June 2010 Archives
Remember that promotional ad for the new SUN TV news channel?
Well, a CBC show has come up with a satirical spoof of the ad:
I have to admit, I laughed out loud -- it was pretty funny.
It's good to know that there's someone at the CBC who has a sense of humour, after Don Newman's meltdown on the subject.
The trial in the matter of Giacomo Vigna v. Ezra Levant continues tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday in the Ottawa court house on Elgin Street.
The first five days of hearings were in March, but the matter ran long, so it will resume for two more days. Tomorrow I will finish my testimony, and Mr. Vigna will cross-examine me. Friday will be each side's closing statements.
If you're in town and want to come by, feel free -- it's runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with a break for lunch. You can find out the courtroom number at the reception desk.
I've been writing about freedom of speech, the need to reform Canada's human rights commissions, and Mr. Vigna's lawsuit for over two years, and I've shared plenty of opinions on the subject.
Now's the time for a judge to hear the facts of the case and render his verdict.
Thanks to all of my supporters, both those who have given me moral support and the financial support to be able to sustain my legal bills.
To all of you who dare criticize Karla Homolka, the Toronto Star's Jim Coyle knows better.
Karla and her husband Paul Bernardo love Karla's sister Tammy, even if they did rape and murder her.
Coyle is appalled at the raw hatred out there for Karla Homolka. So here's what he wrote about those angry friends of Tammy who would dare criticize Karla. It's a Star column entitled "A lesson worth learning for Tammy's grieving pals" and it actually ran in Canada's largest newspaper. Some excerpts:
Surely, Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo need all the comfort they can get these days – not the kind of cruelty spat on them...
"They're ridiculous," one teen said. "They have no respect for what other people think."
No, child. What they are is human, and hurting. And perhaps the fault, if any, was the opposite – that of caring too much for what other people thought.
"They weren't her family," another reportedly said, claiming that status, instead, for Tammy's high-school pals.
Oh, child, may you never hear such words visited on yourself.
Pain and anger seldom come out in pretty packages. But this was the heaping of insult on injury.
What a lot of teachers and parents have this week, as occasions of heartbreak often provide, is an opportunity to make the lessons of the ages relevant to the current news cycle.
There's much that those young people need to understand...
There are plenty of ways for Tammy's friends to honour her memory. One, if love is what they feel for her, is by showing it to those she surely loved herself.
They'd do well to consider the sort of things that contribute to tragedy of this kind. It doesn't excuse a ghastly act in trying to understand it.
They need to understand that family violence is unique to no time, no place, no culture, no religion.
They need to understand that crimes of passion are called that for a reason. They happen in intimate relationships, between the closest of people, in the places where love is fiercest and fears most great.
Actually, I changed a word in the above. The murdered girl Jim Coyle was writing about wasn't Tammy Homolka, it was Aqsa Parvez. And the murderers weren't Tammy Homolka's sister and brother-in-law, but Aqsa's brother and father.
Other than that I didn't change a thing.
How do you feel? How do you feel about a repulsive excuse for humanity like Jim Coyle telling you that the murderers are full of love? And that their deliberate, calculated murder of Aqsa was a "crime of passion", the only time the word crime is used. And that this was not a morally reprehensible act, but a "tragedy". That's just a step over from the word "accident", isn't it. A bridge collapsing is a tragedy. Not a cold-blooded murder.
Would Coyle dare write this way about Tammy Homolka? Of course not. Even the craven Star would not publish such a desecration. And if, by some fluke, it had gone to print, he'd be fired the next day.
But not so for defaming the memory of Aqsa Parvez. Why? Is the murder of a brown Muslim girl less odious than the murder of a white Christian girl? That's pretty much Coyle's argument, actually. He's racist. Here's the rest of his column, this time with no words changed:
They need to understand how generation gaps exist at the best of times, in the best of families – and how wide one might be between a 57-year-old father and 16-year-old daughter.
They need to understand how profoundly disorienting is the experience of immigration – the risk taken, the price paid by someone moving to the other side of the world, almost always in the interests of the next generation.
