March 2009 Archives
I had a great day in Vancouver promoting Shakedown, and I'm back at it tomorow morning with appearances on CBC Radio's Early Edition, at 8:10 a.m. PT, and then an interview with Shaw TV's Fanny Kiefer around 9ish. I've heard great things about her show, and I'm looking forward to it -- I understand I'm slated for a full half hour.
Tonight's Fraser Institute event was great. The dinner part was sold out, and the reception was jammed full, too. The crowd was very sympathetic, and we actually all managed to laugh at the absurdities of the human rights commissions, of which B.C.'s is probably the worst in the country. It's a sign of just how denormalized the commissions have become that the chief emotional response they elicit now is not fear, but laughter. They have beclowned themselves; they are ridiculous. No political force can long withstand the blows of derisive laughter.
Here's a pretty friendly review of this evening's event, which appears in the Tuesday edition of Metro, the free daily newspaper that is published in cities across Canada. Some excerpts:
When the right wing gets together, there’s usually enough room left in the phone booth for a marching band, but last night’s Fraser Institute gathering here in Vancouver was sold out.
And the speaker, neo-con Albertan Ezra Levant, is the toast of the Left Coast. The former Western Standard publisher and Reform MP is on a Vancouver tour de triomphe while basking in the glow of rave reviews for his latest book, Shakedown, including one from Rex Murphy, the man who put the polysyllables in pundit.
What’s going on here? Why is Ezra Levant the flavour of the month? Dare I say because he deserves to be?
...Steyn and Levant, unlike so many cowed into silence, stood up against what Levant calls “Alice in Wonderland commissions where bizarre new human rights are made up on the spot and where regular legal procedures don’t apply.” Shakedown is an account of his persecution at the hands of the Alberta commission, as well as a tour through the highlights of a Canadian quasi-judicial system gone starkers.
...Thanks to unlikely heroes such as Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, I am still free to speak and write the truth as I see it. But it’s a near thing, and Thomas Jefferson’s words still ring true: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
It feels great to read a review like that. It's so encouraging to me that people across the political spectrum can see past my own personal political views, and see the importance of freedom of speech. Free speech is the foundation of all political views. It's so heartening that not just the book, but the battle against HRCs itself, is being met with such support.
And the book? It's holding strong on Amazon's bestseller list.
I've had inquiries about where my Shakedown tour will take me. I'd like to visit as many cities as I can, such as Halifax, which is not currently on my list. (And, of course, I'd love to get back to St. John's!)
Here are a few events that are open to the public (some of them are private events to which tickets are being sold). I've included a link or e-mail address where applicable.
I'm firming up events in New York City and London, England, and should have confirmed information within a week or two on those, and perhaps one other foreign destination. The issue of free speech is international!
If I haven't yet got your city on this list, and if you think you can arrange an event, feel free to drop me an e-mail by clicking here -- I'll do my best to visit if I can.
I'll keep reposting this list to keep it current and accurate in the weeks ahead. See you on the road!
March 31, Vancouver
Fraser Institute reception and dinner, 5:30 p.m.. Details here.
April 3, Calgary
Book-signing at Chapters on MacLeod Trail, 7 p.m. Store location map here.
April 7, Calgary
Lunch speech, co-sponsored by the Fraser Institute and Chamber of Commerce, 11:45 a.m. Details here.
April 13, London, Ont.
Panel discussion with Salim Mansur and Kathy Shaidle, co-hosted by Forest City Institute and Canadian Coalition for Democracies, 7 p.m.. Details here.
April 14, Toronto
Book-signing at IndigoSpirit bookstore in Royal Bank Plaza, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Store location map here.
April 25, Ottawa
Ottawa International Writers Festival, Byward Market, 4 p.m. Event details here.
April 30, Calgary
Fundraising dinner for Rev. Stephen Boissoin's legal defence, 6 p.m. Details here.
May 1, Red Deer
Fundraising dinner for Rev. Stephen Boissoin's legal defence, 6 p.m. Details here.
May 2, Calgary
Daytime event -- details to come.
May 2, Edmonton
Fundraising dinner for Rev. Stephen Boissoin's legal defence, 6 p.m. Details here.
May 7, Winnipeg
Winnipeg South Conservative Association, Caboto Centre, 6 p.m. Details here.
May 22, Victoria
Victoria Conservative breakfast, 7 a.m. Details here.
October 30, Saskatoon
Evening event -- details to come.
We're now into the second week of my book tour in support of Shakedown. It's going amazingly well. I'm off to Vancouver in six hours for two days of media interviews starting with CKNW's Bill Good Show at 10:30 a.m. PT today and a sit-down with The Tyee, a left-of-centre independent online magazine. In the evening, I'll be speaking at a reception and dinner at the Waterfront Centre hosted by the Fraser Institute. The dinner is sold out, but it looks like there's still tickets available for the reception. Come if you can -- I'll sign your book!
Today was a pretty great day, too -- I was on John Gormley's show, the number one radio show in Saskatchewan. You can catch it by podcast, here. I was in-studio at CBC Radio in Calgary for their Wild Rose Country, the province-wide call-in show. I've done that show in the past, and it usually feels like a bear-baiting -- every liberal in Alberta (there are a few) seems to be listening, and they call in to wrestle with me.
Not today -- literally 100% of the callers were supportive of my book's thesis, some quite emotionally so. I have discovered that thousands of Canadians have been "quiet victims" of human rights commissions. They're the 90% of HRC targets who make the choice to cut their losses and pay some shakedown money just to get out of the unfair system, but they're scarred by the experience forever. (I suppose even my own father falls into that category, though he refused to pay the danegeld.) Those folks are just glad to hear someone finally chose to fight back.
I was particularly pleased with two callers who identified themselves as immigrants to Canada. One said that freedom of speech was the highest ideal any society could aim for; another said that his immigrant family chose to be optimists, and not dwell on every little set-back they had over the years. It was so inspiring to hear -- I think the host, Donna McElligott, was impressed by her callers today, too.
I also joined John Moore on Toronto's CFRB 1010 drive-home show. He's a libertarian pro-free-speechnik himself, and I was grateful to be able to talk to his massive audience.
I also did some print interviews -- I'll hold off until they're published before writing about them.
Speaking of which, the new issue of The Hill Times has a prominent review of my book. Here's a .pdf of it, including the front-page teaser. I thought it was a pretty balanced review, and positive on the whole. I was tagged the "Michael Moore of the right", but I think I have a greater respect for accuracy than he does, and a touch more personal hygiene, too. But that is actually quite a compliment if the comparison is to Moore's ability to bring stories alive, and to motivate the public to demand political change -- I'll take it as a compliment! Seriously, though, it was a pleasure to talk at such great length with Harris MacLeod, who had obviously spent a lot of time researching the subject.
Shakedown has also gone big on the Internet, too. Here's my interview with Wendy from Girl on the Right; here's Wally Keeler's thoughts on reading it; Denyse O'Leary has written a five-part review of it -- almost a book itself! Here's Mindy's take at Scaramouche, and here's Gerry Porter.
Finally, my friend Nigel Hannaford sent this fun shot of me posing with Laureen Harper at 24 Sussex Drive last week, when I popped by to hand-deliver a copy. (She was also kind enough to feed me supper, and give me some cold medicine!)
Thanks to everybody to has been so hospitable over the past week. I am thrilled with the positive response the book has received from reviewers across the political spectrum and, most importantly, by the feedback I'm receiving from people who have bought the book and seemed to really like it.
I understand that some Chapters stores have stocked out -- such as in Ottawa. My publisher has rush-ordered a second printing, and shelves should be restocked soon -- and you can always order online, and have it shipped directly to you.
Thanks again for your support -- enjoy the book, and come visit me on my tour if you can!
Here's a story from a U.S.-based Christian magazine about Canada's "human rights" censorship. It's amazing -- and encouraging -- to me that so many Americans care about freedom of speech up here. It's partly self-interest -- what happens in Canada today may well happen in the U.S. in five years. But I think it also speaks to the best of Americans' instincts -- their love for freedom, their desire to help people around the world, and their unfortunately accurate belief that, if they don't care about a problem in the world, chances are nobody else will.
In general, political correctness in the USA is not a government concern (our Human Rights Commissions don't concern themselves—yet—with hate speech), but Christians on secular college campuses and conservatives in Hollywood know the limits on what they can say and do. A particularly ugly example is the outrage against supporters of Proposition 8 (upholding traditional marriage) in California. To cite just two examples: Scott Eckern, Artistic Director of the Sacramento Music Theater, and Richard Raddon, director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, both were forced to resign their positions after being "outed" as contributors to the cause. Many others were harassed, heckled, and threatened.
But Americans don't support this kind of intimidation. Standing one's ground at the right time can help turn the tide, as Ezra Levant and others have shown up north. The battle is far from over, but strategic positions can still be won, and glacial progress is better than none.
Yesterday I visited the Chapters-Indigo store on Rideau & Sussex in Ottawa for a book signing of Shakedown. We didn't really advertise the event much -- I mentioned it on my blog, and when I was on CFRA yesterday, my hosts were kind enough to mention it.
When I walked into the store with my publicist, I was about to say: "I hope I'm not sitting by myself at a desk, looking lonely!" when I saw a group of people. At first I thought they were lined up at the cashier -- but they were lined up at the desk where I was supposed to sit and sign books, their copies of Shakedown in hand. They had come early -- in fact, some had driven in from as far away as Brockville!
I was so excited -- relieved, actually -- that I snapped a quick picture of the dozen or so early-birds on my BlackBerry:
Within half an hour, the store's entire stock of Shakedown was exhausted, and they brought in more copies from their sister stores. That ran out, too. And while it took me almost an hour to sign everyone's books, regrettably a dozen or so people left empty-handed -- there just weren't anymore there, though I did chat with them for a bit.
I think the popularity of the book has caught some folks off guard -- maybe even myself. It's been on Amazon.ca's top ten list of best-sellers for a few weeks; my publisher has already ordered a second printing. I'm so glad McClelland & Stewart published it; they've got the distribution muscle (and sterling reputation) that is ensuring that the book is being well-distributed.
I'll have some book signings in several other cities in the next little while -- I'll publish the details of those soon, too.
Yesterday I popped by the office of the Ottawa Citizen, and met for an hour with Andrew Potter of their editorial team. It was just the two of us, but we had a rollicking talk about everything from George Galloway to Jim Keegstra, and everything in between. Here's his quick take on our talk, from his blog. I look forward to his review.
As Potter says, he generally doesn't see the world from my political perspective. But I sense that when it comes to the larger question of free speech, we are in agreement.
As I've noted many times before, especially when discussing free speech allies like EGALE and the Canadian Association of Journalists, true liberals support freedom of speech even for people with whom they disagree on substance. I look forward to his full review of the book; here's an excerpt from his blog entry:
I was never a huge fan of Ezra’s political leanings, and the Western Standard was not really my cup of tea. But printing the Danish cartoons was courageous, and his subsequent fight with the AHRC was deeply principled and very nicely handled.
Frankly, although I'm grateful for the support of ideological friends, it's easy for them to agree with me. In a way, the support of people who don't tend to agree with me is even more valuable, for it shows a philosophical commitment to free speech strong enough to overcome reflexive political differences.
Rex Murphy reviewed Shakedown for the books section of Saturday's Globe and Mail. It's an extremely generous review. Here are some excerpts:
Ezra Levant is the No. 1 advocate for, and defender of, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of thought in modern Canada. His story, and the reason he has written Shakedown, began with the now famous Danish "Mohammed" cartoons.
In Calgary, an imam, who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed — having first tried to have Levant arrested — made a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Now, some people do not like Levant's style. They say he is too aggressive, too noisy and assertive, that he courts controversy and publicity. They should read Shakedown, and they will quickly realize that anyone less "aggressive" or "noisy" would have long ago been suffocated by the remorseless, inequitable, taxpayer-funded, bureaucratic grinding of Canada's human rights tribunals and commissions.
On the matter of his alleged taste for controversy and publicity, again, after reading Shakedown, they will realize that without his ability to withstand controversy and generate publicity, an insidious and largely unaccountable process of diminishing the central concepts of our democracy — freedom of speech, press and thought — would largely have gone unnoticed, and what is far worse, unchallenged.
