that the sole speaker opposed to the motion in the plenary session (amazing, considering there were 2,000 delegates in the room) opposed it because “his point was the motion is more an administrative solution and the law itself must be changed”. Like Dr. Roy, I share that view. As I mentioned yesterday, only ten out of 2,000 delegates opposed the resolution, and now we know that at least one of those ten did so because the resolution wasn’t strong enough.
It was all but unanimous – 99.5%. The only people who can beat that percentage, of course, are the CHRC hate speech prosecutors themselves, who have a 100% conviction rate – they have never lost a case that has been heard before the tribunal.
I’ll have some thoughts this week about what should happen next. I’ll focus on the remarkable fact that the Justice Minister himself, Rob Nicholson, openly voted for the resolution, and what I think that means for him, his department and for the government. I’ll also write about what kind of trench warfare the CHRC will likely engage in, in the coming weeks. They know they’re losing, and these people have shown they’re not above any tactic or trick. Remember, a government audit criticized them for having no code of ethics – they’ll do anything to survive and keep their sinecure. I mean, really: if the CHRC knowingly hires a corrupt ex-police officer as their investigator, and if they approve staff joining neo-Nazi organizations like Stormfront – and that’s just what they do in a normal day’s work! – do you really think they’d stop at anything to derail reform of their corrupt fiefdom? Get ready for the dirty tricks.
I’ll also write about the importance of keeping this matter non-partisan. The fact that it passed the Tory convention nearly unanimously shows that it appeals to a wide spectrum of people – from every province, from cities and the countryside, from every age group, racial group, religion, etc. We know repealing s. 13 has support in the Liberal Party – it was Keith Martin, the Liberal from B.C., who first made this an issue in Parliament – and we need to keep it non-partisan. That’s difficult to do, given the nature of opposition parties (that is, to oppose things) but Dr. Martin has made it possible.
I’ll talk more about these and other questions – basically: “what do we do now?” – but not tonight. Tonight, I want to take a moment to write a blog post about a journalist for censorship, one of only three in the country that I’ve been able to identify.
I learn from Stephen Taylor that Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister, voted "yes" on P-203. You can see video of it on Stephen's website, here.
This is incredible. The Justice Minister voted to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act -- a section that his department's lawyers (and the Canadian Human Rights Commission) are enforcing as we speak.
Yesterday, I said that the impact of the party's vote would be salutary, in that party activists would telegraph their intentions to MPs. Who knew that one of those activists would have been the minister himself! I would think that, as a matter of protocol, his office should start preparing legislation to match his publicly stated intentions, and all s. 13 cases should be stayed.
Another cabinet minister e-mailed to tell me that, after P-203 passed, there was a spontaneous standing ovation in the hall. Again, amazing. How often does that sort of enthusiastic unity greet any policy idea?
According to reports from the Conservative Party's convention in Winnipeg, Resolution P-203 -- repealing section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision -- passed "overwhelmingly". The vote was in a policy plenary session.
My understanding is that a number of the resolutions passed in the policy plenary go on to the general convention floor for a further vote. Based on what I'm hearing, I suspect that P-203 would be handily supported in that broader forum, too, if it makes the short list of resolutions.
But it doesn't matter whether P-203 makes it to the second vote, because the message is already clear: the party's grass-tops activists -- the people who knock on doors, raise funds, lead the local campaigns, etc. -- support freedom of speech and thought, and now see the Canadian Human Rights Commission for what it is: a violator of rights, not a protector of them.
If P-203 goes on to a second vote on Saturday, great. But the victory is already achieved: the Conservative Party made the abusive "hate speech" provision a political issue, and voted to repeal it. That's great.
Of course, policy votes at a party convention are not the same thing as a Parliamentary vote -- which, other than a court striking down s. 13 as illegal, is the only way to repeal it. The mission, therefore, remains the same as that which I outlined in January: denormalize the HRCs, and then press legislators to act. P-203 was the result of denormalization, and it's a precursor to legislative reform.
The decision now is for the Conservative caucus to make. I understand that the matter of s. 13 has been broached on at least two occasions in caucus, and that MPs are in favour of reform, though the Justice Minister, Rob Nicholson, is not as enthusiastic as most of his colleagues. Of course, the decision in the end will be that of the Prime Minister's Office, and the calculus will be whether this is a political winner. That's the focus.
The PM knows that repealing s. 13 is a winner in caucus, and now he has confirmation that it's a winner with the party's activists. He knows that it's a winner with editorial boards across the country and across the political spectrum, and he knows that it's a winner with NGOs from EGALE to PEN Canada.
I don't want to be presumptuous, but I think what the PM does not yet fully know is the degree of rot in the CHRC. In other words, while he knows that repealing s. 13 won't be politically painful (and will likely be a political winner) I don't think he knows just how bad doing nothing will be.
I'd hazard a guess that the PM is not aware of the RCMP and Privacy Commissioner investigations into the CHRC's illegal conduct; I don't think he's fully aware of the CHRC's practice of publishing anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black bigotry on the Internet, in the guise of neo-Nazis; I don't think he's fully aware of the corruption within the CHRC, ranging from their decision to hire a corrupt ex-cop as an investigator, to their lack of an ethics code; and I don't think that the PM realizes that almost all of the s. 13 complaints have been filed by one man, the serial censor Richard Warman.
I truly believe that if he knew that, he'd cauterize the wound.
That, my friends, is the focus now. The party is on side, the media is on side, the NGOs are on side. Let's encourage our PM to do the right thing. Why not drop him an e-mail right now, citing the party's vote, and giving him evidence of the CHRC's corruption and abuse.
Let's get this done.
P.S. Congratulations and thanks to the party activists who made this an issue, and took it through to success.
Rex Murphy's latest column in the Globe and Mail examines the incongruity between the so-called "human rights" espoused by Jennifer Lynch and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the real rights fought for and died for by our soldiers in Canada's wars.
