Ezra Levant: October 2009 Archives
How far have we come in our quest for freedom of speech, over the past two years?
Quite far. Look at this story in the Canadian Jewish News, the newspaper of record for the Official Jews, entitled "Hate laws backfire on Jews, author says". That headline itself is an achievement. Here are some excerpts; I've put some parts in bold:
The federal anti-hate law that “official Jews” lobbied for and got passed has, 32 years later, backfired, sowing the seeds for political correctness, media chill and censorship that have undermined the values that define the Jewish People, says Alberta lawyer, author and activist Ezra Levant.
Levant, who is Jewish, made the assertion in an Oct. 21 talk to a small audience at Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation about his 900-day saga of being prosecuted by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission for reprinting controversial Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in his now defunct magazine, the Western Standard, in February 2006.
“It is what I call the ‘soft jihad,’” said Levant, describing the actions of Muslims who file complaints with human rights commissions against those they perceive to have aggrieved them. “I was a Jewish publisher of a Zionist newspaper charged for publishing the news.”
Levant has spent the last 3-1/2 years railing against human rights commissions, which he says have fostered a climate of censorship, media chill and political correctness that’s now being exploited by those he calls enemies of the West, Israel and the Jewish People.
“The Jews should have known better,” Levant said. “We know about the ‘hard jihad,’ but the ‘soft jihad’ is far more effective and clever – it says to find the weakness in the law.”
It’s ironic, Levant suggested, that organizations such as Canadian Jewish Congress helped create a law that has come back to haunt them.
Levant, a free-speech libertarian and former activist in the Reform party, said that the anti-hate law – which since it passed in 1977, has had a “100 per cent” conviction rate and was upheld in 1990 in a narrow decision by Canada’s Supreme Court – is very dangerous.
That’s because its “malleable and vague” wording allows authorities to charge anyone for actions, words or pictures that are “likely to expose a person to hatred and contempt.”...
In Levant’s case, the printing of the cartoons in his magazine led Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada to bring a complaint before the Alberta commission.
Initially, Soharwardy approached the police. He went to the commission only after the police told him that “they don’t arbitrate political or religious disputes.”
At the commission, however, Soharwardy found a far more sympathetic ear – in Levant’s view because he is Muslim.
Because of the pervasive climate of political correctness that infuses human rights commissions, Levant asserts, little heed is paid to Jewish or Christian complainants...
His case also coincided with a similarly high-profile complaint filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as well as with the commissions in British Columbia and Ontario, against journalist Mark Steyn and Maclean’s magazine over book excerpts that were alleged to be anti-Muslim...
In his view, proud anti-Semites, such as John Ross Taylor and others who have been convicted under the 1977, law got way more attention than they otherwise would have if they had merely been allowed to vent their spleens to the marginal few who cared or bothered.
“They were all kooks and nutbars,” Levant said. “The government took kooky nobodies and turned them into glamorous victims, national celebrities,” he said.
Regarding Muslim groups that file complaints with human rights tribunals, “the Canadian Islamic Congress did far more to destroy western freedom than 9/11 did,” Levant said. “Nine/11 did not change how we live, but [the Canadian Islamic Congress] got editors to censor ourselves.”
It seems wrong to quibble with such a tremendous news report, but I don't think I said Jews haven't been successful complainants -- in fact Jews dominated the prosecutions for the first twenty years the law was in effect, until it became the personal property of Richard Warman. And I think I said the cartoon threats in general -- not just the Canadian Islamic Congress in particular -- did more damage to the West than 9/11. But these are microscopic complaints. The news report is amazing.
I didn't know that the CJN had a reporter at the meeting. It was a smallish gathering, though very engaged -- I stayed to talk afterwards with a dozen eager Montrealers for almost half hour. Perhaps the reporter, David Lazarus, was truly convinced; perhaps his editors in Toronto are no longer willing to go along with the Canadian Jewish Congress's embarrassing censorship fetish; perhaps it was the strong endorsement for freedom of speech expressed by my host that night, the well-loved Rabbi Reuben Poupko. I don't know; but here we have, in the bosom of the "official" Jewish newspaper in Canada, a sympathetic and detailed report of a Jewish objection to censorship.
I just don't think that would have happened two years ago.
I think we've come a long way.
I think we're more than half way there, actually.