Next there is the matter of Levant's politics. He is a stalwart conservative, a Harper supporter....
But in judging the cause that he has for three years now championed, and the gruelling effort he has been forced to put in to defend that cause, of which Shakedown is both the diary and the rationale, partisanship should have zero leverage over judgment.
...And he has — with courage and no little cost — stood up to them in a manner so straightforward and clear that he is positively un-Canadian. On this issue — Liberal, New Democrat, Conservative, Green — it should matter not. Were he to elope tomorrow with Jane Fonda, he would still be right, and I would still support him in this matter.
It's very much worth noting here that while Levant's personal politics may have stayed the enthusiasm of Liberals and New Democrats for giving him the support in his fight he clearly deserves, they haven't carried an opposite dividend. Where has Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper been on this issue? It is a cause of deepest principle. It isn't just a Tory thing. But Harper has been craven on the subject.
...I read Shakedown and I am awed at Levant's persistence and powers of endurance.
Aside from the rigours of defending himself over three years, at costs that exceed $100,000 (for a complaint withdrawn almost on a whim toward the end of that marathon), he has also been sued on numerous occasions by his opponents, by members of the Canadian Human Rights Commission itself, and he has been put under a hail of complaints to the Alberta Law Society — in an effort to have him, for all his pains, disbarred.
In any other society, what Levant has endured would be seen and spoken of for what it is: a persecution. I wonder why the lawyers of Canada, particularly those of Alberta, have not seen this blizzard of lawsuits and complaints to the Law Society for what they are: attempts to shut Levant down by other means, payback for being "noisy" and "assertive" and "controversial" and refusing to accommodate the soft tyranny (not so "soft" now that I think of it) of provincial and federal tribunals and commissions.
...Some of the particular cases he details — the case of the lesbian hecklers at the comedy club; the case of the Wiccan working at Boston Pizza who didn't like the rock music in the kitchen; the case of the Self-Medicating Pot Smoker who wanted to smoke in the doorway of Gator Ted's, a Burlington, Ont., pub, even though the patrons didn't like it and in Ontario there are those "smoke-free" regulations, leaving the owner of Gator Ted's on the prongs of two bureaucratic forks — are simultaneously absurd and frightening, Kafka dipped in Wodehouse. Welcome to the strange new world of political correctness roaming the landscape, seeking whom it may devour.
Levant has been mocked, pilloried, sued, harassed and abused — yet he soldiers on. It is but just to note that he had one great help along the way. That came, inadvertently, when his cause commingled with the complaints made to three human-rights commissions against Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine by Mohamed Elmasry. That brought a second hero of real Canadian human rights into the lists against the abridgement of free speech, Steyn, who contributes a foreword to the book.
...Ezra Levant's Shakedown, and his three-year advocacy, have been the "blast of the trumpet" against this trespass. And we should be grateful for his effort. Support him, too. Buy the book.
That's an overly generous review. I'm thrilled that it will appear in the Globe tomorrow. It is my hope that it will impel many "severely normal" Canadians to read the book -- people who wouldn't, for example, find their way to a blog like this one.
Fr. Raymond de Souza writes a very friendly review of Shakedown in the National Post, likening me to an icebreaking ship smashing up Canada's human rights commissions. I'm glad that's how it looks, because that's what has to be done. Some excerpts:
...Ezra, more than any other Canadian, has been dousing [human rights commissions] with gasoline. Now, with his new book, Shakedown: How our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, he is lighting the match.
...Anyone who reads Shakedown will be convinced that their defeat is essential for the survival of liberty in Canada. We are not yet three months into 2009, but Ezra may well have written the most important public affairs book this year.
...The book needs to be read widely. Even for those familiar with HRC limitations on free speech, attacks on religious liberty, curtailing of freedom of the press and assaults on fundamental legal rights, there is much material about even more widespread abuses. To see it all assembled in one place is to discover that Canada has betrayed its heritage as country of free citizens.
There is much new material too, a litany of cases of such incredible kookery that the tale is often one of unintentional hilarity. ...The joke's on us, and the only ones laughing are the thousand or so bureaucrats of Canada's 13 HRCs.
It's a great review, but I'm particularly pleased (relieved, actually) to know that the book contains enough new information, that I have not blogged about, that even someone who is very familiar with the issue finds a lot of new content in the book -- it's not just a hard copy of this blog!
What a great day. I flew from Toronto to Ottawa, and went straight to Newcap Radio's innovative Live 88.5 radio station -- a music and talk station aimed at twenty- and thirty-somethings. What a lively format -- I hope it's rolled out into other cites, too.
Then I met with a documentary crew from the Catholic TV station Salt and Light TV, and then a reporter from the student newspaper, the Charlatan. Then over to the Hill Times, where I had a feisty interview with Harris MacLeod. It was more of a debate than an interview. I actually wish it was in front of a public forum -- of course I enjoy friendly interviews, but I think the sparring of a debate sharpens up the arguments. I can hardly wait for his review.
I had an hour of downtime, and zipped up the Hill to catch the second half of Question Period. Ten years ago, I worked on Parliament Hill, as the QP staffer for the opposition Reform Party. It's quite a different feeling to sit on the other side of the room.
The evening was capped off with a wonderful reception and dinner hosted by the Fraser Institute at Ottawa's tony Rideau Club. My friend Nigel Hannaford, the Calgary Herald columnist, joined me on the stage for a 90-minute review of human rights commissions and free speech. I signed some books -- we quickly ran out of all the ones we brought -- and then a smaller group retired to dinner, where the conversation continued. The Fraser Institute sure knows how to organize a great affair.
Tomorrow's my last day in Ottawa. I'll be on CFRA radio -- twice, actually, at 8 a.m. and then again at 12:30 p.m. ET. Some TV, too -- Rogers T and a quick hit on Ottawa's CTV affiliate. And I've been invited for a sit-down meeting with the editorial team at the Ottawa Citizen, who have been strong advocates for freedom of speech.
I think my favourite part of the day will be my visit to the Chapters-Indigo store on Rideau and Sussex. I'll only be there for an hour, from 1 till 2 p.m., but I think that I'll have a chance to meet a lot of people, especially given the store's location, right near Parliament.
If you're in Ottawa and have some free time -- or even a long lunch hour -- please pop by the Chapters to say hi, and I'd be happy to sign a book for you.
I'll do my best to keep twittering about my day, so feel free to follow me there.
A full hour of television is an impossibly long amount of air time. We live in an era when news clips are measured in minutes, if not seconds. So it was a luxury to spend a full hour today with Michael Coren on his show on CTS.
Here is the show in several segments, YouTubed by SDA Matt. Let me know what you think of it in the comments section.
What do you think?
I had a blast on John Oakley's morning radio show today. It makes such a difference to be in the studio, where one can make eye contact with the interviewer, rather than joining by phone from afar as I usually do. I did a number of other shows today, including Tom Young out in New Brunswick, who has a deep philosophical commitment to free speech. I love his show; I get the feeling that he has read many of the "Great Books". And it felt good to cap off the day with Rob Breakenridge from Calgary's CHQR. I haven't kept a precise count, but I think that Rob has probably done more shows about human rights commissions and their violation of free speech than any other radio host in Canada.
In print media, Paul Schneidereit wrote a review of Shakedown in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the biggest newspaper east of Montreal. Readers will recall that Paul isn't just an advocate of free speech, he's also served as an executive on the Canadian Association of Journalists, which last year came out with a blistering criticism of human rights commissions and their censorship provisions. Here are a few excerpts:
Let me put in a plug for Levant’s new book, Shakedown, which lays out, in example after example, how government-appointed human rights bodies warped the noble mission for which they were created. Inspired by the government-backed attack on his basic rights, Ezra dug into the work files of human rights commissions across the country. What he found should disturb every Canadian. In case after case, many of which go beyond attacks on free speech, Ezra shows how human rights bodies have put purported grievances of single individuals ahead of the facts, the public interest and even common sense.
Some examples. In B.C., a transsexual (formerly a man) won the right to counsel rape victims, despite objections from even the victimized women themselves. In Ontario, a case is going ahead against the owner of a restaurant who asked a medical marijuana user – after complaints from patrons – not to puff his weed at the entrance to his establishment. In Alberta, a pastor was ordered never, for the rest of his life, to utter words "disparaging" to homosexuals, by order of the state. And on and on.
...Let’s be clear. Section 13 and its provincial counterparts are an abomination. They avoid the rigorous tests found under Criminal Code restrictions on hate speech and libel and give government-backed thought police shocking powers to tell us what we can and can’t say.
Human rights commissions may have been "denormalized," to use Ezra’s term, but still not one Canadian government has acted to cut out the cancerous threat to free speech found in the legislation of too many human rights bodies across this country.
That's pretty strong stuff. As Paul notes, the public is ahead of the politicians -- nothing new there -- in terms of being ready for reform.
Mark Steyn noted Paul's column, too, and revealed yet one more example of HRC corruption and bias:
Meanwhile, the idiot decisions go on: This latest Ontario ruling, rejecting a complaint against the anti-Semitic Sid Ryan because the complainant is not Jewish, is entirely at odds with the well established racket of non-Jews like Richard Warman shaking down neo-Nazis for anti-Semitism or non-gays like [Darren] Lund shaking down the Reverend Stephen Boissoin for homophobia.
That's laughable. If only "victim groups" could file HRC complaints, Richard Warman would have been out of business. It's a made-up excuse, pure and simple, revealing the bias and whimsy of these HRCs. They're not true courts, but they're not even credible quasi-judicial tribunals. Jurisprudence means nothing to them -- except as political cover for their own extremist agendas. If they want to absolve a fellow Marxist, like Sid Ryan, they'll just change the rules until he's off the hook, and then go back to going after their enemies lists. What a disgrace.
Tomorrow morning I'm off to Ottawa. I'll be on CFRA radio with Rob Snow and Lowell Green, who have been fighting this fight for longer than I have! I'll be doing a lot of other interviews, including with some student media at Carleton University, the Hill Times, and CBC Newsworld's Politics with Don Newman. I'm looking forward to seeing him again.
I do have one public event for which tickets might still be available: a reception and dinner with Nigel Hannaford, hosted by the Fraser Institute. You can get details here.
I'll be in Ottawa on Thursday, too, and I'll keep you posted with details. When I have a moment, I'll give the exact dates for events in other cities, some of which will have book-signings.
What an encouraging day on the book tour! I'm pretty pooped -- we started out quite early to get up to the CTV studios north of the city to do Canada AM, and I was still on Calgary time. (That's my excuse for saying that human rights commissions "squish and squash" our civil liberties, when the word I probably meant was "quash"!)
In an amazing coincidence, as I waited in CTV's green room before my segment, the CTV guest who was scheduled to appear on the show right before me and was also waiting in the room introduced himself to me as a reader of my blog and a supporter of my legal defence fund! I recognized his name, and we chatted until he had to go on the show, and I signed a copy of the book for him right there. It was such a serendipitous way to start the book tour -- a reminder of how many thousands of people across the country are rooting for free speech. It put a spring in my step for the rest of the day.
You can see a video clip of my Canada AM appearance here (and here when it's archived). And later in the day I appeared on the Business News Network. They gave me a generous seven minutes of airtime, and we really dug into the subject matter. You can see that clip here.
Tomorrow is a busy day, too; I start off with Toronto's John Oakley show at 9:30 a.m. ET. John is a strong supporter of free speech -- it will be great to actually be in studio with him, instead of on the phone as I usual am. And then I'm off to Burlington to tape the full hour of Michael Coren's TV show -- I can hardly wait. You can see the local times for that show here. I cap off the day with my hometown favourite, Rob Breakenridge of Calgary's The World Tonight, who has probably given more attention to the free speech issue than any other radio host in the country. That's at 7 p.m. MT.
Wednesday and Thursday I have a full slate of events in Ottawa, including a tag-team dinner speech with Nigel Hannaford of the Calgary Herald. According to this web page, it looks like tickets are still available.
When I've got a few more moments, I'll post details about my public events coming up in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Victoria, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Saskatoon, London (Ont.) -- and even a few international cities, a reminder that the whole world is watching the spectacle of Canada's abusive human rights commissions, and how we protect our heritage of freedom is a subject of concern for our friends around the world.
