By Ezra Levant on July 28, 2009 10:39 PM
The most amazing thing happened: Lindy made a rock song about my book, Shakedown. I love it!
That is so catchy, I can't get the refrain out of my head: "it's a shakedown of us all!"
The video was made by free speechnik Mike Brock, who taped it at the annual Liberty Summer Seminar at Peter Jaworski's folks' place in Orono, Ontario. It's a great weekend -- I'm so sorry I wasn't there this year! (P.S. If you go next year, don't eat anything for a day in advance -- the home cooking there is amazing.)
I'm told that Lindy will be releasing the song on iTunes in a couple of weeks, so I'll be sure to post that link when it's up!
I love the song -- and I love the warm reception it got that night. I think we've got a hit on our hands!
By Ezra Levant on July 28, 2009 3:03 PM
Mark Steyn has done a lot of heavy lifting on the fight for freedom of speech in Canada, which is all the more amazing considering he is based in the U.S. I think we're lucky that he continues to fight for us, given how easy it would be for him to simply ignore Jennifer Lynch, Richard Warman and the rest of the censors at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
For one day, starting at midnight tonight, Steyn has generously offered to donate the proceeds from his book sales at his website's store to my legal defence against Khurrum Awan's nuisance suit.
If you want a copy of anything Steynian -- or even a copy of Shakedown, which he sells on his site! -- please do your shopping tonight or tomorrow!
By Ezra Levant on July 27, 2009 1:43 AM
Thank you to the many readers who have offered their moral support in the prospective civil lawsuit against me by Khurrum Awan, the youth president of the Jew-hating Canadian Islamic Congress. If you haven't seen it, you can read the formal libel notice, and my detailed analysis of it, at this blog entry here.
Let me state the obvious: you have now been added to the official enemies list compiled, using government resources, by Jennifer Lynch, chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It's an honour to be blacklisted by such a bully.
Pamela posted this fun picture from last summer's conference in New York about "libel tourism" -- another way of saying "lawfare", usually by foreign-based or foreign-funded Islamic fascists. That's what the Canadian Islamic Congress did to Maclean's magazine and Mark Steyn, and that's what they're doing to me.
"I am not a registered non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
Awan is an experienced practitioner in the soft jihad of “lawfare”, the abusive practice where lawsuits are filed against critics of radical Islam just to harass them and silence them, Erin Brockovich-style. He’s done it before: Awan fronted the CIC’s three identical “human rights” complaints against Maclean’s magazine for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s best-selling book America Alone. Awan wasn’t the actual complainant in those cases – the CIC’s president, Mohamed Elmasry, was. But Awan was the public spokesman for those nuisance suits.
What does the Canadian Islamic Congress believe in?
Why did Elmasry need a sock puppet? Well, for starters, here’s a video clip of Elmasry proudly justifying terrorist murders of Israeli civilians:
That’s pretty much par for the course over at the CIC. A couple of years ago, they distributed Nazi-style anti-Semitic cartoons door-to-door as part of their election efforts. Personally, my favourite Elmasry moment is whenever he denounces the Canadian media as being run by “the zhoos” – a line he repeated again and again without a flicker of embarrassment at a convention of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
That’s the Canadian Islamic Congress. They’re a great fit for Saudi Arabia or Egypt. They’re just not really ready for prime time in a liberal democracy. And now their youth president, Khurrum Awan, wants a full public trial – in a real court, not a kangaroo court – about, amongst other things, whether or not they’re anti-Semites.
I’ll take those odds. With Elmasry as his mentor, I’m guessing Awan is just a wee bit tone deaf on the whole bigotry thing.
It’s nuttier than a Snickers bar over at the CIC, but that hasn’t bothered Awan one bit. The CIC championed the cause of terrorist groups including Hamas and Hezbollah, and opposed the listing of them as terrorists under Canadian law. They actually defended the Butcher of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. And then there’s the hired help: the CIC publishes screeds from anti-Semites like Greg Felton, whose views are as diverse as supporting Iran’s nuclear program to praising Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for questioning the Holocaust.
That’s Awan’s crew: Jew-haters, terrorist-lovers, censors and nuisance litigants. So it’s no surprise, dear friends, that he has decided to come for me.
A political document, not a legal document
Let’s walk through Awan’s libel notice page by page.
In other words, these guys aren’t even hiding the fact that they’re part of a concerted effort to censor me, Mark Steyn and other critics of radical Islam and Canada’s abusive human rights commissions.
I think Awan actually drafted the libel notice, not Shiller
The libel notice is rambling, full of typos and comprised mainly of political arguments, not arguments that have any place in a defamation lawsuit. I think Awan prepared it, and Shiller didn’t even read it carefully before faxing it over.
Take a look at page 4 of the letter (page 5 of the .pdf): point 3 slips from the third person (“Mr. Awan”) into the first person (“me”). It’s pretty clear Awan wrote the letter and Shiller just signed it. Here’s a snapshot of that section:
That’s the thing about nuisance suits: they’re not substantively serious; they’re just designed to harass.
Right on the first page of the libel notice is a pretty serious charge: Awan says I accuse him of committing perjury. That’s a grave thing to say about anyone, especially a law student or lawyer (I’m not sure which one Awan is now).
But there’s one problem with that: I have never accused him of perjury. The opposite, actually – I have, several times, noted that he was a serial liar to the public and through the media, but when he finally took an oath and testified in the B.C. show trial of Mark Steyn, Awan reverted to the truth. I specifically said he did not commit perjury. Here’s one example of what I wrote, live from the court house last year:
Julian Porter himself was at the meeting where Khurrum Awan and his junior Al Sharptons tried to shake down Ken Whyte and Maclean’s for cash and a cover story.
Porter asked Awan point blank if the CIC’s proposed “counter-article” was to be “mutually acceptable” to Whyte or of the CIC’s own choosing.
After obfuscating for a few rounds, Awan acknowledged that he never in fact offered a “mutually acceptable” article -- that was simply an after-the-fact lie, a little bit of taqqiya that Awan et al. has told the press.
Awan admitted that he made no such offer of a mutually acceptable author. It was to be the CIC’s own choice.
Awan and the other sock puppets had been lying for a year to the general public – pretending that they had made a “reasonable” offer to Maclean’s (as if there’s any reasonable way to demand a five-page rebuttal from a national magazine.) But under oath, Awan admitted that his public comments were false – he didn’t suggest that the rebuttal be written by an author mutually agreeable to him and Maclean’s. He demanded that Maclean’s submit to his choice.
I didn’t accuse Awan of perjury. I did the opposite – I recognized that when he was finally under oath, he finally told the truth for the first time.
Odds and ends
Awan’s libel notice isn’t a serious legal document. Instead, it’s reminiscent of the rambling, out-of-context “brief” that Awan prepared for use against Steyn at the HRCs. That wasn’t a real legal document, either – but then again, HRCs aren’t real courts.
I don’t propose to rebut the entire thing now; there are some amazing flaws in it that I would prefer to respond to after the Statement of Claim is filed. But let me address a few points:
Khurrum Awan admitted under oath he had tried to get Maclean’s to pay $10,000 in penance for running Mark Steyn’s book excerpt. I call that a shakedown, Al Sharpton-style.
Awan? He has it both ways; he claims the money would be for a charity, not for himself (again, I charge I never made). And then he denies it was a shakedown at all.
I think Awan is too used to writing logically incoherent letters to the editor. It will be fascinating to hear what a real judge thinks of Awan’s little scheme to liberate $10,000 from Maclean’s. Shakedown? Hell yes it was. And I’ll always be proud of Maclean’s that they didn’t pay.
Awan says that calling him a damn fool is defamatory. Well, unlike Awan’s favourite forums – human rights commissions – in real courts, truth is a defence to defamation. Whether or not Awan is a damn fool (or damned fool, to be more grammatically correct) isn’t really a matter of fact, though – it’s probably a matter of opinion. And, yes, it is my opinion that Awan is a damned fool.
If Awan asks a court to have a hearing into whether or not he’s a damned fool, I think he pretty much answers that question himself, don’t you think?
Awan sabotaged – by a Jew again?
A hilarious moment in Mark Steyn’s show trial was when Awan was confronted about an inaccuracy in one of his letters to the editor. In an Elmasry-like act of blamestorming, he blamed Jonathan Kay, the editorial page editor of the National Post, accusing Kay of changing what Awan really meant. Here’s my blog from that moment in the trial:
What a gorgeous new lie young Khurrum Awan has offered. He claims that his letter to the editor to the National Post (in response to my own article!) might have been edited by Jonathan Kay, to insert the lie that Porter has caught him in.
Awan is hoping that the Kangaroos will believe that Jonathan Kay added the words "mutually acceptable" to his letter to the editor.
Yeah, that's the ticket, Khurrum. You weren't lying in a dozen identical letters and Op-Eds. Jonathan Kay (I hear he's a zhoo!) and a dozen other editor across the country made identical edits to Awan's letter.
They should be the one answering to big, bad Julian Porter! He's mean!
That’s the same excuse Awan trots out again in 2009, claiming that one of his embarrassing letters to the editor was changed by someone at the Toronto Star, and that I should have known better before criticizing it! What a fascinating place Awan’s mind must be, full of kaleidoscopes and cacophonous music. What a lucky, lucky man to have such a fertile imagination.
Revisionism: was Awan co-counsel?
At Steyn’s show trial, I found it bizarre that Awan was both co-counsel for Elmasry, as well as a witness for Elmasry. That’s just weird – and it’s something that no real court would allow.
It was pretty evident that Awan was co-counsel: he was sitting at the table reserved for counsel. He assisted lead counsel, Faisal Joseph. He had helped to prepare the case; he scurried around, as junior counsel does, chasing documents.