The stakes are huge, just like the aspirations, just like the certainty of divided loyalties and conflict to come.
It's for their perennial resonance that stories of the intergenerational culture clash are so frequently retold – in recent times in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, in Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, in Bend it Like Beckham, in a library's worth of stories of shtetl Jews arriving in America.
Most of the time, compromises made, the story works out. Occasionally, it even inspires art, brings out the best in us.
And sometimes, the worst.
Can you believe this disgusting man, comparing Aqsa Parvez's murder -- an "honour killing" because she refused to dress like a chattel owned by the males in her family -- to the heartwarming, light-hearted culture clashes in Bend it Like Beckham or Yiddish stories?
Honour killings? It's a problem every immigrant has! It's part of the great American dream, really!
Other than the 3% of Canadians who are Aboriginal, the rest of us are immigrants or children of immigrants. Have you ever heard of this sort of honour killing before, in our nation's 400-year history?
Or Coyle's claim that the 41-year age gap between father and daughter was the cause?
Is he serious?
Jim Coyle and the Toronto Star are racist. Abiding honour killings is racist. It's sexist. It's anti-feminist. It's precisely the thing the Star claims to be against. But they're not. They'd rather be politically correct than stand up for the rights of women and children.
They'd rather be politically correct than stand up for secular values like gender equality.
They'd rather be politically correct -- and for Aqsa Parvez to be dead -- than to offend Parvez's murderous brother and father.
Even after the murder is done, even as the grave was still fresh, the Star still clings to their bigotry.
And it is bigotry. Accepting this extreme, deadly misogyny is bigotry: the soft bigotry of low expectations. Jim Coyle and the Star don't think Muslims can be any better. They don't think they can hold them to higher standards. So they excuse and explain.
Poor Karla Homolka. Poor Paul Bernardo. If only they were clever enough to be Muslim. They'd probably be on the Star's "community editorial board" by now, and Jim Coyle would have tut-tutted all of Tammy Homolka's closed-minded friends.
But is she an anti-Semite?
Until now, the only evidence we had for her anti-Semitism is that, under her watch, nearly a dozen of her staff were members of neo-Nazi organizations, or had access to membership privileges, with her full knowledge and consent. CHRC staff wrotes hundreds of filthy, filthy anti-Semitic and other racist comments on neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront. And when this fact became public, Lynch proudly stood by her own Aryan Guard.
But here's the news: in a speech delivered last week, Lynch says she is building bridges with the new Nazis: radical Islamists who believe that Jews should be murdered.
I speak of the anti-Semitic Canadian Islamic Congress.
Readers will know that the Canadian Islamic Congress once declared that it is legitimate for anyone to kill an adult Israeli -- that such terrorism is morally acceptable. Here's a video clip:
That sort of hate speech, of course, goes unprosecuted by the CHRC -- in their 33-year existence, they have never pursued a radical Tamil, Sikh or Muslim, despite "hate speech" on the fringes of those communities. Not just hate speech, of course -- actual calls for murder.
The Canadian Islamic Congress is no stranger to the CHRC. In 2007, they filed multiple "hate speech" complaints against Maclean's magazine for publishing a book excerpt by Mark Steyn. One of those complaints was to the CHRC.
The CHRC didn't pursue that complaint (the Ontario HRC issued a condemnation of Maclean's without the bother of a hearing; and the BC Human Rights Tribunal had a five-day kangaroo court that let Maclean's off on a technicality).
But now we learn that the CIC's complaint to the CHRC was actually the beginning of a beautiful friendship. According to a speech given by Jennifer Lynch herself, the Jew-hating CIC is "of high moral authority". Seriously: here's an excerpt from her speech:
We have reached out to opinion leaders and people of high moral authority who can influence how the story is told and speak up when they recognize inaccuracies.
The importance of these relationships became very clear. For many legitimate reasons, the Commission’s focus had not been on outreach in the past decade so we had to play “catch-up” to renew existing relationships and initiate new ones.