Tune in tomorrow to the radio and TV if you can -- and follow me on Twitter, where I'll be posting mini-updates throughout the day.
Today is the official launch of Shakedown, my new book about Canada's corrupt and abusive "human rights" commissions.
I'll be starting the day off on CTV's national morning show, Canada AM -- tune in if you can. I'm on at about 7:45 a.m.
Then it's a series of radio interviews, including U of T's student station CIUT (9:10 a.m. ET), Andrew Krystal's Atlantic-Canada wide show on Rogers Radio (11 a.m. AT), Tommy Schnurmacher's show in Montreal (10:30 a.m. ET) BNN's Squeeze Play (5:40 ET) and a three-minute monologue on CBC TV's The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.
I've got some other interviews, too, including with Craig Rintoul of bookbits.ca.
Tuesday brings more interviews, and I'll tell you about them tonight.
I'll likely be away from my laptop for most of the day, but I'll try to send a few updates on Twitter and Facebook.
The book has been bouncing around Amazon.ca's best-seller list in the past week or so, going as high as number three. As I write this very early Monday morning, it's at number 13 overall, and the number 2 "new release". Now that the book tour is starting, I hope the book will do even better -- not just because I want to succeed as an author, but because I want as many "severely normal" people as possible to hear the shocking truth about these commissions and what they're getting away with.
That's what I'm hoping this book will do: bring the story out of the blogosphere and into the living rooms of thousands of Canadians who still aren't aware of the risk these HRCs pose to our liberty.
For those who have been following my blog closely, I'm pleased to report that several people who have read the book have told me that they were pleasantly surprised with how much new material there was that hadn't been on my blog. I'm glad to hear it; obviously the main story of the cartoon complaint against me must be retold in the book; but I included many case studies and other issues that I have not treated on my blog.
I hope you'll get a copy. You can buy it pretty much anywhere -- the bookstore in the Calgary airport was unpacking their eight copies when I asked them about it last night. And, of course, you can buy it online at Amazon and Chapters, and from Mark Steyn, who wrote the book's great introduction.
Over the next few weeks, I'll also be in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, London (Ontario), Victoria, Winnipeg and New York City -- details to come on each of these. There are a couple of other invitations in the works, including a possible U.K. visit, and I'll let you know about them as they firm up.
Thanks for your support -- not just for the book, but over the past year, and even since 2006 when the Western Standard magazine and I were first charged with "discrimination" for publishing the Danish cartoons as a news item. (Can you believe it? Being charged with an offence for publishing the news?) I had no idea what would come from the ordeal I was subjected to; and though there were some stressful times, the moral and financial support of my readers balanced that out and kept me whole. Your support took care of the tough parts, so I could focus on the fun part -- the fight!
To stand here in 2009, with a book published by a mainstream Canadian publisher, and a healthy national debate on freedom of speech alive both in the court of public opinion and in several Canadian legislatures, makes everything more than worthwhile.
Thanks to my family and friends for putting up with my mild obsession, and thanks to my readers and legal defence fund donors for standing by me.
Let's keep at it until the job's done.
George Galloway, the pro-terrorist MP from the United Kingdom, has been denied entry to Canada on security grounds. I suspect it has to do with his track record of providing financial assistance to terrorist groups like Hamas, which is listed as a criminal organization in Canada. It would not surprise me if CSIS determined that Galloway's visit would have had fundraising or recruiting spin-offs for Hamas or other terrorist groups. I'm sure Galloway himself would boast of those activities. (UPDATE: I am advised that, in fact, his planned speaking engagement at a Toronto church was to raise funds for Hamas.)
The cabinet minister in charge of immigration, Jason Kenney, could exercise his ministerial discretion and override his officials, but given Kenney's zero-tolerance policy towards anti-Semitism, that's a non-starter.
This case is an interesting intersection between free speech and national sovereignty and security.
Galloway is not a Canadian citizen; he does not have a right to come to Canada (nor any other rights guaranteed to our citizens). He would be a guest, and he is being turned away for security reasons.
Were he a citizen, he would have the right to spout his bigotry in Canada (but not to engage in material support for terrorists, which is a crime.) If he were a citizen, he would be allowed back home, and arrested for his crimes.
I don't see this as a free speech issue; I see it as a sovereignty issue -- keeping out an undesirable foreigner who has no right to be here, and who boasts about violating our criminal code.
I note that today's National Post carries an Op-Ed by one Bernie "Burny" Farber calling for Galloway to be barred from the country. (Little did the Post know that the decision had already been made.) It catalogues Galloway's misbehaviour, but then Burny makes a surprising statement, for him:
George Galloway has every right to speak here in Canada, no matter how offensive most Canadians would find his views and actions. But he does not have the right to raise funds for terrorist causes while on our shores. He does not have the right to promote terrorism or incite hatred.
Did Burny just say that someone -- in this case, a foreigner with no rights as a Canadian -- has a "right to speak", "no matter how offensive" he is?
Two sentences later, Burny throws in some weasel words -- that Galloway shouldn't be able to "promote terrorism or incite hatred", as if blowing someone up is in the same league as causing people to have hard feelings.
But is this a glimmer of hope that perhaps Burny is giving up his book-burning fetish?
If he believes foreigners like Galloway have the "right" to speak offensively in Canada, maybe he'll one day grant that same right to actual Canadian citizens, and abandon his support for our perverse human rights commissions and their censorship engines.
Who knows? If this keeps up, I might just have to start spelling Burny's name Bernie again!
P.S. Here is how I will always remember George Galloway: from his memorable appearance on TV's "Big Brother", a reality show with curious staying power in the U.K. It's hilarious and a little creepy. (YouTube won't permit me to embed this video). I wonder if he would have done such a crowd-pleaser in his Toronto gig. We'll never know.
UPDATE: Good friends, and friends of freedom of speech say I'm not being consistent -- that I should be for Galloway's right to be wrong. I am; I don't think he should be arrested for being a racist, terrorist-loving buffoon. I think he should be arrested for raising money for a criminal terrorist organization. That's not speech I'm against, that's fundraising for terrorism I'm against. But that's not my main point: my main point is that Galloway has no "right" to come to Canada. He's not Canadian.
I'm all for his free speech -- elsewhere.
It's sort of like my position with the Canadian Islamic Congress and their nuisance complaints against Maclean's magazine. They demanded five or six pages of Maclean's magazine in which to write their pro-Islamist propaganda. They have the right to express that propaganda all they like -- but not in Maclean's magazine. It's not a matter of free speech, it's a matter of property rights -- they don't own Maclean's, and don't have a right of access to it.
I just don't think that Canada needs to be open to any dime-store bigot from around the world. It really is an immigration matter.
To expand on that point, we ought to screen immigrants for their basic values -- that they reject violence; that they embrace a secular government and not a theocracy; that they accept basic democratic and equality norms, including the equality of men and women. I think that we have every right to keep out bigots who fail to meet that basic test.
I would never tolerate such a political test for Canadians. But for foreigners who wish to be our guests? Absolutely. It's called national sovereignty.
UPDATE 2: Stephen Taylor has some additional video clips of Galloway. I'm not sure why it's our legal duty to import such a man if it's our good luck that he isn't a Canadian already.
One last post about the stunning Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that called Richard Warman's conduct "disappointing and disturbing", for his hundreds of anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay comments posted through his membership in two neo-Nazi websites.
(Whenever I write that sentence, I just have to stop and shake my head -- it's unfathomable to me that such filthy conduct could have been approved and in fact financed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Not just when Warman was an employee there but also after he left, in the form of paying his expenses for his complaints, as Jennifer Lynch, the CHRC's chief commissar, has inexplicably chosen to do.)
Richard Warman has a strange relationship with the press. He refuses to be interviewed by media that he deems to be not sufficiently supportive of his mission -- so, for example, he refuses to be interviewed by the National Post's Joseph Brean, and he refused to be interviewed by the Western Standard magazine when we first wrote about him in 2004. But he takes great care to groom reporters he deems to be sympathetic -- such as Randy Richmond at the London Free Press.
And while Richmond seems to fit Churchill's definition of a Warman fanatic -- someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject -- other reporters on Warman's beat have become decidedly less stenographic in their coverage of him.
Kirk Makin's coverage of Warman's disgrace in the Globe and Mail was fairly balanced -- quite a departure from Makin's cheerleading in the past. It gave Warman the last word, and printed his excuses, but the breakthrough was that his story contained excerpts of Warman's bigoted remarks, and the headline itself was negative.
I've already linked to Joseph Brean's story in the Post, which also contained lengthy excerpts of Warman's bigoted posts. Again, this is a dramatic breakthrough: Warman loves the narrative of him being a Nazi-hunter. Reports that he is in fact a Nazi propagandist himself destroy his carefully crafted veneer. I don't think that even Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress could get away with giving him a "human rights" award now.
But the most dramatic about-face from a reporter who has been covering Warman for years has to be Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen, Warman's home-town newspaper of record.
Here's an enormous love letter to Warman written by Butler in 2007, entitled "One man's war on Internet hate". That's a headline that could really never be written again.
Here's another story by Butler, written in the middle of 2008, entitled "Man wins rights case against B.C. neo-Nazi". It's decidedly more neutral, but Warman is still depicted as the hero -- and the word "Nazi" is reserved for Warman's target.
But now look at Butler. On Monday, his article in the Citizen, on page A3, was headlined "Lawyer crossed the line by posting on neo-Nazi website, tribunal rules". That's pretty damning. And the "deck", or sub-headline was: "Ottawa man says he posed as racist to gather information". That's meant as the other side of the story -- Warman's excuse. It's laughably lame.
Here are some excerpts from the devastating article that followed:
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has rebuked a prominent Ottawa anti-hate campaigner, saying tactics he used while gathering evidence for two human rights complaints could actually have encouraged more online hate messages.
...in his decision, Lustig criticized Warman for posting to forums run by neo-Nazi websites under such pseudonyms as "Axetogrind" and "Pogue Mahone." Warman's messages, he said, "could have precipitated further hate messages in response."
...In one posting, Warman reposted a complaint from Ouwendyk that Canada's justice minister, Irwin Cotler, was Jewish, appending the message: "Did you know we had an election and the new cabinet hasn't been named yet? We still have scum in government but we have to wait and see which scum goes where."
In another, he responded to a message from U.S. neo-Nazi leader Jeff Schoep, writing: "Keep up the good work Commander Schoep!"
...Lustig said there was no "acceptable reason" for Warman to post the messages "since there appears to be ample easily obtained messages on these sites available without his involvement."
He noted that Warman has won accolades for his efforts in combatting online hate. But he called his behaviour in this case "disappointing and disturbing. It diminishes his credibility."
As a result, Lustig declined Warman's request to impose fines and compensation totalling $13,500 on the London, Ont.-based Northern Alliance, which appears to have been inactive in recent years.
Versions of Butler's article ran in the Edmonton Journal, Windsor Star, Victoria Times-Colonist and Nanaimo Daily News, and I thought I saw it in the Calgary Herald. The headlines in each of those cities were just as tough, such as "Crusader rebuked" in the Journal.
In two years, Richard Warman's most reliable hagiographers in the media have changed and become chroniclers of his misbehaviour. That is a very difficult thing to achieve, but Warman's conduct was so odious, so contrary to the myth he was peddling, that even those who must have genuinely admired him before, can no longer avert their eyes from his destructive, hypocritical tactics.
There were always two sides to Richard Warman. The public side was the hero -- the brave crusader taking on the vilest anti-Semites. He was a self-promoter, to be sure, but his relentlessness and sheer number of "wins" would impress anyone who feared "hate speech".
But there was a secret side to Warman -- the thin-skinned censor, the secret member of Nazi organizations, the man who would log onto the Internet in a Nazi persona and write literally hundreds of filthy messages, perhaps thousands, over the course of years. He said it was all for the cause -- but the Tribunal rejected that absurd argument. Warman surely spewed as much venom as any of those he was trying to hunt.
Public Warman tried hard to keep his allies in the media away from Secret Warman. If anyone criticized him too pointedly, he would sue them, or at least threaten to do so. That bullying approach extended even to libraries from Ontario to British Columbia. I don't think that reporters like Butler or Makin would have been quite as loving towards Warman over the years had they known the true extent of his bullying, censoring ways.