The news peg, of course, was Lynch's showy and self-congratulatory wreath laying at the national war memorial.
Here are a few excerpts; here is the full article.
Jennifer Lynch, chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, participated in this week's ceremonies at the National War Memorial by laying a wreath. It's nice to know the commission honours Canada's veterans and the cause for which so many fought and died.
The cause, distilled to its fundamental point, was freedom...
At the heart of this freedom the Second World War taught us so dearly to cherish is the notion of the individual's intrinsic or, as we say now, human right to think, speak and write as he sees fit, circumscribed only by certain time-tested laws (defamation, libel, public safety) evolved over centuries and subject to the oversight of a trained and independent judiciary...
Like the right not to wash one's hands while working in a fast-food restaurant, or the alleged right to strip past a certain age, or the right not to be offended by a Mark Steyn article. These "cases" may have merits, and some wild philosopher may articulate those merits. But they do not abide, as rights, on the same plane as freedom of thought, speech and expression. They may be something, but what they are will not be inscribed on any cenotaph: They are not human rights.
Human rights, the real ones, are ours from the beginning. They are not bestowed by the state, because the state does not "own" them; they are not a state's or a ruler's or, for that matter, a human-rights commission's to give. It equally follows that they are not a state's or a commission's to abridge, circumscribe, tamper with or make a toy of...
You really ought to read the whole thing.
For all of his flaws, the selection of Stephane Dion as leader of the Liberal Party represented a step away from the corruption that was rife in Jean Chretien's government. Dion had other unfortunate Liberal traits -- elitism, arrogance, socialism in his veins -- but he was not a thief like so many others who inhabited the Liberal Party in Quebec, several of whom have since been sentenced to jail terms for their roles in Adscam, the scandal that saw $250 million in public money siphoned off by Liberal-connected crooks.
Which is why it's so surprising to learn that Michael Ignatieff, the leading contender to succeed Dion, has allowed Warren Kinsella to join his campaign team.
Kinsella was a
key embarrassing figure in Adscam. The judicial inquiry into the matter, in a chapter titled "Who is responsible?" mentioned Kinsella by name over and over again, calling his conduct "highly inappropriate". In short, Kinsella was a political staffer at the time, and he wrote to a senior member of the public service demanding that government advertising and polling contracts be steered through Chuck Guite. Guite was later convicted on five counts of fraud, as the central figure in the scam.
Kinsella had tried to get even more public money steered through Guite; fortunately, the brave public servant who was on the receiving ends of Kinsella's demands didn't give into the bullying.
I'm stunned that Ignatieff would allow himself to be seen in public with such a figure as Kinsella.
But perhaps Ignatieff and Kinsella have more in common than it first appears.
Ignatieff famously denounced Israel as a "war criminal" for its response to the 2006 Hezbollah terrorist attacks on its civilians.
That fits in rather nicely with Kinsella's decision to give advice and help to the Canadian Islamic Congress -- whose president-for-life, Mohamed Elmasry, has publicly declared that every adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack.
With Kinsella securely on board, can it be much longer before Ignatieff taps Jean Lafleur as his Quebec lieutenant, and Elmasry himself as a candidate?
Nov. 18 update: Today Kinsella told my friend Mike Brock that he didn't agree with my characterization that he was a "key" figure in Adscam. He was more of an Adscam B-team, definitely not in the big leagues like Guite or Lafleur. I think that's a matter of opinion and interpretation. There were two sides to Adscam: those shovelling the money out of the government, and those receiving the money -- though, of course, much of the money was cycled back to the Liberal Party in Quebec.
Kinsella was the chief of staff to the Public Works Minister, and he ordered a civil servant to do some shovelling out. Sounds like a pretty big fish to me, trying a pretty brazen scam -- though, thankfully, the civil servant refused. I have no doubt there were people more senior than Kinsella on the inside, too -- but none of them were stupid enough to put their corrupt instructions in a written memo, like Kinsella did.
That said, I'm open to a debate on the question: how big of an Adscam player was Kinsella? Big? Really big? Medium sized? I originally used the word "key" above, but I've edited it out, replacing it with embarrassing. Because, really: anyone mentioned a dozen times in the judicial inquiry, anyone caught red-handed trying to funnel government money to a criminal, anyone dumb enough to put it in a memo, and anyone legally found to be "highly inappropriate" is an embarrassment whether he was "key" or -- as he claims now, in the first recorded instance of Kinsella trying to take less credit for something -- a bit player in the corruption scandal of the decade. I'm really quite surprised Ignatieff would let such an unethical person on his team.
The Conservative Party's convention kicks off tonight in Winnipeg. Tomorrow's schedule includes policy debates. One of the proposed resolutions, P-203, proposed by two B.C. riding associations, calls for section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision, to be repealed. The exact wording of the resolution is:
The Conservative Party supports legislation to remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
It's similar to the private member's motion proposed earlier this year by Liberal MP Keith Martin, which reads:
That, in the opinion of the House, subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act should be deleted from the Act.
By comparison, the resolution proposed by Conservative MP Rick Dykstra to Parliament's Justice Committee was less resolved (it did not call for the abolition, but rather the "review" of s. 13) but it was broader, including the CHRC's conduct (such as its employees memberships in neo-Nazi organizations). Dykstra's wording was:
Whereas concerns have been raised regarding the investigative techniques of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") and the interpretation and application of section 13 of the Canada Human Rights Act (the "Act"); and
Whereas the Commission operates independently and reports to Parliament;
Be it resolved that the Justice and Human Rights Committee examine and make recommendations with respect to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and in particular:
a) review the mandate and operations of the Commission;
b) review the Commission's application and interpretation of section 13 of the Act;
c) Solicit and consider oral submissions from the Chief Commissioner and oral or written submissions from other interested persons or organizations;
d) Submit a report, including any proposed amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act arising out of the results of the Committee's inquiry.