I think we're going to repeal this damnable law, this un-Canadian law, this illiberal law, this anti-western civilization law, this un-Jewish law.
When an article like this runs in the Canadian Jewish News, there aren't a lot of milestones left to pass.
Well, look who took time off from work at the Department of Defence's own mini-human rights commission to come take in the Justice Committee hearings about the Canadian Human Rights Commission -- and his corruption of them. None other than Richard Warman, serial complainant, multiple neo-Nazi membership holder, and defamer of Jews, gays and blacks.
Here's a picture of him entering the room (the bald man on the left):
And here's a picture of him chatting it up with Bernie "Burny" Farber, his enabler at the Canadian Jewish Congress. Burny's fellow CJC book-burner Eric Vernon is at right. The Official Jews are doubling down on censorship -- and on their favourite online Nazi. How embarrassing:
Burny, the Official Jew, apparently has no problem consorting with someone who wrote on a neo-Nazi website that Jews like Irwin Cotler are "scum". The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal thought that was "disturbing and disappointing", but not Burny.
Warman's serial neo-Nazi comments, his corruption of investigations, and his monopolization of section 13 complaints is really the whole reason this thing is before Parliament. It was his over-reach in the Warman v. Lemire case that had the law ruled unconstitutional; it was his abusive conduct that has so clearly caught the attention of MPs like Joe Comartin; it is his bully tactics that have turned the CHRC into what Athanasios Hadjis of the Tribunal calls "aggressive" and "confrontational", instead of mediating and conciliatory.
This whole, multi-million dollar boondoggle is his.
Which raises the question: why hasn't Warman been called to testify?
Why hasn't he been asked about his neo-Nazi comments?
Why hasn't he been asked about his entrapment tactics?
Why hasn't he been asked about his corruption of cases -- like his instructions to Hannya Rizk, a fellow investigator, to violate procedures?
If I were an MP on the committee, why would I want to hear people talking about Warman -- for him or against him -- when I could talk to the man himself?
He's not far away.
Jennifer Lynch's exceedingly uncooperative approach today will hurt her. If this had been a court, she'd have been deemed a hostile witness. She cranked out pre-fabricated cliches and spoke as slowly as possible in the face of embarrassing questions. Does she forget that she works for these people?
Philip Dufresne was at his best today -- he didn't say a word.
Bernie "Burny" Farber was not quite as eloquent as Dufresne, but he was clearly put on a leash. He left most of the talking to Mark Freiman. Freiman's hairdo was a little distracting for me -- sorry, I just have to say it, it's pretty weird when a Jew wears his hair like, well, like Hitler did. But putting that aside, his remarks seemed uninformed of the facts of the CHRC. It's like he was caught in a time-warp, talking about how section 13 would save us from hate, as if the Internet had not rendered it practically impossible, as if the ruling in Warman v. Lemire had not rendered it legally impossible, and as if no-one had seen the bad behaviour of the CHRC exposed over the past two years. His one suggestion -- to give the CHRC more discretion -- is laughable. Just how much more discretion could they have? They don't have an ethics code, they don't have an operations manual, they don't have an oversight or internal affairs committee. What more discretion does Freiman want to give them?
I must note Burny's embarrassing flourish, to show pictures of swastikas on graves. What relevance does that have to section 13? Section 13 is a censorship law that applies to the Internet; swastikas on graves is a Criminal Code matter. Why didn't Burny just show pictures from the liberation of the concentration camps? There is no logic or law to his stunt; it was just a pure pull on emotion: if you disagree with me, you hate Jews. What a buffoon. I'm sure that when someone honks at Burny on the highway, he thinks they're anti-Semites, too.
Richard Moon was a pleasant surprise. He didn't make a single reference to the falsehoods contained in his Saskatchewan speech. Rather, he stayed focused on his central recommendation: to abolish section 13, and he unpacked that a bit for the MPs who bothered to ask him.
On the opposition side, I was impressed with questions from Brian Murphy, Serge Menard and Joe Comartin. Each of them asked about internal corruption matters, Comartin so much that he forced Lynch into lying that she had made a "detailed investigation". Sorry, I call B.S. on that. I don't think Comartin was fooled, do you?
On the government side, I thought Brent Rathgeber showed a commendable feistiness on the issue; Stephen Woodworth gave an outstanding comment about how Canadians value freedom; and Russ Hiebert, who did such fine work in the spring, was back with very practical questions for Moon.