I don't disrespect Makin or Butler, though I think they could have done more due diligence on their hero before the CHRT forced it in front of their noses. I think they truly thought they were trumpeting the successes of a noble human rights activist, a younger Alan Borovoy perhaps. It's to their credit that when more and more facts kept intruding on that lovely theory, that they didn't throw out the facts -- they threw out the theory, Butler especially.
That's denormalization. It's not defamation, though Warman thinks it is. It's the facts being brought to light about Warman's true reputation -- the one he has, not just the one he wants.
Warman will surely be a footnote in history -- though for a few dozen Canadians, he has been an illiberal, conniving terror. A man with Warman's obvious energy and dedication could have been a successful man. With a working knowledge of French and a law degree, he could have amounted to something in Ottawa. But he became that which he despised: a sneaky fountain of hate speech, leading a double life.
I don't know what will become of him. I'm sure he'll still try to file hate speech complaints with the CHRC, but I would be truly stunned if they accepted them -- remember, the CHRC abandoned the Warman v. Ouwendyk case earlier this year, refusing to have anything more to do with Warman's complaint. They're still fighting alongside him in Warman v. Lemire, but that's probably because of Lemire's constitutional challenge to the law itself.
Perhaps Warman will finish his days as he is now: an in-house human rights interrogator within the bosom of the Department of National Defence. Or perhaps his unbecoming conduct, as confirmed by the CHRT, will make him unfit to continue in that sensitive role, in the eyes of DND. Who knows?
But he's not going gracefully. Instead of accepting the CHRT's rebuke with contrition, he is defiant. He told Butler that the CHRT's findings that Warman's Nazi postings risked spreading hatred were "pure supposition. There was no evidence of that having transpired whatsoever." Of course, there was plenty of evidence and the CHRT saw it: other neo-Nazis chimed in and echoed Warman's racist posts. He was whipping them up. That's exactly what section 13, the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, was designed to stop.
The most ridiculous comment by Warman was in response to the CHRT's repeated, bitter condemnation of him and his conduct. Warman told Makin: "Constructive criticism about how to improve human-rights work is always welcome, and I read Mr. Lustig's suggestions with interest."
But Lustig (the CHRT chair who issued the ruling) wasn't making "suggestions". He's not in the suggestions business. He's in the finding of fact business, and the issuing of orders business. And he determined that it was a fact that Warman had conducted himself in a disgraceful way, and he expressly refused to issue any financial penalties against Warman's targets as a result of that.
For years, Warman has cherished every word from the CHRT as the gospel, and why not? They lauded him as a hero, and granted him tens of thousands of dollars -- tax free -- in bounties from his targets. Imagine Warman's reaction had one of his targets said in response to a condemnation by the CHRT, "thanks for the interesting suggestions. I'll file that where it belongs." Warman would have run to the federal court demanding a contempt order. But now that Warman himself has been rebuked by his favourite tribunal, he's content to call its findings mere "suggestions". What a sad way to end.
I was a panellist on Michael Coren Live today -- and I'll be in his studio next week to talk about Shakedown.
One of today's topics was the anti-Christian bigotry displayed by the Globe and Mail and CBC in their hunt against Gary Goodyear, a Conservative cabinet minister. In a sentence, they tried to ask Goodyear, a Christian, about his personal views on evolution, and he rightly declined to take the bait. This refusal to discuss his oersonal beliefs was deemed unacceptable by the zealots at the Globe and CBC. Of course, had Goodyear decided to in fact discuss his religious beliefs, that too would have been unacceptable to them. In other words, Goodyear, like all Christians (and by Christians, I mean those who actually believe in the New Testament, not those who just go to church for weddings and funerals) is not welcome in the public square.
To be clear, Goodyear has not been accused of steering his cabinet duties in accordance with a particular religious belief. He has been an exemplary minister. But his fitness for public service is being questioned merely because of his private religious views. Disgusting.
The Globe and CBC would never pull that stunt with, say, Gurbax Malhi, a Sikh MP, or Irwin Cotler, a Jewish MP. They wouldn't accuse them of hijacking government for their faith; they wouldn't accuse them of hidden loyalties. But anti-Christian bigotry is the last acceptable bigotry. Here's a clip, courtesy of SDA Matt:
Here is the transcript of an interview I recently did with Kathy Shaidle. It was really a Q&A about my new book, Shakedown -- so it was as much about my decision to write the book as it was about the substance of the book itself. I'll just highlight the one question that made me think about the exact moment I decided to launch my campaign of denormalization:
People ask me where you get your energy from and how you keep your sense of humor. What is your secret?
"Right around the time of my interrogation by the HRC, I spoke with Mark Steyn and we talked about how the chief weapon used by HRCs is psychological. Usually, their formal punishments aren't enormous -- typically in the tens of thousands of dollars (though they are occasionally more extreme, including lifetime bans on publicly or privately saying certain words, and even orders to people to publicly issue false apologies: see the Lund v. Boissoin case).
"The real punishment is the process -- biased, slow, uncertain, capricious, lawless, costly, unfair. The process is designed to so demoralize political dissidents as to make them abandon hope, leave the jurisdiction, or spiral down in a rage. Many people who are caught in HRCs actually become, over time, the caricature that they are accused of being -- they're turned into obsessive cranks, which is a wholly predictable outcome when a Canadian expecting Canadian justice is subjected to Soviet-style 'justice.'
"So I simply decided I wasn't going to become like that. If I were to 'obsess' over the unfair charges against me, it would take the form of a relentless campaign for reform, using my time and whatever talents I have to spread the word about the corruption and abuse of the system. I knew I was luckier than pretty much any other HRC target in the past: I had friends in politics and journalism, and it would be pretty tough to tag me, a Zionist Jew who had actually started a multi-racial club in law school called Minorities Against Discrimination, as a 'neo-Nazi' or 'white supremacist.' So, unlike the HRCs' previous targets, I would actually have a chance to be heard when I pointed out the rot in the system.
"I decided I would try to live up to the title of Mark Steyn's column in the National Review: the 'happy warrior', and to use mockery and ridicule where appropriate.
"I spent time researching HRCs, and found that they were actually everything they claimed to be against -- everything they accused me of being.
"CHRC staff joined neo-Nazi organizations -- and are still members to this day. A CHRC 'hate speech' investigator was a former cop kicked off her police force for corruption. An Alberta HRC lawyer was a Muslim supremacist. A CHRC manager actually said that free speech was an 'American' idea, so he didn't care about trampling on it. And HRCs everywhere are the political dumping grounds for extremist politicians who couldn't cut it in real elections (Giacomo Vigna of the CHRC is a three-time election loser, Richard Warman of the CHRC is a four-time election loser, Barbara Hall of the OHRC was fired as mayor of Toronto, etc.).
"In sum, I wasn't the extremist radical; they were. I wasn't the one abridging 'human rights', they were. I wasn't the fringe element who needed political 're-education' about our country's values; they were. I wasn't a humourless crank; they were -- as they proved en masse when they hit me with more than 20 vengeance lawsuits, human rights complaints and complaints to the law society to have me disbarred. (The first six of those complaints and suits have been heard and dismissed, and I expect the rest will be too. What a perfect snapshot of the nuisance, vengeance and censorship genes in the HRC industry.)
"They richly deserved to be mocked. I tried to do that, and of course Steyn is the master at that.
"I should note that, from time to time, I did indeed worry, but only about the money needed to fend off the lawfare. But through the Internet, people from across Canada and the U.S. (and even around the world) each chipped in a little to help me cover the cost of fighting all these nuisance suits. That financial help -- and the moral support it implied -- greatly boosted my spirits, and still does. I knew I wasn't alone even if I felt alone."
Mario Roy of Montreal's La Presse newspaper has written a review of Shakedown on that newspaper's blog. You can see it here in the original French, or here in an English Google translation of that page. Some excerpts (with a gentle clean-up of Google's automatic translation):
...However, if a man has tasted the medicine of the new censors, it is Ezra Levant, a lawyer, activist, journalist, polemicist and former editor of a newspaper... (which has since closed its doors), the Western Standard. This newspaper is, I believe, the only one that has published the infamous cartoons of Mohammed in 2006. This earned him endless trouble with these quasi-judicial bodies, primarily the Alberta.
Levant is a conservative (in the philosophical sense and not in favor of the term), and a kind of bulldog! He began collecting information on the various rights commissions acting in Canada and made a book, Shake Down, which tells something absolutely astounding...
The least is certainly the case that former investigator of one of these organizations and "serial plaintiff" (as they say in English: serial killer ...) who wrote his own posts on hateful neo-Nazi blogs!
Or read the book, of course ... before it is banned, as fears Levant (you can read it in secret, by disguising it within the pages of Diplomatic World, if you do not want to surprise your friends now reading the prose of a conservative from the west).
I love it -- the idea that the book ought to be tucked within the pages of a more politically acceptable book! It's also interesting to me that Roy thinks one of the most interesting parts was my detailed exposition of Richard Warman's own hateful comments on neo-Nazi websites. I am now somewhat numbed to that shocking fact, but to readers who are new to this story, it remains outrageous, as it should.
I think it's marvelous that a book about freedom of speech, written by a conservative from Alberta, has received such a thoughtful review (and, I'd say, endorsement), from one of Quebec's literati. Boy have things changed for human rights commissions over the past year!
UPDATE: My friend Brigitte Pellerin provides this better translation (thanks!):
In my editorials, I have often talked about the problems of freedom of expression posed by the various Human Rights Commissions, particularly the federal and Ontario commissions (the Quebec commission is of no concern).
If there is one man who has felt the wrath of these new censors, it is Ezra Levant (pictured), a lawyer, activist, journalist, polemicist and former publisher of a Western magazine (that has since ceased publication), Western Standard. Unless I am mistaken, this magazine is the only one in the country to have published those famous Danish cartoons of Mohammed in 2006. It earned him no end of trouble with these quasi-judicial organizations, starting with the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Levant is a conservative (in the philosophical, not political sense of the word) and a kind of... pitbull! He began collecting information on the various human rights commissions in Canada and wrote a book, Shake Down, which reveals absolutely astounding things about those commissions. The least of which being the case of this ex-investigator and “serial plaintiff” (as they say in English: serial killer...) who himself wrote hate-filled posts on neo-nazi blogs! And that’s not even the worst...
You can read more about Levant here. Or read the book, of course... before it is banned, as Levant fears (you can read it in secret, by hiding it for instance inside a copy of le Monde diplomatique, if you don’t want to be caught by your intellectual friends reading a Western conservative).
If freedom of expression interests you, of course.
I just re-read the fascinating ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in the Warman v. Ouwendyk case. It's quite remarkable: it was supposed to put Jason Ouwendyk on trial for his racist remarks on the Internet, but it was Richard Warman who received the harsh rebuke for his racist remarks on the Internet.
The two men have that in common: they are both members of neo-Nazi organizations and both spend a staggering amount of time bashing Jews, gays and blacks.
They are differences, of course: Ouwendyk doesn't work as a lawyer for the Department of National Defence like Warman does, and he doesn't receive awards from Bernie "Burny" Farber's Canadian Jewish Congress for his important Internet efforts.
It's even stranger than that: the racist words that Ouwendyk wrote, more than half a decade ago, haven't been on the Internet in years. In fact, as the Chair pointed out, they were deleted from the Internet even before Warman filed his complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. As Kathy Shaidle points out, the only place where that online bigotry can now be found is on the website of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
In other words, because of Warman's complaint, the CHRC's collaboration with him, and the CHRT's slow-motion hearing of this matter, anti-Semitic crap that had been buried has been exhumed and put on display using taxpayers money.
I can't wait for the end of this blog post: Fire. Them. All.
Why the CHRC would pursue a complaint against words that were no longer on the Internet is a question to which there are no acceptable legal answers. As the Tribunal ruled, there was nothing to "remediate", since there was no problem. The whole exercise was pointless -- other than to put Warman's enemy through the meat-grinder for a few years. Warman does that a lot -- he's trying to do that to me and other critics of his, through nuisance defamation suits. But at least he has to pay for those himself. In this case, Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the CHRC, agreed to let her agency be used as Warman's instrument of "Maximum Disruption", on the taxpayers' dime.