I'm not an expert in Parliamentary procedure, so I'll have to check to see if Martin's motion and Dykstra's resolution died when last month's election was called.
In any event, resolution P-203 is welcome. I hope it passes -- and I think it will, as many Conservative "grass-tops" activists have been following this matter closely. Even if it doesn't pass, however, the mere official discussion of it is a welcome sign that the issue "has arrived" on the national political agenda. (By the way, I'm not pessimistic; I just don't have enough knowledge about who will be there voting, what efforts the two riding associations have taken to promote their resolution, etc., and I regret that unbreakable commitments in Calgary mean I can't attend tomorrow's session to see for myself!)
I was not involved with the Conservative Party's policy process this year, but in the past, literally hundreds of resolutions were sent up the chain of command to the party where the best, or most interesting, or most timely resolutions were selected for debate (obviously, hundreds of resolutions cannot be debated in one day). That in itself is a good indication that the party is interested in having a real discussion about this issue, and in public.
Support for P-203 would be important, as it is a good barometer of what the party's grass-tops are thinking. We have other evidence that the party is listening to the members on this issue; just before the election, the party sent out a letter to members that contained a one-line survey question about the subject. I'm told that the results were overwhelmingly supportive of reform, and that the response rate to the questionnaire was very high.
These things are important. They go to the "normalization" of reform and the "denormalization" of the CHRC. That's why the firestorm of protest against the CHRC laying a wreath on Remembrance Day was so encouraging: it was a signal that the CHRC is being watched and tracked by an army of hundreds (thousands?) of informed critics, and that it cannot conduct itself with impunity, as it has in the past.
I'm proud of the grassroots party members who have seized this cause. But I'm also hopeful that some Liberal grassroots will do the same thing in their party's convention in Vancouver next spring. That's because it's important to me that freedom of speech, and repeal of section 13, are not characterized as partisan issues. In other words, while I would hope that every Conservative would support the repeal of s. 13, I would hope that Liberals and NDPers don't oppose it merely to be different. I don't want it to become a partisan wedge issue. In fact, true progressives should reflect on the fact that people who are powerless often have no other tool except for free speech -- offensive free speech, that deliberately upsets the status quo -- to get reforms. The cases of women's suffrage, black civil rights and the decriminalization of homosexuality come to mind.
Luckily, it was Martin the Liberal MP who really got the ball rolling with his private member's motion, and other Liberal MPs have chimed in with support, as have many traditionally non-Conservative organizations, ranging from PEN Canada to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to the Toronto Star.
I put all of the above in the category of "denormalizing" the HRCs -- building a demand for political change.
Here's the thing: I think that 90% of the people in that convention hall would be opposed to the CHRC for reasons of principle. The only question is: are they convinced that repealing section 13 would be a political winner? That is, are they worried that doing the right thing would hurt them politically?
That's where the debate is at in the Conservative government, in my assessment. A majority of Conservatve MPs know that repealing section 13 the CHRC is the right thing to do, and a good number believe in more dramatic reforms to the corrupt CHRC altogether. But are they convinced that this won't be a losing battle?
That's what tomorrow's test is about. Do Conservative grass-tops activists feel that it's politically safe yet?
I hope so. In fact, I hope it's becoming increasingly apparent that the real political risk to the Conservative Party (and government) is leaving the CHRC to fester.
Every newspaper in the country has condemned section 13, including liberal newspapers like the Toronto Star, Eye Weekly, the Montreal Gazette, etc. Even the CBC has mocked it, from Rex Murphy to Rick Mercer to even Neil Macdonald. EGALE, the gay rights lobby, has condemned section 13, for crying out loud.
In fact, it could be said that standing up for freedom of expression is a bridge of common ground to the very artistic/intellectual community that reacted so negatively to the Conservatives' arts policies. It's something both libertarians and social conservatives can agree on.
Those are reasons why repealing section 13 won't hurt. But not repealing it, and reining in the CHRC, could be much more painful.
How long do the Conservatives think they can remain unscathed by the CHRC's corruption? So far, few in the mainstream media have covered the RCMP and Privacy Commissioner's investigations into their conduct. No cabinet minister would be allowed to run such a dangerous shop -- why should Joe Clark's former chief of staff, CHRC chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch, get away with such sloppy and dangerous management?
And, for a party worried about being tainted as intolerant, how much longer will the Conservatives abide the CHRC's practise, in section 13 cases, of joining neo-Nazi organizations, publishing hundreds of bigoted remarks on the taxpayers' dime?
I submit that leaving the CHRC and section 13 unreformed is the real political risk. You'd think that anything involving neo-Nazis would be shut down immediately by this government, before it blows up in their face.
I'll write more about this later. But for now, I'd simply encourage the party's grass-tops activists gathered in Winnipeg, to support freedom of speech and freedom of religion, by voting for P-203.
Here are three new Op-Eds that I've come across, critical of the abuse and corruption of Canada's HRCs.
The first is from Paul Schneidereit, who was at the Halifax conference on freedom of speech sponsored by the Sheldon Chumir Foundation. I like it because it zeroes in on the terrifying messiah complex expressed by the Nova Scotia HRC's boss, Krista Daley. Daley, fresh from her training at the United Nations (where she, no doubt, took plenty of lessons on "human rights" from China, Russia and Iran), told the Halifax audience that freedom of speech would have to be restricted until everyone in Nova Scotia's Animal Farm was equal -- an "almost utopia", she called it. Here's Paul's Op-Ed on her scary vision. Here's a teaser; you should read the whole thing:
NOVA SCOTIA Human Rights Commission director and CEO Krista Daley seems like a nice enough woman. We just inhabit alternate universes.
And here's Stephen Ward's Op-Ed in the Bugle-Observer (I love that name). It's a version of the speech he gave at the same conference. I like his thinking: offensive ideas should be debated before the public, not before some hack bureaucrats like Daley.