In short, I thought it was great.
I've never been more optimistic about the prospects for reform. Now, the only question in my mind is, how much reform is enough?
Rathgeber asks Burny a pretty good question: how does section 13, a censorship provision that applies to the Internet, stop vandalism of a graveyard?
It's a tough question, so naturally Freiman jumps in and takes it from Burny.
He doesn't answer it, of course. Freiman says that section 13 is "extraordinarly helpful" in fighting "hate".
Does he even believe what he's saying?
Rathgeber replies: we have section 13 -- but it didn't stop this, did it?
Burny can't stay still. He interrupts his interruptor with a ramble about using section 13 to educate young people.
They've been going for nearly two hours on this; there wasn't much light being shone on things by Lynch at the beginning; having Freiman and Farber mumble and push the Holocaust panic button when they get into a pickle, has moved from embarrassing to boring.
Rathgeber does everyone a favour and puts a question to Moon.
Chairman Ed Fast extends the meeting by a few minutes, and gives everyone a final quick question:
Jennings ends with a statement, natch. She says that, contrary to what Rathgeber says, "demonization" is in fact very objective. Tell that to the folks who tried to have this case heard.
Comartin asks about the qualifications of Tribunal members. Freiman says it's a good idea -- as if "more qualified" censors would be better censors.
Russ Hiebert asks Moon a question, referring to Alan Borovoy's concerns about the violation of civil liberties and due process. Moon says that it "would make sense" to fund defendants, too. Moon also says the language of the law appears vague. He emphasizes the burden placed upon any defendants -- not just those who go the distance to a hearing, but anyone who is unlucky enough to even be investigated.
Moon is shining. Intead of engaging in his anti-Ezra and anti-Steyn sniping, he's actually using his time before Parliament's committee to talk about the law and how to improve it. Good for him.
He makes an excellent argument that I haven't heard yet, but that I agree with: that, in some ways, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal already tests for hateful "intent" in their rulings. That's actually somewhat true, though it's not required in the law. Moon wants that to be formally recognized, to protect honest belief and honest intent -- to protect people who think they're speaking the truth.
In other words, Moon wants to end the blurry, anything-goes approach in human rights "juridsprudence".
Freiman pipes up with a fistful of falsehoods. He claims it would be "impossible" to prove intent on the part of any hatemongers. But that's not accurate. The Criminal Code provision requires intent to be proved; and it has been used successfully, from time to time. And, of course, every other provision in the Criminal Code requires "mens rea" -- latin for a "guilty mind", or "mental element" to convict. For Freiman to say that it's impossible to convict someone in Canada if you have to read their mind is foolish for a lawyer to say: a hundred people a day are convicted in Canada when judges determine what they were thinking.
Under interrogation by the Bloc's Lemay, Freiman backtracks from his earlier comments about reform. He says he doesn't believe any amendments are necessary -- just for the CHRC to be able to dismiss frivolous complaints if it saw fit.
But, as we know, the CHRC already refuses to investigate cases it doesn't find politically suitable. In its 32-year history, for example, there has never been a hate speech complaint pursued against any radical Muslim, radical Sikh or radical Tamil. Freiman's pretend solution already exists: CHRC discretion. But the CHRC abuses its discretion. That's the problem.
Surprise: the sober voice here is that of Richard Moon, who piped up to rebut Freiman.
Brian Murphy read my book, Shakedown. And he read Freiman's review of my book (which I had meant to post, and I'll do so later). And he notes that Freiman in that review acknowledged that the CHRC had flaws needing reform.
He asks Freiman whether or not hate speech laws could stop genocide.
And Freiman answers: no. He's honest enough to know that hate speech laws couldn't stop a Holocaust.
Freiman said something quite sad: he said that the great leaps forward that minorities have made in the past fifty years are at risk, and that censorship laws are what's protecting that.
Does he really have such a low opinion of his fellow Canadians? Does he really think that, were it not for the CHRC, his neighbours would throw him into the ovens?
Perhaps Freiman is using the CHRC as some sort of personal psychological therapy. That's fine -- we've all got our demons, and Freiman likes to point out that he was born in a displaced persons camp in Europe after the Holocaust. The man has issues.