It's just another reason why Lynch herself is part of the problem, and must be fired.
But there is something else about this case that I skipped over too quickly. Look at paragraph 10, which cites an earlier Chair's interim ruling on Warman v. Ouwendyk (my emphasis):
The hearing on the question of the constitutional validity of the impugned sections of the Act will be deferred pending the outcome in Lemire. If the complaint is substantiated, the Tribunal will not issue any order until the final determination by the Courts of the constitutional question.
In other words, no matter what the Tribunal found in Warman v. Ouwendyk, they're not going to issue any orders until Marc Lemire's constitutional challenge has a "final" determination. That could mean a trip to the Supreme Court -- in about 2012.
In this case, the Tribunal was so disgusted with Warman -- and so stupefied that a complaint would be made against a website that doesn't exist -- that he really didn't plan to issue any order at all. But had he wanted to throw the book at Ouwendyk, he couldn't -- another Tribunal chair had ruled that everything is on ice until Lemire is done.
The enforcement of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act has been suspended indefinitely by the CHRT.
But look what hasn't been suspended: the investigations and prosecutions of section 13. And, as I've said a dozen times before, it's the process that's the real punishment. In this case, it was three years from complaint to ruling -- three years of bullying someone because they had "wrong" political ideas.
The CHRC and the CHRT will continue with that informal punishment, the punishment of abusive process.
The law is coming apart at the seams; the law's chief user has been officially exposed as malign; the law's enforcement has been suspended; but the sick, sick HRC system continues to grind on, using our money and abusing our heritage of natural justice.
Fire. Them. All.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal issued a stunning ruling today, calling the conduct of Richard Warman, Canada’s most prolific human rights complainant, “disappointing and disturbing”.
Tribunal Chair Edward Lustig condemned Warman – who holds himself out as a human rights activist – for his membership in neo-Nazi organizations and ripped into him for his frequent anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi rants. The Tribunal effectively accused Warman himself of breaking the law – pointing out that Warman’s online anti-Semitism could quite possibly expose Jews to even more hatred and contempt. That just happens to be the offence Warman claimed he was trying to enforce. And, in perhaps the most damaging finding, the Tribunal pointed out that Warman at first did not answer questions truthfully – effectively calling him an attempted perjurer.
It is the most incredible ruling I have ever read from a human rights tribunal, and it discredits Warman, his enablers at the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (the censorship provision).
There have been dark days for the censors and bullies at the CHRC over the past year – like Bell Canada’s uncontradicted testimony that CHRC staff hacked a private citizen’s Internet account or Richard Moon’s surprise recommendation to scrap section 13.
But those were merely political developments. This is a quasi-judicial Tribunal ruling. It is not a consultant’s view or a pundit’s opinion or a mere PR blunder. It is the law. Richard Warman is a discredited man who promotes anti-Semitic filth online with no good excuse. Warman’s own favourite Tribunal says so.
Warman is done.
After this ruling, I would be surprised if he ever files a section 13 complaint again. Scratch that: of course he will. But the CHRC will never accept his complaints again – Jennifer Lynch, their chief commissar, is a censor too but she has a sense of political survival. She’s in enough trouble already with a Justice Department review and a Parliamentary Committee investigation getting under way, not to mention the Prime Minister’s Office breathing down her neck. The days of Lynch running with Warman’s cases – and paying his expenses, which she continued to do even after he left the CHRC – are over.
I wonder if even Bernie “Burny” Farber, Official Jewry’s censor-in-chief, will put some distance between him and Warman. You’d think Burny would have given a damn about Warman’s anti-Semitic filth – the secular Tribunal did, but not Burny, even though fighting anti-Semitism is supposed to be his beat. But Burny’s moral compass has been off for a long time – he denounces Jew-loving Christian Zionists like Kathy Shaidle, but defends Jew-bashing radicals like Haroon Siddiqui.
But what now for Warman? How does this poor assessment of his integrity affect his job as “Director of Special Grievances – Enquiries and Investigations” at the Department of National Defence? Every single criticism the Tribunal Chair makes in this ruling touches on Warman’s job at the mini-human rights commission that he runs in the bosom of DND. If I were a soldier hauled before Warman, the first thing I would do is file a special grievance against the special grievance director – and all I'd need was a photocopy of the Tribunal’s ruling.
All of Warman’s showy pretenses of being a human rights crusader have been reduced to rubble. The Tribunal specifically took on Warman’s thin excuses for why he joined neo-Nazi groups and engaged in vicious anti-Semitism himself. The Tribunal listened to Warman’s smug rationalizations – the excuses that Jennifer Lynch and Warman’s other enablers at the CHRC have bought for years – and threw them in the garbage. At paragraph 63:
I do not see any acceptable reason for Mr. Warman to have participated on the Stormfront or Vanguard sites, since there appears to be ample easily obtained messages on these sites available without his involvement. Moreover, it is possible that his activity in this regard, could have precipitated further hate messages in response. His explanation for including other hate messages in his postings by mistake seems very weak to me.
I’ve been writing about Warman’s online bigotry for about a year now, but with few exceptions that explosive story has been reported only by bloggers, not the mainstream media. To see his filth reprinted at great length in a Tribunal ruiling – as it was in this case – is startling to me. And, mirabile dictu, the National Post reprinted Warman’s anti-Semitic rant for the entire nation to see, too. I’m stunned by how far Warman’s reputation has crumbled in the past year.
The Tribunal was clearly upset with Warman’s entrapment and impersonation. But it also mentioned his difficulty telling the truth. Here’s an example, at paragraph 57:
Contrary to Mr. Warman's Statement of Particulars, there is no evidence that the impugned conduct by the Respondents has continued to the present time. Instead it appears to have been discontinued well before the complaints were instituted. To a certain extent, there would not appear to be anything to remediate.
Warman claimed that the people he was going after had been continuously publishing their anti-Semitic comments, when in fact the Tribunal ruled that they had stopped doing so before Warman even filed his complaints. Normal people would say “what a liar!”. The Tribunal simply said that the truth was “contrary to Mr. Warman’s Statement of Particulars.”
But that’s just a trifle compared to this, at paragraph 59:
During his cross-examination, Mr. Warman admitted (after initially denying) that he had participated in communicating messages on Internet Websites similar to the Northern Alliance Website utilizing pseudonyms such as "Pogue Mahone" and "Axetogrind".
Cross-examination is under oath, of course. Lying under oath is called perjury. The Tribunal noted that, at first, Warman didn’t tell the truth. The Tribunal didn’t use the word “lie”; it just pointed out that Warman’s original answers under oath weren’t true. Again, regular people would say “what a liar!” It’s not the first time for Warman.
This hearing was supposed to be about Jason Ouwendyk and the Northern Alliance. It’s no surprise that they were convicted, maintaining the CHRT’s 100% conviction rate for section 13 offences. And, also unsurprising, was the fact that neither defendant had a lawyer – more than 90% of section 13 targets are too poor to afford one and, unlike real courts, legal aid is not provided.
But look at paragraph 56 in the ruling. Warman made three demands: that Ouwendyk and the Northern Alliance be ordered not to publish “hate speech” on the Internet anymore; that they be ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 and “compensation” to Warman of $6,000.
The first demand was granted – the Tribunal gave a cease and desist order, telling Ouwendyk and the Northern Alliance to stop doing what they used to do. But as the Tribunal pointed out, they had stopped doing so years ago. So it was meaningless.
Warman’s demands for cash were refused by the Chair – no fines, and no bounty to Warman.
So what’s the net result of all this?
Warman filed his complaint in January, 2006 – so this has been grinding through the human rights industry for more than three years. Countless hundreds of thousands of tax dollars have been spent, first by the CHRC to investigate the case, and then by the Tribunal to hear the case.
And in the end a website that hasn’t even been on the Internet in years is “banned”.
I guess this is part of the “stimulus package” to make work for busy-bodies, lawyers and bureaucrats.
There are a lot of losers in all of this – the taxpayer; common sense; freedom of speech, including freedom of speech to say offensive things; natural justice and rule of law.
But Warman is clearly the biggest loser. Before this ruling came out, we already knew that Ouwendyk and the Northern Alliance were racist. Nothing’s changed for them at all, other than their time was wasted for three years.
But Warman’s reputation has been devastated.
That’s of concern to him as I’ve outlined above. But it’s also of concern to him for his countless defamation nuisance suits, including against me, Kathy, Kate, the National Post and others.
We all have our defences – truth, fair comment, etc.
But now we have something much more powerful. We have a legal finding that the man who claims we hurt his reputation, doesn’t have a good reputation in the first place.
He “diminishe[d]” it. His conduct is “disturbing”. As a so-called human rights activist, he’s “disappointing.” His reasons for writing anti-Semitic filth are not “acceptable”. His excuse for reprinting other people’s filth is “very weak”.
Try taking that to a defamation court.
P.S. Who is this Edward Lustig who – despite continuing the CHRT’s 100% conviction rate – spoke such common sense about Warman’s discreditable conduct? He was appointed by the Conservatives a year ago. But looking at his brief resume, there’s something different: he didn’t come from the grievance industry. He spent 27 years as lawyer for the City of Niagara Falls. In other words, doing normal legal work, not radical politics masquerading as the law. Lustig actually sits on the CHRT part-time – he still practices law – not “human rights law” or “critical Marxist theory” law, but real estate law, commercial and municipal planning law. No wonder he was appalled by Warman’s filthy mouth – he hasn’t had the politically correct training to get the nuances when Warman said that Irwin Cotler was Jewish “scum”.
I’m not saying that section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act can be workable in the hands of reasonable men – it can’t be. It’s an unfair law that violates our constitutional rights. And, despite the laughable impotence of the order against the respondents here, it’s still unconstitutional. But it’s refreshing that someone in the entire human rights industry had the independence and common sense to finally blow the whistle on one of Canada’s most abusive legal and political bullies, Richard Warman. Or as he is now legally known: the disgraced Richard Warman.
My new book about Canada's abusive human rights commissions, called Shakedown, will officially be released on March 24th.
I'm pretty excited about it: the informal feedback I've received from book reviewers who received early copies is pretty positive. It was a pleasure to write the book -- it's part of the fight to denormalize HRCs by winning the argument in the court of public opinion. The HRCs hate that: they prefer to operate in darkness, punctuated only by occasional cheerleading stories written about them by ideological dupes in the mainstream media. That era is over.
I'm particularly glad that Shakedown is being published by McClelland & Stewart, one of Canada's most prestigious publishers. Of course, going with a publisher like them will they ensure the book receives a wide distribution and strong publicity (I'll blog about the details of my international(!) book tour soon) so it will be read by "severely normal" Canadians, not just political junkies who surf the conservative blogosphere. That's important: this story has to break out from the political class and capture the imagination of Canadians in general.
It also says something about what's normal and what's not in Canada these days that someone with my strong views -- I believe in abolishing HRCs, not just reforming them -- is now normal enough to be published by the same publisher as Margaret Atwood and Mel Hurtig. It's not that M&S "agrees" with me; it's that they recognize my view is a legitimate one. It's the HRCs who are the extremists, the violators of civil liberties. I'm the liberal now.
It has been a challenge to refrain from blogging about so many of the stories and anecdotes I put in the book, but I showed that discipline so that regular readers of this blog would find the book new and worthwhile. Of course, the basic themes are ones that I cover regularly, but the stories and the details are new. I'm pretty excited about it. There are some absolutely crazy cases that will shock even regular readers of this blog, who are now surely numb to whatever new stupidity is cooked up by the HRCs.
The first person in the country to receive a review copy was Dan Cook, who besides blogging here, had me on the radio in Montreal. You can see a transcript of that talk on Roy Eappen's blog, and you can hear the audio here.
The first "official" book review in a newspaper of record is tomorrow's review in the Calgary Herald, by Nigel Hannaford. Attentive readers will know that Nigel has been fighting against the censorship powers of HRCs for a long time -- long before I ever became entangled in them.
Here is Nigel's blog, which contains a sneak preview of tomorrow's Herald review. Here are some of my favourite excerpts:
...Taking on the pugnacious Ezra is like wrestling with a hog: You both get dirty, but the hog enjoys it.
Anyway, Levant was duly charged with the boilerplate "publishing something likely to expose a person or class of persons to hatred or contempt etc."