I really thought Ward did a good job; here's his last paragraph:
I favour a journalism that encourages reasoned and reasonable discussion. But my love of fair reporting and of building cultural bridges does not insist on silencing those who may not want to build a bridge, or to speak in measured tones. Of course, we should educate citizens to tolerate and respect each other. But, we should also teach that in a plural society to be offended should be expected.
And, from Canada's other coast, here is an item from the Cowichan Valley Citizen, by Walker Morrow. It focuses on Mark Steyn's and my acquittal, and makes the point that both Mark and I have: we were let go because we're difficult for HRCs to swallow without indigestion. They prefer to go after smaller prey, who can't afford lawyers and who don't know how to effectively fight back in the court of public opinon. Money quote:
I highly suspect that Ezra Levant just became too hot to handle. He's a provocateur to the core; the creator of the firebrand Alberta Report; a forming member of the Reform Party; an attack dog for the Conservative Party. Not exactly the quiet sort, and as soon as he became embroiled in the HRC process, he became one of the foremost in the fight against it. I have no doubt that letting Ezra's complaint go was nothing more than self-preservation on the Alberta HRC's part.
Three good reads!
David MacDonald took these photographs from the national war memorial in Ottawa. As you can see, the Canadian Human Rights Commission did indeed follow through on its threat to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day.
Blogs are the perfect tool to spread the word, quickly and inexpensively, about outrages like Jennifer Lynch's crass attempt to hijack the National Remembrance Day Ceremony.
They're a great way to get people involved in an e-mail campaign, because people are already at their computers. I'd estimate that Greg Thompson, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, has received 200 e-mails so far about this -- probably the biggest one-day burst on any subject he's ever received.
But sometimes you've just got to go bigger, faster. You want to tell every single newspaper editor, TV producer and anyone else in the MSM, because you know the story is that big.
That's when you get Canada Newswire to send a press release for you to every English language media outlet in Canada. So that's what I did, at 7 a.m. ET today:
Attention News Editors:
Disgraced bureaucrat to crash Remembrance Day ceremony
Ottawa – In a cheap publicity stunt, the chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission has announced that she will crash today’s National Ceremony for Remembrance Day.
Jennifer Lynch was not invited by the government, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. But that didn’t stop her from issuing a crass press release boasting of her intentions to use fallen soldiers as a political photo op.
“It’s disgusting that Lynch is politicizing Remembrance Day,” said Ezra Levant, a free speech advocate. “Remembrance Day is about the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers. It’s not about some glad-handing bureaucrat giving out business cards and mugging for the cameras.”
“But it’s worse,” added Levant. “For a censor like Lynch to crash Remembrance Day shows she doesn’t understand the sacrifice our soldiers made for freedom of speech.”
Lynch’s brief tenure at the CHRC has been marked by scandal. This spring, the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner both launched investigations into the conduct of Lynch’s staff who hacked into a private citizen’s Internet account. Lynch’s staff have also admitted under oath to joining neo-Nazi organizations, and publishing hundreds of bigoted remarks on the Internet.
“It’s grotesque that the woman who approved of neo-Nazi memberships for her staff would show her face when we give thanks to the men and women who liberated us from Nazism.”
In her bizarre press release, Lynch doesn’t mention the First or Second World Wars, the Boer War or Korea. But she has plenty of praise for herself, the CHRC and the United Nations.
“Jennifer Lynch just doesn’t get it. Remembrance Day isn’t about her, or her pathetic attempt to rehabilitate the discredited CHRC. It’s about our fallen soldiers. Greg Thompson, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, should order her to keep away from the ceremony,” concluded Levant.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sending a release like this via Canada Newswire costs about $500. I do it very rarely, but it's extremely powerful -- it goes into the in-boxes and fax machines of every news outlet in the country. If you think, as I do, that this was an important step in the denormalization of these abusive HRCs -- not to mention an important step to prevent the desecration of Remembrance Day -- I'd be grateful if you chipped in a bit to help me pay for it!
"I am not a registered non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
I'm amazed at how Canadians have reacted to the news that the corrupt, abusive Canadian Human Rights Commission has elbowed its way into the official Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa. I've received more e-mails copied to me than for any other matter about which I've encouraged people to e-mail their MPs.
In my blog post earlier today, I keyed off of the fact that the CHRC is now Canada's largest source of neo-Nazi bigotry, in the form of literally hundreds of online publications made by CHRC staff, in the guise of neo-Nazis. For a while this summer on my blog, I highlighted some of the most offensive of these, in a series I called "CHRC bigoted comment of the day". You can read a few of them in my archives.
I also thought of the perversity of the CHRC -- who are the 21st century equivalent of Nazi bookburners -- attending an event to remember those who gave their lives to defeat the Nazis.
And I spoke about the vulgarity of the CHRC -- which is currently under investigation for criminality by the RCMP -- foisting itself into such an event.
But I think I missed the key point -- the point that Jay Currie and Kathy Shaidle highlighted. Remembrance Day isn't a day for politics. It's about the most non-political, non-partisan day you could imagine. Yet Jennifer Lynch -- Joe Clark's former chief of staff who inexplicably managed to get herself appointed as the CHRC boss under a Stephen Harper government -- clearly saw the event as nothing more than a crass photo-op, a chance to burnish her tarnished credentials, using the memory of fallen soldiers as a prop.
I mean, really: does anyone else who is going to lay a wreath on Remembrance Day put out a press release about me! me! me! the way Lynch and the CHRC did? What a grotesque woman.
But it's not just the fact that Lynch issued a press release -- which is about as classy as going to a funeral and handing out business cards, saying "call me -- let's do lunch!". If you read Lynch's press release, it's not really about our fallen soldiers at all. It's about Lynch and her corrupt CHRC.
