Ezra Levant: October 2008 Archives
Let me take a break for a moment from talking about Canada's abusive and corrupt human rights commissions. I'd like to make a prediction.
I predict that John McCain will win the U.S. presidential election next week.
I won't give you a detailed analysis, for it's mainly a hunch -- a hunch and a hope. But I still think he's going to win.
I think the conventional wisdom has discounted McCain because of the mainstream media's love-in for Obama, because of peer pressure amongst the opinion establishment and because of misleading polls wherein the chief factor is the pollster's own guess as to a "turn-out rate" for each party.
But I think that the opinion establishment has revealed itself to be Obama cheerleaders and the polls are masking a sizeable chunk of Americans who are uneasy with Obama and won't say so to pollsters.
I believe many Americans are uneasy because Obama has masked himself (with the media's aid). He's masked his past, his friendships and alliances, his philosophy, and even his family details. But every now and then the mask slips and reveals a cultural radical; a constitutional radical; a socialist radical; a foreign affairs radical. And though the mask is quickly fixed back on, and the slip duly papered over by the MSM, I think doubts linger with middle America.
There is much to dislike about John McCain. But he is transparent, and Americans can know and weigh his flaws. I think Americans sense that they haven't been let in on Obama's true identity; they're buying a pig in a poke. And the MSM's increasingly absurd lengths to prop him up and tear down anyone opposed to him are backfiring. The MSM isn't just running defence, they're seen to be running defence -- the Los Angeles Times' partisan decision not to release a videotape of Obama meeting with a Palestinian radical being the perfect example. Americans don't know many details about Obama -- but they know they don't know, and they know they don't know because the media won't investigate Obama. A steady stream of disconcerting reports of voter registration fraud, combined with an extremely heavy-handed approach to dealing with mild critics (like the illegal release of Joe the Plumber's private tax and divorce data) only adds to the feeling of unease.
I bet McCain will win.
P.S. Here's my Op-Ed about Obama that I wrote back in January, for the National Post.
My friend Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury brings to our attention Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussing Canada’s human rights commissions. CFRB’s Brian Lilley deserves credit for being the first journalist in the Parliamentary Press Gallery to put the question to the PM. (Really, shame on the rest of the PPG for their inactivity on this file, and kudos to Lilley.)
Here’s the audio clip. And here’s a transcript:
In terms of the free speech issues and some of the activities of human rights commissions, I think that everyone has had some concerns about this. This is a complicated area of law, balancing what most people understand to mean by free speech with obvious desire to not have speech that would be intended to incite hatred towards particular groups or individuals. I think some of the most egregious cases, if you actually look at this, are in provincial human rights commissions and obviously, you know I can't control or comment on that. I think there has been some - I think the Canadian human rights commission has been moderating some of what - some of its practices a little bit recently to respond to some of these concerns and I hope that will continue.
Let’s look at that line by line:
In terms of the free speech issues and some of the activities of human rights commissions, I think that everyone has had some concerns about this.
Stop and think about how incredible those last ten words are. The Prime Minister has declared that the activities of human rights commissions are a threat to free speech. And he acknowledges that it’s not even a subject of debate – “everyone” agrees.
My friends, when the Prime Minister says that human rights commissions are a “concern”, that’s what we call denormalization. Because human rights commissions aren’t normal. They’re not Canadian. It’s encouraging to hear the Prime Minister say so publicly, too.
This is a complicated area of law, balancing what most people understand to mean by free speech with obvious desire to not have speech that would be intended to incite hatred towards particular groups or individuals.
It is a complicated area of law, precisely because it’s so inconsistent. It’s complicated, because it’s incoherent; it’s whimsical; the exact same words are considered legal or illegal, depending on who says them, and depending on who the “offended” party is. It’s complicated because it’s junk law. It’s not really even law – it’s anti-Christian, anti-conservative bigotry dressed up as law.
Look at the PM’s choice in words. He talks about an “obvious desire” not to have hate speech. No-one could disagree with that desire. But a “desire” is not the same thing as a legal right. The proper Canadian remedy to hateful speech is more speech; peer pressure and social shunning; political action. Not government censorship.
I think some of the most egregious cases, if you actually look at this, are in provincial human rights commissions and obviously, you know I can't control or comment on that.
This is partly true. The worst HRC in the country is the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. They’re the fools who had a full-blown, five-day show trial of Maclean’s magazine for publishing a book excerpt by Mark Steyn; they’re the fascists who are actually going to have a hearing about whether a comedian’s response to hecklers was “discriminatory”.
The anti-Christian bigots at Alberta’s HRC are probably a close second, especially with their vicious attacks on Rev. Stephen Boissoin. And Ontario’s HRC, under the guidance of Barbara Hall – who wants to see the number of complaints “spike” – is likely to get a lot worse, too.
Those abusive, bigoted HRCs are the responsibility of Premiers Campbell, Stelmach and McGuinty. But the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which is the responsibility of Prime Minister Harper, can match those provincial HRCs for their bigotry. And the CHRC is simply unmatched in terms of its own corruption.
For example, none of the provincial HRCs are under criminal investigation by the RCMP. Harper’s CHRC is.
None of the provincial HRCs are under investigation by the Privacy Commissioner for a breach of the law. Harper’s CHRC is.
None of the provincial HRCs, as far as I know, have hired a corrupt ex-cop who was drummed out of the police force for illegal conduct. Harper’s CHRC has.
None of the provincial HRCs, as far as I know, use taxpayers’ money to pay staff to join neo-Nazi groups, and publish filthy anti-Black, anti-gay and anti-Semitic bigotry like the CHRC has. Examples include:
- Jewish cabinet ministers like Irwin Cotler are “scum”
- Gays are “sexual deviants” who are a “cancer” on society
- The Jewish youth group, Hillel, is a depraved organization
- White police should be loyal to “their race”, and a whites-only city should be established.
Every single one of those statements was published online by the CHRC, or by Richard Warman, the CHRC’s chief complainant, as part of his “human rights” work. Literally hundreds of such bigoted remarks are made – and the CHRC continues the practice. I simply don’t believe that the Prime Minister knows about that, for if he did I don’t think his remarks would have been as restrained as they were. (Frankly, I don’t think Jennifer Lynch would still be drawing a fat government salary if he did.)
I think there has been some - I think the Canadian human rights commission has been moderating some of what - some of its practices a little bit recently to respond to some of these concerns and I hope that will continue.
The PM says he thinks the CHRC is “moderating” their more abusive behavior. I understand that, earlier this year, Jennifer Lynch told the PMO that she was going to drop the case against Mark Steyn and Maclean’s, and that she hoped such forbearance would buy her some immunity from political accountability. And, as the political heat increased on the CHRC, they did indeed suddenly dismiss the hate speech charges against a seventy-something Catholic priest in Toronto, who had already been forced to spend $20,000 in legal fees defending himself against Jennifer Lynch’s anti-Christian bigotry. (Incredibly, the investigator in that case was the CHRC’s corrupt ex-cop, Sandy Kozak.)
But the CHRC has, in fact, not changed its stripes. It continues to prosecute Richard Warman’s corrupt cases; it continues to violate norms of natural justice and fair play. Even the lawyers at the Department of Justice list a half dozen examples of the CHRC’s ongoing corruption.
But still, the PM acknowledges that the CHRC’s practices are inappropriate, and that he “hopes” they are reformed. Again, that’s a recognition that there is need for reform – a sea change from the government’s talking points, just four months ago, that everything was fine.
So let’s sum up the importance of this news:
- A member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery finally asked the Prime Minister a question about human rights commissions.
- The Prime Minister answered – acknowledging that “everyone knows” HRCs are a threat to free speech.
- The PM accurately said much of the problems are with provincial HRCs, but he also said he’s concerned with the CHRC, and “hopes” their abuses will ease.
This is not a satisfactory conclusion to this issue. But it’s a conclusion to the first part of the two-step campaign for reform. When the Prime Minister acknowledges so boldly the rot in the system, it’s safe to say HRCs have been properly denormalized in Canada.
So now the second phase of the campaign for reform can ramp up. We need to more properly brief our MPs – especially the dozens of new MPs on the Hill – about the true depth of the problem with the CHRC. It seems to me that the PM was unaware of the depth of the rot, or – like me, a year ago – had trouble believing that it could be so corrupt.
So we need to provide calm, properly documented information to the MPs – and even to the PM.
And then we must press them for change.
It’s not sufficient for Lynch to drop a few of the higher-profile cases of censorship, so that she can continue persecuting her lower-profile cases. That double standard is a form of corruption in itself.
We must remove the legislative authority from Lynch and her mob, permanently, and for everyone – not just for sympathetic victims like Mark Steyn, but for even odious victims of the CHRC. If the rule of law can be enjoyed by even accused murderers, surely it can be enjoyed by citizens with politically incorrect opinions.
I an incredibly heartened by the PM’s remarks. They are a breakthrough. Now, at least, we’re having a discussion. Let’s keep up our end of the discussion ensuring that the PM and his team knows just how bad Lynch’s CHRC is – everything from the RCMP investigation to their serial online neo-Nazi bigotry.