Shake Down is about what happened next.
Anybody with a western understanding of fair play will see red over what Levant reports: Politicized tribunals presided over by commissioners who, like Calgary alderman Diane Colley-Urquart, float freely across the borders between elected office and HRC panellist; state-paid prosecution of hapless defendants by complainants who never face the possibility of costs; no right of counter suit for malicious prosecution; no common-law defences allowed, no rules of evidence.
...The nub of the matter is in a foreword by Mark Steyn, himself no stranger to the political courts of Canada’s two-tier-justice system. Remarking on the now-famous encounter between Levant and a so-called human rights agent of the AHRC, (see YouTube,) Steyn writes, "At one point in her inquisition, after listening to Ezra’s musings on the outrageousness of what was happening, Agent McGovern looked blandly across the table and shrugged: ‘You’re entitled to your opinion, that’s for sure.’ If only."
Quite. If an Albertan is entitled to his opinion, why does he have to answer for it to a government agency?
...But, why "Shake Down?"
Well, I admit here at the Herald with our professional free-speech emphasis, actually a small part of what human rights commissions do, we sometimes overlook their staple trade; garden-variety opportunism. However, Ezra doesn’t and in a cross-country checkup, reveals such eye-rollers as a transvestite who won the right to counsel female rape victims, and a complaint by a Calgary hair stylist who complained to the AHRC that the girls he worked with called him a "loser" — not, to my knowledge, a prohibited ground of discrimination — and a quick review of Alberta cases shows severance agreements are creeping in.
...Shake Down. Read it. Get mad.
It's great to get a strong review like that. And it will be great to have hostile reviews by the three or four usual suspects in the HRC industry who still are unembarrassed to publicly defend these medieval-style star chambers.
A year ago I made the decision not to let the "lawfare" being waged against me turn me into a sour crank. I knew if my readers could help me cover my enormous legal bills, I could stay positive, knowing I had public support and that if we just kept writing the truth about the HRCs, we'd win in the court of public opinion in the end. My goal was to be, to borrow the title of Mark Steyn's column in National Review, a "happy warrior".
I think I've got that tonal balance in Shakedown. There's a good helping of outrage in there. But I think Canada's HRCs are even more laughable than they are outrageous. Frankly, it's easy to mock them.
My goal is to get the whole country laughing at them, destroying their false respectability, and pressuring governments to act to reform or repeal them.
I think it's going to work. (I predicted that 2009 would be the year when the first political reforms to HRCs would happen, and I stand by that prediction.)
You can get your copy of Shakedown from Amazon here, from Chapters here, and from Mark Steyn here (signed by him). Mark was kind enough to write a powerful introduction to the book. That introduction itself is worth the cover price itself.
If you do buy the book, drop me a line to let me know what you think of it. I'd love the feedback.
So we're in the middle of a recession with unemployment on the rise. The news from around the world is even worse. The federal Liberals have a new leader who is well-liked by the national media and who is unknown enough that voters may project upon him their fondest hopes.
And... the Conservatives still have a four-point lead in the national polls and a ten-point lead outside Quebec?
How does that even happen?
A friend points out this data: in the 134 public opinion polls taken between when Stephane Dion was elected leader of the Liberals and the day the writ was dropped in the last election, the average result was:
Compare Dion's numbers to the new poll by the Strategic Counsel:
They're exactly the same.
Michael Ignatieff + a recession = the same result as Stephane Dion got.
I'm not sure if it's something Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are doing right or something that Ignatieff and the Liberals are doing wrong, but it's pretty amazing to me.
For further reading, might I suggest this fascinating biography of Ignatieff written by Michael Valpy -- no conservative he. My favourite passage was this section about Ignatieff's brother, Andrew. It's rare when close family members deliberately embarrass a celebrity -- one of the things that hurt Rudy Giuliani's presidential hopes was when his own kids wouldn't campaign for him, out of protest for how he treated their mother during their divorce. Andrew Ignatieff shares the Giuliani kids' frankness about his famous brother. I wonder how he would answer the poll if the Strategic Counsel had called him up:
"Before I started at age 12," he writes, "our parents sat down with my older brother and me. They said, 'Michael, you're the big brother, and Andrew is going to UCC for the first time. It's the first time he has ever been away. You have to understand you have to be good to him.'
"Michael was very sweet and he told me how wonderful UCC would be. Then we went to my Aunt Helen's house and again he was very sweet. My Aunt Helen [Ignatieff, the boys' in loco parentis in Canada] again impressed on him the importance of him looking out for me. Then we went to the school and he introduced me to all the masters in the prep.
"The next morning he said, 'How are things going? Did you sleep well?' I said, 'Yes, I slept well.' He said, 'How was the food?' I said. 'It was gross.' He said, 'Do you want to go for a walk?'
"We went for a walk, and he said, 'I want to make one thing absolutely clear to you. When we're at Aunt Helen's house or Aunt Charity's house [Charity Grant, their mother's sister], you can say whatever you want to me. But if you ever see me on the school grounds, you're not to talk to me. You're not to recognize that I'm your brother. You don't exist as far as I'm concerned. Do I make myself clear?'"
Not existing was for many years the sine qua non for Andrew in his relationship with both his brother and his father. For a 1992 article in Saturday Night magazine, he recounted to writer Sandra Martin his first memory of Ignatieff family life.
It is the early 1950s. The family is holidaying on Long Island. Alison Ignatieff is off to one side, sunbathing and reading. George and Michael are building a sand castle with turrets, moats and dikes to try to hold back the incoming tide. Pudgy Andrew is plunked in the middle of the castle, trapped and wailing, his distress escalating with each wave that washes over the walls and douses him with sand and sea.
Michael, wiry as a strand of tin, is shoring up walls to the magisterial commands of his father, and both of them are completely oblivious to Andrew's unhappiness.
"They were having the time of their lives and I was being ignored because I was fat and small and couldn't move around and I had sand in my bathing suit," he said.
It would get worse.
UPDATE: Some commenters point out that Ignatieff's treatment of his brother in high school isn't really relevant. It's true, we all do immature things as teenagers -- that's part of being a teenager. But here's another vignette from the same biography, when Ignatieff was in his late thirties:
In the August, 1984 — the summer of Michael Ignatieff's "good year" — there was a family gathering at the house in a village in Provence that George and Alison had bought in 1962 as their only permanent residence.
The older Ignatieffs were there. Andrew had flown in from the shanty barrios of Peru where he worked for the Canadian arm of Save the Children. Michael, Susan and baby Theo had come from London — making it the first time three generations of the family were gathered under one roof.
It was a taxing time. Alison had begun her descent into Alzheimer's. George, the all-powerful force in his sons' lives, was showing signs of frailty. There were raw emotions and difficult conversations as the family struggled with its psychological past, with the unfamiliarity of living together, with the pain of coming to terms with Alison's illness.
The sons' difficult relationship with their father came to the surface.
George, who had had no real childhood of his own, had little idea of what to do with fatherhood when it came to him. He could appear warm and affectionate, but found it difficult to convey his hopes and aspirations to his sons beyond declamations of grand dynastic expectations.
Michael said things that wounded his father. He accused him of crushing his mother's creativity and independence by taking over her life and making her subservient to his needs.
A year later, as Andrew would tell Sandra Martin for Saturday Night, he came home to Toronto from Peru for a visit, walked into a bookstore and saw the entire story of his family's summer laid out in an article Michael had written for the British literary magazine Granta.
Or, almost the entire story: Andrew had been written out of the script. He just didn't appear.
"I just remember standing there and my eyes filling up with tears in the middle of the bookstore," he said.
Not long afterward, Andrew quit his job in Peru to return to Toronto to care for his parents, while Michael's career continued to flower in England — as a television host, newspaper commentator, author and screenplay-writer.
In early 1989, he came briefly to Toronto to spell Andrew off as caregiver — "'once or twice a year, it's my turn" — and shortly afterward, Granta published "Deficits," a deeply moving account of a son looking after his mother, with a forensically detailed description of Alison's deteriorating mental state.
Said Andrew: "I came in one evening and my father was really upset, and I said, 'What's the matter?' and he said, 'Michael's written an article about your mother'"
There were family members — for example, Alison's sister, Charity Grant, and her brother, George Grant, and his wife, Sheila — who could never bring themselves to forgive Michael for having publicly exposed his intensely private mother.
That summer, George Ignatieff died. Andrew was with him. Michael was in France.
Rob Anders, the Conservative MP for Calgary West, is facing a challenge at his upcoming nomination meeting, as he has several times before. As Kevin Libin put it in the National Post, Anders’ latest challenger is destined for disaster as were the last ones.
Donna Kennedy-Glans is the next train-wreck in line. If Anders could hand-pick any opponent for himself, he’d have a tough time finding someone more politically unsuitable than she is. She’s a radical feminist lawyer, an anti-corporate scold and an apologist for radical Islam. Those things might sell in Tory nominations in downtown Toronto or Montreal – though I doubt it – but certainly not in Calgary, especially Calgary West.
Kevin’s blog had lots of good links, and they got me digging on my own about who Kennedy-Glans is and isn’t. I found this unintentionally hilarious letter by her to John Manley, giving him useful advice about the war in Afghanistan. Some excerpts:
We encourage you to look at Canada’s role in Afghanistan through a contemporary gender prism.
…Do people recognize our global future as shared - as one indivisible fate? For mothers, this sense of security is often dependent on the degree to which their offspring – and youth across the world - share this worldview.
…To co-create resilient global security, we will need more than troop surge. We will need a surge in rejuvenating maternal forces.
I’ve door-knocked in Calgary West before, and that kind of Marxist feminism, coated with a woolly layer of jargon and bafflegab, isn’t really a crowd-pleaser there. Or anywhere else in Canada that I know of, actually.
OK, I do know of a place where it’s a hit: at a dinner party in Oakville, Ontario. Here’s a poster announcing her recent speech there, where she promised to explain “ways to reconcile spirituality and patriarchy”. You will be shocked, dear reader, to learn that such a speech was sponsored by a couple of feminist divorce lawyers and a teacher’s union.
The funny thing about Kennedy-Glans is that she preaches feminism to Canadian audiences – but she’s an apologist for one of the world’s most misogynistic regimes: Yemen.
Kennedy-Glans went to Yemen as an executive with the oil company Nexen. After she left Nexen, she kept going back – some fifty times, she claims – to do “development work”. Fair enough. But she also does a lot of propaganda in support of Yemen’s dictator, who has ruled that country with an iron fist for 31 years. Read this laughable love-letter Kennedy-Glans wrote to that dictator. You’d almost think that Yemen was a democracy, not a murderous tyranny with a failed economy kept afloat by, well, companies like Nexen. Then again, if Kennedy-Glans had anything critical to say about Yemen, it’s not likely that it would have been published – it is explicitly against the law to criticize Yemen’s dictator, and his secret police go so far as to monitor cell phone text messages.
Kennedy-Glans tries to paint some sort of feminist picture of this women-hating regime. Here’s Freedom House’s rather more objective review of women’s rights in Yemen. It’s a detailed read, but suffice it to say, it’s a country where honour killings are smiled upon by the law.
Look, if you’re working in a radical Islamic hell-hole, sometimes you’ve got to tell some white lies to get ahead. (Well, actually you don’t, if you have a strong enough belief in democracy, freedom and the equality of men and women.) But not everyone is cut out to be a feminist. But Kennedy-Glans plays one back in Canada.
She never mentions the horrors of female genital mutilation and honour killings and the word “Yemen” together, certainly not in a Yemeni newspaper. And, as she wrote in this item for the Calgary Herald:
we may even be guilty of projecting our own values on Muslim sisters -- for example, assuming women in hijab are oppressed when it is very possible their individual choice to wear a veil or a chador is a manifestation of their faith.
Ah yes. We’re the guilty ones over here in Canada, aren’t we! And my favourite:
Women in the Middle East now taste the sweet victory of scoring human rights -- the right to primary, secondary and post-secondary education, the right to vote and to hold political office, the right of non-discriminatory access to work and to justice.
What planet is she on? Yemen is a dictatorship – their “vote” is about as real as the votes in Cuba. Other than liberated Iraq (and a wobbly Lebanon), the only democracy in the Middle East is Israel.