In her release, Lynch praises the United Nations -- the only organization whose corruption eclipses her own. Is that was Remembrance Day is about? A broken talk shop dominated by China, Iran and Russia? (We certainly know who Lynch holds up as a role model.)
But look at how her press release ends. Not with a prayer, but with a self-congratulatory note that the CHRC is turning 30 years old this year.
You disgraceful woman. It's. Not. About. You.
But of course it is. Lynch doesn't give a damn about Remembrance Day -- a day about a bunch of dead white men -- other than as a stunt to distract from the CHRC's own discreditable conduct, the RCMP investigation, the Privacy Commissioner's investigation, and the tens of thousands of dollars she's spent on her global junkets going to five-star "human rights" conferences in such hell-holes as Rwanda, all while her own commission sinks further into disrepute.
Question: Will Lynch hand out business cards tomorrow? When she's at the ceremony, will she be "networking"?
Question: Will Lynch bring her own photographer (on the government dime, of course) to shoot pictures of her?
Question: Will Lynch lobby MPs and other officials she meets, pleading the CHRC's case while the Remembrance Day ceremony is underway?
Question: How does the Veterans Affairs Minister, Greg Thompson, feel about Lynch showboating this way?
And, sorry, sloughing the matter off onto the local Legion just doesn't cut it. It's the Minister's job to defend veterans, and to protect the political neutrality of Remembrance Day. Will Thompson call Lynch Tuesday morning and tell her to stay away? Or will he let her turn him -- and Canada's hundreds of thousands of war dead -- into just another step in the ladder of her political career?
Why not e-mail him to ask?
Who is Canada's largest "hate group", as measured by the number of anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-black and pro-Nazi comments published on the Internet?
As I've pointed out before, it's none other than the taxpayers' own Canadian Human Rights Commission.
It is official CHRC policy for their employees to join neo-Nazi groups, and go online in full neo-Nazi drag, spewing filthy venom that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. You can see a few examples here.
This, of course, is being done in the name of human rights.
It's also why the CHRC is currently under investigation by the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner -- because in one case, they actually hacked into a private citizen's Internet account to cover their tracks as they went out surfing as Nazis.
When details of the CHRC's Nazi work was publicized in March, when CHRC staff testified under oath to those odious practices, the CHRC paid Hill and Knowlton $10,000 of taxpayers' dollars to provide "communications advice" for how to soften their Aryan image.
I am disgusted to learn today what one of H&K's recommendations must have been: the neo-Nazi propagandists at the CHRC are actually going to be laying a wreath at Canada's war memorial in tomorrow's Remembrance Day ceremony. They've even put out a press release about it.
(I always find it fascinating when government agencies, such as the $25 million/year CHRC, with its bevy of spin doctors, pays hundreds of dollars to put out a press release, rather than just e-mailing and faxing it out themselves. But wasted money is the least of the CHRC's problems.)
What would the veterans at that ceremony say, if they knew that Jennifer Lynch, the bigoted Chief Commissioner of the CHRC who presides over even more bigoted staff, made it corporate policy to go online spewing the Nazi filth that our soldiers fought against in the Second World War?
The men whose grave the CHRC will desecrate would simply not have believed that, not seventy years after they died, the Canadian government was the chief source of Nazi propaganda in Canada.
One of the things our veterans fought for was free speech -- even the freedom to say Nazi-like things. But that's a very different thing from an agency of the Canadian government becoming a sewer-pipe of Nazi propaganda.
Shame on Lynch -- but nothing more could be expected from her.
What does the Veterans Affairs Minister, Greg Thompson, have to say about this? Why not ask him?
Thank you, Dan, for the invitation.
In the four years that I was publisher of the Western Standard magazine, we received, on average, one threat of a defamation lawsuit each month – or about one every other issue. But never once did any of those threats turn into a statement of claim, let alone a trial.
The reason was simple: we put a great emphasis on getting our facts straight, and our opinions, while famously spicy, were always fair. And we knew – and the fifty or so people who threatened us over the years knew – that if they took us to court, we’d eventually win. And if we’d win, our antagonists would have to pay much of our legal costs. Not just that, but they would bear significant costs themselves – not only legal bills, but time and effort and emotional energy, and the potential embarrassment that all defamation plaintiffs face when their own reputation and conduct is carefully examined.
But we were, in the end, sued twice for something we published: the Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet, Mohammed. We ran them to illustrate a news story about the riots purportedly in reaction to those cartoons. They were the central artifact of the news story. They weren’t presented as our opinion; they were presented as a lawyer might enter a piece of evidence, Exhibit A. In other words, they were news themselves; they were the facts of the story. And we were sued for reporting those facts.
We were sued not in defamation law, but in human rights law. And the reason we were sued is precisely because all of the traditional defences that stood our magazine in such good stead in the face of defamation suits, were taken away from us by the government.
Our factual accuracy was of no use. The charge was discrimination or, to use the precise language of the law, we had published something “likely to expose a person… to hatred or contempt”. A plain reading of that will tell you it’s got nothing to do with factual accuracy. It also has nothing to do with reasonableness of opinion or journalistic responsibility. Those defences have been developed over 400 years of defamation law. They do not apply to human rights suits.
Another defence we were not able to use was that damages suffered by the busy-body plaintiffs were remote or non-existent. Again, a plain reading of the law shows that no damages are necessary to convict – as if being “exposed” to someone’s mere feelings was a compensable damage. But even if it was, that’s not what the law requires: we had only to “likely” expose someone to bad feelings. Likely means maybe, maybe not.
As well, the natural check on American-style over-litigation – the financial, time and emotional cost of suing, and the risk of costs being awarded to the defendant – were not in play. The government of Alberta carried the investigation against us, and, had the case not been dismissed, would have prosecuted us before a tribunal. The complainants didn’t have to spend a dime or a minute – and the law prohibited me from collecting costs when I won.