But now he’s denying the whole thing
Again, it’s not really a strong legal point. But it does go to Awan’s bizarre relationship with reality. There were fifty reporters in the room that day, including one from the New York Times. Were we all blind – were we all lying? Or – is it possible – that Khurrum Awan, serial liar, is lying again?
I’m getting bored of Awan’s whining victimology
Look, it’s painful reading Awan’s letter. It’s not a real defamation notice – it’s a way-too-long letter to the editor, dressed up as a legal document. That’s sort of what Warren Kinsella does, too – he puts out press releases, but calls them libel suits. I guess it’s for guys who want to add a little bit of menace to their PR, but both end up coming across as bullies and blowhards.
Awan’s letter is an attempt, a year later, to change the embarrassing history of his big public campaign against Maclean’s. He was eaten alive by every journalist in the country, and was made a laughingstock in the blogosphere. Even his fellow sock puppets had the sense to abandon his suicide run. Not Awan: he’s still proudly out there calling for more censorship powers for the government. If I were a Canadian Muslim, I’d be pretty embarrassed that Awan was claiming to speak for me.
It’s boring to read such whining. Awan was whiny in response to Maclean’s magazine; he was whiny on the stand at the BCHRT. He’s whiny in his endless Op-Eds. And he’s whiny in this rambling libel notice. I guess it’s his right to whine; but he’ll soon find out that defamation law does not turn on whining, or even on hurt feelings. It does not turn on mockery or on hyper-sensitivity of plaintiff. It does not turn on politics or on victimology. It’s about true facts and fair comments – or, as our Supreme Court ruled last year: “We live in a free country where people have as much right to express outrageous and ridiculous opinions as moderate ones.” I’m glad Canadians have such liberty, though I don’t think it’s even outrageous or ridiculous to opine that Awan’s conduct is that of a “damn fool”, a liar, and someone who would do well to just shut up, try to practice law, and keep his head down for a very, very long time.
So what’s next?
If he’s serious, Awan will serve me with a Statement of Claim within a few weeks. That will formally start the process, and I will have to reply with a Statement of Defence. That’s where the costs come in.
My lawyers are getting pretty good at cranking out defences to these nuisance suits, but it still takes time to go through them, line by line, to make sure they’re properly rebutted. I estimate that the cost of filing a defence will be $6,000. After that, it depends on Awan’s conduct – for example, will he try to avoid disclosing relevant documents? Depending on what procedure he chooses, we could have examinations for discovery – depositions, as they’re called in the U.S. Those could cost $10,000. It’s too premature to do the math beyond that.
Frankly, I think that Awan’s case is as weak as the other nuisance suits that have been flung at me. But that’s not the point – the point is that they all cost money and hassle, which is why they’re being filed against me in the first place. They’re trying to demoralize me – to stop me from fighting for freedom of speech and due process. Awan in particular is mad that his great PR campaign has backfired, and that while he is now viewed as a thin-skinned censor, he only made Mark Steyn more famous and better loved. And Awan is angry that I’ve undermined his favourite weapon of lawfare: HRCs. He loves them – he abuses them – and he wants to continue. That’s tougher now, given his public humiliation at the hands of a hundred bloggers (including me).
Can you please help me?
In addition to Awan’s threat, I have four ongoing civil suits against me, as I’ve mentioned above. Some months there is very little legal work, but others are quite busy. My lawyers' bills range between $2,000 a month to $6,000 a month. If Awan follows through with a suit, it will be a $6,000 month.
If you believe in fighting against the anti-Semitic Canadian Islamic Congress; if you believe in standing up to Mohamed Elmasry’s junior president; if you believe that Awan’s complaints against Maclean’s and Mark Steyn were outrageous and punitive, and that he should be stopped; if you think he is indeed a liar and a buffoon – and a damn fool – then please help me out.
I enjoy the fight very much, because I believe I’m on the side of liberty and our western values here. I believe that Awan and company are undermining our way of life, especially our freedom to criticize radical Islam. He’s trying to silence me – which makes sense from his point of view, in a crude political calculation. But it’s not just, and it's not Canadian.
I promise I’ll fight back. Can you help me with the one thing I can’t do on my own, which is cover all my legal bills?
My family has been very supportive of me – my saintly wife understands that freedom of speech is something that must be defended, and she shares my concern about radical, political Islam – all the moreso given that we have two daughters now. If you can help bear the financial burden for our family, I’ll do the rest.
Yours most gratefully,
P.S. If you can chip in by PayPal, please click on the button below. If you’d prefer to send in a cheque by snail mail, that’s great. Please make cheques payable to my lawyer on this case:
“Christopher Ashby in Trust”
Attn: Ezra Levant defence fund
Suite 1013, 8 King Street East
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1B5
Thank you very much. With your help, I promise to fight this battle all the way to the end.
"I am not a registered non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
By Ezra Levant on July 25, 2009 11:24 PM
How should we solve the problem of Somali pirates? It's not too hard to figure out -- we have several centuries of experience in dealing with the matter, from an economic, military, legal and political point of view.
Threatening to undo Johnny Depp’s public relations efforts, Somali pirates have gone on a hijacking spree. Even freighters carrying food aid for their fellow Africans are not immune to their ransom efforts.
A Canadian warship, HMCS Winnipeg, is in the thick of it and has successfully thwarted a number of pirate attacks. On several occasions, the Canadians seized pirates. But after relieving them of their weapons, they actually let the pirates go, to attack again another day.
Canada’s Department of National Defence says it is legally and logistically impractical to try the pirates, but that’s not true. Legal responses to piracy are almost as old as seafaring itself. And Canada’s Criminal Code gives our courts jurisdiction over piracy, wherever it’s committed.
Some countries are trying captured pirates in their home countries; others have handed them to Kenya. British, Russian, and American forces have killed Somali pirates in military operations. Canada says it’s looking into the Kenyan solution, but continues its policy of catch-and-release.
It is more convenient for HMCS Winnipeg to let the pirates go than detain and transfer them to Kenya or Canada. But if convenience was the deciding factor, the ship could have stayed in Esquimalt, B.C. It is lawful under Commonwealth precedent for pirates to be executed summarily if the situation does not permit a more rococo trial. In 1830, British ship HMS Falcon, with 30 crew, seized a pirate ship with 250 men. One report said: “the little crew was in no small difficulty, after the capture of their disproportioned antagonist, what to do with their prisoners, who, as soon as they had an opportunity, showed symptoms of an attempt to overpower them.”
When they reached Ascension Island, the pirates were hanged in batches of 20, with only the pirate captain and first mate spared, to be taken to Bermuda to be tried — all completely lawful, given the exigencies of the case. Pirates are a special legal class: hostis humani generis, or enemies of all mankind. They are legally similar to terrorists under the Geneva Convention — literally outlaws. We tend to think of the word “outlaw” to mean someone who himself ignores the law. It actually means the opposite: someone who is beyond the pale so far that the law will provide him no protection, and vigilantes, mercenaries, and anyone else who hunts him will be unstopped by the law.
Canada’s namby-pamby approach is much the same that allowed piracy to flourish in the Caribbean in the century after the discovery of America. At first, pirates were tried by an Admiralty court, but under civil law: to be convicted, the pirate had to confess, or be condemned by two eyewitnesses who weren’t his accomplices. In 1536, the Offences at Sea Act permitted the testimony of accomplices and common law procedures, such as a jury. Still, pirates had to be tried in England, and many colonies simply chose to release them.
By 1700, piracy was in full bloom in the Caribbean, and the U.K. responded with a beefier naval presence and a dramatically tougher law, the Act for the More Effectual Suppressing of Piracy. Not only was the requirement of a trial in England (or a jury) abandoned, but a bounty of half of a pirate’s wealth was issued for any mercenary willing to fight him. And any sailor who was armed but didn’t fight off pirates, and any sailor who tried to discourage other sailors from fighting back, forfeited his entire wage and was sentenced to six months in jail...
The 19th century decision by the HMS Falcon is shocking to our 21st century sensibilities. That's because we have been trained to care more about the "optics" of war and our political correctness than actually winning -- or even defending our civilization. What the Falcon did was not only perfectly lawful, it was sensible -- it was simply not safe to ship the whole lot of pirates back to a port for a proper trial.
Which brings me back to my column about Omar Khadr, and the ridiculousness of giving him the same rights and courtesies as someone charged with an offence back in New York City or Toronto.
I pointed out that it was neither safe nor practical (nor legally necessary) for American soldiers in a battle zone in Afghanistan to treat Khadr with the same niceties as if he were picked up in a North American city.
Stop and think about the insanity that would entail: with the first waves of American troops, a wave of lawyers parachuted in, along with CSIs, judges, clerks, stenographers, jailers, jail-house chaplains, jail-house medics, etc., etc.
Or if transplanting our North American legal system to a hot war zone isn't ridiculous enough for you, transplant the hot war zone to our North American legal system: imagine if in a city like Toronto there were, say, fifty murders a day, every day, by a rag-tag gang that followed no rules of war (no uniforms; no chain of command; they hid their weapons; they hid amongst civilians, etc.) Imagine if there were hundreds of murders a day -- too much for our jails, courts and even police. Well, no need to imagine such a bizarre scenario: Pierre Trudeau invoked martial law across the whole country after a few mailboxes were bombed in Quebec and there was a kidnapping and murder. Normal civil liberties were suspended -- including the imposition of media censors.
Now, I'm not defending Trudeau's invocation of the War Measures Act. It was uncalled for in terms of security. It was a cover for a massive, otherwise-illegal police attack on separatist politicians and their supporters, as well as an indirect calumny, too, by implying that separatists were a general security threat.