And, now that the Conservatives are no longer in jeopardy of an imminent election, let’s press them to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act – or to abolish the obsolete, fascist law altogether.
P.S. Why not drop the PM a line by e-mail? Give him encouragement, and let him know this is an important, non-partisan issue, an issue about our basic Charter rights. His staff will notice 100 e-mails on the subject. Let’s send him 1,000 today.
The Alberta "Human Rights" Commission that ordered the destruction of his freedom of speech and freedom of religion went further -- Lori Andreachuk, the anti-Christian bigot who issued the ruling, actually ordered Rev. Boissoin to publish a (false) renunciation of his Christian views in the local newspaper. I know that's hard to believe, but read the ruling for yourself, here.
What Rev. Boissoin sent me was a ruling that Comrade Andreachuk had issued back in 2003, that for some reason I had missed in my review of Alberta case law. It's the case of Quintin Johnson vs. Music World. You can see the case here.
In a nutshell, Quintin Johnson was browsing for CDs at Music World in Red Deer -- the same city Rev. Boissoin was from, actually. Johnson came across a band called "Deicide", whose album contained a song called "Kill the Christian".
It's disgusting, but I want to publish the lyrics of Kill the Christian, because that's what this case is about:
Kill The Christian
You are the one we despise
Day in day out your words compromise lies
I will love watching you die
Soon it will be and by your own demise
Buried in hypocrisy
Lacerate your faith in God
On the cross of Calvary your body bashed defeated stabbed
Blessing as you hate
Loyal to your enemies
As him you will pay for the lies of your prophecy
Satan wants you dead
Kill the Christian, kill the Christian
Kill the Christian, kill the Christian
Kill the Christian, kill the Christian, kill the Christian
Armies of darkness unite
Destroy their temples and churches with fire
Where in this world will you hide
Sentenced to death, the anointment of Christ
In due time your path leads to me
Put you out of your misery
The death of prediction
Kill the Christian
Kill the Christian, dead!
Pretty hard to find any nuances there. Johnson also bought a CD by a band called Type O Negative, with the song "Kill All the White People". As you might expect, the lyrics were pretty much a repetition of the title:
Kill all the white people/Then we'll be free.
Johnson took Music World before the Alberta HRC, and lo and behold he drew Comrade Andreachuk as the head of the troika who heard his case. This was the same Comrade Andreachuk who fined Rev. Boissoin $7,000 and put a lifetime gag order on him, for publishing the Christian position on gay rights. Needless to say, Rev. Boissoin didn't call for anyone to kill anyone, or say "I will love watching you die".
As a white Christian, Johnson argued that he was discriminated against.
So what did Comrade Andreachuk say?
…while the content and tone of the communications appear on the face of them to be discriminatory, there is very little vulnerability of the target group. The expressions used do not reinforce existing stereotypes, nor do the messages appeal to well-publicized issues. More importantly, however, the medium used to convey the message is extremely suspect, lacks credibility and has a small circulation. The context of the publication is not presented as a debate or any purportedly authoritative analysis and the target group is not vulnerable as, in order for the group to receive the message, the purchase of these would be by an extremely limited audience and only an audience seeking to receive messages such as those conveyed.
…there is very little likelihood of a representation to expose a person or class of persons to hatred or contempt in the context of this particular medium which is unlikely to be taken seriously or credibly by the target group.
…The vulnerability of the target group would be extremely limited, if at all and the audience, including the exposed, would be limited in nature and would only come into possession of these particular CD’s in an overt act of volition on their own behalf.
So it doesn't matter if Christians are exposed to hate -- they're not vulnerable. So says Comrade Andreachuk. By definition, she writes, a Christian cannot be the victim of hate speech.
Oh, and if she's wrong? Not to worry -- the CDs were not credible. They weren't authoritative. They weren't popular. And you actually had to open up the CD case to get to them -- they weren't forced on anybody.
Hang on: doesn't that describe just about every single hate speech case prosecuted in this country? They're almost always obscure websites on the Internet, with no credibility and with very little traffic -- except for the agents provocateurs of the human rights industry, trolling for new targets.
Doesn't Comrade Andreachuk's ruling -- by definition! -- suggest that a neo-Nazi could never be guilty of spreading hate, because by definition a neo-Nazi is obscure, not credible, and listened to only by those who seek them out?
Comrade Andreachuk's rationale is a smokescreen, of course. It's made up -- just like the rest of the crap that HRCs publish as "rulings". It's not jurisprudence; it's not coherent; it pretends to adhere to precedent, but it clearly doesn't. It's legal mumbo-jumbo to cover up the bald political fact here: Comrade Andreachuk thinks it's fine to call for the murder of Christians. And this same anti-Christian bigot sentenced Rev. Boissoin to a lifetime of silence about his faith.
Don't get me wrong: I don't think that the filth in Music World should be illegal. I don't think it quite meets the test of incitement to murder -- though it's hard to imagine what more would be necessary. But I wonder if, instead of saying "Kill the Christian", it said "Kill the Jews" or "Kill the Blacks" or "Kill the gays". You could imagine Comrade Andreachuk going nuclear. Well, no need to imagine -- just look at what she did to Rev. Boissoin for merely preaching peacefully.
Let's state the obvious. The human rights industry is full of ani-Christian bigots like Comrade Andreachuk. I am unaware of a single non-Christian ever being convicted of a hate speech offense -- certainly none have been at the federal CHRC. But the HRCs pick on Christians like a bully pulling the wings off of flies, roughing up Toronto's Fr. Alphonse de Valk; the Christian Heritage Party; Calgary's Bishop Fred Henry; and, no doubt, a dozen other martyrs who quietly paid off their tormentors with some sort of plea bargain.
But this case, Johnson vs. Music World, is different even than the HRCs' persecution of Christians. It's a declaration, in black and white that it is legally impossible for a Christian to be discriminated against. You can chant "Kill the Christian", and it's not "hate speech". If you can say that, you can say anything.
It reminds me of the concept of the "unrapeable woman" -- a woman who, because she might be a prostitute or have some other questionable identity, is unable to access the law when she is raped, because the law unfairly assumes that she always consents.
That's what's happened here: Comrade Andreachuk has declared that Christians are "un-hateable". You can say anything to a Christian -- even calling for his murder -- and, like a prostitute crying rape, the Christian just won't be believed.
They're not vulnerable, says Comrade Andreachuk.
What a vile woman she is. What a vile industry these human rights commissions are. What a vile government Premier Ed Stelmach runs that condones this corruption of justice, this state-sanctioned bigotry.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not for the criminalization of filthy music -- though, in this case, a little bit of shaming and perhaps even boycotting would be in order. But for this absolute filth to be approved of by the very same woman who destroyed Rev. Boissoin's right to be a Christian?
I have no vocabulary sufficient to register my disgust and anger.
Perhaps you do. If so, e-mail the minister to whom Comrade Andreachuk allegedly reports, Lindsay Blackett. You might want to ask Blackett -- a Black man himself -- how he would feel about lyrics saying "Kill the Black", and how he'd feel about the HRC saying that's fine, because it's "not credible".
National Post online today has this interesting story by Kevin Libin about Internet censorship, mentioning a failed attempt by Bernie "Burny" Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Richard Warman, Canada's self-appointed Censor-General, to shut down Internet websites they didn't like. They had applied, ex parte -- that is, with no notice given to anyone on the other side of the argument -- to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to simply order Canadian Internet companies to ban a website that they didn't like, and to set up a process where they could do the same thing over and over again.
They wanted to bring a little bit of Communist Chinese values, of Saudi values, to Canada.
They failed -- the CRTC wouldn't allow themselves to be abused, unlike the Canadian Human Rights Commission does. But Libin reminded the world of Burny and Warman's attempt.
That's embarrassing to Burny, of course, because censorship isn't just an un-Canadian value, it's un-Jewish, too.
So Burny wrote this rebuttal on the Post's website, in which he laughably claims that all he was doing was "requesting permission from the CRTC to have a discussion with the Canadian ISPs."
That's a lie.
Burny didn't ask the CRTC for permission to start talking to anyone. You don't need a government order to pick up the phone to Ted Rogers or Jim Shaw. Here's what Burny was asking for, taken directly from Warman's application to the CRTC in August of 2006:
Directions on a second follow-up proceeding are requested where Canadian ISPs and any interested parties can provide submissions on whether the relief requested should be made final and whether or not the Commission’s approval to block the Subject Hate Sites should be mandatory.
Burny wasn't asking for permission for any discussions. He was asking the CRTC to ban websites he didn't like, and that, maybe, Internet companies could complain about it after the fact. And look at that last part: he was asking for the CRTC's censorship to be "mandatory".
Burny didn't want a discussion, and certainly not a debate. He's too intellectually lazy for debating -- that's why he's in the censorship business to begin with. So he wanted another stick to bully Internet companies with, the Canadian Human Rights Commission's 100% conviction rate apparently not brutal enough.