And that's when Burny pipes up: invoking the Holocaust, and showing pictures of swastikas on Jewish headstones. It was a showy, maudlin display -- Burny's specialty. The fact that it was intellectually vacant is par for the course. Vandalism, mischief and trespass are already covered by the Criminal Code. Section 13 doesn't apply to that. But don't bother Burny, he's having another one of his victimology moments.
Freiman claims that section 13 targets only "dangerous speech" and not merely offensive speech. But that is simply not true; a glance at the dozen or so examples that the CHRC prosecuted in the Warman v. Lemire case shows that all but one were found by the Tribunal to be merely "political".
Freiman's arguments are so tired, I feel like I'm watching some 1970s re-run, and I'm not just making fun of his mega-comb-over. He trots out the shouting fire in a burning theatre line; and claims that hate speech -- mere speech! -- was the reason that genocides happened from Rwanda to Cambodia.
It's not true. Mere words cannot kill people. Only violence (and incitement to violence) can. But that requires that other, real human rights -- like the right to be free of violence; the right to self-defence; the right to private property, etc. -- be torn down, first. Hate speech is harmless unless the machinery of violence is there, too. Adolf Hitler could not have prosecuted the Holocaust when he was elected in 1933; it wasn't until he destroyed Jews' real human rights in the Nuremberg Laws and later that Jews were physically vulnerable. But enough about this obsolete philosophical debate.
Bernie "Burny" Farber was appalling. It's not that his views were more condescending than Lynch's, or more false than Moon's. They weren't, particularly. It's that they were falsely made in the name of all Canadian Jews.
That was all Burny actually said: that he was there on behalf of the Jews. Which is simply not true.
He quickly handed the microphone over to Mark Freiman, the new president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Freiman personified the merger between Jews and state censorship: he himself was a CHRC prosecutor on a section 13 case. Disgusting: a Jew for book burning.
I did detect, however, some political fear in the CJC tag-team. Burny has never given such a brief speech in his life -- and it was completely self-congratulatory; he actually didn't speak to section 13. And Freiman, after bowing to his Golden Calf of censorship, then hinted that there were reforms that should be made.
Has someone given Burny a talking to? Has someone put him on a leash, and told Freiman to slowly back away from the CHRC/Warman train wreck?
Before I comment on Richard Moon's testimony, I note that Phillipe Dufresne of the Canadian Human Rights Commission -- famous for this embarrassing appearance on CTV -- didn't say a word. That's about right.
Moon started strong. He re-iterates what he was paid $52,500 to do last year: that section 13, the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. If he were to stop right now, he'd be a hero. I get the feeling, he's soon going to degenerate into moonbat territory, as he did this weekend.
But he continues. And so far, so good: he talks about the costs foisted on the defendants by merely forcing them through a lengthy investigation.
But then Moon drifts into fiction. He says that complainants, too, bear huge burdens. Not true: Richard Warman, the complainant in all but two cases in the past decade, has had his expenses (and even a modest daily honorarium) paid for by the CHRC.
And then Moon indulges himself -- but mercifully briefly. He says that he and the CHRC are good faith debaters, but not me or Mark Steyn. We are "misleading or false". He ends with a whine about "unfair attacks" on the CHRC, but, to his credit, 90% of his remarks were on point. Well done.
Marlene Jennings was up next -- mercifully saving Lynch from questions about Dean Steacy's neo-Nazi work. While Jennings is clearly supportive of the CHRC, she suggested that complaints be taken away from the "general public" and given to the CHRC. Such a trivial point of legal arcana has only one purpose, emanating from the intensely partisan Jennings: that it is an attempt to move the CHRC away from their most embarrassing personality, Richard Warman, who has personally filed all but two section 13 cases in the past decade.
My Internet cut out briefly when Marc Lemay asked his question; of course, it didn't much matter what he asked, because Lynch was just going to press play on her bland message track, no matter what was asked.
She did offer a lie, though: she claimed that the CHRC is obligated to investigate every case that comes to it. That's not true; patently absurd cases can be rejected at first glance. And, of course, the CHRC often rejects cases it finds politically distasteful, such as the case of the radical Muslim imam in Montreal, who called for the murder of gays, uncovered women and moderate Muslims. That was no investigated, contrary to Lynch's lies.