She ends with a flourish:
Canada must follow in the footsteps of many other countries that have followed our advice, acted on our principles.
We, too, must be a culture where limiting beliefs about equality are truthfully evaluated, both at a community level and within the hearts and minds of individuals. This I have no doubt we can do. Our Muslim sisters think so, too.
If you take out the annoying bafflegab, what is she saying? That Canada should “follow” the Muslim world’s example on how to treat women? That Muslim women – say, in Yemen – think we Canadians should be more honest about our sexism?
What a kook. She should save it for the government-controlled Yemeni press.
A women’s place in the world isn’t the only subject about which Kennedy-Glans saw fit to lecture Canadians from a Yemeni point of view. She co-wrote an article with this interesting Yemeni exchange student. Nice company.
They condemned the publication of the Danish cartoons, blaming “rogue news agencies”. I know that’s what they’re called in Yemen, but in the free world, they’re called “independent news agencies”, because they operate independently of government dictators. Kennedy-Glans, a lawyer, implied that it was criminal for the Danish newspaper to have done so.
The article is written in Kennedy-Glans’s trademark duckspeak; reading her “co-author’s” ESL blog entry, above, I’m pretty sure he didn’t write the thing. I mean, who even speaks like this:
This literary gunpowder added fuel to the smouldering anguish of a faith community that feels alienated -- pushed to the limits on a daily basis in wartorn communities where violence and death have become habitual, or struggling to reclaim normalcy within European communities where they experience mounting marginalization.
What an amazing amalgam of clichés. But it all covers up her malicious worldview: that the West is to blame, and Islamic riots in response to the cartoons are our fault.
This woman isn’t a Tory. She’s not really even a Liberal, other than the Denis Coderre wing of the Liberal Party. She most closely reminds me of Jennifer Lynch, another hard-left, politically correct feminist lawyer.
All of these are reasons why Kennedy-Glans should lose in Calgary West, and why she will lose.
But, if you’re a Tory – and it’s Tory party members who will choose the Tory candidate in Calgary West – forget all of the above. It’s interesting and revolting, but it’s not Kennedy-Glans’s biggest political flaw.
She’s a Liberal saboteur.
She and her socialist fellow traveler Bob Dickson had “bid” on a charity dinner with Anders. They despise everything he stands for; it was clearly a political scheme to get him to have a 90-minute conversation with them, hoping he'd say something embarrassing, and then they'd go public with it. Over dinner, they got talking about foreign aid and human rights. Not surprisingly, Kennedy-Glans took offence. (That’s quite something, given what she’ll abide in Yemen.)
But Kennedy-Glans didn’t go public with her “outrageous” “news” about Anders. She sat on it for four months, until the middle of the federal election campaign, when she suddenly decided it opportune to go to the press with her version of events. She said Anders made some inappropriate comments about foreign aid; he denied them, saying she took them out of context. For our purposes here, the truth is irrelevant. Because my point is: Kennedy-Glans is unsuitable for membership in the Conservative caucus.
Now, it is certainly Kennedy-Glans’s right to disagree with Anders. And it’s her right to scheme with the Liberal Party’s candidate in the riding, Jennifer Pollock, and to feed Pollock and the Liberal war room embarrassing information about Anders, and to go to the press, less than two weeks before the election day, creating a mini-scandal for the Tories.
It’s her right.
It’s her right to try to embarrass Anders. I doubt her stunt cost him any votes that he wasn’t already going to lose – and with Anders’ 57% of the vote, compared to Pollock’s 22%, her little media stunt had no chance of defeating Anders.
But it turned into a national media story, of course. It ran coast to coast – even though it was hearsay from a private conversation, reported four months after the fact, by someone scheming with the Liberal candidate. That’s how the media works sometimes in Canada.
So, while Anders was unscathed, 307 other Tory candidates had to wear the mini-scandal. And maybe in a few ridings that were awfully close, Kennedy-Glans’s stunt actually made a difference.
Again, that’s her right. And hats off to Jennifer Pollock and the Liberal war room for colouring the headlines for a few days.
But now – five months after knifing every Tory candidate in the back – Kennedy-Glans wants to join the team?
Now – after cooking up a scheme with the Liberal candidate in the riding – Kennedy-Glans wants to be trusted as the Tory candidate?
Now – after showing party disloyalty during the crucial final weeks of the campaign – Kennedy-Glans wants to be trusted as part of the Tory caucus?
Now – after inflicting two days of negative news stories on the party and the leader, she wants the party to accept her and the leader to sign her papers?
This, from the author of a book on “ethics”. Spare us.
Donna Kennedy-Glans isn’t suitable for Parliament. She’s a kook. She’s a bizarre cross between a radical feminist and an apologist for a women-hating Arab dictatorship.
That’s of concern to the 135,000 residents of Calgary West.
And that should concern the thousand or two Conservative party members there, too, of course.
Rob Anders has his flaws. But Conservatives ought to ask themselves another question: do they really want a Liberal saboteur as their Tory candidate?
Yesterday I wrote about Gurbax Malhi, the Liberal MP who spoke at a rally in support of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group responsible for tens of thousands of murders in Sri Lanka. That's why the Tamil Tigers, more formally known as the "Liberal Tigers of the Tamil Eelam", or LTTE, have been banned as a criminal organization in Canada for three years.
After Malhi spoke at the rally, the Liberal Party issued a laughable non-apology in which Malhi did not express regret for attending the rally, nor did he express distaste for the Tamil Tigers, but rather expressed regret that people had misunderstood him.
The funny part, though, was that Malhi, while practically draped in Tamil Tiger flags, claimed he had no clue it was a Tamil Tiger rally. He even told reporters that he really didn't know anything about the rally -- he just happened to be walking by, saw a group of people, and came over to say a few words.
Really? Well, here's an e-mail that Malhi's colleague, Liberal MP Derek Lee, sent out to all of his fellow Liberal MPs, including Malhi. I've bolded my favourite lines:
From: Lee, Derek - M.P.
Sent: March 4, 2009 6:12 PM
To: - LIBERAL ASSISTANTS; - LIBERAL MEMBERS/DÉPUTÉS
Subject: INHCU rally tomorrow
The organizers of this Tamil community rally have asked our office to circulate this note as ways of a reminder for tomorrow's rally , due to be held between 12 and 3 tomorrow outside of Centre Block. I understand that they would welcome M.P.s to show their support at around 1:30.
As an aside the organizers of this rally have, in a large part, been known to Mr. Lee for a number of years. The group's object is to have Tamils come together, not under the alleged auspices of LTTE affiliates. Nor are they aligned with the LTTE and its affiliates. The group have concerns about the LTTE and primarily wish to highlight their identity as Tamil Canadians. In this respect, Mr. Lee feels that they are deserving of an indication of support.
Should you have any other queries or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.
Office of Derek Lee, M.P.
Scarborough - Rouge River
Room 633, Confederation Building
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
So we know that Malhi was lying when he said he just happened upon the protesters. We know that all Liberal MPs were exhorted to attend. And we can also deduce that Derek Lee knew that supporting anything to do with the Tamil Tigers was unethical -- look at the lengths he goes in the letter to claim that the rally had nothing to do with them.
But look at the photos from the rally: The Tamil Tiger flags are everywhere; there are signs that spell out LTTE. No-one within 100 yards of that rally could honestly say that they didn't know it was a terrorist front. Even if they had believed Lee's e-mail and attended the rally in good faith, they would surely have been disabused of its false contents upon seeing the signs and flags -- or hearing the angry, pro-Tamil Tiger chants.
Here are a few photos. Here's one in which Malhi is literally being draped in a terrorist flag:
Here's one in which you can see signs boasting of the LTTE's fight just a few feet away from Malhi:
Here's some young LTTE supporters, proudly holding some LTTE flags. And who's that chatting with them? Why, it's Gurbax Malhi:
It's appalling that Malhi attended such a terrorist rally. It's appalling that Lee promoted it. But neither of them are important men.
But Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is important, or wants to be. For him to countenance such associations is a troubling sign. Neither Malhi nor Lee have been disciplined. Not only does that show Ignatieff's unhealthy tolerance for criminal associations, but it casts into doubt his newfound support for Israel and his new criticism of its terrorist enemies.
Seriously: if Ignatieff won't bat an eyelash when his MPs promote and attend a rally in support of Tamil terrorists, how can we believe a word he says when he claims he's against Hamas and Hezbollah?
Gurbax Malhi, the Liberal MP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, attended a rally today in support of the Tamil Tigers terrorist group. The violent insurrection led by the Tamil Tigers has claimed more the 60,000 lives in Sri Lanka; they were declared a criminal organization in Canada by the Conservative government shortly after their election in 2006.
Maybe Malhi was sick that day in Parliament and missed the news.
Here's a brief video of this dangerous buffoon. Note the forest of flags adorned with tigers and bullets; listen to the screeching man who grabs the microphone right after Malhi, who ends his rant with the phrase "freedom fighters -- Tamil Tigers!"
And what does Malhi -- the pride of Michael Ignatieff's caucus -- have to say?
"You're here today for a great cause... I am helping you guys, I'm behind you because you're fighting for the right cause."
A great cause, eh?
Malhi was obviously "re-educated" by someone in his party later in the day, because the central party issued this hilarious statement about his terrorist-loving ways. Let me fisk it, with my own thoughts interspersed:
Today I attended a rally on Parliament Hill in support of a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sri Lanka.
A peaceful resolution? Is that what the flags with all the bullets were about?
I attended this rally out of concern for the people of Sri Lanka, as well as the Canadians of Sri Lankan descent whose lives are affected by this terrible situation.
If you are so opposed to the violence, then why did you say that they were right to fight?
To the best of my knowledge, the group organizing this rally has no history of association with terror or the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE). Although a number of attendees at this rally chose to wave LTTE flags, I did not realize the significance of these flags, nor was I aware that other speakers made statements in support of the LTTE.
To the best of your knowledge they weren't associated with terrorists? But you claimed you've been following this file for years. You were in Parliament when they were banned. Now you're feigning ignorance?
A "number" of attendees few terrorist flags? You were in the middle of a forest of them.
You didn't realize the signficance of those flags? They have a tiger on them. They have bullets on them. Even an illiterate could figure them out.
You weren't aware that "other speakers" supported the terrorists? How about the shrieking man who thanked you, and spoke immediately after you, who mentioned his love for the terrorists by name?
I deeply regret that my attendance at this rally was misunderstood by some as a demonstration of my support (expressed or implied) of terror, or of a terrorist organization. There is no excuse for terrorism and attacks on civilians, and the world has to show its concern for the protection of the civilian population.
There was no misunderstanding. You supported the terrorists.
The Liberal Party position on the conflict in Sri Lanka has not changed, and I remain steadfastly committed to it.
The Liberal Party position has indeed changed. Until the Conservatives criminalized the Tamil Tigers, Liberals attended fundraising dinners for them in Canada, in the hopes of drumming up political support. Paul Martin himself attended such a fundraiser.
We are deeply concerned about the continuing violence in Sri Lanka. An immediate ceasefire is needed now more than ever.
Righhhht. We all heard you say you loved the fight.
We urge both the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to work together to find every possible way to save lives and to further avert a humanitarian disaster.
We also call on the international community to come together to work towards political reconciliation in Sri Lanka and to provide humanitarian assistance where it is needed. We have a responsibility to protect innocent civilians whose lives are at risk as a result of this military conflict.
Blah blah blah, more mushy boilerplate written by some Liberal intern.
Reader: did you notice that something’s missing?
Nowhere does Malhi renounce violence or the Tamil Tigers. He says he’s against violence against “civilians” – presumably he’s okay with the Tamil terrorists attacking the legitimate government of Sri Lanka and their army.
My favourite is Malhi's Warren Kinsella-like apology: it’s not to those who have had family members murdered by the Tamil Tigers. He’s not sorry for that. He’s sorry that some people out there – fools! – “misunderstood” his speech. It’s what the Chinese call an “ironic apology” – Malhi isn’t sorry for what he thinks about the rally; he's sorry for what you think about it.
Michael Ignatieff didn’t recruit Malhi to the party. Ignatieff inherited him. It’s not his fault that Malhi is a Liberal MP. And I’m sure that Malhi didn’t give Ignatieff's office the heads-up that he was going to hang out with some terrorist supporters, and give them some kind words. None of that is Ignatieff’s fault, though it does show the quality of the Liberal bench.