In our case this included:
- the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies;
- stakeholders related to the issue such as the Canadian Islamic Congress...
The CIC is so anti-Semitic that the cabinet of the government of Canada were forbidden to meet with them for reasons of political hygiene. But not only does Jennifer Lynch think they're fine to meet with -- they're actually a "high moral authority".
Seriously: the organization that excused the murder of Jews by terrorists is now an advisor to Lynch and her staff -- presumably including her dirty dozen Nazi members.
It was grotesque when Lynch turned a blind eye to the neo-Nazi activities of her own staff -- some of whom continue to work there, unpunished.
But now she's reaching out to notorious anti-Semites who call for the murder of Jews.
I entitled this blog post "Is the CHRC's Jennifer Lynch an anti-Semite?"
I wrote it as a question.
Now that I've thought about it, and looked at the facts, it's not a question in my mind anymore.
Jennifer Lynch is an anti-Semite.
That she is so brazen about her ties to anti-Semites, when the rest of the government is so proudly supportive of Israel and Jews, is a double disgrace.
Fire. Them. All.
Marci McDonald's anti-Christian book launched in a blitz of publicity but immediately hit a wall of negative reviews, and the embarrassment of dozens of factual errors having to be pointed out to her, including very basic and well-known facts about Canadian politics.
She appeared on practically every public affairs talk show in the country, and was given great publicity by her critics (including me). All of which hasn't been enough to prop up sales, which are sagging badly.
According to this list of Canadian best-sellers, she slumped from 6th place last week to 10th place this week, barely a month after publication. If my experience as an author is anything to go by, being tenth in non-fiction sales in Canada means sales of under 1,000 copies a week -- probably more like 500 copies (or even less).
The book is a flop, and deservedly so. It's mainly a collection of gossip, written in a rambling style that is largely unreadable. And even the parts that make some sense are just so factually unreliable, the book really is of no use to anyone, even those who agree with its bigoted thesis that Christians are evil and dangerous.
Last week the Ottawa Citizen ran a desperate whinge from McDonald, wherein she indicated her surprise that she couldn't crap on Christians without being in turn criticized herself. I was so pleased to see it, because it tells me that times have changed. I think McDonald's right: a few decades ago -- say, around when her book jacket publicity photo was taken -- she probably could have vomited forth her attack on Christians without any pushback. Talk radio was undeveloped, the Internet wasn't around and you could count conservative columnists in the country on one hand: Lubor Zink, Peter Worthington, Barbara Amiel, George Jonas, Ted Byfield and I think I just finished the list. McDonald doesn't like to be criticized, especially from mere citizen writers. She wants her 1970s back.
Here's the letter to the editor that I wrote in reply to McDonald's op-ed. The Citizen wanted to make too many editorial changes to it for my liking, so I withdrew it, but I'm happy enough to publish it here. The battle is pretty much over: Canadians have sized up her book and don't like it. The fact that Random House will likely never recoup their book advance to their house bigot is especially pleasing to me. And that's without even counting the defamation suits -- I know of at least one legal demand letter to Random House that, if not met with the appropriate apology and correction, could probably take whatever meagre revenues the book has earned.
All in all, a happy ending to a bigoted book by an ageing slanderer.
Here's my letter:
I’ve pointed out so many factual errors in Marci McDonald’s book, The Armageddon Factor, I think her publisher should start paying me for my proofreading work.
Besides the lists of mistakes I pointed out in two columns in the National Post (not three columns, as McDonald claims – does that count as another error?), here are a few more.
Craig Chandler has never been a “member of the provincial legislature” (page 297). Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act does not ban “any acts” that could incite hatred – only comments made on the Internet or telephone answering machines (p. 303). McDonald says human rights lawyer Gerry Chipeur believes the need for such commissions is “greater than ever” (p. 303). Actually, he filed a brief with the courts calling those commissions’ activities unconstitutional.