Stephen Woodworth was up last. And he was awesome to behold. I said Menard was my favourite; I might have to review that. He launched into a passionate defence of freedom of speech, and a passionate criticism of the CHRC's procedures. It was great.
Lynch, again, retreated to her brown fog. No specific reply to Woodworth's concerns about the fact that defendants under section 13 never get their costs back.
I'm frustrated by Lynch's answers. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be an MP on the Committee, who had prepared for the meeting, asked a question, expected an answer from Lynch -- a servant of Parliament -- and then be given such an infuriatingly evasive answer.
Lynch probably feels pretty good about herself. She probably feels that she got off the hook, despite some pesky questions from Comartin, Rathgeber and Woodworth -- and some thoughtful fact-finding questions from Menard.
But I don't think she helped herself at all. She left MPs feeling like they were evaded and condescended to; like they were stonewalled. Her slow-motion comments, spoken as to kindergarten children, will do nothing but inflame their curiosity about what really goes on at her gong show.
Brent Rathgeber from St. Albert was up next. He made a very clever point: Lynch had claimed that her staff hadn't sued me for libel because it would cost too much. But that barrier isn't there for anyone to file a complaint through section 13 -- the government sues people for free. And, noted Rathgeber, the defendant has to pay his own fees, even if he wins.
Lynch's answer was classic: no defendant needs to retain lawyers. Of course they don't. It would get in the way of a 100% conviction rate!
Rathgeber asks Lynch, outright, whether or not it was ethical that Lynch's staff hacked into a private citizen's Internet site. Lynch point-blank denied it -- despite the fact that Bell Canada's security officer said they did.
Lynch admitted that a CHRC investigator, Dean Steacy, did use a neo-Nazi membership to exchange e-mails, but that "the exchanges are very bland".
Really? You can see those exchanges here.
So, according to Lynch, praising a white supremacist group; encouraging a white supremacit group to continue their efforts; and offering to help the white supremacist group -- that's bland? That's ethical?
If I were an MP on Parliament's Justice Committee, I would be deeply insulted by Jennifer Lynch's testimony. The bulk of it was about matters other than section 13; her comments on section 13 were self-serving cliches. And she said it all in an extremely condescending manner.
Brian Murphy, the Liberal MP, asked a thoughtful question to Lynch, about whether there are better ways to tackle "hate" in Canada. Instead of answering him, she simply re-read her bland pap from her opening statement -- but dragged it out to use up all of his time. Surely Murphy is sharp enough to see that stonewalling as a disrespectful rebuff, rather than a thoughtful reply.
Serge Menard of the Bloc Quebecois, frankly, is my favourite member of this committee, at least in terms of his surgical approach to questions and answers. I do not know where he stands on freedom of speech, nor where he will end up. But his questions -- both for Steyn and me earlier this month, and to Lynch today -- actually move the debate forward. Watching Lynch try to evade him was hilarious and embarrassing at the same time, circling back to her bland cliches, saying nothing, as slowly as possible, all with that rictus grin of hers. I doubt that Menard was impressed.
Lynch did, surely by accident, give Menard a clear answer on one point. She admitted that Richard Moon, her hand-picked, handsomely paid consultant, recommended that the definition of "hate" be limited to hate that incites violence. Hard to disagree with that -- it's already in the Criminal Code.
Joe Comartin was up next. He put a crystal clear question to Lynch: had she done an investigation or analysis into my accusations against Dean Steacy or Richard Warman?
Lynch's reply: she went back to re-reading her opening statement. How embarrassing.
After eating up a couple of minutes of Comartin's time, Lynch finally just called my and Steyn's accusations "misinformation". She claims that she had personally "looked into the matter", and reassured Comartin that he can have "pride" in their conduct.
Comartin interrupted her evasion, and asked again: "did you conduct a detailed investigation into those allegations?" Lynch says she has -- and that there has been no "breach of any law or ethic". Really? I look forward to seeing the result of those detailed investigations. I haven't filed an access to information request in a while -- this one sounds ripe. What are the odds that Lynch just made up that internal "detailed investigation"?
Lynch says that the RCMP has closed their files -- really? That's not what the police report says.
I'll post this blog entry now, and continue with a new one for the next questioner.