There was no discovery process whereby a plaintiff with dirty hands would be embarrassed to proceed. In my case the first complainant, Syed Soharwardy, was a radical imam, who was trained in Pakistan’s madrassahs, who does the Saudi lecture circuit, who taught at an officially anti-Semitic university. Even his complaint was littered not with Canadian law, but with sharia law. He actually cited sections of the Koran to make his case. The secular government of Alberta prosecuted an Islamic fatwa; it was the first blasphemy trial in English Canada in nearly 90 years.
Soharwardy would never sue in defamation law. He’s odious. He has called for sharia law in Canada; he has said Western aid agencies doing tsunami disaster relief were secretly kidnapping and converting Muslim children; his treatment of women at his own mosque is so appalling he is the subject of human rights complaints himself. None of this mattered. I, on the other hand, was subject to Section 23 of the Alberta Act, which allows the HRC to enter and examine my office, make inquiries of me and my staff, and seize any document or computer hard drive – all without a search warrant.
After Soharwardy’s complaint was filed against me, an identical complaint was filed by another radical Muslim group. No rules of double jeopardy; a hundred such complaints could have been filed – each demanding cash as a shakedown. Look at Maclean’s magazine – they had the same complainants in three jurisdictions.
Disclosure? None from the complainant. I had to pay an enormous sum for access to information documents about my own case – most of which have been stonewalled, including every single internal HRC e-mail. I did receive enough paper, though, to see that 15 bureaucrats and lawyers worked on my case for 900 days. I’m a major crime scene.
My case was dismissed, eventually, by a bureaucrat who I had never met, Pardeep Gundara who came up with a novel and bizarre rationale for letting me go – including that our publication of them wasn’t “gratuitous”. Did you know that it’s against the law to publish something gratuitously? Neither did I. I also didn’t know that what page you put them in the magazine also is a factor.
Let’s be frank. Gundara was just making this up.
And if Gundara – who, unbeknownst to me, apparently had become my editor’s editor – had recommended the matter go to a full prosecution, I would have been in even stupider hands. Not a single human rights commissioner in Canada is a judge, of course. But many of them aren’t even lawyers. In Alberta, we’ve got several non-lawyers who run hearings, including a nurse. That’s great if the case is about, say, nosebleeds. But I’m not really interested in hearing her view on freedom of the press, radical Islam, or anything else.
It’s a counterfeit court. It produces junk law. Its procedures are a joke. But that’s not what’s dangerous. What’s dangerous is that they are political weapons, used to punish views they hate.
I think so-called hate speech laws are un-Canadian. But if they’re on the books, the laws ought to be applied evenly. There is indeed some hate speech in Canada – in Syed Soharwardy’s mosque, for example. Or take the Egyptian-born radical who sued Maclean’s, Mohamed Elmasry. He declared on TV that any Jew in Israel is fair game for a terrorist attack. But no radical Muslim, radical Sikh or radical Tamil has ever been charged with hate speech. 100% of all cases at the CHRC have been white, Christian or conservative.
Take a white, conservative Christian named Rev. Stephen Boissoin. After a six-year kangaroo hearing, he was convicted of hate speech for publishing an Op-Ed in the Red Deer Advocate. Six years later. He was fined $7,000 payable to his antagonists. But get this: he has been banned from saying anything disparaging about gays for the rest of his life. Disparaging is the word in the ruling. Not criminal, not hateful. Disparaging. In public sermons, even in private e-mail. Read the ruling.
And that’s not all: the government of Alberta positively ordered him to recant his views and apologize – not just to his antagonists, but in the Red Deer Advocate itself. (They wisely refused to print such a Maoist forced apology.)
But the story gets better.
As a protest, I republished Rev. Boissoin’s Op-Ed on my blog, in full. In bad faith – I didn’t even believe in it. And I knew it had been found, legally, to be “hate speech”.
Sure enough, I was taken to the CHRC.
And their investigator recommended that I not be prosecuted.
My friends, that’s what’s called a controlled experiment. Every variable was controlled, except one. The words were the same; the law was the same. The only difference is that I’m a noisy, Jewish lawyer who knows how to fight back; Rev. Boissoin is a penniless pastor who doesn’t know how to fight politically.
I was let go; Boissoin had his face ground into the dirt. For the exact same words.
That’s not law. That’s corrupt, that’s abusive, that’s un-Canadian.
It’s un-Canadian than not a single person tried under s. 13, in thirty years, has ever been acquitted.
It’s un-Canadian that 91% of the CHRC’s targets are so poor they can’t afford lawyers, and aren’t given one.
It’s un-Canadian that the CHRC goes online, posing as neo-Nazis, spewing racist venom, to entrap people in discussions that they then prosecute.
It’s un-Canadian that the CHRC has no ethics code, and has hacked a private citizen’s e-mail account in one of their neo-Nazi personas – which is why the CHRC is now under both RCMP and Privacy Commission investigation.
Anyone who believes in a spectrum of ideas should be furious with these kangaroo courts. And anyone whose job it is to defend the media should be very worried, too.
I was looking for this pro-sharia law Op-Ed by Syed Soharwardy, the Pakistani-born anti-Semite who first filed the human rights complaint against me for publishing the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, when I came across this 2003 news item about Soharwardy that I hadn't seen before.
Soharwardy didn't like the fact that the CBC ran a story that was "critical" of Islam.
Will Barack Obama indulge himself -- as Bill Clinton did in his first term -- by tacking hard to the left? With Clinton, it was an attempt to nationalize the health care system, an adventure in socialism that backfired in the 1994 mid-term elections, with the election of New Gingrich's Republican Congress.
Left wing Democrats like Chuck Schumer are already dreaming about such a radical administration. Will it come true?