Rather, my point is that our law has a long tradition of allowing abbreviated legal procedures in occasions of grave civil stress. Surely a war zone, like the one into which Omar Khadr willingly went as a terrorist, is such an occasion.
If you remain unconvinced, I invite you to study how Allied troops -- including Canadians -- handled terrorist-style actions by German troops in the days after the landings at Normandy. They were not shipped back to Canada; there were drum-head trials in the field, and quick executions. Not for regular soldiers who surrendered, of course -- they were treated as prisoners of war, and many of them in fact were shipped back to Canada. But the terrorists? Shot on the spot after a quick hearing.
I say all this because I don't think that most Canadian pundits have thought through their knee-jerk support for Khadr and opposition to his special detention at Guantanamo Bay. Take Dan Gardner, the columnist at the Ottawa Ctizen. He read my comments about Khadr, and simply rejected them -- without really explaining why:
[Levant's proposal:] the summary execution of a 15-year-old Canadian in Aghanistan -- that is to say, skipping the matter of proof and whatnot and simply blowing out the kid's brains -- would bring a smile to the lips of sweet Justice.
...I share Levant's views on human rights commissions, incidentally. But this is a pretty good demonstration of why the man should not be treated as anything but the rodeo clown of Canadian punditry.
Actually, I didn't call for "skipping the matter of proof". I specifically called for a hearing. But an expedited hearing in the field -- not one back in the West.
I don't think, though, that Gardner's mischaracterization of my views was deliberate; I think he's probably still fashionable appalled by the idea of a summary hearing in situ. But he declines to explain why.
(I must say, though, that his meatiest response -- calling me a rodeo clown! -- is the most delightlful insult I've received all year. And it's even culturally sensitive to my Calgary roots!)
I like Gardner because he's usually such a contrarian. I wouldn't even call him a conservative -- I don't think he'd call himself that. I'd just call him someone who usually starts from scratch with an argument from first principles, and often disagrees with the groupthink of Ottawa. That's why I'm so surprised with him here: it looks like he's simply conforming to received establishment wisdom, and that's not like him.
Look, I know it's ugly to discuss matters like terrorism and piracy in a serious way. Look at the apoplexy over the revelation that (gasp!) Dick Cheney asked the CIA to assassinate Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist leaders (a plan that, bizarrely, was scrapped). Such assassinations are not only perfectly legal (U.S. law merely forbids the assassination of foreign heads of state) but they're practised by both parties. Bill Clinton famously tried to assassinate Bin Laden with cruise missiles; Barack Obama continues his targeted assassinations using more accurate Predator drones. Now that Obama is president, he's even extended Guantanamo Bay for a year -- the morally preening Harvard lawyer has been replaced with a Commander in Chief.
It would have been nuts for the HMS Falcon to have shlepped 250 pirates back to a formal court. And though our modern logistics and technology is better in 2009 than in 1830, the exigencies of war, where soldiers are there to fight, not to be social workers for the other side's terrorists, call for the same pared down niceties.
Dan Gardner would know that if he thought it through for what his luxuriant liberalism would mean in Afghanistan today -- or what it would have meant in Canada in the FLQ crisis, or in Normandy after D-Day.
I hope Gardner replies substantively: what rules of engagement would he suggest for the Canadian (or U.S.) army fighting against terrorists in Afghanistan? What law? What lawyers? What jail? What jailers? What standard of proof? What witnesses? What court? What judge? Other than saying "ew, yuck", what is his practical solution?
If he's going to replace the Geneva Convention rules with something new, I'd like to hear it. I hope he replies.
By Ezra Levant on July 22, 2009 11:10 PM
Here's a Canadian Lawyer column I wrote earlier this spring, when President Barack Obama had started back-peddling from his campaign criticism of the Bush Administration's conduct of the war on terror. I make what I think is a pretty obvious case for keeping Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay, instead of bringing him home.
Re-reading it, I think I wasn't quite sharp enough on what legal status Khadr has. He's clearly not entitled to be treated like a soldier. In my column, I call him a murderer. But that implies certain entitlements to due process. I actually don't think he's entitled to even that. Caught illegally marauding in a war zone, I think he's legally entitled to a summary hearing and execution on the spot -- not a real trial in Guantanamo Bay, Miami, Toronto or anywhere else. I've written a more recent column that I'll post tomorrow on the legal concept of "hostis humani generis" -- someone who is literally an enemy of all mankind.
Within days of his inauguration, President Barack Obama issued an executive order shutting down the prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay — but only after another year of operation.
A lot of New Year’s resolutions are that way: it’s like deciding to go on a diet, but only after a few more delicious buffets. Between keeping Gitmo running and rehiring George W. Bush’s secretary of defence, this Obama fellow is quite a neo-con.
But whether it’s now or in a year, Obama’s order may affect Canada, for Gitmo still holds a Canadian, Omar Khadr. Unlike most inmates who were held without charges, Khadr has indeed been charged with a very specific crime: the murder of U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Speer in Afghanistan. Obama’s executive order isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card, it’s a move-to-another-jail card: “Some individuals currently detained at Guantanamo may have committed offences for which they should be prosecuted.” The question is: where should they be prosecuted?
That’s a pretty obvious one. Khadr was arrested by Americans and charged with murdering an American. The Americans have the evidence and the Americans have been preparing the case against him. Most obviously, the Americans have been holding him for almost seven years. The only Canadian connection is Khadr’s nominal Canadian citizenship — but that is no legal bar to a U.S. trial.
...Khadr’s chorus demands that he be treated according to the Geneva Conventions. Good idea. Art. 4 of the Third Geneva Convention, ratified in 1949, has a clear definition of a lawful combatant, and Khadr doesn’t meet it. Art. 4 is pretty liberal; it gives rights not only to soldiers in national armies, but also to “militias and members of other volunteer corps” and “organized resistance movements,” even those “operating . . . outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied.” But even guerillas have to follow certain basic rules of conduct to distinguish them from mere murderers. They must be part of a chain of command; show a flag or emblem “recognizable at a distance”; carry their arms “openly”; and generally follow the “laws and customs of war.” Khadr needs all four of those to meet the standard of the Geneva Conventions. He has none of them. If Khadr did kill Speer, it was an act of murder, not an act of war.
But all of this is a dainty legal discussion in the midst of a dirty war. When Khadr was detained, it wasn’t by a police department with a CSI team, meticulously preparing a legal case suitable for the U.S. or Canada. He was seized by soldiers armed and trained to fight a war, not dust for fingerprints. To take that Afghan crime scene and transplant it to a North American court with all of its niceties simply doesn’t make sense. Obama’s order turns that absurdity into an inevitability. The only question is: should that circus be held in the U.S., or in Canada?
Other than those who lust for such a circus — lawyers of fortune who smell another Maher Arar-style payday; political crusaders who want to use Khadr to attack the war on terror; anti-American media hounds, etc. — who would want Khadr back? At any given moment, there are about a thousand Canadian citizens stranded in some way around the world. Take Huseyin Celil — a Muslim of Uyghur ethnicity who was designated a refugee by the United Nations and granted citizenship in Canada. While visiting family in Uzbekistan he was seized, spirited to China, and charged with “terrorism” — the Chinese euphemism for Tibetan and Uyghur political dissidents. Despite the requirements of the consular agreement between Canada and China, Canadian diplomats have not been allowed access to Celil, including to his sham trial. China simply refuses to acknowledge Celil’s Canadian citizenship.
Celil is a political prisoner, and Canada wants him back. And he’s Muslim to boot. What a shame that he had the misfortune of being detained in China, and not Guantanamo Bay. The brave press corps that chant for Khadr’s release couldn’t give a damn about Celil — he’s not useful to demonize the U.S. or its war on terror, and he doesn’t fit with the politically correct narrative of a benign China. It makes no legal sense to have his trial up here. It makes no security sense to bring an al-Qaida supporter here.
It makes no financial sense to jail him up here. And it makes no political sense to lift a finger for him, ahead of 999 other Canadians who deserve our help.
By Ezra Levant on July 22, 2009 11:10 PM
Give me another day to finish my "real" work, and then I'll do some new blogging. I've got an important piece of news that I want to tell you about before the week is through, and I should be able to get to it tomorrow.
But in the meantime, let me share with you another article from the archives at Canadian Lawyer magazine, where I am privileged to write the back page.
Here's one I wrote in the spring of 2008 about the Corporate Manslaughter Act in the U.K. Here's the link; here's some excerpts:
Britain’s new Corporate Manslaughter Act has a terrifying name. The law creates a tort by which an organization can be held liable for a death “if the way in which its activities are managed or organized” is a “gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organization to the deceased.”
At first glance that might not sound novel — corporate liability has existed since the Industrial Revolution. But what’s new is that it doesn’t rely on the specific actions of a particular employee or manager who committed a tort. Now, a corporation is liable “if the way in which its activities are managed or organized by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach” of the duty of care. In other words, it’s going to be easier to tag companies for accidents and disasters.
...But it’s not just for-profit companies that are governed by the Corporate Manslaughter Act. It’s an equal-opportunity law, covering most of the U.K.’s government. That’s a startling departure from the usual ethic of over-governance for companies and free passes for government. Even Canada’s corporate-negligence amendments to our Criminal Code, enacted in the wake of the Westray mine explosion that killed 26 miners, only apply to “organizations.” In other words, it exempts about half of all collective acts in Canada.
...Consider how such a law might be applied in Canada. What if Health Canada and the government-run Red Cross had been subject to the Corporate Manslaughter Act during the infection of the Canadian blood supply? Or how about the deaths in Walkerton, due to the malfeasance of Stan and Frank Koebel of the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission? None of those victims had recourse under our law. The only conviction under the Westray amendments came just this spring, and five years after the Criminal Code was amended, when a Quebec mining company was fined $100,000 for an unsafe work environment that killed one.