You know, I'm starting to see a pattern here. First Burny was into Internet censorship -- the 21st century equivalent to Nazi book-burnings. Now Burny is into historical revisionism, too -- "denial". What's next for the Canadian Jewish Congress? A list of degenerate publications for libraries to round up?
I wonder if the troublesome National Post would be on Burny's list?
What's the Canadian Islamic Congress doing for Halloween?
That's not a sentence that I thought I'd ever write, though it does lend itself to a few obvious jokes about what costumes their president for life, Mohamed Elmasry, would choose to wear, and whether they would make him more or less scary than he is when he's being himself.
Elmasry, readers will recall, is famous for two things: appearing on Michael Coren's TV show to declare that all adult Israelis are a legitimate target for terrorist attacks, and for filing a "human rights" complaint (three of them, actually) against Maclean's magazine for publishing a book excerpt from Mark Steyn's America Alone. Here's an essay I wrote about the great man for the National Post, before he launched his fatwa against Maclean's.
Well, news comes from Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs that Zijad Delic, the Canadian Islamic Congress's executive director and Elmasry's right hand man, will be giving a lecture at Foreign Affairs' headquarters in Ottawa. That's right: the Jew-hating, terrorist-condoning Canadian Islamic Congress will be lecturing Canadian diplomats and bureaucrats, on government property and the taxpayers' dime.
I can hardly wait to hear the reviews from Delic's talk. Will he start off with a defence of Saudi-style censorship, as he did in this article? Or will he skip straight to the good stuff, such as the CIC's praise for Iran's Mahmoud Ahamdinejad and his nuclear ambitions? I hope Canada's diplomats are taking notes!
Here's a copy of the memo sent out to all staff at DFAIT headquarters earlier this week.
Islamic History Month Canada: Presentation on the Canadian Muslim Community
From: Stewart Beck, Assistant Deputy Minister, International Business Development, Investment and Innovation (BFM) and DFAIT Visible Minorities Champion and Jim Nickel,Director, Muslim Communities Working Group (FMCG)
To: All Employees at Headquarters
Summary: On October 31, 2008, the Muslim Communities Working Group and the Visible Minorities Committee at Foreign Affairs and International Trade will host a presentation on the Canadian Muslim Community in celebration of Islamic History Month Canada in the Cadieux Auditorium from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
In celebration of Islamic History Month Canada, the Muslim Communities Working Group (FMCG) and the Visible Minorities Committee at Foreign Affairs and International Trade ( VMC@DFAIT ) are hosting a discussion on "The Canadian Muslim Community: A Comparison of the Situation of Muslims in Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and France" with Imam Dr. Zijad Delic, the Ontario Chair of Islamic History Month Canada. It will be held in the Cadieux Auditorium from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2008 and will also feature a small display on Islamic history in the Skelton Lobby.
Imam Dr. Zijad Delic was born in Bosnia and has studied in Pakistan, the United States and Canada, obtaining his PhD from Simon Fraser University. From 1995 to 2006, Dr. Delic held a range of leadership positions within the BC Muslim Association. For the past six years, he has also worked extensively as a consultant to all three levels of government, as well as to a number of NGOs, and has also served as Executive Director of the Canadian Islamic Congress since 2006.
We'll find out tomorrow who the new foreign minister is. Maybe he can tell us why his department has ended the government's prohibition of meeting with anti-Semitic organizations.
P.S. If any friends at Ft. Pearson can take pictures of the "small display" in the Skelton Lobby, please send them my way. I'm curious if they'll be in keeping with the Canadian Islamic Congress's version of "history" -- namely, that all was fine until the "Zionist Entity" came to wreak violence and pestilence on the world.
Another day, another lawsuit by a bully in the “human rights” industry trying to shut me up. I’m not sure why those geniuses think this one will gag me, when the previous 19 suits haven’t.
I received it when I was on my blogging hiatus in September, so I haven’t posted it until now. I filed my statement of defence earlier this month, which you can see here.
It’s a frivolous suit, but it will cost me money to defend against all the same. It’s a SLAPP suit – strategic litigation against public participation. The public participation is my criticism of Canada’s abusive human rights commissions. It’s the same reason why Kinsella filed two law society complaints against me, trying to get me disbarred.
It’s malicious prosecution and it’s an abuse of process, but that’s how Warren Kinsella rolls – here are 1, 2, 3, 4 other bloggers he’s tried to bully this way, just off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more.
The only question is: will it work?
Will Kinsella’s attempt to bully me – and disbar me, and cost me $50,000 plus the same in legal fees – get me to stop advocating for freedom of speech, and the abolition of Canada’s tyrannical human rights commissions? Can Kinsella destroy me? That’s clearly his goal.
Gentle reader, what do you think?
Here’s what I think. Every time someone like Kinsella or his friends hit me with a human rights complaint, defamation action or law society complaint, I think: “this proves my point. These are fundamentally illiberal people. They can’t convince me I’m wrong, so they’re trying to bully me into silence.”
In other words, they prove my point for me.
That gets me fired up.
Before the age of the Internet, I’d be flattened by the legal bills involved. But thanks to my blog, I’ve received help from hundreds of people around the world who think this fight is as important as I do. When the stress of paying lawyers’ bills is taken away from me, I have to admit I actually love this fight, because it's for a noble cause, and I really feel we’re winning.
Let me address the substance of his suit for a moment – which is all it needs.
Earlier this year, Kinsella met with the bigoted Canadian Islamic Congress, the people who hauled Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine to three human rights commissions on charges of “Islamophobia”. On his website, Kinsella bragged about meeting the CIC's complainants, and he helpfully published a press release for them. I linked to Kinsella’s site, and called his aid and comfort to the CIC “repulsive”, since Kinsella sits on a committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress which is supposed to fight anti-Semites, not give them political advice and do PR work for them. Here’s exactly what I wrote, and here’s the original post where I wrote it:
Farber's newest recruit to the CJC, Warren Kinsella, has provided political and media advice to the CIC's young bigots-in-training, the "sock puppets". Farber just verbally supports Elmasry. Kinsella -- on the CJC's legal affairs committee -- actually rolls up his sleeve and helps the anti-Semites out a bit.
This is the Canadian Jewish Congress in 2008. How repulsive.
That’s it – that, and he’s suing me for $50,000.
Of course, that’s not really what this is about. It’s about Kinsella trying – so far, unsuccessfully – to destroy me, because I dared to disagree with him.
Kinsella first became unhinged about me when I briefly criticized his friend, Richard Warman, the serial human rights litigant and Canada’s leading political censor, in this National Post column last December. Kinsella went apoplectic, denouncing me as a “fraud” on his blog. I laughed it off, and assumed it was just Kinsella’s rage getting the better of him. But I became a bit of an obsession for Kinsella – even his wife told him he should just let it go. He should have listened to his wife.
Instead he got a little bit creepy, writing increasingly wild and incoherent accusations at me on his own blog – and on the National Post’s blog, where he had posting privileges. When he wouldn’t stop his vendetta, they politely asked him to leave.
Kinsella kept at it on his own website, calling me everything from a criminal to a deadbeat. Now that’s false and defamatory, but really: does anyone take Kinsella seriously anymore? If the Liberal Party doesn’t take him seriously, why should I? I even received a letter of support from someone at Kinsella’s own firm. If his own staff don’t take him seriously, why should I?
I’ve ignored Kinsella as best I can. But you can’t ignore a law society complaint designed to disbar you, and you can’t ignore a $50,000 lawsuit.
Other than the cost of it, I’m looking forward to the trial – it will be a real window into the strange world of the Canadian Jewish Congress, on whose legal committee Kinsella sits. Will Kinsella really argue that the Canadian Islamic Congress – presided over by Mohamed Elmasry, who declared on television that any adult Jew in Israel is a legitimate target for a terrorist attack – isn’t anti-Semitic? Maybe I should subpoena Rabbi Reuven Bulka, the co-president of the CJC. Does he agree with Kinsella?
Kinsella will lose on the merits – what I wrote about him was clearly fair comment based on true facts -- and the Supreme Court recently strengthened the defence of fair comment enormously. But there is another part to a defamation trial: the value of the reputation of the plaintiff. Just how much is Kinsella’s reputation worth – and how badly was it hurt by my mild comment?
That’s an interesting and dangerous question for any highly political plaintiff. But in Kinsella’s case, it’s suicide. Kinsella was named a dozen times by a judicial inquiry into government corruption, and was legally found to have engaged in “highly inappropriate conduct”. When he was a ministerial aide, Kinsella had written to the civil service demanding that they steer government advertising and polling contracts through Chuck Guité, who was convicted of five counts of fraud, and sentenced to 42 months in jail for his stealing money through fake ad and polling contracts. the kind of contracts Kinsella demanded be sent to him.
I’m not sure how it’s even possible to hurt Kinsella’s reputation after that.
Believe it or not, I sat on a board of directors with Kinsella once. We both served for a stint on the Canada-Israel Committee, part of the CIJA family of agencies (so is the Canadian Jewish Congress). I recall a discussion at one board meeting about a new strategy being used by anti-Semites. CIJA called it “chill/vil” – libel chill and vilification. This was a few years ago now, when it was a fairly new phenomenon: radical Muslims using defamation nuisance suits, smears and other “lawfare” to bully Jews and supporters of Israel. It was identified as a strategic threat.