TVO’s Steve Paikin demolished McDonald’s error-ridden history of Ontario, such as her claims that Bernard Shapiro was Premier Bill Davis’s education minister, or that Davis extended public funding to Catholic high schools (p. 221). McDonald says “Bush’s Roadmap to Peace” in the middle east was “roundly condemned by all sides” (p. 311). In fact it was adopted by the U.N., Russia and the European Union and Israel and the Palestinians began to implement it.
Andrea Mrozek never wrote what McDonald said she wrote (p. 91) and Terry O’Neill did write what McDonald claims he didn’t (p. 119). Mr. O’Neill’s defamation lawyers have contacted Random House demanding a correction and apology. I would be surprised if he’s the only one.
Do I really need to continue?
But the biggest falsehood is McDonald’s claim in these pages that “my book is in no way an attack on faith nor do I question the right of men and women of faith to voice their convictions in the public square.”
Really? McDonald calls Christians “retrograde and exclusionary”, “dark and dangerous”, “militant”, “radical”, and practitioners of “apartheid”.
If McDonald’s book was called “The Likud Factor”, and listed every “dark and dangerous” Jew in the Canadian government, we’d call McDonald an anti-Semite.
Sorry, a bigot’s a bigot’s a bigot.
I've been reading some of the commentary and criticism about the all-news TV channel being proposed by Quebecor. It's interesting not because of what it says about Quebecor (how could it be? only a handful of staff have been hired, and they haven't broadcast anything yet) but because of the insights it gives us into those commentators and critics themselves.
It's like a Rorschach Test that way: a chance to see what is on the minds of people who look at it.
I think it's safe to conclude that a lot of things are frightening to Martin, including schoolchildren and little lambs, as long as they disagree with his far-left views.
Don Newman took an interesting point of view: not only does he not like what he thinks Quebecor's TV channel will be, but he's not satisfied with making a personal choice to not watch it. He says it will be bad for the whole country -- he doesn't want his neighbours to watch it, either.
I was on CTV on Sunday at the invitation of Craig Oliver. His concern was rather different: he was worried about competition:
If I understand how cable TV works, Oliver shouldn't worry -- even if CTV Newsnet ran a test pattern they'd still get their mandatory fourteen cents a month from everyone with cable TV. But is protecting CTV's duopoly really a higher priority in Canada than providing Canadians with a different choice?
Adam Radwanski, who writes for the Globe and Mail (which is the same company that owns CTV Newsnet) has a different approach: he says his media company isn't biased, but he's really worried that Quebecor will be.
Of course Radwanski doesn't think the Globe is biased -- because it reflects his own opinions on everything from global warming to gun control to abortion to the Liberal Party. And that's the problem right there, isn't it? Radwanski has humbly presented himself and his newspaper (and, I presume, its affiliated TV stations) as normal, and that their editorial views are normal, and that, by definition, those who disagree with him are the dangerous ones. The Globe, he insists is all about diversity. But on key issues, they range all the way from A to B. It's amusing that he's skeptical of a competitor with whom he expects to disagree -- yet he titles his editorial "News you can agree with", presumably written without irony.
So Newman doesn't like it because he fears his neighbours will like it better than the CBC, and that offends him ideologically. Oliver doesn't like it because he fears his neighbours will like it better than CTV, and that worries him financially. Radwanski doesn't like it because he worries that it will be an echo-chamber where people agree with each other, with no diversity -- and only the Globe is allowed that privilege.
And that's precisely why we need such a new network.
Unlike the U.S., Canada actually has a form of the "Fairness Doctrine", an illiberal, politically authoritarian rule that says each network must give a diversity of views. The Broadcasting Act (section 3(1)(i)(iv), if you must know), requires that broadcasters "provide a reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression of differing views on matters of public concern".
Do you really think that the CBC and CTV are following the spirit of that law?
Again, I state that there ought not to be any law governing the content of our news media. Like newspapers, TV and radio stations should be able to take whatever view they like, without having some government regulator overseeing them. But, given that we do have a Broadcasting Act, could one really argue that the CBC gives equal time to, say, skeptics of global warming, compared to their weekly propaganda hour with radical activist and fundraiser, David Suzuki? Does the CTV really give equal time to critics of the gun registry, as it does to the registry's supporters?