The Globe and Mail was kind enough to ask me to review Jytte Klausen's book, "The Cartoons that Shook the World". It was an informative book, but laced with the author's own dhimmitude. The fact that Klausen's publisher, Yale University Press, pre-emptively decided not to reprint the cartoons in a book about the cartoons, shows that her submissiveness is becoming the norm in Western liberal academia, not the exception.
You can read my review here. Here is an excerpt:
[Former Danish Prime Minister] Fogh Rasmussen is the villain of Klausen's book, because he didn't submit sufficiently to the Muslim diplomats. He “showed little interest in maintaining Denmark's international reputation as both a liberal-minded member of international organizations and a fair and reliable business partner.” Got it? To Klausen, “liberal” no longer means standing up for Danish civil rights such as freedom of speech and secular pluralism; it means submitting to foreign bullies and domestic provocateurs. And blaming Fogh Rasmussen – not the Muslim boycott of Danish exports – for business disruptions is awfully creative.
And then there is pure fiction. “The Rushdie Affair is widely regretted among Muslim leaders in Europe and in the Islamic nations,” she writes. Really? That “affair” began with Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa , which continues to this day – as does Rushdie's need for security. Has Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad renounced that death sentence?
Or these: “No widely influential religious authority issued edicts … calling for punishment of the editors and the cartoonists”; “Islamic clerical authorities … sometimes used language they later regretted, but they, too, wanted peaceful protests”; and “Muslim diplomats and governments sought to contain the anti-Western clerics and parties.”
Each of these assertions is actually disproved elsewhere in Klausen's book: Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood, ordered Muslims to “rage, and show our rage to the world”; al-Qaeda bombed the Danish embassy in Pakistan; Muslim governments from Syria to Iran organized street riots. Klausen projects her own politically correct narrative onto Islamic fascists who were quite clear about their real motivations.
Notwithstanding all this, The Cartoons That Shook the World is an informative read. But you won't find the actual cartoons in it. There's a cartoon mocking George W. Bush; there's a death threat against the cartoonists. But Yale University Press refused to publish Klausen's book as she submitted it – with the 12 Danish cartoons. Yale ordered her to remove the cartoons, citing unnamed “experts” who claimed the book “ran a serious risk of instigating violence.” Several American newspapers, like The Philadelphia Inquirer, published the cartoons without incident. Yale has had no actual threats, but it pre-emptively surrendered. If Klausen wanted to live up to Yale's motto – “light and truth” – she would have done what the entire editorial staff of the New York Press did in 2006 when their publisher vetoed their reprinting of the cartoons: They resigned en masse.
Given Klausen's burning derision for Fogh Rasmussen's decision to stand for freedom, it's no surprise she collapsed immediately herself, academic integrity be damned. Her surrender – and Yale's – is not a detail but a central part of the story, for it is exactly the outcome desired by the Danish imams, the Saudi diplomats and their chorus of rioters.
That's not quite J.K. Rowlings money or Dan Brown money, but it's probably more than Margaret Atwood makes.
Moon is one of the CHRC's only defenders in Canada, along with Pearl "hatermongererer" Eliadis and, well, that's about it. I find it remarkable that, in a country of thousands of professors and tens of thousands of lawyers, the only people who will defend the CHRC and its censorship are those who are paid big bucks to do so, like Moon, or those who have worked for the industry directly, like Eliadis, or those who are clients of it, like Bernie "Burny" Farber. Economists call these kind of people "rent-seekers". Ayn Rand called them "looters and moochers". I just call them human rights violators, since they all support a law that is unconstitutional and illiberal.
I see on the National Post's website that Moon is still dining out on his defence of the CHRC, this time in the form of a speech to the University of Saskatchewan. It should be noted, of course, that Moon agrees with me that section 13, the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, should be abolished. And here's where his Saskatoon speech (and, indeed everything he's uttered publicly since issuing his brochure) gets weird. In the past year, instead of elaborating on his belief that section 13 should be abolished, he has spent his energies in a feeble attempt to defend the CHRC, and to attempt to discredit my own criticisms of them.
It's a little odd, don't you think? For a sixty-something professor in the sunset of his career to spend so much energy taking on a thirty-something blogger is a little bit unseemly. But Moon blew through unseemly long ago, when he took $52,500 from the CHRC to write a brochure for them -- and agreed, in his contract, to let them see his work in progress, and revise it. That kind of conflict of interest would get him hauled before the University of Windsor's Ethic Board if he tried that stunt there.