I’d have to check my notes, but I’m guessing that was in 2005. It was interesting what happened after that. Soon, I was hit with a “chill/vil” human rights complaint by a radical Muslim for publishing the Danish cartoons. Soon, Kinsella was helping the radical Muslims prosecute their campaign of “chill/vil”, and engaging in a bit of it himself.
I repeat my comment: for Kinsella to assist the anti-Semitic Canadian Islamic Congress is discreditable enough on its own, but for him to do so as a member of CIJA’s Canadian Jewish Congress is repulsive. His lawsuit against me is the same sort of thing.
Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s beat him. Not just to get me out of the legal soup – but to show these bullies they can’t get away with it.
Let’s beat back these nuisance suits, let’s get these human rights commissions cut down to size, and let’s strengthen public discourse in Canada by rescuing it from the censorship bullies. If you can help me, please do.
If you can chip in by PayPal, please click on the button below. My statement of defence cost me over $6,000 and I can’t imagine a trial costing less than $30,000.
If you’d prefer to send in a cheque by snail mail, that’s fine. I’m using Toronto’s Christopher Ashby as my lawyer on this one. Please make cheques payable to:
“Christopher Ashby in Trust”
Attn: Ezra Levant defence fund
8 King Street East
Toronto ON M5C 1B5
Thank you very much.
By the way, I’m not weary of fighting these fights. I’m a little sheepish about asking for help every time I get sued, but I need to.
I’m so grateful for your help. Stop for a moment to realize how much we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come. Freedom of speech is on the march in Canada. We’re winning in the court of public opinion. Please help me win in the court of law.
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"I am not a registered non-profit organization. Donations are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
I sent a thank-you letter to a donor who had given to my legal defence fund. I received the following letter in return, and I republish it with permission, with no changes other than to delete his name, and to bold the most heart-breaking sentence:
Thank you for your letter and not only. You are in the forefront for all of us, so I consider my duty to support you.
I was born in the Peoples Republic of Poland. My Father lost his all family in the Holocaust (“it’s wrong to be considered a Jew”). My Mother lost her Father and Brother during Stalinists purges (“it’s wrong to be considered wrong”). Not surprisingly, my Parent’s utmost neurotic parental preoccupation was to ensure that I suppress any natural tendency toward free thinking and never say anything deemed incorrect by those in power. And when I did stray (as I did often enough), their reaction was hysterical. They never succeeded and eventually relented, but I was also lucky. When in 1965 the foreman of my workers apprenticeship, com. Malodobry (Littlegood – I am not kidding) visited my Faculty to ensure that student [name redacted] never becomes an engineer in the “socialist Poland”, the Dean responded: “Mr. Malodobry, I have bad news for you. Com. Stalin died 12 years ago”. So, as you can see, I do owe.
After coming to Canada in 1978, I was mildly surprised by one of the earlier Polish immigrants, who warned me: “[name redacted], do not display your instinctive non-conformism in front of the Canadian government employees. It will not do you any good”. Well, fortunately, I also know how to behave in entirely conformist way as well. However, in spite of all the years of schooling and conditioning, it still feels so unnatural… Actually, quite infuriating!
Ezra, you fight for my human right to be “considered wrong” and you fight against government and anybody’s monopoly to decree who is wrong. That’s the fight of my life and luckily for me, you happen to be a lawyer. And - I am afraid – that might be an exception among lawyers, too.
So thank you again for the job so well done!
With best regards,
I do not want to be in a country where it's wrong to be considered wrong. Because, as my correspondent's letter reminds us, in a tyranny being wrong can mean anything the tyrant says is wrong -- being Jewish; being a non-conformist, whatever.
I would rather live in the cacophony of freedom than in the tyrannical monotony of Nazi or Soviet Poland.
Am I comparing Canada's human rights commissions to the tyrannies of Hitler and Stalin? Of course not. But the difference is only in degree, not in direction. And the fact that Canada's HRCs do not have the awful power of the Soviet "comrades" mentioned above is something that grates on those who inhabit the HRCs. My correspondent is a Jew, and he reminds us why censorship should be so odious to real Jews -- not the Official, Professional Jews of the Canadian Jewish Congress and others who have become little more than ethnic political bosses and grievance hustlers, Canadian Al Sharptons.
But Canada's HRCs are on the march; over the course of four decades, they have slowly, quietly, accreted more and more power, more power than they were originally mandated, more power than they were permitted in the 1990 Taylor decision by the Supreme Court. And they're not done their slow march; as Ian Fine, senior counsel for the Canadian Human Rights Commission -- and a Jew himself! -- declared on national television, as far as he is concerned, "there can't be enough laws against hate" -- hate being whatever he and his cronies decide is hate.
In the past year, I have met dozens of people at all levels of Canada's human rights commissions, from junior staffers to senior executives. Some are just ordinary joes luxuriating in a government job. But too many are the type of people who are actually attracted to HRCs because they themselves have a tyrannical instinct in their personality. They are people who are generally inconsequential in their own lives -- not particularly talented, not particularly successful -- but when they put on the uniform of the state, they are very powerful indeed, and people will listen to them and do as they say, damn it.
There are petty tyrants in every walk of life. But we can avoid or ignore them -- or fight them. Not so when they have the power of the state behind them.
Let me give you my own example. If some unknown, untalented, untrained, inexperienced literary critic like Pardeep Gundara had criticized the Western Standard magazine that I published, I could have ignored him (which I would have done). But Gundara -- a laughable literary critic -- suddenly had the power of the state behind him to weigh and measure our magazine's efforts, as the Alberta HRC censor assigned to adjudicate my case.
Nobody gives a damn what Gundara says, when he says it on his own. At least I don't, and I was the publisher. But when he says his bit as a petty tyrant of the state, people have to listen to him. Or at least I did. That, no doubt, gives him great pleasure, and a feeling of great power, power that he surely lacks in every other aspect of his life. He couldn't earn my respect for his laughable literary and political views. So what -- he could extract obedience from me, by virtue of his position in the Alberta government.
Of course, Gundara's arrogance pales next to that of his colleague Lori Andreachuk, who ordered Rev. Stephen Boissoin to cease giving public sermons (and sending private e-mails) about his Christian views. Had she done so in her private capacity -- a divorce lawyer from Lethbridge -- Rev. Boissoin would have ignored her, or more likely tried to save her anti-Christian soul. But put her in the seat of the HRC, and Rev. Boissoin would have to bend to her will, damn it.
And even Andreachuk pales next to Richard Warman, who has perfectly gamed the system to enforce his political edicts. Once upon a time, Warman ran as a radical candidate for the Green Party, but was rejected soundly several times. Fed up with trying to convince his fellow Canadians of his rectitude, he launched a career of censorship -- suing libraries, websites, newspapers and bloggers who dared to disagree with him.
Warman has filed literally half of all "hate speech" complaints before the CHRC, and 15 of the last 17 trials have had him as the complainant. (He's also made a pretty penny off it, being awarded more than $50,000 tax-free by the human rights tribunal.) The fact that Warman provokes and entraps his targets by engaging in anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-Black bigotry online in the guise of a neo-Nazi seems to have given him no moral qualms and no legal qualms to the CHRC, which has not only prosecuted his complaints, but paid for his expenses.
Fingering one's political enemies to the state would be very familiar to my Polish correspondent, to any Chinese survivor of Mao and to any Russian who grew up being forced to idolize Pavlik Morozov, a Ukrainian child venerated by the Communist Party for turning in his own parents for anti-Soviet remarks made over the dinner table. Two generations of Russian children were taught that his example of parricide was the highest form of patriotism.
My point is this: human beings are no different today, in Canada, than they were fifty years ago in the Soviet Union or seventy years ago in Nazi Germany. We are made of the same frail stuff; we must remain on guard; we must continue to call good and evil by their proper names.
There are those among us who would rather punish their neighbours than to persuade them of things. There are those among us who believe that political ends justify brutal means. There are those among us who are attracted to bullying jobs, who take pleasure at meting out pain, who laugh as they humiliate others. That's who are attracted to Canada's human rights commissions. I believe that many of the people who work for Canada's human rights commissions, in a different place or time, would have been attracted to the Communist Party or the National Socialist Party, working to ensure political hygiene in the Motherland or Fatherland.
My correspondent's letter is a reminder to cherish our freedoms, our right to be dissidents, our right to be wrong, and our right "to be considered wrong".
Rob Nicholson is the Conservative Justice Minister who made the mistake of appointing Jennifer Lynch, Joe Clark's former chief of staff, to the post of Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
In fairness, I don't think Nicholson would make that same choice today. When Nicholson appointed Lynch, it was in March, 2007 when the atrocious conduct of the CHRC was on few politicians' radar screens, so Nicholson probably gave little thought to his pick. Out of general political hygiene, Lynch shouldn't have been appointed to any position in the Conservative government -- she's a radical feminist, outside the mainstream of Canadian values, and she has a snobby streak when it comes to Albertans -- but Nicholson probably thought he was just filling some second-rate patronage position with second-rate political deadwood. Lynch had not-so-subtly campaigned for an appointment to the bench but even Nicholson wouldn't make that gaffe.