Now, I would never want a government bureaucrat to step in to correct that. But it is a little bit rich for people like Don Newman to be shrieking that Canadians will be exposed to new points of view on Quebecor's channel. Newman calls that divisive; the Broadcasting Act would call that diversity.
Newman and the rest of the old guard are all for diversity, as long as it doesn't include people who disagree with them. On Sunday's CTV show, after my segment, the Toronto Star's James Travers said:
...the real question of whether it's advocacy. We see a real polarization in this country. If you say something negative about the government's policy you're clearly a liberal... The real test of us all as journalists is we hold the government of the day to account without fear or favour. And if that network cannot do that, it certainly shouldn't have that licence.
(If I can get a video clip, I'll link to it.)
So there's the left-wing Toronto Star saying that if the new network isn't as hostile to the Conservatives as his newspaper is, it shouldn't even be legal to operate it.
I bet that sounds pretty good to the other left-wingers in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. But I wonder what severely normal Canadians would think of some blowhard from Toronto telling them that a new TV station should not even be allowed to exist if it doesn't meet his political test. It's one thing for Travers to detest the new network (quite a feat, given that it hasn't aired yet). That's just prejudice and fear -- the Rorschach Test at work. But it's quite another for Travers to announce that he's for banning this new channel. I guess that's the Rorschach Test, too.
I'd close with a final comment about Travers that applies to the others, too. Everyone I've quoted above -- Martin, Newman, Oliver, Radwanski -- expresses opinions. Some of them claim to be straight news reporters; some don't. But they all advocate for their point of view. Travers probably blurs the lines the most -- in fact, being a partisan advocate is hard-wired into the Star's corporate DNA. You can actually read them here, including the requirement that the newspaper support big government:
Joseph Atkinson believed that utilities should be run for the benefit of the general public and not owned by businessmen whose principal concern was profit. He favoured public ownership of gas, electric light, electric power, coalmines, oil wells, timber, pulp and paper, telephone, telegraph, radio, television, railways, airlines and streetcars.
So you'll forgive me when I chuckle at Travers and the others condemning advocacy journalism. Like Don Newman, he's only against advocacy for other people.
Let me close with two notes:
1. It must be acknowledged that the actual boss of CTV news, Robert Hurst, has welcomed the new channel. He told the Globe “Come on in, the water's fine... The more Canadian voices, the better.” He even engaged in some frank introspection, in a manner not even contemplated by Newman or Radwanski: "I would say the broadcast discussion in Canada is much more milquetoast than it is in the United States."
2. Kory Teneycke, the proposed channel's executive, is a friend of mine, but I do not have a contract with him or Quebecor (nor with any other media company, other than Canadian Lawyer magazine).
I don't have a lot of experience being accosted by paparazzi, though I can imagine it's irritating. But for elected officials, in the middle of the work day, on the precincts of the national capital, to be asked a fairly straight political question, by a polite-enough man in a suit, seems to be on the milder end of the spectrum. Some would even say it's part of the job description, and there might even be a moral duty to answer questions.
I suppose if Congressman Bob Etheridge, a Democrat, didn't like it, he could simply have kept on walking. It didn't look like the young interviewer was blocking him. It's fair for Etheridge to ask the identity of his would-be interviewer. But to grab his arm quite forcefully, and then to grab him by the back of the neck and the shoulder, is plainly nuts.
Imagine if it were the other way around -- if the kids had grabbed him that way.
Etheridge should be charged with assault. But in a liberal jurisdiction like Washington, D.C., don't hold your breath for a Democrat like Etheridge to face charges.
P.S. Here's cheeky Andrew Breitbart calling up a video of Etheridge encouraging young people to "get involved".
I was asked by an online magazine called The Mark to give advice to the Conservative Party.