I see that Moon, along with Burny, the new Canadian Jewish Congress president Mark Freiman (himself a former section 13 prosecutor) and Lynch and her deputy Philip Dufresne are scheduled to testify before the Justice Committee on Monday. If it's televised, I'll try to watch it and give you my thoughts.
But right now, I think it's safe to say that Moon's presentation will be along the lines of his Saskatoon speech. Which is why I think I ought to do a fact check on him right now, before he repeats the falsehoods therein to Parliament.
Falsehood: Moon claims the CHRC does not have a 100% conviction rate for censorship prosecutions. He weasels around this point a bit, but that's what he means.
Fact: Until the Warman v. Lemire case last month, no-one had beat a prosecution. You can see the list of all prosecutions here. You can read all of the judgments here. Let me save you some time: until Marc Lemire, nobody was ever acquitted. Moon counters by saying that people who weren't prosecuted weren't convicted. Is that some zen thing?
Falsehood: Moon claims that the convictions listed above are not really "convictions", because the censorship charge is not criminal in nature.
Fact: This is Moon trying to play word games, but he's wrong anyways. The reason why section 13 was declared unconstitutional last month in the Warman v. Lemire case was precisely because section 13 had become like a criminal charge. Moon's probably too busy rolling around in Lynch's hundred dollar bills to have read the ruling in that case, so let me point him to the money quote in paragraph 279 (there are other relevant paragraphs, too):
...when assessed against the characteristics of the penalty provisions enumerated in these decisions, it is evident that s. 13(1) has become more penal in nature.
Falsehood: Moon claims that "there is no evidence whatsoever" that CHRC staffer Dean Steacy made bigoted comments on neo-Nazi websites.
Fact: On page 5735 of this transcript, you can see Steacy's admission that he's a neo-Nazi member. And here is an example of the kind of thing that Steacy wrote using those neo-Nazi memberships. He praised white supremacists; gave them encouragement and even offered to help them.
Falsehood: Moon claims that Richard Warman, the serial complainant-of-fortune in almost all section 13 cases, didn't work on censorship investigations.
Fact: Oh yes he did. In fact, he even trained others in how to do it, like censorship investigator Hannya Rizk. See page 4438 and a half dozen other similar passages in this transcript:
Ms Kulaszka: ...who gave you that training?
Ms. Rizk: The training was given to me by Richard Warman.
Just to be clear, Warman's censorship investigation training for Rizk was training her on how to prosecute Marc Lemire -- the target in one of Warman's own censorship complaints. Warman was not just working on censorship complaints. He was training others on how to handle his own censorship complaints. At page 4512, Rizk admits that, in fact, other than Warman, no-one trained her on how to do censorship work.
There are so many gems in Rizk's testimony -- probably because she had by then left the rotting CHRC carcass, and was able to speak freely without fear of reprisals from Lynch and her mob. It really is a fascinating case study in corruption -- and Rizk was clearly embarrassed that she had gone along with it. I've written a whole blog post about it, here.
Falsehood: Moon claims that Richard Warman's neo-Nazi comments were all published by him after he left the CHRC in March of 2004. Moon specifically says that Warman's comments that Jews are "scum", gays are a "cancer" and white police should be loyal to "their race" were made after he left the CHRC.
Fact: In his major interview with Warman, Charlie Gillis of Maclean's revealed that Warman was not laid off until July of 2004. And while Warman is no longer officially an employee, he has continued to have all of his expenses paid for by the CHRC, and even a modest honorarium -- the only citizen in Canada who is paid by the CHRC to file complaints. Even worse, he continued to have access to confidential CHRC files -- including his own complaints -- and, as the Rizk testimony shows, managed to corrupt that investigation.
Warman's Jews are "scum" comment was made in his final month at work (scroll down to page three); his white police should be loyal to "their race" comment was made a month before he left (scroll down to page 4). You can see the dates of those comments in the left side of the screen. His gays are a cancer comment was made in March of 2005 (scroll down to page 4), after he left, but using a neo-Nazi membership account he created while at the CHRC in September 2003. It was this last comment that caught the eye of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal this March, who ruled Warman's behaviour "disturbing and disappointing".