By contrast, Britain’s law permits juries to try governments and to “consider the extent to which the evidence shows that there were attitudes, policies, systems or accepted practices within the organization that were likely to have encouraged any failure [to comply with regulations] or to have produced tolerance of it.” Can you name any government bureaucracy where that look-the-other-way mentality does not exist?
That provision seems tailor-made for B.C. Ferries Corp. Two years ago, its ship, Queen of the North, sank. Two passengers were killed. The two crew members on the bridge — former lovers — were too busy having a “personal conversation” to notice that the ship was headed towards the shore. Had that been a private ship, the company would have been sued into bankruptcy. Under the Corporate Manslaughter Act, not only would they likely have to pay tens of millions of dollars, but they could be subject to a “publicity order” to advertise the details of their wrongdoing, the amount of their fine, and any remedial orders.
I doubt hundreds of years of common law have left many real gaps in British torts. The Corporate Manslaughter Act is more a statement of ideology. It’s certainly a powerful weapon to avenge accidental deaths. But the truly fascinating innovation is its application to government homicides which, from Waco to Chernobyl, have enjoyed immunity too long.
Acting on a tip from a frightened girl, Texas police raided a ranch belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, seizing 437 children. A 16-year-old named Sarah had phoned for help, saying she had been beaten and raped by her 50-year-old husband.
Her calls were enough for Judge Barbara Walther to issue a search warrant for every house on the church’s 1,700-acre ranch. In went the police with heavy weapons and SWAT vehicles, seizing every single child — boys, infants, everyone.
Texas Child Protective Services immediately got to work placing the children in foster homes. Walther rejected an application to have breastfeeding infants remain with their mothers. “Every day in this country, we have mothers who go back to work after six weeks of maternity leave,” she said, though she did not explain what that had to do with removing these particular infants from their mothers’ custody. Walther said she had “made a determination that the environment those children were in was not safe.”
Things must have been bad to break up every family. What evidence did Sarah give when she was rescued? Well, the police didn’t find “Sarah.” They traced those phone calls to a 33-year-old Colorado woman named Rozita Swinton, who had been arrested before for similar hoaxes.
Most rumours about the ranch seemed to fall apart. The CPS did not find any girls under 16 who were married — the legal minimum in Texas, the same as Ontario. Bruce Perry, the psychiatrist who testified for the CPS, claimed the sect was “abusive.” But, under cross-examination, Perry admitted he had never studied the FLDS, and based his professional “diagnosis” on media reports. He also said that when he examined the children they were happy and healthy. He could find no sign of physical or sexual abuse — but he still testified that the polygamous sect’s religious beliefs were “unhealthy.” Based on that flimsy evidence, Walther held an emergency two-day mass custody hearing, with over 100 lawyers jammed in her courtroom. The parents were obviously all kooks, so why not have a group trial? The media cheered.
Imagine the apoplexy if a judge decided to try “all those Muslims” in Guantanamo in a two-day circus. There are 437 kids in Walther’s holding pen, but only 280 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. And how are the prisoners’ respective religions treated? In Guantanamo, Muslims are served halal meals, meet with imams, and can pray five times a day. Walther permits her prisoners to pray only under the supervision of CPS monitors, who make sure prisoners don’t discusses their custody cases. Mothers are allowed 60 minutes a day with lawyers, and children are allowed just 30 minutes.
But the most grotesque thing was the cattle-style custody hearing itself. That a search warrant dealing with a single, fabricated allegation turned into a mass custody trial is a civil rights scandal. But instead of assessing each child’s situation and giving each family the right to meet the case against them, Walther treated them like ants in a colony. There were literally hundreds of lawyers in her courtroom circus, most in an adjacent room, unable even to get the judge’s attention to lodge an objection. So much for due process.
The American Bar Association wouldn’t stand for the 280 Guantanamo prisoners to be tried en masse. But there were no harsh words for Walther.
Remember the Branch Davidians in Waco? That raid, too, was based on trumped-up rumours of child abuse. Oh, there’s child abuse in Texas, all right.
There is no greater punishment the state can mete out than seizing a child from a parent.
It was how the Soviet Union kept its foreign diplomats in line — their children had to remain back home in Russia as hostages, lest the parents’ temptation to defect prove too great. Seizing children is so punitive we don’t even do it to convicted criminals — not even murderers. Unless there is specific proof of harm or imminent harm to a child, even bad parents have the right to be parents.
But what is the definition of harm? In an era when hurt feelings can receive five-figure damage awards, and when political apologies for ancient slights have become routine, harm isn’t just limited to physical abuse — it’s now political.
Just ask the Winnipeg mother who had her two children seized this summer by Child and Family Services because her seven-year-old daughter went to school with a swastika drawn on her arm. That daughter, and her two-year-old brother, were snatched away.
The definition of “abuse” under Manitoba’s Child and Family Services Act lists three species: sexual exploitation, physical injury, and anything that results in “emotional disability of a permanent nature in the child.” Needless to say, it was that last section that the do-gooders used to seize the mother’s kids.
There is no medical textbook extant that lists political views, even radical or racist views, as an “emotional disability.” It is an anti-intellectual gimmick to characterize things we don’t like as illnesses in need of a cure. But that’s easier than convincing our political opponents of the error of their ways. Again, look at the Soviets.
Anyone who didn’t support the Communist utopia was obviously mad — it was a logical truism.
Nazism — or, as the mother calls it, white supremacism — is foul. Of course it is — just like radical ideologies of the Black Power movement and of Islamic supremacism. And, yes, the swastika is a symbol of hatred and death — at least since the Nazis purloined it 80 years ago. The hammer and sickle and the crescent moon have been responsible for far more death than the swastika, but it’s doubtful a display of those emblems would have resulted in a state-sanctioned kidnapping. T-shirts of a murderer named Che Guevara are practically standard-issue on campuses across North America. And Charles Manson’s name, if nothing more, was rehabilitated by a second-rate singer named Marilyn Manson. If offensive political symbols are the new litmus test for child abuse, we’d better start building more orphanages.
It seems the real target of Manitoba’s Child and Family Services was not the mother but her husband — a man she describes as a “bigot,” an unusual insult from a white supremacist. Winnipeg police spokesman Pat Chabidon did the rounds, ensuring the media knew the husband “was a subject of interest in a hate-crime-type investigation in 2005,” though no charges were laid.
Since when do police make public comments about child welfare matters, giving briefings about the accused? Actually, “accused” doesn’t quite fit — he wasn’t accused of anything? The police couldn’t charge the father, let alone convict him. But who needs such technicalities as a trial and conviction — why not jump straight to the punishment? That’s not justice, that’s government vengeance.
For those who are content to see a white supremacist punished this way — or, rather, to see two innocent children punished this way — they should realize that when the definition of “abuse” can leap from real harm to political harm, anyone can be targeted. In 2002, seven children were seized from a home in Aylmer, Ont., when a 27-year-old Children’s Aid Society operative, armed with a BA in psychology and plenty of self-righteousness, determined that spanking was child abuse and seized the lot of them. In Germany, even home-schooling has been deemed to be child abuse. The mayor of Altensteig filed a lawsuit against the Landahl family, demanding custody of their five home-schooled children. They fled to the U.K. rather than risk conviction.
Harvy Frankel, the dean of social work at the University of Manitoba, praised the seizure of the Winnipeg children. “We should be reassured that this is child welfare practice as it should be,” he said. Then again, Frankel’s area of expertise is “integrating clinical practice and social justice.” He believes child welfare is all about politics.
So neo-Nazis can’t have kids, and spankers and home-schoolers are on notice, too. How much longer before mere critics of this system are targeted, too?
By Ezra Levant on July 18, 2009 10:10 PM
It's amazing to me how much momentum the drive to reform Canada's human rights commissions has. Mark Steyn's show trial was last June, and my own acquittal was last August. Yet here we are a year later, and the criticism of the HRCs is a daily event.
...the problem is that the CHRC is essentially the investigator, prosecutor and judge of complaints of racism and hate speech. The burden of proof under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is also subject to interpretation. It says it's an offence to communicate anything "likely to expose a person ... to hatred or contempt."
Ezra Levant, who was the subject of an unsuccessful complaint before the Alberta after he published controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, says CHRC's standards make it an advocate of censorship.
"The word 'likely' is amazing. The CHRC doesn't have to prove you've actually done anything, just that you might in the future," says Levant. "And all they have to prove is that you said something that might cause one person to have hard feelings about another."
And yesterday's Montreal Gazette reprinted my expose of the Nazis at the CHRC -- and another 125,000 households learn of the fraud that is the CHRC.
Both the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner have conducted a thorough investigation into the alleged "hacking of a private citizen's account" and have both determined that no further proceedings are warranted. The Canadian Human Rights Commission considers this matter closed.
In investigating hate messages complaints, the commission has logged on to websites to view their contents and to obtain evidence. In some investigations, postings were made, but this has never included the posting of hateful or derogatory messages, nor would the commission condone such a practice if it occurred. The suggestion that the commission's investigation of neo-Nazi websites equates to "active" membership in neo-Nazi organizations is simply irresponsible.
I regret that this important discussion has degenerated into unwarranted personal attacks on the employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission carrying out their legislated mandate.
Jennifer Lynch, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission, Ottawa.
There are a lot of outright lies there, which is why I suppose Lynch is engaging in this debate through the pages of a newspaper, rather than attending at a Parliamentary Committee, as MP Russ Hiebert asked her to do. It's one thing to lie to the public; it's quite another for Lynch to lie to Parliament. It's still unethical, but it won't likely get her charged with an offence.