But what Ignatieff most certainly is responsible for is what happened after Malhi was caught red-handed.
Malhi wasn’t suspended from caucus. He wasn’t even disciplined. Fine – with such a small caucus, every vote counts.
But here’s the rub: Malhi wasn’t even ordered to renounce his support for the Tamil Tigers, he wasn’t ordered to express regret for attending the rally or for saying what he said.
He was allowed to make a non-apology, an ironic apology.
He was allowed to support a terrorist front.
That's not even a slap on the wrist. That's a kiss on the cheek.
This isn't about a backbench loser like Malhi anymore.
This is about the judgment of the Liberal leader, the man who would be prime minister.
But it’s not surprising. Ignatieff just promoted Denis Coderre to be his defence critic and minister in charge of Quebec. Why’s that newsworthy? Oh – nothing really. Coderre marched in a rally with Hezbollah terrorist flags flying proudly.
Coderre and Malhi are disgusting. But it’s Ignatieff who permits and rewards their grotesque behavior.
George Jonas was on to the fraud of Canada's "human rights commissions" before I was even born, and he's still the master at debunking them as the abusive, corrupt entities that they are. His piece in yesterday's National Post was one of the best I've read on the subject in a year.
The title itself is great -- he calls them "medieval rights commissions", because they want to destroy our liberal justice system, and replace them with a half-sharia, half Star Chamber perversion that is more suited to the Dark Ages than to our own enlightened times.
HRCs [are] seeking intervener status before Justice Frank Marocco of Ontario's Superior Court, who is asked to determine whether a Muslim woman should remove her veil while testifying as a witness at a hearing in a sexual assault case.
Apparently the original presiding judge said yes, please, take it off. He didn't add, as I might have: "Remove it, dear lady, because you're now in Canada, and here it isn't our custom to try people on the evidence of masked witnesses."
No, Justice Norris Weisman didn't say what I'd have said, which is probably why he's a judge, and I'm a scribbler. All the judge allowed himself to note was that the lady's religious modesty might not be overwhelming, considering she did consent to be photographed for her driver's licence without a veil. (Would the judge have let a Muslim believer he found more genuinely devout testify in a veil? We don't know.)
Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall's troops are pawing the ground to be heard in the matter. Predictably, their view is that a believer's right to exercise her religious practices trumps the right of an accused to a fair trial. The way the law has evolved in Canada, they say, it's the courts' duty to accommodate outlandish customs. How could it be otherwise, when the vital right of a Muslim woman to be ritually veiled is balanced against a mere bagatelle, such as a man's rightoid to give full answer and defence to the criminal charges against him?
...Here's an institution, ostensibly established to safeguard human rights, including, among others, a right Canada's Charter of Right and Freedoms calls fundamental, the right to a fair trial. Crossexamination-- "the engine of truth" as a legal cliche has it --is integral to a fair trial, and seeing a witness' face while testing his or her veracity is integral to cross-examination. Given this, what is there to say about "human rights" officials offering themselves as "experts" to testify that the right to a fair trial in 21st-century Canada takes second place to a medieval Muslim notion of feminine modesty?
...Hall's commissars aren't demanding access to Judge Marocco's court as advocates for shariah. No, they're calling themselves experts on Canada's evolving law. They're not urging the courts to accommodate veiled Muslim witnesses, they're stating as their expert opinion that, as a matter of law, accommodating such witnesses is the duty of Canadian courts.
...consider the "human rights" persecution of a St. Catharines, Ont., exercise entrepreneur for his decision not to immediately allow an incomplete sex-change candidate use of the ladies' changing room in his establishment. ...some libertarian commentators think that, well, really, people should be able to decide for themselves whether they're men or women.
I'd wholeheartedly agree, if they added "in their own minds."
People should certainly be able to decide what they are in their own minds. By all means, please, be my guest, be whatever you like -- men, women, bullfrogs, butter knives. It is (or used to be) a free country. My problem is with people who want to decide what they are in my mind. The way liberty works, they can decide what they are for themselves, and I'll decide what they are for me.
Tonight I was on a panel on Michael Coren's TV show. It was a fun one -- my favourite part was when we talked a bit about Rush Limbaugh.
One of the other subjects was that crazy case of a Muslim witness who wants to testify in a criminal court while wearing the niqab -- a full veil covering her face. No surprise: Marilyn Churley, the former NDP cabinet minister who graces Coren's show, was all in favourite of it.
So much for feminism and the left.
Sometimes SDA Matt YouTubes the show, and I link to it, but he didn't tonight. But I found this recent gem on SDA Matt's YouTube page:
Tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 7:10 a.m. Eastern Time I'll be on John Oakley's popular Toronto morning show. We'll be talking about this insane case: the Ontario Human Rights Commission is intervening in a criminal case, demanding that a witness not be required to remove her Islamic veil when testifying.
This is a pretty simple one to me: it's not about the witness's "right" to obscure her face; it's about the accused mens' right to be able to observe their accuser, and the judge's ability to see her demeanour, too.
Is she shifty-eyed? Is she a bad liar? Is she fidgety, blinking, sweating, darting her eyes around? Or is she resolved, credible, sure, and confident?
It's not about her. It's about the credibility of her testimony. And that's important because two mens' lives are being held in the balance.
Of course the OHRC thinks her "right" to hide her face trumps their right to a fair trial. Because the OHRC doesn't give a damn about fair trials -- they're not about justice, they're about political correctness, ethnic grievances, and make-work projects for radical lawyers and bureaucrats.
That's bad enough, having spread throughout the kangaroo courts of the land. But now the OHRC is trying to export that rot into the real legal system.
It's awful, but I think it's an overreach -- I think it's just the latest outrage from the HRCs that is pushing normal Canadians too far.
Tune in -- and call in, if you can.
I thought Warren Kinsella's $5-million nuisance lawsuit against me was the weakest legal case I had ever seen. But that's only because I hadn't seen his legal threat against Christian Paradis, the Conservative Minister of Public Works.
You can see Kinsella's latest threat here. (Question: if Kinsella truly believed that Paradis' words hurt his reputation, why would he republish those words himself on the Internet, blog repeatedly about them and even give speeches about it? Methinks he doth protest too much.)
Let me reprint the exact words Paradis said that Kinsella's complaining about:
"The Liberal Party is back doing business as usual and has clearly not learned its lesson from the Sponsorship Scandal," said Paradis. "First Michael Ignatieff brought back disgraced Chretien backroom organizer Warren Kinsella and now he has welcomed a key Sponsorship Scandal figure into his inner circle."
Uh, that's it.
To be clear, the second person Paradis was referring to is Beryl Wajsman, a Quebec Liberal who had been banned "for life" from the Liberal Party by Paul Martin, but has been welcomed back by Ignatieff's new Quebec organizers. The entire excerpt above was from a press release by Paradis.
Let's break that down, from a defamation point of view. The first sentence is a mild opinion -- the Liberal Party has not learned its lesson from Adscam. Pretty tame stuff -- clearly fair comment. The first part of the next sentence is the only one that refers to Kinsella directly: that Ignatieff brought Kinsella back into the party (true); that Kinsella was a Chretien backroom organizer (true); and that Kinsella was disgraced (a matter of opinion). The last fifteen words refer to Wajsman -- calling Wajsman a key Sponsorship Scandal figure (that was evidently the Martin government's opinion, but it's got nothing to do with Kinsella).
So if you ignore the parts that are uncontroversial or that apply to Wajsman, Kinsella is threatening to sue Paradis because he called him "disgraced".
But that is clearly fair comment.
Kinsella was mentioned by name, again and again, in the findings of Justice John Gomery's judicial inquiry into Adscam. Justice Gomery called Kinsella's conduct "highly inappropriate" -- Kinsella had written a memo demanding that public servants change their procedures, to funnel advertising and polling monies through Chuck Guite, who was later convicted of fraud. If that's not disgraceful, I don't know what is.
Calling Kinsella disgraceful is clearly fair comment in the realm of political debates. The Liberal Party seems to think so -- they use variants of that same insult almost 500 times on their own website, usually to describe some Conservative they don't like. After a cursory check, I can't even find the word "disgraced" on a list of words deemed unparliamentary -- though Kinsella's favourite insult, "racist", is there.
And then there's the minor matter of the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled last summer that the defence of fair comment in Canada ought to be vastly expanded. In that case, the court ruled:
[Rafe Mair's] expression of opinion, however exaggerated, was protected by the law. We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones.
Dear reader, even before last summer's SCC ruling, Kinsella's threatened lawsuit would have been laughable. To sue an MP because he called Kinsella disgraceful? Kinsella had been disgraced by nothing less than a judicial inquiry -- a finding that, while Kinsella railed against it in every way possible, he didn't do the one thing you would expect someone to do who didn't agree with it: he didn't appeal it.
But I am wasting my time here. I am actually trying to legally analyze Paradis' comments, and the "libel notice" issued by Kinsella's lawyers.
But it's not a real libel notice. This really doesn't have anything to do with the law. It will never go to court. It's not serious.
It's a press release. But instead of putting it out from the Liberal Party war room, it's been issued by Kinsella's lawyer.
It doesn't cost anything to issue a libel notice, by the way -- they're not filed at court. They're as cheap as any other bumf faxed out by a political party.
I think it's a sign of desperation that Kinsella -- and, let's face it, his boss and patron, Michael Ignatieff -- are styling their press releases as legal threats. It's sort of like the occasional nut who writes me e-mails IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! as if the visual emphasis somehow makes up for the lack of substance or sanity of the letter itself.
Anyone who actually reads Kinsella's libel notice -- and he clearly wants that to be as many people as possible, given that he's publicized it -- will see just how petty and thin-skinned it is. I don't think anyone takes it seriously -- I really have a tough time imagining that even Kinsella's lawyer takes it seriously. And I think it's pretty clear that Kinsella himself doesn't take his defamation threats seriously, either. I mean, in the past week alone, he's threatened two MPs -- Lois Brown and now Paradis.
I think it's pretty sad actually -- that the only tool of advocacy and persuasion Kinsella still wields is that of threats. It's not quite a perfect match, but he's sort of like Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi Information Minister who issued wilder and wilder statements of an imminent Saddam victory as the American troops closed in on him.
Paradis should laugh off Kinsella's letter -- and as a libel notice, unlike a statement of claim, it doesn't even require a response.
But I'll file his letter away for my own purposes. Like dozens of other occasions, this latest defamation lawsuit threat by Kinsella actually proves the case against Kinsella. Because every time Kinsella accuses someone of destroying his reputation -- and he's done so dozens of times, twice in the last week alone -- he provides evidence that, in fact, his reputation is already quite damaged in the community. If, month after month, you swear on a stack of bibles that your reputation has been destroyed by someone, and then someone else, and then someone else, it's tough to go to court claiming that your reputation was worth, oh, say, $5-million.
I'm starting a speaking tour later this month, most of which will be open to the public. I'm firming up dates and details of about ten events right now, and below are a few that are solid. If you're in any of these cities, please do stop by to say hello. I'll update this list from time to time.
My subject, as you can probably guess, will be freedom of speech and how Canada's abusive and corrupt "human rights commissions" are infringing on that freedom. I really hate using the phrase "human rights commission" because it's so Orwellian and untrue -- like calling a ministry of propaganda the "ministry of truth". It's a a political fib even to utter their name.
Please join me if you can:
Ottawa, March 25th
Vancouver, March 31st
I'll be speaking at another Fraser Institute event in Vancouver on March 31st, this time on my own. You can see the details and register online, here.
Calgary, April 7th
My third Fraser Institute event will be in Calgary, this one over the lunch hour at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. I don't see it on either website yet, but you can e-mail Mirja at FI's Calgary office directly, here.
London, April 13th
Along with my friends Salim Mansur and Kathy Shaidle, I'll be speaking to the London Jewish Federation. The title of the event is: "The human rights commission: useful or obsolete? Views from a Catholic, a Jew and a Muslim". I'm looking forward to that one! I can't find it on a website, but for more info you can e-mail the organizer, Esther, here.
I've got other invitations in Red Deer, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto that I should be in a position to announce in the next week or so.