Fast forward a year and a half, and Lynch has turned into an ethical disaster for Nicholson and the Conservative government. She has presided over the most corrupt agency in Ottawa, with four full-fledged investigations into its conduct -- including an RCMP criminal investigation, and a Privacy Commissioner's investigation. And what's Lynch's approach to crisis management? Mere days before the CHRC had its public melt-down over its illegal hacking, its staff posing as neo-Nazis online, etc., Madame chose to go down to Washington for a little junket to do some five-star hob-nobbing.
Which is why I'm guessing Lynch is off somewhere really exotic right now. Because trouble's afoot -- and it comes, interestingly, from Nicholson's office.
Last month, the hearings in the Warman v. Lemire "hate speech" trial wrapped up.
The CHRC had their own lawyer, a woman with a name Dickens would have chosen for her: Margot Blight. Nicholson had his own lawyer there, too, named Simon Fothergill. It was Fothergill's job to oppose Lemire's challenge to the constitutionality of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision.
That's a putrid job, because it is so obviously un-Canadian, and Fothergill's efforts show it. His 50-page legal submission was a mish-mash of Marxist, grievance culture clap-trap so awful that even the Prime Minister's Office noticed what was supposed to be a routine submission. (It was in the wake of Fothergill's disastrous brief that Rick Dykstra, the Conservative MP from St. Catharines, was permitted to move his motion calling for a review of the CHRC and section 13 as a form of damage control.)
There were also three censorious Jewish groups represented at the hearing -- the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B'nai Brith and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose own legal pleadings denigrate Jews by claiming that we are so fragile that we depend on government censorship for our "psychological security". But don't get me started on Canada's "Official" Jews.
Just because all of those lawyers were there to destroy free speech doesn't mean that there were no differences amongst them, though. And here is the problem for Lynch.
Blight's job at the hearing was to defend the CHRC at all costs -- to gloss over the CHRC's corruption, to stonewall, to deny everything. She's the point woman defending every corrupt and abusive thing the CHRC has done, from its entrapment of victims to its failure to disclose documents to Lemire, to its doctoring of transcripts, to its tampering with evidence. Blight is Lynch's janitor. A very well-paid janitor.
Not Fothergill. His job is more simple: arguing that section 13 is constitutional. Blight is arguing not only that section 13 is constitutional, but that Lemire is guilty of breaching it, and that the CHRC's Stalinist conduct is acceptable in Canada. Fothergill doesn't care if Lemire is convicted or not. He just wants the law upheld.
Needless to say, Fothergill was embarrassed by the litany of corruption exposed by Lemire. It made his job harder.
He was embarrassed -- but also worried. Because the chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing the case, Athanasios Hadjis, expressed some doubts.
During the final hearings, Hadjis said that section 13 "has an effect on the citizens of Canada who may be near that line [of hate speech] but not crossing it."
Hadjis said that innocent people could be "dragged through the process" of a human rights complaint -- exactly Lemire's argument. Hadjis talked about a "grey zone" that should be permitted and said "maybe the scale is tipping the other way" in the age of the Internet.
That's plenty of heresy right there -- the most independent thing Hadjis has ever said. And he seemed to reject Fothergill's idea that a previous, 1990 constitutional challenge to section 13 (the Taylor case) was still valid in the age of the Internet: "It's a different context," Hadjis said. "Suddenly all these declarations that may have legitimately been made on paper, in the age of Taylor, will be caught by Section 13."
In other words, censoring the Internet is a far broader form of censorship than anything contemplated in the pre-Internet era.
Dear reader, if you were one of the half-dozen lawyers in that room defending section 13, wouldn't you be worried by such comments from the tribunal chair? Hadjis has never acquitted anyone of "hate speech" before -- no-one has. But then again, no-one has ever talked so defiantly to the censors of the CHRC before. Could it be that the CHRC's 100% winning streak is about to end?
And -- much worse for the censors! -- could it be that the first defendant to win would also be a defendant who challenged the constitutionality of the law? Could it be that by taking on Lemire so abusively the CHRC had actually undid itself? That, by conducting themselves so vilely, they would not only lose their case against Lemire, but be forever forbidden to prosecute anyone else, because the law itself would be struck down?
But why should Fothergill pay that price? Why should Rob Nicholson lose one of his laws just because of Jennifer Lynch's corrupt application of it?
And that's exactly what Fothergill told Hadjis.
He told Hadjis that if Hadjis had doubts about the case because of the CHRC's bad behaviour that Hadjis should throw out the case because of that abuse of process. Uphold the law -- but rule that the CHRC was so abusive and unfair, that Lemire is free to go.
Fothergill could sense he was losing. Better to throw Jennifer Lynch's rotten crew overboard, than to have the whole ship sink.
Incredibly, Fothergill helpfully listed six examples of the CHRC's corruption for Hadjis to consider:
- Richard Warman, the former CHRC employee who was the complainant against Lemire, had actually trained the CHRC investigator who went after Lemire -- a clear conflict of interest.
- The CHRC failed to provide proper disclosure to Lemire.
- Warman initially blamed Lemire for the bigoted online post attacking Sen. Anne Cools -- but quickly dropped that part of the complaint when Lemire asserted that Warman himself wrote it.
- The CHRC's recent cases have been prosecuted by one man -- Warman -- and that hardly fits the CHRC's mandate for "remedial" justice.
- The inconsistent application of the law; and
- Warman himself didn't even bother to attend most of the hearing that bore his name.
Hell, Fothergill could have been reading from one of my blog entries.
Fothergill was talking about Warman's strategy of "Maximum Disruption". But, as Fothergill told Hadjis, "There is only so far Warman can go with that strategy" without the CHRC's consent.
Fothergill was saving his own skin. It wasn't the law that was vile, he argued -- it was the CHRC's abusive procedures.
Nicholson's lawyer wasn't going to defend Lynch's conduct, or Warman's. The opposite: he was going to make the CHRC wear it.
He told Hadjis that if the case against Lemire was foul, the proper thing to do is to rule that Lynch's mob were the problem, not the law itself.
What he was really doing was telling Hadjis to find that the CHRC had conducted themselves illegally. That they had abused their powers. That they had maliciously prosecuted Lemire. That they were bullies -- and to stick them with the blame, not Nicholson.
If I had a transcript of Fothergill's cool exposition of the CHRC's flaws, I'd show you. But -- and this is part of the CHRC's corruption -- only the prosecutors get transcripts. They don't disclose them to the public or to the defendants. There is a gorgeous, professional transcript of the hearing, but the CHRC won't release it, for fear of embarrassment. The only public record is a scratchy audio tape of the hearings -- impossible to search or reprint. It's just another little touch of rot in a fully rotten system.
Here's the audio recording (big file) of Fothergill, Nicholson's lawyer, calmly sticking the dagger into Lynch's back.
Of course, the proper thing for Hadjis to do is to both find section 13 unconstitutional and find that the CHRC-Warman case agasint Lemire was abusive. But that's an awful lot to ask for from Hadjis, who has never once denied the CHRC their pound of flesh in a section 13 case.
I think Hadjis might actually go for Fothergill's "compromise" -- not to strike down section 13, but to smack down the CHRC and Warman.
It will be interesting to see.
And if Hadjis does what Nicholson's lawyer asked him to do -- if he deals the CHRC their first section 13 loss in thirty years, if he condemns the CHRC as the brutally corrupt rogues that they are -- it will be interesting to see how long Jennifer Lynch's disastrous tenure as chief commissioner will continue.
It will also be interesting to see how many zeros there will be in Lemire's malicious prosecution lawsuit against the CHRC and Warman.
Fire. Them. All.
Nah -- too late for that.
Sue. Them. All.
Last week I gave a talk to the Fraser Institute's "Behind the Spin" series about the dangers of Canada's censorious human rights commissions. Urbanmixer was there with her camera, and took a few pictures. Here are some of my favourites:
Here's Danielle Smith, the moderator of the series.
Here's me with Nadeem Esmail, Calgary boss of the Fraser Institute.
Thanks to the Calgary staff, especially Mirja van Herk, for organizing the evening.
A friend e-mails to say that he received a copy of the new Ezra Magazine in the mail. For a moment, he thought it was a reincarnated print edition of the Western Standard! Alas, not.
Today's National Post published a revised version of my blog post on Jim Pankiw's human rights ordeal. You can read it here.
If Pankiw can be prosecuted for spreading "discrimination," every MP is at risk. Not a day goes by when MPs don't offend one group or another.
...Whether or not Pankiw "wins" his trial is irrelevant. He's already lost, and so have we. The message is loud and clear: The CHRC has ended parliamentary immunity. The fact that it's a right-wing MP first in the dock is no surprise -- the CHRC is led by Jennifer Lynch, a radical feminist who was Joe Clark's chief of staff. It's unlikely that a left-wing MP would ever be punished this way -- 100% of the CHRC's "hate" targets to date have been conservative, white or Christian.