Let's look at just a few of those lies, line by line:
Both the RCMP and the Privacy Commissioner have conducted a thorough investigation into the alleged "hacking of a private citizen's account" and have both determined that no further proceedings are warranted. The Canadian Human Rights Commission considers this matter closed.
That's a lie.
The Privacy Commissioner did not conduct a thorough investigation at all -- they didn't even interview the hacking victim. But in any event, they did not investigate the hacking -- that's outside their jurisdiction. They merely investigated whether or not the CHRC captured and kept private information about Nelly Hechme, the hacking victim. Of course the CHRC didn't -- they were merely using her Internet site to hide their tracks as they signed into their Nazi memberships online. They didn't care about Hechme, other than to get her Internet access.
The RCMP, by their own acknowledgement, did not complete their investigations. They were stymied, their official reoprt says, because they lacked the ability to pursue the case to the U.S. server in question.
In investigating hate messages complaints, the commission has logged on to websites to view their contents and to obtain evidence.
Lynch is using the phrase "logged on" to deliberately confuse readers. You don't need to "log on" to Stormfront to "investigate" its anti-Semitism. There is no logging-on necessary to read it. Just click here, and you'll be reading away.
What Lynch's staff did was join Stormfront as members. So when they go to the site, they log in with their membership names and passwords. They do that for one reason alone: so they can participate in the site, not merely be passive observers. Her use of the phrase "log on" is designed to blur the fact that they were in fact logging in as signed-up Nazi members.
It was as active participants that they wrote their hundreds of bigoted remarks.
In some investigations, postings were made, but this has never included the posting of hateful or derogatory messages, nor would the commission condone such a practice if it occurred.
This is simply a falsehood. A lie. Calling Jews "scum", calling gays a "cancer", etc. are derogatory, and they were made with the knowledge and complicity of the CHRC hierarchy. To this day Lynch herself condones it.
I don't know if one can call such a woman a Nazi sympathizer, but she is certainly a defender of her seven in-house Nazis.
The suggestion that the commission's investigation of neo-Nazi websites equates to "active" membership in neo-Nazi organizations is simply irresponsible.
She's right: an investigation of Stormfront does not equate with active membership of Stormfront. They are two different things. And Lynch's seven Nazi members chose the second option: to be active, hate-spewing members. They had the choice; they could have merely observed, as you and I can. But instead they joined, and dove right in.
Jewish scum! Gay cancer!
That's what they wrote. That's not investigation. That's bigotry. That's entrapment. And that's standard operating procedure in Lynch's little Nazi nest.
I regret that this important discussion has degenerated into unwarranted personal attacks on the employees of the Canadian Human Rights Commission carrying out their legislated mandate.
That's my favourite line. It's apparently not "unwarranted" and "personal" and "attacking" for Lynch's seven Nazi members to call Jews scum or gays cancer. That's not unacceptable to her. That's not outside the limits of fair play.
What's unacceptable is anyone -- especially a mere citizen -- calling her to account for it.
She's a bigoted censor. To her, any debate is unacceptable. She's about gagging dissent, not engaging with it. And she's so vain, she'd rather side with the seven Nazis in her organization than admit that she runs a rotten, corrupt operation.
Jennifer Lynch did not create section 13. She was not the CHRC's chief commissar when the seven Nazis in her employ joined Stormfront. She could have, upon discovering the rot, disowned it -- by identifying it as a problem and fixing it. Cauterizing the wound. She could have shown leadership -- improving, reforming, fixing.
Instead of disowning the Nazis, she's owning them and their foul deeds. She would rather protect her seven little bigots than admit that anything is wrong in her fiefdom.
What an odious woman. When she accosted me on Parliament Hill back ni May, I didn't recognize her -- she is much more haggard and old than her ancient publicity picture. In other words, she surpised me. I think I shook her hand, because I had no idea who that old woman was who approached me. I dearly wish I had known who she was, for I would never have shaken the hand that shakes the hands of so many Nazis.
Jennifer Lynch of the Canadian Human Rights Commission says the matter of the hacking of Nelly Hechme's Internet account is "closed." The RCMP doesn't think so -- its report indicates that the CHRC is its only suspect, and the case is "unsolved." And the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is still considering damning testimony from Bell Canada about the hacking. For Ms. Lynch to publicly prejudge a case before the tribunal is highly inappropriate.
But the most amazing thing is her statement that CHRC staff have never written "hateful or derogatory" comments. CHRC investigators have admitted under oath to writing on Nazi websites that Jews are "scum," gays are a "cancer" and white police should be loyal to "their race," to list just a sample. Is she saying those comments are not derogatory? And does she really think that such bigotry is part of her "legislated mandate"?
Fire. Them. All.
Ezra Levant, Calgary.
and here are three more that ran yesterday. The first:
Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), was not present on March 25, 2008, when the evidence of her own investigator revealed the gross chicanery of the commission's investigative procedures. If she had been, she would have heard first-hand the disgraceful admissions which she is now playing down.
Those of us who were there heard of the hacking into the personal computer of an Ottawa resident so that investigators could then connect with a target website under the guise of an innocent and unknowing citizen. The audience was appalled to hear that, once inside the targeted website, investigators deliberately planted misleading messages designed to goad the accused into making an inculpatory reply, thereby founding a charge of "hate speech" against him.
We also heard the investigator confirm that freedom of speech was an "American concept" to be disregarded in his investigations.
Despite her protestations, Ms. Lynch cannot state that the attacks upon her investigators are unwarranted. It is beyond sound administrative principles that no steps have been taken by the argumentative commissioner to clean house of the rot that is pervading her fiefdom.
I'm so glad Jennifer Lynch, the CHRC's chief censor -- oops, I mean commissioner -- was able to clear up that little misunderstanding about her investigators being Nazis. I guess if you only pretend to be a Nazi for the sake of "obtaining evidence" against Nazis -- for the greater good of society, of course--it doesn't make you an actual, dyed-in-the-wool Hitler aficionado.
To ensure that no one ever again mistakes CHRC investigators for real-life Nazis, might I suggest her sleuths wear T-shirts emblazoned with the following message: "I'm not a Nazi, I just play one on the Internet"?
Jennifer Lynch just doesn't get it. When she tells us the CHRC engaged in gathering evidence, is she not saying that the commission is engaging in investigative work that should only be done by trained professionals, such as the police. That Ms. Lynch obviously believes her body is above the law tells us something about her commission.
By Ezra Levant on July 16, 2009 2:15 AM
I'm honoured to write the back page of Canada's leading legal magazine, Canadian Lawyer. I've been doing it for more than three years, and it's a tough gig -- imagine how nit-picky the readers can be! But I love it because of the quality of the readers, the legal focus of the column and the regular blasts I get in the letters page.
...Australia’s government nannies have officially banned 1,370 web sites. They’ve drawn up a blacklist, just like the medieval index of banned books. Right now it’s a voluntary pilot project to which Internet service providers can submit. But if the trial run is deemed a success and made law, anyone who links to a blacklisted site can be fined $11,000 a day. That means it will be a crime not just to provide the contents of a web site, but to merely reproduce its address.
That’s not just like banning books. It’s like banning books, and banning saying the banned book’s title. It’s a lot of banning.
But here’s the tricky part: the government won’t even say what those 1,370 banned web sites are. It’s secret. So there are 1,370 web sites out there that could result in your criminal prosecution in Australia. But you won’t find out what they are — until you link to one of them. That’s right out of Alice in Wonderland. The pretzelian logic goes like this: if the Australian government were to list those 1,370 banned web sites, then not only would they be breaking the rules themselves, but that list would serve as an advertisement. Out of the billions of web pages on the Internet, 1,370 would be given special attention, inviting anyone curious to check them out.
Of course, people who compile the secret blacklist know what’s on it. But apparently they can be trusted not to succumb to the temptation to look at the sites. And the list was sent to selected Australian Internet companies for a trial run. That didn’t work out quite as well. The list was leaked to Wikileaks, the web site that specializes in publishing confidential documents, especially embarrassing internal government memoranda.
And that’s when things got even weirder. Wikileaks published the entire blacklist on one of its pages. So now that Wikileaks page, too, has been added to the blacklist. It’s number 1,371.
Needless to say, I was tempted to skim the names of the banned sites.
...Many banned sites are merely offensive, but not illegal. And some sites are perfectly innocuous. For some secret reason, the web site www.vanbokhorst.nl is on the blacklist. If you’re not in Australia, feel free to give that one a click. It’s not a pornographic site. My Dutch is rusty, but it appears to be a web site for a forklift rental company in Holland.
How did Van Bokhorst get on the blacklist in Australia? Nobody knows because the process was kept secret, even from Van Bokhorst.
...Thailand brought in a similar blacklist in the name of protecting its citizens from child pornography. But — surprise! — within months, the blacklist had other web sites on it, including 1,200 banned for criticizing the Thai royal family. A secret list, in the hands of a government, practically guarantees that sort of political abuse.
Australia’s trial-run blacklist has plenty of questionable items on it, and not just Dutch forklift companies. Hundreds of Internet poker sites are banned. Poker, unlike child pornography, is not a crime. It may be a vice, but how to handle that is a political debate. Australia’s blacklist ends that discussion with force.
And now a web site about abortion politics is on the blacklist. You can probably guess which side of the debate is being censored, but either way, it’s abominable censorship.
That blacklist was sold as a way to stop child porn. But that’s the thing about slippery slopes, isn’t it; you don’t really see the dangers until you’ve started sliding into them.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission wants an Internet blacklist, too. It wants to expand Canada’s cybertip.ca to cover political sites, not just child porn sites it targets now.