My advice was to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Not only is it the right thing to do for the country, but it's a political winner. We know that the Conservative Party itself is united on the matter, and it would energize both the party's conservative and libertarian bases. But it could also post a dilemma for the opposition Liberals, who might be split on the matter between their truly liberal wing, and their more unfortunate authoritarian faction.
The Conservative government is getting the big issue of the day right: the economy. Canada leads the G7 nations in almost every measure; we were the last into the recession and the first out, and it was less deep here than in other countries. Not a single Canadian bank failed or had to be bailed out. Contrast that with the ongoing debt crisis in Europe and America's 10 per cent unemployment rate. It's not surprising that Canada's opposition parties and the media have chosen instead to focus on ephemera or spectacles, like the Jaffer-Guergis story.
The government is wise to concentrate on the issues that matter to Canadians and to tune out the chattering class in Ottawa. But there is a policy project they should adopt: reforming the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC).
The CHRC is the largest of Canada's 14 human rights commissions, and it has been the most aggressive censor. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act gives the CHRC the power to prosecute anyone who publishes anything on the internet that is "likely to expose a person ... to hatred or contempt.” It's an incredibly vague offense, which is why for 32 years the CHRC had a 100 per cent conviction rate on all of their prosecutions, until the law was finally declared unconstitutional last fall. (The CHRC is appealing.)
The government should not wait for the question of political censorship to work its way through the courts. It should act now to repeal Section 13 and to make other badly needed reforms to the CHRC, including bringing in a civil liberties oversight committee to monitor abuses by CHRC staff, who have admitted under oath to publishing anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-gay material themselves in an effort to entrap citizens. A full-scale audit of the CHRC's policies by the auditor general is also in order, especially given the failing grade the CHRC received in a confidential internal government audit.
This is good policy: the CHRC has increasingly used its censorship powers as a political weapon, picking on religious Christians and conservative activists, even as it strenuously avoided prosecuting any politically correct "haters," such as radical Muslims. Simply put, censorship in the age of the internet isn't just ethically inappropriate, it's practically impossible – in other words, a perpetual source of work and expense for empire-building bureaucrats. It should be shut down.
From a political point of view, it's a winner for the government. Standing up for freedom of expression puts the government on the side of groups that traditionally have liberal sympathies, from artists and authors to civil libertarians. Even groups like Egale Canada, the gay rights lobby, have called for the repeal of Section 13, along with the likes of PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists. It would be a win for the government to have them as allies.
Other than those who earn their living from human rights commissions or file complaints there against their political enemies, there are no supporters of Section 13 in the whole political spectrum. I appeared before Parliament's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the subject last year, and I was impressed by the concern that all parties had about the abusive censorship of the CHRC. Based on my interactions with various Liberal and NDP MPs, I sense that the opposition would not take a party-line stance against such reforms. Even Ujjal Dosanjh, a left-wing Liberal, hinted to reporters after that meeting that he could be satisfied with repealing Section 13 and keeping the Criminal Code provisions against hate speech, which are not as easily abused.
Repealing Section 13 and deeply reforming the culture of the CHRC is a political winner. It would strengthen the government's civil libertarian bona fides. It would appeal to the party's base, which correctly senses that the CHRC is on an anti-conservative warpath. It would likely garner enough opposition votes to pass – and if an opposition leader insisted on opposing such reforms, it would likely cause splits in those opposition caucuses. (Michael Ignatieff has written against censorship in the past; he would be hard pressed to defend it today.)
Getting the economy right is important. But ending the 33-year record of abuse at the Canadian Human Rights Commission is important, too. It's the right policy decision. It will appeal to the party's base and impress civil libertarians outside the party. It will win support across the aisle – and pose problems for any opposition leader who tries to fight it.
Michael Ignatieff said something incredible outside Parliament today. He was talking about a bill to reform refugee laws in Canada. But he just couldn't help himself: he had to make it about him, because that's much more interesting. So he actually said "you're looking at a guy whose dad was a political refugee". Here's the clip:
Is everything really about him? Is a subject only interesting by virtue of having a personal connection to his eminence?