There's nothing surprising in this latest assault on our real civil rights by the rogue CHRC. It has already shown itself contemptuous of freedom of speech and freedom of religions. The only surprise is that the Harper government has let this rogue agency run amok.
It's hard to believe that Jennifer Lynch, the woman who presides over the corruption of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, was appointed by the Conservative government. Her ethical hallmarks are very Liberal Party, circa Adscam.
The culture of the CHRC is pure Chretien 1990s: get away with whatever you can, just bluff it out. As I've mentioned before, they don't even have a code of ethics at the CHRC. Perfect! They can't violate their ethics code if they don't have one!
Lynch's commission has been hit with scandal after scandal this year, including an RCMP investigation after the CHRC hacked into a private citizen's Internet account. The Privacy Commissioner is investigating the CHRC, too. If she was a cabinet minister, she'd have been sacked by now, so it's curious how she has survived.
Lynch's appointment was made in haste. Conservatives are good at things like trade and commerce, and so top talent abounds in the party for such appointments. Illiberal human rights censors? Not so much. So it's not surprising that the appointment went to a second-rater -- Lynch was Joe Clark's former chief of staff.
I'm all for a big tent Conservative Party. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, a Conservative MP in Nunavut or Prince Edward Island is going to have a different world view than, say, a Conservative like Alberta's Myron Thompson. If the Conservatives want to form a government, there has to be room for both red and blue Tories. But Joe Clark's former chief of staff? That's not even a red Tory -- Clark himself still refuses to acknowledge the merger between the old Progressive Conservatives and the Canadian Alliance. What constituency was appeased by picking Lynch?
I have been doing research into Lynch's background. Take this little gem that I found.
It's a story about Lynch back when she was a feminist activist within the old Progressive Conservative Party.
It seems that when Kim Campbell was briefly prime minister, she was introduced by Wayne Taylor of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce as Canada's "first lady". That, of course, is the term of art used for the wife of the U.S. president, though it might have been just a generic phrase that popped into Taylor's head, like "first citizen". It sounds more like a verbal stumble than a pre-meditated insult, the kind of thing that grown-up politicians quietly wince at, but quickly move on from.
Then lawyer Larry Carr apparently told a joke about Campbell's mother being a "free spirited feminist" who ran away with her boyfriend when Kim was 12. That's an embarrassing anecdote, of course, though it's true.
So what's the point of all that? That, at a chamber of commerce event, a couple of the old boys club made ham-fisted remarks? Fair enough. The "first lady" comment might be stretched to be sexist; the story about her mom was just inappropriate. A grown-up -- say, a prime minister -- would laugh it off.
But not Jennifer Lynch. This was her moment! She was a feminist, and she was going to pounce!
But Lynch didn't pounce on Taylor or Carr. She didn't criticize those two men, however petty their offences may have been, and however petty it would have made Lynch (and Campbell, by extension) look for doing so.
No, Lynch smeared the entire province of Alberta. Here are her quotes, from the Toronto Star.
"This movement away from sexism doesn't suddenly lift like a fog off of the country," she said. "What happens is, it lifts in certain areas faster than some others, and one area it hasn't lifted from is Alberta -- and I've heard that often."
"I just wonder why would somebody think that something like that was acceptable, and it has to be because things are not as quick to catch on in Alberta."
So Lynch condemns stereotyping by engaging in stereotyping.
So instead of criticizing two men -- for verbal misdemeanours -- she lashes out at an entire province.
Albertans in general are sexist, she says. Her proof? She's "heard that often." Maybe from Joe Clark.
We're not just sexist bigots in Alberta. We're stupid. "Things are not as quick to catch on" here.
Who's the bigot now?
Had Lynch actually studied Alberta feminism before smearing the entire province as a bunch of sexists, she would know that in fact Alberta produced Emily Murphy, the first female magistrate in the entire British Empire, and it was Murphy and the rest of the Alberta "Famous Five" who led the Persons Case, all the way up to the British House of Lords, which declared women to be persons in 1929.
Alberta isn't slow to catch on to equal rights for women. It was the first in the country -- first in the entire British Empire. It was Alberta suffragettes that cleared the way for women throughout the country -- for Campbell herself.
If Albertans were Lynch-like in their pettiness, they might have argued that Lynch herself was "spreading hatred and contempt" against Albertans. She'd be hit with a human rights complaint for hate speech. But Albertans are bigger than that. We don't need the approval of a second-rate political hack, the apex of whose career was working for Joe Clark. We know that Lynch's anger, her lashing out againt an entire province was probably just a manifestation of her own insecurities -- her own knowledge that she herself was likely a political token, and that Kim Campbell would soon be crushed at the polls. We'd let her go, but we'd remember her name.
But we didn't. Jennifer Lynch, ignoramus, smearer of an entire province, was actually appointed by a government rooted in Alberta to head the CHRC.
How perfect: a bigot in charge of rooting out bigotry.
An insecure token in charge of enforcing tokenism.
A second-rate political hack in charge of a second-rate bureaucracy.
Is it any wonder that the CHRC is in the mess it's in?
Fire. Them. All. Starting with Lynch.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is prosecuting a former Member of Parliament because they feel his Parliamentary mail to constituents was offensive to Aboriginals.
Jim Pankiw, a two-term Saskatchewan MP who served from 1997 to 2004, is on trial this week for sending out flyers criticizing Indan crime in Saskatchewan, and opposing racial quotas for Indians. If convicted, Pankiw can face massive fines -- on top of even larger legal fees. He could also face almost any order, ranging from an order to apologize, to a lifetime ban on commenting about Aboriginals -- those are orders imposed on others convicted of "hate". And if Pankiw refuses to comply, he could serve time in jail. Here's the news report.
The subject of Pankiw's pamphlets was Aboriginal crime. Of course, Aboriginal crime is extremely high in Saskatchewan. Here's a Statistics Canada study that shows that while Aboriginals make up only 9% of Saskatchewan's population, they were 52% of the province's criminal accused. Here's the key chart, from page 39 of that Statcan report:
There are a lot of legitimate things one could say about this depressing chart -- a dozen different policy prescriptions for tackling the problem. Pankiw chose a particular way: he wanted to get tough on crime, he wanted to abandon Aboriginal "sentencing circles" and other alternative measures, and he wanted to end racial quotas. It sounds like his tone was particularly aggressive, but talking tough about crime isn't supposed to be a crime in itself. Whether or not his was the best approach was up to his constituents -- they relected him in 2000, but not in 2004 when he ran as an independent.
But for the CHRC to weigh and measure Pankiw's views is an outrageous incursion into the political affairs of Parliament. (The fact that it's four full years later is another disgrace -- and a delay that, in a real court, would have resulted in an automatic acquittal for a criminal accused.)
Pankiw's case was the subject of a cover story in one of the first issues of the Western Standard magazine, where journalist Terry O'Neill looked at the absurd test that the CHRC's "experts" used to classify Pankiw's conservative brochures as "hate":
Smith went on deconstructing the nuances of the Pankiwian colour palette: "One notes that the colours of the pamphlet (white of the paper, red and black inks) wittingly or unwittingly utilize colours very much associated with aboriginal people, for whom four colours have come to be associate with the four cardinal directions and have great spiritual significance," he writes. "These colours, yellow, red, black, and white, are to be found in much of the aboriginal ritual contexts and are frequently to be found in regalia and clothing." He concludes that "one can hardly claim that the symbolism in this pamphlet is not inflammatory." Smith declined the opportunity to explain his theories, on the grounds that, because his report is not meant to be public at present, it would be "unethical" for him to comment. Pankiw says that since Smith was contracted last year by the Kitselas Indian band of B.C. to help prepare its treaty and land-claim case and as a supporter of Indians' treaty rights, he's not likely to give a "fair shake" to someone who questions the legitimacy of treaties, as he does.
Oh, and by the way, who do you think was the hate crimes investigator who recommended that the CHRC prosecute Pankiw? None other than Richard Warman, the CHRC's serial complainant of fortune, library censor, online spewer of anti-Semitic and anti-gay bigotry, and libel nuisance litigator against me and other critics of the CHRC. As O'Neill reported:
On April 14, 2004, Richard Warman, an Ottawa-based lawyer who is an investigator with the Commission, filed a landmark report recommending the Commission appoint a Human Rights Tribunal to inquire into the complaints. The next day, the CHRC's director of investigations, Sherri Helgason, gave Pankiw until May 7 to respond. The Commission will then decide whether to turn to matter over to a tribunal for adjudication (the Commission itself does not confirm or deny the existence of any case until it proceeds to the tribunal stage, a Commission staffer said).
...Take Richard Warman. The man investigating Pankiw has a storied history of making human rights one of his personal causes. He is a political animal, having run for the ultra-left wing Green Party in Ontario both provincially and federally. He was personally awarded $30,000 by the tribunal in June 2003 for helping to shut down a racist website. Last summer he also personally sued the Northern Alliance, a white supremacist group, for libel after the group said on its web site that he was "a misguided witch hunter." In a speech in October 2003, discussing the fight against offensive speech on the Internet, Warman said he was looking forward to international agreements that would allow nations to arrest those it considers promoters of hate-speech if they try and enter the country.