We associate book burnings with witch trials and the Nazis, not with mild-mannered bureaucrats. But book burnings in the 21st century require no matches — just self-righteous censors and a somnolent public.
By Ezra Levant on July 15, 2009 3:23 PM
In a bizarre and tasteless trivialization of the Jewish Holocaust, Warren Kinsella, senior campaign aide to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, has compared today's modern, liberal Czech Republic to Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
The bizarre outburst on Kinsella's blog was part of the Liberal response to the Conservative government's decision to reimpose visa requirements for travelers from the Czech Republic. Kinsella actually compared that decision to the Canadian government's disastrous decision in the 1940s to send fleeing Jews back to their deaths in the gas chambers.
And, while we're on the subject of what we really want, we'd like a Minister of Immigration who isn't a xenophobic mouth-breather, now busily setting off a major diplomatic incident, and - as one expert put it - "taking Canada back to the days when it closed the door to Jewish migrants trying to flee Nazi Europe."
To save time, just vote Liberal in the Fall. We'll get rid of all of these twits for you, on one day.
I'm all for vigorous partisanship. If Kinsella thinks he can embarrass this government for reimposing visas on the Czech Republic -- as Paul Wells points out, a policy that would merely bring us back to status quo under Jean Chretien's Liberals, who also imposed visas on the Czechs -- then go for it.
This would all be uninteresting, were it not for the fact that Kinsella is a spokesman for Ignatieff. Kinsella's trivialization of the Holocaust for partisan purposes fits well with Ignatieff's pattern of hostility to Israel.
And in a stunning Op-Ed in the Guardian, Ignatieff called Israel "angry and embittered", compared it to crusaders and enforcers of Apartheid, called it part of a "death cult", and said that the United States military should impose a solution on Israel using brute force.
What a nut.
Normally I'd call on Ignatieff to renounce Kinsella's profane comparison. But I don't think he'd see a problem with it.
Last month, a parliamentary committee invited Jennifer Lynch, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to answer questions about her agency's conduct. She refused to attend, sending in her place a deputy who could not answer key questions put to him by MP Russ Hiebert.
Now that Parliament is safely on summer holidays, Lynch has bravely emerged from her bunker -- the CHRC office actually is a bulletproof bunker -- to accuse Hiebert of getting his facts wrong.
But it's Lynch's version that's false.
In her July 11 letter to the National Post, Lynch denies that CHRC staff hacked into the Internet account of a private citizen to cover their tracks as they logged into their memberships in neo-Nazi websites. Lynch says both the Privacy Commissioner and the RCMP "found no evidence to support this allegation."
But that's not true. The Privacy Commissioner's staff did not investigate the hacking -- that is not within their jurisdiction. They only examined "whether the CHRC improperly collected, used, disclosed or retained personal information about the complainant," a different and irrelevant question.
And neither did the RCMP declare that there was "no evidence" to the accusation. They investigated for months. Only when the case led them to a U. S.-based Internet server did they drop their investigation rather than pursue it internationally. That's quite a different thing from exonerating the CHRC.
There was a hearing into the matter, though, at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on March 25, 2008. Alain Monfette, Bell Canada's security officer, testified that the CHRC accessed the Internet using that private citizen's Bell account. Lynch's lawyers sat in embarrassed silence -- they did not rebut Monfette's evidence nor even bother to cross-examine him.
As Nelly Hechme, the hacking victim, told reporters, "I merely wanted some answers and maybe a little justice, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I feel like I'm basically being told to just accept it."
Lynch is pretending that Hechme doesn't even exist. But that pales in comparison to Lynch's statement that CHRC staff did not "post hateful messages on the Internet."
In fact, CHRC employees have been active members of neo-Nazi organizations for years, and have published countless anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black comments online. CHRC employees have admitted to this under oath. On the same day Monfette testified about the hacking, CHRC investigator Dean Steacy testified there were no guidelines about what CHRC staff could do using their online Nazi memberships.
Steacy, for example, used his Nazi membership to write encouraging words to a racist group called B. C. White Pride. He praised them, told them their racist posters were "great" and promised to distribute their literature. Your tax dollars at work.
Other CHRC investigators went further. One praised Nazi leaders ( "I still say [Adrien] Arcand is our man!"); called for Canadian police to discriminate against blacks ( "exactly when will white cops understand that they should stand by THEIR race?!"); and trashed a Jewish youth group ( "if people spent the time building fellow WNs [White Nationalists] up rather than tearing them down we'd be dangerous. Unless your goal is to tear people down in which case go join Hillel or something.")
At least 12 CHRC prosecutions have been tainted by CHRC staff or witnesses using agent provocateur tactics like that. They've even written Nazi shorthand for "Heil Hitler".
Steacy testified that at least seven CHRC staff have access to Nazi membership accounts: Steacy himself, his two personal assistants, investigator Sandy Kozak, lawyer Giacomo Vigna, manager John Chamberlin, and former CHRC investigator and current serial witness and complainant Richard Warman.
By sheer numbers, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has more Nazi members than the tiny Canadian Nazi Party did when it briefly existed in the 1960s.
If real police and prosecutors behaved this way, they would be suspended and any criminal charges tainted by such misconduct would be stayed. Not so at the CHRC, which lacks an internal affairs office or written operational policies. It doesn't even have a code of ethics.
It's become so embarrassing that even the tribunal -- the kangaroo court that rubber-stamps CHRC censorship prosecutions -- has ended its silence. Four months ago, the tribunal examined some of these comments, including one denouncing Jewish politicians as "scum."
"I do not see any acceptable reason for [Richard] Warman to have participated on the Stormfront or Vanguard [neo-Nazi] sites," wrote the tribunal. "It is possible that his activity in this regard could have precipitated further hate messages in response ... The evidence in this case of his participating on Internet sites similar to the Northern Alliance [neo-Nazi] site is both disappointing and disturbing."
It's a scandal that the CHRC joins Nazi groups on the taxpayers' dime. But instead of recognizing the problem and fixing it, Lynch is trying to cover it up.
The Prime Minister needs to intervene. It's time Stephen Harper fired everyone with a Nazi membership at the CHRC, along with the woman who is permitting their bigotry.
A couple of thoughts I didn't have space for in the Post:
1. Who cares about Nazis? Well, the Official Jews say they do, especially Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Well, in the Warman v. Lemire case -- that's the case where much of these Nazi antics were revealed -- the CJC, the B'nai Brith and the Simon Wiesenthal Center were all interveners. In other words, those Official Jews were right there in the room -- they didn't need the media to tell them what happened. But none of them issued so much as a stern press release: they were all fine with the Nazification of the CHRC. They were more than fine with it -- they were intervening in support of the CHRC, and these Nazi tactics didn't faze them. Disgusting.
2. When do the Nazi antics cease to become a political embarrassment to Jennifer Lynch, Richard Warman and their ilk, and start to become a political problem for the Conservative government that appointed her, tolerates him, and continues to let this menace grow? In the recent past, the Conservatives and especially its predecessor parties the Canadian Alliance and the Reform Party, were accused of being "far right", "extremist", "racist" and the like. Those were baseless smears, of course. But why would the party risk having real members of Nazi organizations working in the government? Perhaps a year ago it could plausibly claim ignorance. But that's not the case now. Why won't the government disown Lynch and her mob?
3. Lying is not a crime -- at least not lying to the press. Lying to Parliament is a different matter; so is lying under oath. Will Russ Hiebert and other MPs call Lynch herself to Parliament -- and subpoena her personally, so she doesn't evade them like she did last time -- and press her on this subject? Will she lie about it then? And if she does, will this government continue -- inexplicably -- to tolerate it?
By Ezra Levant on July 14, 2009 12:16 AM
A couple of weeks ago, conservative commentator Michael Taube reviewed Shakedown for the Washington, D.C.-based Weekly Standard magazine. (I should note that the Weekly Standard was one of the few U.S. magazines to reprint the Danish cartoons.) Here's the link; here are some excerpts:
...In February 2006, Levant was the publisher of a conservative magazine, the Western Standard. After some consideration, he decided to reprint the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed "to show our readers what all the fuss was about." It was a gutsy move. Whereas most Canadian publications decided against publishing them, Levant thought people should be free to look at these cartoons in print and judge for themselves.
...Today, HRCs are the equivalent of kangaroo courts used predominantly by the Canadian left to sue political rivals and soothe the hurt feelings of residents of glass houses. Shakedown details some of the more ridiculous human rights cases that have succeeded in Canada--and sadly, the vast majority of cases have succeeded:
...Muslim police cadet was awarded $500,000 (Canadian) for, among other things, being shouted at by a drill sergeant whose job it was to--well, shout at him.
...It soon became clear these human rights commissions had nothing to do with human rights but were the first-line defense of the left-wing agenda against the rights and freedoms of opposing doctrines.
...Shakedown might well shock your senses; it certainly will make you shudder about Canada's lackadaisical support for free speech. Mark Steyn, who has written Shakedown's introduction, calls Levant "a true Canadian hero." I'll take it one step further: He's a true hero for all people, and societies, who love freedom.
That's pretty friendly! And here's a review in Lifesite News, by John Jalsevac:
...the worst thing that ever happened to the CHRCs was when a Muslim imam by the name of Syed Sohawardy decided to file a human rights complaint against a magazine published by Levant. Sohawardy claimed that he was "offended" that the now-defunct Western Standard had dared republish the so-called "Danish cartoons" that depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad and that had been the ostensible catalyst for violent rioting by Muslims across the globe.
As Levant relates in Shakedown - his recently published book on the human rights commissions - he honestly didn't think he'd have to spend more than five minutes dealing with what he really thought - as a reasonable, law-abiding Westerner living in what he considered a "free country" - was a mere "bureaucratic formality." After all, the cartoons were the hot news at the time, and Canada didn't operate according to Sharia law.