But far more interesting than his psychological quirks is the actual substance of what he said: that his father was a political refugee.
It might be technically accurate to call a wealthy aristocratic Russian family of czarist cabinet ministers who went into political exile after the revolution, and landed very, very softly in Canada, "political refugees". And the Ignatieffs did have to leave their immovable assets behind, like country dachas, and maybe even some jewelry too. But as Ignatieff wrote in his book The Russian Album at page 11, if Ignatieff's father regarded himself as a refugee, the Soviets didn't:
"The Soviet officials, led by Nikita Khrushchev himself, called my father Graf (Count) and took him aside and asked in all sincerity why he didn't come home again and continue the diplomatic work of his grandfather instead of serving the diplomacy of a satellite state of the Americans."
What a victim! Seriously: Michael Ignatieff compares that experience to that of real refugees to Canada in 2010 -- victims of ethnic cleansing, police brutality, etc.
In 1882 he [Nicholas Ignatieff, Minister of the Interior] signed new legislation forbidding Jews to move into the countryside outside of the Pale of Jewish Settlement, to acquire land, to trade in alcohol. or to open their shops on Sundays...
When the Jewish leaders asked why they were not entitled to the same protection by the police as other Russian subjects, Ignatieff replied that they were not like other Russian subjects...
Throughout the Southern Ukraine and Bessarabia, Jewish shops were smashed and burned and crowds carrying icons, often led by priests, were allowed to rampage through the Jewish quarters of the towns beating and cursing, looting and burning. Delegations of Jewish leaders came to see Ignatieff at the Ministry of the Interior. They told him they were in bondage as under Pharaoh. 'So when is your Exodus, and where is your Moses,' he is supposed to have said in reply. The Western borders of the Empire were open he insisted - If they wanted to leave for their promised land he would not stop them. And they did by the hundreds of thousands over the next decade, streaming across Europe to the boats which took them to Ellis Island or Palestine.
One of those refugees was my own great-grandfather, who fled Ignatieff's anti-Semitic dictatorship and moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1903.
Of course, I don't hold Michael Ignatieff responsible for the anti-Jewish decrees enforced by his own great-grandfather, or the vicious pogroms carried out under his great-grandfather's reign. Of course not.
But if my great-grandfather had been an abusive tyrant under czarist Russia, who caused hundreds of thousands of Jews and others to flee as refugees, I'm not so sure I'd go on national TV and claim victimhood status as a son of refugees myself.
So the government of Mexico opens up an office in California, to give illegal immigrants to the U.S. "ID cards". They choose a U.S. island known for its drug and people smuggling.
When the U.S. authorities find out about this, the Mexicans move their office into a church, claiming immunity.
Seriously: the government of Mexico is behaving like a fugitive criminal. They're not: they're simply aiding fugitive criminals.
No wonder Arizona's law against illegal immigrants has 70%+ support.
Canada must never lift our visa requirements for Mexican travellers, lest we be subject to the same violation of our sovereignty. If Mexico doesn't like it, they can slap a visa requirement on Canadian travellers, too. Such retaliation wouldn't have kept Brenda Martin out of jail, but a lot fewer Canadian tourists would be murdered.
Here's what it looked like on the page:
Anyways, here is the Op-Ed:
Why is it OK to pick on Christians?
I have never told him this, but I was tremendously disappointed when I first met Monsignor Fred Dolan, the Canadian vicar of Opus Dei.
It was about six or seven years ago, around the time The Da Vinci Code was published, and frankly I was hoping that he would be a dark and conspiratorial figure -- someone who would fit the words "ultraconservative" and "shadowy." I didn't quite want him to be an assassin, like the Opus Dei priest was in the book and film, but I surely wanted someone who was mysterious and secretive and powerful.
Like if the Pope had a CIA agent.
I admit it: I wanted an Opus Dei friend so I could shock the liberals in my life, and perhaps seem like I had a few exotic secrets of my own. And I thought it would be nice to have a friend who was more right wing than me.