What are the lessons here?
1. The CHRC has long ago abandoned the legal limits set out by the Supreme Court in its 1990 Taylor case, that prohibited "hate" prosecutions of political views. They are violating the constitution.
2. And why wouldn't they? Jennifer Lynch, the CHRC's chief kangaroo, hasn't fixed the problems at the CHRC. Fixed them? She doesn't even acknowledge them. The CHRC is beset by an RCMP criminal investigation of its own conduct, a Privacy Commission investigation of its conduct, and a Parliamentary review. Lynch is digging in her heels -- to the embarrassment of the Conservative government that appointed her.
3. MPs from all parties make comments that can be considered offensive, or promoting hatred or contempt of a particular group (that's the wording of the Canadian Human Rights Act). I think, for example, of Liberal Michael Ignatieff's statement that Israel commited war crimes during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. Those comments were much more brutal than what Pankiw said about Aboriginal crime, at least to my ears. But the CHRC only goes after one side of the political aisle: conservatives. Just like the CHRC only prosecutes Christian clergy -- not radical Muslim clergy. Just like the CHRC only harasses conservative journalists (like me), never offensive leftist journalists, like the bigoted Heather Mallick. They have a hate-on for conservatives. Their fatwa against Pankiw -- as ordered up by Richard Warman, a three-time Green Party candidate -- should come as no surprise.
4. The public denormalization of HRCs is well underway. But that is only the first step in the solution. Now that public momentum for reform is building, it is up to legislators to act. It's no use that Lynch and the rest of the HRC mafia are disgraced in the court of public opinion, if they can continue their wrecking ball attack on natural justice through their kangaroo courts. It's time for the federal government to act -- and with the election now safely out of the way, now's the time. Legislative reform would be a bi-partisan effort, especially since Liberal free speech champion Keith Martin was re-elected.
5. The Conservatives thought that by appointing Lynch they could control the CHRC. They were wrong -- she has betrayed them by continuing their prosecutions of the hate speech laws, by continuing to bully Christians, conservatives and other political dissidents, and continuing the CHRC's sordid association with Richard Warman, who, to this day, receives CHRC payments for his costs as a witness in his own complaints. Lynch is laughing at the Conservatives -- when she's not busy jetting around the world. I mean, really, if you were Jennifer Lynch, what would you rather do? Clean up the swamp of corruption at the CHRC, and answer tough questions from the RCMP, or jet off to, oh, Africa on a $6,000 junket, Australia on a $7,500 junket, or even a quick jot down to Washington for a mere $1,500. Nothing beats a week in Geneva in June, though -- for a cool $8,300.
6. For the past year, the federal government was continuously on standby for an election, and it might have made sense to avoid starting this reform on the eve of such a vote. But now that the election is over, the Conservative mandate is stronger, and the Liberals are clearly in no position for another election for at least a year, the timing is right for reform. In fact, that delay was helpful: more and more public support has been marshalled. From the Toronto Star and Eye Weekly on the left, to the Montreal Gazette, Maclean's and the Globe and Mail in the centre, to the National Post and Calgary Herald on the right, from Rex Murphy and Neil Macdonald at the CBC to Mike Duffy and Bob Fife at CTV, from PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists to EGALE, the gay rights lobby, there pretty much isn't anyone who hasn't endorsed shutting down these HRC censors. The public support is there. Now is the time for legislative action.
And you know what? I think we'll get that reform before next year is done.
I received this letter today from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, couriered to my lawyer.
It comes two months after the CHRC received my response to Rob Wells' human rights complaint against me (the third complaint against me this year).
The CHRC's Natalie Dagenais waited until the federal election was over before contacting me -- I bet that was a direct order from Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissioner of the CHRC, who's already a big enough embarrassment to the government, and didn't want to pop her head up during an election.
In her letter to me today, Dagenais says she's finally going to pass my defence along to the commissioners who will rule on whether I've commited a hate crime by republishing an Op-Ed by an Alberta pastor named Rev. Stephen Boissoin. You'll recall, Rev. Boissoin has been fined, given a lifetime ban on expressing his faith, and ordered to publicly renounce his faith, for daring to express a politically incorrect religious view.
If the commissioners find me guilty, they'll prosecute me before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In the thirty years they've been prosecuting section 13 "hate speech" cases, they've never lost. Political prosecutors in Iran and China would be impressed.
But here's where Dagenais becomes a symbol of everything that's wrong with the CHRC and its censorship fetish: she blacked out portions of my defence before passing it on to the commissioners. Seriously -- she censored what I wrote in my own defence, before she passed it along to the people who will sit in judgment of me. She's only allowing me to say things in my defence that she approves in advance. Look at the version of my letter she's passing on: several of my arguments are blacked out. You can read the full, uncensored version here (.pdf version here).
Here is a pdf of my reply that my lawyer sent in today, which I'll also paste here:
October 20, 2008
Canadian “Human Rights” Commission
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1
Re: Rob Wells v. Ezra Levant
It’s pretty embarrassing that you’ve taken two months to merely pass on my last letter to your superiors at the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission. I suppose all Canadians should be grateful for the CHRC’s sloth. Who knows how many journalists could be harassed if CHRC employees stopped playing solitaire and took to their work with real gusto? I’ll be charitable: perhaps everyone over there has simply been busy with the RCMP’s criminal investigation into the CHRC’s abusive and corrupt conduct, so your “real work” – censoring journalists, Christian clergy and political activists – has fallen by the wayside.
I note that you have blacked out a number of my arguments before passing on my response to the commissioners. Silly kangaroo, don’t you know the rules? You’re not supposed to censor me until after the show trial. Remember: convict first, then censor! I know you’re excited about using your big, black censor’s pen but just wait – you’ll get your turn. You always do.
I’m going to take the liberty of sending my unredacted remarks directly to your commissioners. I’m frankly not interested in your opinions about what is or is not “relevant” to my defence. Every drop of corruption, abuse and illegal conduct at the CHRC is relevant, and I’ll not have some junior bureaucrat telling me otherwise. I’m entitled to have my submissions presented in full to the censors that will decide my fate. Even the medieval Star Chamber permitted that.
I’m sending this letter, along with my original response, directly to the kangaroos.
firstname.lastname@example.org attachment: unredacted August 28 letter
So far, this nuisance suit hasn't cost me too much money, but I did have one of my lawyers, Tom Ross, review the letter to tone down the more excitable parts of it. I spoke with Tom today, and we're also continuing to fight the Alberta human rights commission's refusal to release their internal e-mails about me, as they're required to do by provincial freedom of information laws. If they're willing to go to court to prevent me from reading what they wrote about me, you can bet it's politically scandalous. I'd like to learn more about their abominable decision to spend $500,000 of taxpayers money, deploying 15 government employees to investigate me for 900 days. Wouldn't you?
Tom says I still owe him a few thousand dollars; if you want to chip in I'd be grateful. Unfortunately, the lawsuits haven't stopped -- I'll tell you about a new one tomorrow.
If you think the CHRC is a corrupt, abusive agency that needs to be stopped and you want to help, please click the PayPal button below, or send a cheque by snail mail to Tom, payable to "McLennan Ross in Trust", and indicate that it's for my human rights complaints. Tom's address is:
"This organization is not a registered non-profit organization. Donations to this organization are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
Richard Moon, the University of Windsor professor who was hand-picked by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to "review" their misbehaviour, will receive a $52,250 payday for four months of part-time work.
Gee. I wonder what he'll tell them?
If I'm ever, say, audited by Revenue Canada, can I hand-pick my taxman?
Can I pay him $52,250? Just to ensure he's being fair, you see.
That's the equivalent to $150,000 a year -- for a part-timer. According to the University of Windsor, Moon has a busy teaching schedule, so he'll be moonlighting for the fifty large.
Recession? What recession? It's party time on the taxpayers' dime down at the human rights commission!
P.S. I see that the CHRC also hired a lobbying firm, Hill and Knowlton, to help them with "communications" issues this spring, for a cool $10,000. I guess the CHRC's staff of nearly 200 couldn't handle all of the CHRC's communications issues this spring.
P.P.S. Note there are plenty of other contracts issued by the CHRC, to "consultants", without describing the nature of the work. How many hundreds of thousands of tax dollars is the CHRC spending on lobbyists, PR firms and other self-serving political projects? I suppose it's better that they waste their money on damage control, than spend it harassing more journalists and Christian pastors.
I've received friendly feedback from readers who are interested in attending the conference at University of King's College about the media's "right to offend". It's open to the public, so if you're in Halifax on Nov. 1, please come by -- details are here. It's free to attend, and they actually serve a free lunch, too. You can't beat that!
I've also been invited by the prestigious Canadian Media Lawyers Association to speak on a panel at their conference in Ottawa, on November 8. It's a pretty august conference, with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada giving opening remarks -- according to this agenda, it looks like she'll be talking about libel law. As I mentioned here, this summer the SCC significantly enhanced the defence of fair comment in defamation law, strengthening Canadians' freedom of speech. It will be interesting to hear Justice McLachlin expand on that decision.