...As soon as Levant realized that he was being forced to walk the gauntlet of a broken human rights system that was, ironically, perhaps the greatest threat to human rights in the country (yes, even beyond the various pathetic white supremecist sites that HRC employees apparently spend their lazy afternoon hours baiting with racist comments) and that he was far from being the only victim, he never looked back. His recent book is the percolated and highly volatile result of several years spent fighting that system and learning the finer points of how it operates. The book is an informative, disturbing, and beautifully galvanizing read.
To me it really is a wonder that anyone from Canada's HRCs has shown their face in public since the release of Levant's book. Shakedown is a damning and deeply embarassing indictment of a government entity that has become so bloated with its own power that it seems utterly incapable of conceiving that dragging ordinary Canadian citizens through the mud of absurdly lengthy, costly, and demeaning "investigations" into whether or not someone may or may not be "offended" by something they said, just might not be in anyone's best interests - except, of course, their own.
Shakedown has been favorably reviewed in most of the major news publications from coast to coast. And the most remarkable thing is that Levant's sympathizers cross all ideological and political boundaries - and this even though most of the commission's "hate speech" victims have been political and social conservatives and Christians. Indeed, perhaps Levant's greatest accomplishment has been to transcend ideological boundaries, largely by showing that just because the commission is persecuting social conservatives now, doesn't mean that its persecutory mechanisms and lack of due process can't be turned on anyone, no matter where they fall on the political or ideological spectrum.
Later this week I hope to blog about a fascinating review of my book written by Mark Freiman, the new figurehead president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. That will take more time than merely pasting some excerpts -- it's styled as a review of my book (and, actually, as a review of me), but it tells much more about Freiman and the CJC, I think. I'll try to get to that soon.
By Ezra Levant on July 13, 2009 11:51 PM
I took a couple of weeks off after our new baby arrived, and it's still tough to grab an hour to do a good blog post. Of course there is news every day about Canada's corrupt and abusive human rights commissions, but the two weeks I was off blogging seemed to be a particularly newsy time. I still want to take a proper run at Jennifer Lynch's stunning confession that she has 1,200 files on her enemies. Not only is that politically scandalous -- shades of McCarthy and Nixon -- but I believe it is also illegal, and I'll make my case to that effect when I can clear some time.
In the meantime, I'm going to try to post some quick entries that I missed. I'll start out with a debate I had with Pearl Eliadis, a former Ontario Human Rights Commission director, in the letters pages of the National Post. I'll provide the links to the Post's website, but for convenience I'll also reprint the letters in full below:
There is simply no excuse for the media continuing to mislead the Canadian public on the hate speech debate. The Post repeats the "100% conviction" figure to describe what happens to hate speech complaints. Leaving aside the mendacious use of the term "conviction" -- which only applies to criminals and not to administrative proceedings of this kind -- the reality is different.
Of 66 complaints filed and accepted under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act since 2001, only one-quarter have been brought forward to a tribunal and been upheld. And all have been against extremist white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.
The claim of 100% conviction is absurd. In recent memory we all know that the complaint against Rogers (in the Maclean's/ Mark Steyn matter) was dismissed, even though one author tried to turn it into a chronicle of a conviction foretold. And after that, a much-publicized stunt complaint from Quebec by a blogger was also dismissed -- without even an investigation.
But there is more. The Post continues to complain that "offensive" speech is outlawed. The opposite is true: According to the Supreme Court of Canada, the subjective test of being offended is not the benchmark.
There are good ideas for reforming human right commissions in Canada. These ideas have been around for more than 10 years, with proposals by the commissions themselves. Most recently, Mark Freiman, in his trenchant critique of Ezra Levant's Shakedown in The Literary Review of Canada, has referred to some of these ideas. They are worth listening to.
Pearl Eliadis, human rights lawyer, Montreal.
I love that signature: "human rights lawyer", like it's some attempt at a professional designation or other status. Good for Eliadis for still brazening it out, I guess -- most HRC employees are ducking for cover these days, too embarrassed to be identified. Don't take my word for it -- ask chief commissar Lynch! Of course, my own favourite new appellation is "human rights activist", something that, when Michael Coren first described me that way on his show, shocked me to hear it. But if censors like Eliadis can call themselves "human rights lawyers" while they're destroying human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of religion, you're damned straight I can call myself a human rights activist for actually standing up for civil liberties against the massive police powers of the state that Eliadis, Lynch and company represent. Anyways, here's my rebuttal:
Re: Understanding The Hate-Speech Debate, letter to the editor, June 19.
Letter-writer Pearl Eliadis, a former employee of a human rights commission, is entitled to her own opinions, but she's not entitled to her own facts.
Ms. Eliadis denies that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has a 100% conviction rate for hate speech prosecutions. But it's true: Since the law was enacted in 1977, not a single person has ever been acquitted by the tribunal that hears the cases. That's not surprising, given that Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act does not allow truth or fair comment as a defence.
In the 32 years the law has been used, only one prosecution has ever failed: the ridiculous case of firstname.lastname@example.org vs. email@example.com.Seriously, that's what the case was called -- one Internet nickname complained about what another nickname said on an Internet chat site. The CHRC subpoenaed AOL to find out who firstname.lastname@example.org was and narrowed it down to someone living at the home of Ronald and Heather Fleming in Edmonton. But the CHRC refused to tell the Flemings who email@example.com was.
firstname.lastname@example.org -- whether or not it was one of the Flemings -- wasn't convicted that day. But he wasn't acquitted, either. The CHRC forgot to bring any witnesses or the mystery complainant, email@example.com. So after asking the security guard to look around the lobby for someone looking like a beach boy, the tribunal just cancelled the whole gong show. That's not an acquittal -- that's just incompetence. Other than that, every single person who the CHRC has prosecuted has been convicted. Not even North Korea can boast a 100% conviction rate.
Ezra Levant, Calgary.
As you can see, I forgot to add the "human rights activist" title after my name! Here's Eliadis's reply:
Re: The Hate-Speech Debate (II), letter to the editor, June 23.
Letter-writer Ezra Levant can't have it both ways. When he was targeted by human rights complaints, he (and others like him) protested that his "conviction" was a certainty, even though the complaint was only at the preliminary screening stage. At that stage, however, the statistic I quoted ( "Understanding the hate speech debate, letter, June 19") -- which is publicly available at page 24 of the Special Report to Parliament-- is nowhere near 100%. In fact, only one-quarter of cases get through.
What Mr. Levant now does is to change footing, by blurring the preliminary screening phase and the tribunal phase. Once a case gets that far, very few complainants lose--not because the fix is in, but because commissions screen aggressively. The numbers speak for themselves: For example, in Quebec, roughly 1,500 human rights cases are filed each year and about 750 are investigated. Of those, about 95% are bounced before getting anywhere near a tribunal.
Mr. Levant is right to point out that the success rates are high among the very few that do get to tribunal. Continuing the Quebec example, the rates hover in the 90% range for all cases --but the point is that it is 90% of less than 5%. To go on about "100% rates" when what we are talking about is "100%" of such tiny numbers is stunningly disingenuous.
Re: Hate-Speech Debate (III), letter to the editor, June 25.
Former HRC-employee Pearl Eliadis says we shouldn't be worried about the Canadian Human Rights Commission's 100% conviction rate for censorship prosecutions, because the CHRC doesn't prosecute every complaint it receives. Of course it doesn't -- it would need a much larger budget to prosecute everyone on its list of enemies. According to CHRC boss Jennifer Lynch, that's 1,200 files.
Ms. Eliadis says that for every victim the CHRC formally prosecutes, many more are investigated without a formal hearing. I know all about that: I was investigated for 900 days by 15 bureaucrats and lawyers at Alberta's HRC because of some cartoons in a magazine I published. In the end, the HRC didn't formally prosecute me, but taxpayers spent $500,000 on that witch hunt and I was stuck with my own $100,000 legal bill.
Recently, the CHRC targeted Father Alphonse de Valk, an elderly Toronto priest. He didn't have his day in kangaroo court -- but he was put through the ringer by the CHRC all the same. As he struggles to pay off his $20,000 legal bill, I doubt he feels good that he wasn't formally "prosecuted" -- merely harassed for two years by a human rights commission that doesn't give a damn about human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
What human being -- not what politician, not what lawyer, but what human being -- would propose that telling the truth should be a crime in Canada? What an execrable woman; what an embarrassment to Stephen Harper's Conservative government; what an embarrassment to anyone who actually cares about real human rights; what a shame for all Canadians.
But now we know that Lynch practises what she preaches. She places little value on the truth, either in the law or in her public communications as an officer of the government of Canada. In her latest letter to the National Post she proves yet again that she has no compunction about lying, lying to the public and lying to Parliament.
I'm so embarrassed that this woman sneaked through the government's screening process for appointees.
Lying should be avoided for moral reasons: it corrodes a person. There are religious reasons not to lie, too. But under Lynch, the CHRC isn't merely post-Christian, it's anti-Christian: she has targeted numerous Christian leaders in her private inquisition, including Fr. Alphonse de Valk, Rev. Stephen Boissoin and the Christian Heritage Party, to name just three. Appealing to religious morality will not stop this woman.
If you're a liar, at least be smart about it
But what are the pragmatic reasons not to lie? If one has no compunction about lying, surely one ought to be smart about it. That is, a successful sociopath would not tell lies that are too easily checkable.
But that is precisely what Lynch did in yesterday's National Post newspaper. Here is her letter, an attempt to rebut Russ Hiebert's smackdown of her. I won't chase after every little lie, but let me tackle two.