I hope that there are enough sensible Democrats around him to ensure that he doesn't have any further contact with his mentors over the past 20 years -- the racist Jeremiah Wright, the corrupt Tony Rezko and the terrorist Bill Ayers. I guess that's the Manchurian Candidate question: now that Obama has the power of the presidency, does he implement the agenda of the men who helped form him, or does he abandon them and do what most Democrats (and most Americans) hope he will: govern with their public interest at heart?
You can already see in his acceptance speech his attempt to lower expectations. I suppose that in itself is a promising sign.
My risky U.S. election prediction from several days ago that John McCain would win proved wrong: Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States. I found it impossible to accept supposedly neutral polling data and other predictions from the same "journalists" who had become such transparently partisan advocates for one candidate. In the end, the enormous margins predicted by many pollsters and pundits ("landslide", "Reaganesque") simply didn't happen.
As I write this, with more than 85 million votes counted, the margin is actually 51% to 48% -- a gap of three points. Compare that to the final predictions by Zogby and Gallup (11% gap each) or others in the Real Clear Politics table of polls, where the average pollster predicted a 7.6% margin.
Reaganesque? Not really. In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 44 states, with a 10% gap over Jimmy Carter. In 1984, Reagan increased that to a historic high: 49 out of 50 states, and a whopping 18% lead over Walter Mondale.
Obama indeed won tonight, but not by much. Had McCain won 1% more in Indiana, 2% more in Florida and 1% more in Ohio, he'd be president now. Obama's allies signed up at least 200,000 fraudulent voters in Ohio alone -- much more than the gap. Welcome to politics, Chicago Democrat style.
John McCain had every disadvantage: he was the candidate of an incumbent party, led by an unpopular president, in the middle of a financial meltdown and probable recession, outspent five-to-one by a Democratic Party led by an eloquent young man who was cheered on by the press. 51% to 48% isn't bad.
But enough about the past: what now?
I saw an unintentionally hilarious pundit on CNN who said that, in foreign affairs, the rest of the world will now lose a key criticism of America -- that it's racist -- and thus will deal with America more favourably. I think this is what psychologists call projection.
Liberal political pundits regard America as racist, but the rest of the world obviously does not, for every shade of race streams towards America as fast as they can, trying to immigrate both legally and illegally. America is one of the most tolerant countries in the world. Foreign dictators may hate America, but grassroots foreigners want to move to America.
But that's not the hilarious part. The hilarious part was that the pundit thinks that those who challenge America -- and the rest of the West -- today will substitute "good feelings" for their national interest, when it comes to foreign relations.
Perhaps Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB boss, will find that, like the Grinch, his heart grew two sizes when Obama was elected. He'll no longer have ambitions for Georgia and the rest of the former Soviet Union.
Perhaps Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will discover that he's actually part Jewish, on his mother's side, and abandon his nuclear-fueled hatred for Israel.
Maybe Hugo Chavez will recognize President Obama as a sort of fellow aboriginal, and turn from a strategic enemy to ally.
This is how the world works according to the MSM -- the same folks who tutted at Sarah Palin's naivete.
No. We've already seen how the world reacts to Obama. When he was in Germany, giving his "citizen of the world" speech, he had one particular "ask" of the Germans: for them to increase their military role in Afghanistan. They applauded his speech, but declined his invitation.
But let's look at this from a purely Canadian point of view: how will things change for our country?
Opinion polls show that Canadians favoured Obama. Part of that was anti-Bush sentiment, and part of that is anti-war sentiment. How will Canadians react when Obama asks us -- as he has indicated he will -- to extend our mission in Afghanistan, as he increases the U.S. mission there?
Or how about when Obama -- the most economically left-wing senator -- rewards his union base, by raising tarriffs against Canadian goods?
I fear that Obama's economic policies will deepen the U.S. recession -- and that will have a negative effect on Canada. But, far more worrying to me is that Obama's foreign policy weakness -- not just his inexperience, but his declared one-worldism -- will invite the West's enemies to advance. That's not just against America's interests, it's against ours.
I had a ball at the Sheldon Chumir Foundation's conference on the media's right to offend, which took place at University of King's College in Halifax on Saturday.
Binks from Free Canuckistan shlepped into town for the day, as did a number of other Halifax bloggers like Girl in Blue and Nova Scotia Scott, and plenty of friends of this blog and supporters of my fight against the HRCs. It was also great to see allies from the MSM, including Michael deAdder, the editorial cartoonist, and Paul Schneidereit, who has been Atlantic Canada's leading proponent of freedom of speech, both from his post at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and in his position with the Canadian Association of Journalists.
As I said when I received this invitation, I wanted to find out what made John Miller tick -- he's the Ryerson journalism professor who tried to intervene on behalf of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and against Maclean's magazine and Mark Steyn, in the five-day show trial in Vancouver this spring.
What would possibly possess a journalism professor to be pro-censorship?
The answer is pretty simple and boring, actually: he's a guilty white liberal who is willing to sacrifice our ancient liberal values of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the separation of mosque and state, in an act of journalistic affirmative action. That's it. You can see a near-transcript of his remarks here, where he essentially opened with an apology for being a white man.
It was nothing more thoughtful than that: he's white, Maclean's magazine is white-ish, so any brown-skinned Arab who complains against it has moral authority, even if they have no legal or moral case.
Miller didn't seem very familiar with the depth of the anti-Semitic bigotry at the Canadian Islamic Congress; over dinner, he expressed surprise when I told him that, at a Canadian Association of Journalists forum in 2006, Elmasry repeatedly condemned the "zhoos" who owned the media in Canada, and abused their zhooish powers to keep down good Muslims.
There was a weird moment during the panel when Miller said that Mark Steyn simply wasn't a good journalist -- compared to him, one presumes -- because Miller couldn't find corroboration for one of Steyn's quotes about Ayatollah Khomeini's weird fatwas about sex.
Those quotes were from Khomeini's famous Tahrir-ol-vasyleh, his Iranian version of Mein Kampf -- his master plan for the world, right down to how to have sex with chickens -- the part Miller thought Steyn was making up.