For anyone interested in media law -- from defamation to human rights censorship -- this conference has national-class experts ranging from Richard Dearden, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lawyer in his defamation suit against the Liberal Party, to Michael Geist, Canada's Internet law guru, to name just two speakers.
I've been invited on a panel, too, entitled "Impact of Human Rights Commission on Freedom of Speech" -- a very real threat to Canadian media, and one against which the defences in defamation law (truth, fair comment, etc.) do not apply. I'm on the panel with some pretty heavy hitters: Julian Porter, Q.C., Maclean's lead lawyer in their B.C. Human Rights Tribunal show trial, and Mark Freiman, chief counsel to the Air India Public Inquiry.
It's an honour to be invited to serious discussions like this one and the one in Halifax. It is a sign that there is growing concern about the threat to our civil rights posed by the preposterously named "human rights commissions" and that concern is non-partisan, and that concern has spread from politics into law and civil society. It's a sign of how wide and deep opposition to HRCs has become and how far the national discussion has moved in the past year.
Think back a year -- not even a year! In 2007, the idea that the threat of HRCs would be discussed at such a mainstream and prestigious gathering was unthinkable. And the idea that my point of view -- repealing the hate speech provision of HRCs, and even abolishing HRCs altogether -- would be given a seat at the table in such high company is startling evidence of how far our campaign to denormalize these rogue and abusive commissions has come. Who knows? Perhaps in a future conference, Justice McLachlin won't be talking about how she expanded freedom of speech in defamation law -- maybe she'll be talking about how she struck down the HRCs' political censorship provisions, ending a thirty-year blemish on Canadian law.
I am delighted to be one of the participants in the upcoming public conference on the media's "right to offend", being held on November 1st at University of King's College in Halifax. (I'll try to visit the world headquarters of Free Mark Steyn while I'm in the neighbourhood!)
Even more delightful is that the symposium is sponsored by the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership. The very first politician I ever met was Sheldon Chumir; he had donated a "lunch with Sheldon Chumir" to a charity auction that my father bought. Chumir took my sister and me to lunch, and we peppered him with so many questions that he hardly had time to eat a bite. Even back in high school, I knew I was a conservative, but I also knew that Chumir was my kind of Liberal -- he was a contrarian who deliberately chose to be a Liberal in Tory-blue Alberta, precisely so that he could be in opposition. That's not the usual reason most people get into politics. He was a civil libertarian, too, of course, which is why the foundation named after him is focusing so much on the threat posed to civil liberties by Canada's imposter "human rights commissions".
I'm excited that the keynote speaker of the conference is Margaret Wente. She has been one of the most effective journalists in the country at exposing the insanity of Canada's HRCs. Her column about the Ontario Human Rights Commission trial of a plastic surgeon who violated the "human right" of a male-to-female transexual who wanted, uh, intimate female surgery remains the most hilarious and outrageous editorial I've read on the subject.
Of course, there will be censors on the panel, too -- including John Miller, the journalism professor who tried (unsuccessfully) to intervene in the BC HRT kangaroo trial of Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine. I'm looking forward to meeting Miller. I've never met a pro-censorship journalist before, but I'm just a small town boy.
I'm glad the symposium will be held in Halifax. Not only is it a gorgeous city, but it's also home to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, currently under siege by that province's HRC for daring to publish the cartoon to the left. They've been accused of violating human rights, too. I wonder if any folks from the paper will be in attendance (maybe) or the radical imam who filed the complaint (I'm thinking, probably not).
The title of the conference says it all: the right to offend. Free speech is meaningless if it applies only to inoffensive speech. The meaning of free speech is that it must be free from other things, including other admirable things, like good manners, political correctness, or the ideological fashions of the day. That's not to say there is no antidote to offensive speech. There are plenty, ranging from ignoring the offender, to rebutting him, to condeming him to socially ostracizing him. But none of those remedies involve the government and its unlimited power.
If I prepare my remarks in advance, I'll post them here on my blog. If you're in Nova Scotia, please stop by.
My six-week leave of absence is over, and I'm happy to return to blogging. I missed it a lot -- especially when fascinating or frustrating news presented itself.
I was working as a volunteer at the Conservative Party's election headquarters in Ottawa. It was an exciting and challenging experience working with a national-calibre team in a hotly-contested race with five parties -- and a global financial meltdown right in the middle of things. I enjoyed it and I even got used to going into the office at 6 a.m. Here at ezralevant.com we keep more civilized hours!
As loyal readers of this site know, although I am a conservative and a long-time supporter of the Conserative Party, my animating cause -- the abolition of Canada's corrupt and abusive human rights commissions, especially their Maoist "hate speech" provisions by which they attack dissident political opinions -- is a non-partisan one, and it ought to be.
Two of Parliament's key freedom of speech activists have been re-elected. Conservative Rick Dykstra of St. Catharines was re-elected handily, and Liberal Keith Martin of Esquimalt Juan de Fuca squeaked back in, by a margin of less than 100 votes. Dykstra is the MP who proposed a resolution before Parliament's Justice Committee to have a full-bore review of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, its operations and its censorship provisions in particular. Martin is the MP who really got the ball rolling early in the year, with his private member's motion to repeal that provision altogether. Of course, many other MPs made very encouraging public statements about reforming the commissions, such as Jason Kenney who chaired the "war room" in which I worked this past month.
When I was working on the campaign, needless to say, I met a great number of MPs, cabinet ministers, senior staff and reporters. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of senior people in the Canadian political establishment who, on their own, brought up the subject of HRCs with me. It was very encouraging -- over the next few days I'll tell a few anecdotes about that, while respecting the privacy of those conversations where applicable.
Of course, the past month hasn't just been about the election campaign. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal chose a characteristically cowardly moment to issue their "ruling" in their trial of Mark Steyn and Maclean's -- the Friday afternoon before a long weekend, preceding the election. I don't blame them -- as the Vancouver Sun's Ian Mulgrew opined during the trial this June, the BCHRT murdered its own reputation, not Steyn's. I'll give you my thoughts on their execrable ruling later.
Over the past six weeks, I haven't received any new human rights complaints -- at least, none that I know of. As I discovered in August, human rights commissions no longer even tell me when I've been hit with a complaint. Welcome to justice, kangaroo-style.
I have, however, been hit with another defamation lawsuit by a human rights industry apologist, that landed right in the middle of the election campaign. I'll tell you about that, too. I've lost track, but I think I'm up to 20 lawsuits, human rights complaints, law society complaints and other nuisances at the hands of the human rights bullies, all in an attempt to use "lawfare" to stop me from criticizing their corruption and abuse. Thanks to the support of my readers, I've been able to laugh off their SLAPP suits, and keep on marching. Their strategy might have worked before the age of the Internet. Now, the abusive litigation of the HRCs and their courtiers is not only no longer intimidating, it is ridiculous and embarrassing to themselves. It is the perfect illustration of their bullying instincts being foiled by technology and an army of grassroots activists. And it has confirmed my thesis: these are political warriors, dispatching their political enemies, not meting out anything remotely close to "justice".
The fascinating CHRC case of Warman v. Lemire also concluded its hearings. That's the case that really exposed the corruption within the HRCs, including their practice of sending government employees online, in the guise of anti-Semitic bigots, to spread hatred on the government dime. I still can't believe that preceding sentence is true in a country lik Canada, and I didn't believe it until I started reading transcripts of human rights hearings where the CHRC admitted happily to their bigoted tactics. It was the Lemire case -- and his decision to fight back -- that has led to no fewer than four investigations of the CHRC, including one by the RCMP.
Finally, I'll have some news about my book on HRCs. McClelland and Stewart, Canada's most prestigious publisher, has commissioned me to write about my fight -- and the rot in HRCs in general. I'll tell you more about that project, when the book will be ready, and how you can get a copy.
I've got some more work to do today, but I hope to get back into regular posting right away -- my goal will be a meaty post at least once a day.
I'll make my first one about my assessment of the renewed Conservative government, and what it means for Canadians who care about freedom of speech and the right to dissent from politically correct orthodoxy.
In the months ahead, I think I'll broaden the subject matter of my posts to other subjects beyond human rights commissions. But it will remain my key focus, until we've fixed the problem. And I believe we will -- we're half way there.
P.S. Tomorrow I'm giving a speech for the Fraser Institute in Calgary about HRCs. I'm not sure if there are any tickets left, but you can check with them here.
I have a few more HRC-related speeches coming up in Halifax and Ottawa that I'll let you know about, too.
I've received a lot of e-mails reminding me that it's October, so I should start blogging again! That was, indeed, my last headline but in the body of that blog post I was more precise: mid-October!
I'll fire this thing up again on October 15th -- thanks for your patience.
By the way, for folks in Calgary, I'm scheduled to speak about free speech at a Fraser Institute event on October 16th. You can see the details here, and book online. I understand that there are still about 20 tickets available.
Talk to you soon.