Lying about illegal hacking
The first lie is her denial that CHRC staff hacked into a private citizen's Internet account to cover their tracks as they went online to access one of their neo-Nazi memberships. (Every time I write that sentence, I can't believe it's true, and not some conspiracy theory.)
Mr. Hiebert says there is uncontradicted expert evidence that a commission employee illegitimately used the Internet connection of a third party. Two independent investigations, one by the RCMP expert unit responsible for computer crimes, and one by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, found no evidence to support this allegation.
The purpose of the investigation was to examine whether the CHRC improperly collected, used, disclosed or retained personal information about the complainant during the course of its investigations, in contravention of sections 4 to 8 of the Privacy Act.
Lynch says the Privacy Commissioner exonerated her from the charge of hacking. They did no such thing. (And, my favourite part, is that the Privacy Commissioner's investigation took the form of... chatting with CHRC staff. That's it -- Nelly Hechme herself was never interviewed by them, nor did they speak with Bell Canada's security officer, Alain Monfette, who testified under oath that the hacking did indeed take place. You can read Monfette’s sworn, uncontradicted testimony at pages 5645 and 5646 of the transcript. It’s not just uncontradicted testimony – it wasn’t even cross-examined. The CHRC didn’t object to it at all – other than to try to keep reporters out that day.)
Nelly Hechme said she had encountered "too many roadblocks" in trying to get answers about the apparent hijacking of her wireless connection.
"I am not one to fight hard; I merely wanted some answers and maybe a little justice but that doesn't seem to be the case," Hechme said from Ottawa.
"I feel like I'm basically being told to just accept it."
Sounds about par for the course.
Lynch also says the RCMP "found no evidence" of the hacking. This, also, is a lie. The Ottawa police had enough evidence that they passed it on the RCMP, who investigated it for months. In the end, for whatever reason, they did not file charges. That is true. But that is not what Lynch wrote. She wrote they found "no evidence". That is a lie.
The mother of all lies
But all of this pales in comparison to the mother of all lies told by Lynch, that:
Nor did commission investigators post hateful messages on the Internet.
She sort of sneaks that in there, doesn't she? Almost tries to blend it in with her other lies about false exonerations.
That's the biggest, most damning lie of all.
It's the lie that will, in the end, cost Lynch her job.
Because the Canadian public -- and even this risk-averse minority Conservative government -- cannot tolerate the truth about Lynch's activities: her staff are members of neo-Nazi organizations, and conduct themselves as if they are Nazis, including by writing hundreds, if not thousands, of bigoted comments on the Internet.
And that truth is starting to come out.
This March, the truth came out with a trumpet blast: the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal -- the rubber-stamp kangaroo court that has given the CHRC a 100% conviction rate -- issued a rare and damning opinion of Lynch's staff's Nazi memberships. The Tribunal said that the conduct of Richard Warman -- the former CHRC investigator who has since been the complainant in all but two censorship prosecutions by the CHRC, and whose expenses are paid for by the CHRC to this day -- were "disappointing", "disturbing" and inexcusable.
What conduct was that? Publishing bigoted hate speech online -- precisely what Lynch denies.
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.
Warman was a CHRC investigator, and he is the CHRC's essential partner in their ongoing prosecutions. Without Warman, there would have been only two censorship prosecutions in the past decade.
Now, pathological liars like Lynch look for technicalities, hairs to split, any mental reservation by which they can pretend the lies they tell are the truth. Lynch, for example, might think, "well, Warman is the center of our censorship prosecutions, and we pay his expenses, and he still has a hand in CHRC investigations even though he no longer works here, but he isn't technically a CHRC investigator, so his Nazi activities aren't on our head."
She could say that.
But it wouldn't save her from being a damned liar.
Because Warman's Nazi antics started before he left the CHRC in July of 2004. He was on staff while he spread his hate.
Some of Warman's comments are just mindless chatter. But some of them are the very definition of bigotry, from praise for Nazi leaders ("I still say Arcand is our man!") to call for anti-black policing ("exactly when will white cops understand that they should stand by THEIR race?!") to trashing Jewish youth groups ("if people spent the time building fellow WNs [White Nationalists] up rather than tearing them down we'd be dangerous. Unless your goal is to tear people down in which case go join Hillel or something.")
Each of the above (and more) comments were published by Warman when he was a CHRC employee. Of course, he's published so many more since then, under so many fake names, he admits he can't even remember all of his Nazi aliases. Note: he says he can't even remember all of his aliases, let alone all the Nazi posts he makes under those aliases.
Dean Steacy is a Nazi member too
It's not just Warman, of course. Many other CHRC staff to this day maintain membership in neo-Nazi organizations. According to sworn testimony by the CHRC, up to eight CHRC staff have access to these Nazi memberships. As Dean Steacy, CHRC censor, admitted under oath last year, it was Lord of the Flies over there -- there were no rules whatsoever on the use of Nazi memberships. See page 5827 of the transcript:
Ms. Kulaszka: Are there any guidelines for investigators about what kind of posts they can make using aliases?
Mr. Steacy: No.
Pretty straightforward. No wonder Lynch tried to have that hearing closed to the media.
Steacy declares his white pride
So what did Steacy himself do using his neo-Nazi membership? (Again, stop and think how insane it is that government employees at something called a human rights commission are joining neo-Nazi groups as part of their job. I guess even Nazis need stimulus programs.)
By Ezra Levant on July 9, 2009 12:37 PM
Russ Hiebert is the Conservative Member of Parliament from White Rock. That speaks to his discpline right there. If you lived in gorgeous White Rock, would you really want to go to Ottawa every week?
Hiebert summoned Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to his Parliamentary Committee to answer for her abusive and corrupt tactics. Naturally, Lynch refused to attend. She chose to go to yet another 5-star gala industry event, on the taxpayers dime, this one a conference in beautiful Montreal.
(When I get her expense claim for that one, I'll let you know. My prediction: she'll ding us for four figures, for something just 90 minutes down the road from Ottawa.)
What a coward. She'll issue edicts to elected Members of Parliament, telling them that truth should no longer be a defence to Criminal Code provisions against hate propaganda. But when they have some questions for her about her actual job and how she's actually doing it, she's too busy drinking taxpayers' champagne to attend.
Next time, Hiebert should send her a formal subpoena, and charge her with contempt of Parliament if she skips town again. That was insubordination, and frankly I'm surprised that Prime Minister Harper's Chief of Staff, Guy Giorno, allows such behaviour on the part of a bureaucrat who has caused this government nothing but trouble.
You can see why the coward Lynch didn't attend Parliament that day. I mean, if she refuses to debate little old me, you can imagine why she didn't want to debate Hiebert:
Besides revealing that she's keeping an enemies list (and Hiebert is surely on it), she said:
She criticized Conservative MP Russ Hiebert for relying on "one source that is full of misinformation," in his study of the CHRC in a parliamentary subcommittee.
Now, you'd think that if Hiebert's arguments were so weak, Lynch would have attended the Parliamentary committee and exposed Hiebert as a dupe. But it's just her same, lame excuse for refusing to debate -- she engages in ad hominem attacks on her opponents. It's one thing when she does so to private citizens like me -- I'm just a blogger.
But, seriously: to call Member of Parliament fools and dupes, simply because they disagree with her abusive tactics?
And, far more important than her insults, note what she does not say: she does not list a single inaccuracy in Hiebert's comments. It's the same with her criticism of my book: she has yet to name a single false fact -- not even a typo. You'd think she'd rush to expose me, if I had a single error.
Like I say, she's a coward.
Well, Hiebert fired back today, with a magnificent piece in the National Post. It's too good to merely excerpt; let me reprint it in full. The headline itself is gorgeous: The CHRC is ethically challenged.
Recently, Canadian Human Rights Commission chief Jennifer Lynch criticized me for relying on "one source that is full of misinformation," in my parliamentary study of the CHRC ( "Canadians 'misinformed' on hate speech," June 22). It may surprise Ms. Lynch to learn that the source of my "misinformation" is her own commission and its companion body, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
Every question I raised in committee about the lack of due process and an ethics code for commission employees, and the absence of rules of evidence, came from commission and tribunal documents, many of which are currently available on the commission's own website ( www.chrc-ccdp.ca).The transcripts of tribunal hearings provide telling evidence of the wayward approach the commission's investigators take in prosecuting their cases. Recent hearings, such as the Marc Lemire case, have revealed that current CHRC investigator Dean Steacy and former CHRC investigator Richard Warman regularly posted neo-Nazi diatribes under assumed names on white supremacist web-sites. Further, uncontradicted expert evidence presented before the hearing demonstrated that investigator Steacy illegitimately used an unsuspecting private citizen's wireless Internet service to post his offensive comments.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the commission asked the tribunal to exclude the media from the hearing that day. Fortunately, for the sake of accountability, a secret hearing was rejected and we know more about the CHRC's inner workings.
However, other hearings have been held in secret, as Ms. Lynch has admitted, supposedly for the "safety" of a witness but contrary to the ancient right of being able to face one's accuser in court. Indeed, in the ongoing case of firstname.lastname@example.org vs. email@example.com, the commission hasn't even revealed the identity of the complainant. Interestingly, the commission's website does name the complainant for 12 of the 14 hate speech cases that have come before the tribunal in the last eight years: Richard Warman. Ms. Lynch's deputy appeared before my committee in Parliament recently and admitted that the commission does not have to follow rules of evidence or legal procedure, but merely has "operating procedures" that identify the timelines for addressing complaints. To put that in plain English: defendants have no guarantee of a fair hearing.
A 2003 internal government review of the CHRC found that the commission scored only 2.5 out of five on an ethics test. The review recommended the commission adopt an ethics code, which it has still not done. Given the questionable activities of its investigators, perhaps it is time for Ms. Lynch to revisit this recommendation.