I went to Google as Miller was talking, and found a ton of references for it. There's even a reference to it in the bestselling novel, Reading Lolita in Tehran. Harper's magazine referred to it; there's a whole Iranian feminist foundation dedicated to repealing Khomeini's rules, including his sex rules.
It was pretty sad: an ageing journalism professor, looking down his nose at Steyn and accusing Steyn of sloppiness (and disparaging mere bloggers, too), while half the kids in the room could have found what Miller couldn't in about five minutes on the Net. Some "expert" witness.
Perhaps the weirdest person at the conference, though, was Krista Daley, the boss of Nova Scotia's Human Rights Commission. You can read Scott's near-transcript of her opening remarks, here. They're scary enough. But in the question and answer session that followed, Daley went further. She said that freedom of speech was all well and good, but only once she and her fellow human rights commissions had done their work, making Canada "completely non-discriminatory", a "fully equal society" and my favourite: "almost a utopia."
The obvious question being: why only almost a utopia? Why not go for the whole thing? Why so modest?!
I mean there's nutty, and then there's David Koresh nutty. She's going to bring Canada to the doorstep of utopia, through her human rights commission? And, until then, our freedoms will have to be curtailed?
That's almost Unabomber nutty. It will not surprise you, dear reader, to learn that before gracing Nova Scotia with her presence, High Priestess Daley worked at the United Nations on human rights matters, picking up all sorts of tips from those leading lights, China and Iran. Now she's back in Halifax, with the little people, trying to elevate them. And how ungrateful they are!
There were other speakers, too -- most of them being pretty full-throated defenders of freedom of speech. And I was impressed with the Chumir Foundation's own staff, who are quite true to Sheldon Chumir's own personal style: liberals, but civil liberties liberals, liberals who understand that value of our culture and its heritage of freedom. I started talking with Chumir Foundation boss Janet Keeping about the Magna Carta, and she told me that, whenever she goes to London, she makes sure she visits the museum where she can look at that great old document with her own eyes -- an impressive anecdote.
I enjoyed the conference, and Peggy Wente's lunchtime talk was great. I was pretty scrappy, and I couldn't refrain from calling Daley "David Koresh" in my speech and the question and answer session. But that's me -- always getting between some bureaucrat and their Valhalla.
My favourite part, though, was meeting so many supporters who had been following this issue for the past year. For 125 people to show up on a gorgeous Saturday morning for such a conference was a very encouraging sign that freedom of speech is deeply cherished in the great city of Halifax.
Kimberlee Ouwroulis, pictured left, is taking Mississauga's New Locomotion Strip Club to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Ouwroulis claims she was fired for being too old.
Of course, she wasn't fired for being too old. She was fired for looking too old. If the 44-year-old stripper looked 24, it's pretty obvious the owners and patrons of the New Locomotion wouldn't care what her real age was.
That's an important point, because it goes to what human rights lawyers call a "bona fide occupation requirement" -- a legal exemption that allows employers to discriminate on otherwise prohibited grounds when the trait being discriminated against is central to the job.
For example, an airline could discriminate against a blind applicant for a pilot's job; or a Jewish school could discriminate against a non-Jewish applicant for a religious teaching position.
That Ouwroulis is taking her absurd case to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been reorganized) is no longer shocking, considering the other insane cases heard by that tribunal. She'll probably win, too.
But her case reminded me, more than most HRC cases, of Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron", which you can read here. It's a quick read, and I recommend it highly. Here's the first paragraph:
The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.
The fact that the case here is an ageing stripper fighting with a strip club makes it stranger and sillier than usual. But it actually reveals, more than most other cases, the essential flaw of human rights laws and other attempts to make everyone in the world equal: we're simply not.
Ms. Ouwroulis might not like to hear it, and I'm sure the HRTO would rule that I'm sexist and ageist for saying so, but she's surely not as pretty as she once was -- her obvious plastic surgery notwithstanding.
She is asking the government to simply "declare" otherwise -- and to fine the strip club (which will pass on the cost to its patrons) for daring to think otherwise.
She may not be beautiful in the eyes of those from whom she seeks money. But, dammit, she'll get the government to declare otherwise -- and slap those cruel men with a fine for disagreeing.
I don't care about strip clubs, of course. I care about the principle that this case illustrates: for the government to enforce true equality means that it must destroy our liberty -- and it must destroy our individualism.
As the story Harrison Bergeron tells us so powerfully, there will always be someone smarter, prettier, more talented than us. We can live with it -- and ignore it, or be angered by it, or inspired by it. Or we do what Ouwroulis is doing: we can demand that the government become the great leveler, in this case, forcing strip club patrons to look at a woman they don't want to look at, in the name of equality.
Needless to say, in a future where it is illegal to treat ugly people and beautiful people differently, or smart people and dumb people differently, is a future where we are no longer allowed to be ourselves, and no longer allowed to think for ourselves about others.
This case is surely right up Barbara Hall's alley. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission's annual reports, the number of human rights complaints in Ontario has been steadily falling over recent years. That's incredible, when you think about it -- Ontario's population is booming, and it's more multicultural than ever. There are some electoral ridings in the Greater Toronto Area, for example, where the population is more than 80% visible minority. Yet racial and religious harmony is greater every year.
The story is the same in Alberta -- booming, multicultural population, and yet human rights complaints are down 15% over last year.
If Barbara Hall's little fiefdom is going to continue getting its handsome budget each year -- a sick waste of money at the best of times, but a truly bizarre expenditure for a province that's in a recession -- it has to drum up a lot more junk lawsuits like Ouwroulis's.
Imagine what the great civil rights leaders of the 1960s would say if they were around today, to look at Barbara Hall's monstrosity of a "human rights" commission in 2008. Imagine what Martin Luther King Jr. would say about the Canadian heirs to his civil rights movement. What an embarrassment.