To my regret, Msgr. Dolan is just a mild-mannered priest and worse, Opus Dei doesn't have any secret handshakes or midnight meetings. I don't want to sound lazy or selfish, but joining Opus Dei sure looks like a lot of do-goodery and just plain work (I asked Msgr. Dolan for a brochure and I read it carefully, even looking for hidden clues). I already had enough pro bono commitments and I didn't need any more. (As a Jew, I could join Opus Dei as an associate member).
I've stayed in touch with Msgr. Dolan since then and we're friendly. I admire his charity and his ecumenicalism. He sends me notes from time to time, about Passover or Holocaust remembrance, and he always asks when I'll be in Montreal again. In seven years, he's never tried to put the shadowy moves on me, and I'm starting to worry that he never will.
Pat Martin worries, too. Oh, does he worry.
Mr. Martin is the NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre. And his secret sources told him that Msgr. Dolan met with a dozen or so MPs in the Parliamentary dining room last week. (Actually, every MP received an invitation, and not even in invisible ink.)
Mr. Martin didn't attend. But he sought out reporters to tell them that Opus Dei members "give me the creeps."
That's fine, if rude. Though someone ought to tell Martin that The Da Vinci Code is not a documentary.
But then Mr. Martin went further: he criticized MPs for even meeting with Msgr. Dolan. "I can't imagine why a member of parliament would invite [Opus Dei] for a meeting on Parliament Hill," he said. "I certainly wouldn't attend anything associated with them."
Mr. Martin wasn't the only one worried that Msgr. Dolan might wave a wand and turn him into a newt. Gilles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, actually asked about it in Question Period. Duceppe named two Conservative party volunteers who apparently are members of Opus Dei, noted that "a Conservative" invited Msgr. Dolan to the dining room and demanded that the Prime Minister "admit that his policy is influenced" by such people.
Neither of the women named by Mr. Duceppe works for the government in any way, and neither was known for their religious views-- until Mr. Duceppe took it upon himself to discuss their private lives in Parliament.
A reporter asked Mr. Duceppe if he wasn't being "a little Mc-Carthyite"; Mr. Duceppe brushed off the accusation and went further: Opus Dei members should not be allowed to participate in political life--even as volunteers --if they identify "as a group."
Stop for a moment and try that sentence out again, substituting the words "gay" or "Jewish" for "Opus Dei members." Jews shouldn't be allowed in politics if they "identify as a group." Sikhs shouldn't be allowed in politics "if they identify as a group." How does it feel?
Mr. Duceppe then went a little Dan Brown himself, claiming Opus Dei "have people in place ... so a lot of things prove that something's going on." He really said that.
Try our substitution experiment again. Gays "have people in place." Gays have "something going on." How does that sound?
Sounds to me like Mr. Duceppe is channelling a bit of Jacques Parizeau's "money and the ethnic vote" xenophobia again.
So what do we have here?
The obvious: Anti-Christian bigotry remains an acceptable form of intolerance in Canadian politics, and this bigotry has infected the parties of the left.
The mainstream media, and indeed the rest of the political establishment, ignores or even approves of this (CBC's Evan Solomon being a noteworthy exception).
Like Marci McDonald's book about Christians, Mr. Duceppe's comments are error-ridden and hysterical. For example, Duceppe implied that the meeting was for Conservatives only. But one of the MPs who attended is Mario Silva -- a Liberal MP who just happens to be gay. Lemme guess: That just proves how diabolical Opus Dei's master plan must be!
It's one thing for Messrs. Martin and Duceppe and Ms. Mc-Donald to dislike Christians. But what's new -- and disturbing -- is that this once-passive intolerance is becoming active: There is a concerted effort to name Christians and drive them out of office, to delegitimize the very idea of Christians participating in public life.
It's an attack on Canada's pluralism and religious freedom. It's unfair and it's un-Canadian. We'd never accept it if it were targeting any other religious group. So why is it OK to pick on Christians?