The fact is, Warman wrote literally hundreds of anti-Semitic rants, both while he worked at the CHRC, and after. Often he just quoted other Nazi comments favourably. Sometime he added his own bon mots. Like a gem he wrote in May of 2004, two months before he left the CHRC, praising Canadian Nazi Adrien Arcand (scroll down to page 2). Is this really the best defence Moon has for the CHRC -- admitting that Warman is a serial bigot online, but that "most" of that was done after he no longer had a permanent office at the CHRC? And what of the CHRC's remaining staff and managers, who knew of his continued neo-Nazi activities, yet continued to pay him and to prosecute his cases for him, using CHRC lawyers, for five years after he left the CHRC?
Falsehood: Moon claims that my citations of Warman's anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-gay comments are "taken out of context" by me.
Fact: Wow. Is there a context where calling a Jew "scum" is acceptable? The subject line of Warman's post is "Re: Irwin Cotier (Jewish) as Minister of Justice in Canada". Warman is referring to Irwin Cotler, of course. His comment started by repeating a lengthy anti-Semitic rant about Cotler written by someone else, and then adding this, himself: "We still have scum in government but we have to wait and see which scum goes where."
What context am I missing here? What context did the Tribunal miss when they condemned that comment in March? Perhaps when Moon is in Parliament on Monday, he can explain to Mr. Cotler in person the context in which he is appropriately called Jewish "scum". Maybe he can tell Burny, too. They can all have a good laugh together.
Falsehood: Moon says my charges of "corruption" are unfounded.
Fact: Tell that to the Carleton Place Municipal Police force, who fired their first-ever female cop, Sandy Kozak, and charged her with corruption. She made a plea bargain with them and left the force... to be hired by the CHRC. Too corrupt for the real cops, just right for the CHRC.
And then there's the Internet hacking scandal, in which the RCMP's months-long criminal investigation lists the CHRC as their only suspect, and calls the case "unsolved".
Nutty: Let me add one final point. It's not a case of falsehoods vs. facts; it's just a measure of how skewed Moon's judgment is. He actually defends the crazy case of the McDonald's employee who won the human right not to have to wash her hands -- plus $50,000 tax-free for her troubles. You can read my take on that case here.
Moon quotes the Tribunal ruling favourably, when they said: "I am at a loss to understand why McDonald's did not take more steps to try to accommodate [her]". Hilarious: from January 21, 2002 until November 8, 2004, McDonald's kept paying this woman, even though she stopped working (except for a few very brief "attempts" to wash her hands again). They sent her to every doctor imaginable (except a psychiatrist).
Are you with me, still? Here's a burger-flipper who refused to wash her hands. McDonald's said there was no job in the restaurant -- not even the manager -- that didn't require hand-washing. For nearly three full years they paid her to do nothing. A better woman would have found a new job; but why would she do that, if McDonald's would give her a three-year paid vacation? In the end, they let her go. But Moon says they didn't accommodate her.
My favourite line from the Tribunal ruling is this one, at paragraph 240: "...there was no evidence about the relationship between food contamination and hand-washing frequency." That's not just dumb, that's gross. But it's good law, according to Moon.
Richard Moon is a middling professor at a low-profile law school. He hit the jackpot with his $52,500 brochure, and he was embarrassed that I publicized that dollar amount. Well, he should be.
But in his anger at me for embarrassing him, he has become a clown. I mean, seriously: was his Saskatchewan speech really appropriate for the occasion? A blog post, maybe; a debate panel, sure. But, invited to talk about human rights commissions, he spends a half hour ranting about me and Mark Steyn, and nitpicking my blog entries (and not accurately). Is that really what he wants to do in the winter of his life? How sad. But his falsehoods in defence of the CHRC are becoming even more embarrassing than his stratospheric invoices to the taxpayer. He's making it worse. Just reading his speech sounds like he's screaming.
On Monday, at his appearance before Parliament's Justice Committee, let's see if he repeats the lies in his speech -- especially about Steacy never having written anything bigoted, or Warman never having written anything bigoted while at the CHRC, or Warman never having worked on censorship files. I know he reads this blog obsessively, so he'll now know that his facts are wrong.
Do you think he'll lie to Parliament?
We'll find out on Monday.
I learn via Mark Steyn's website that the transcript of our testimony before Parliament's Justice Committee is now online. You can read the whole thing here. I've already posted videos of the hearing, which you can see here, but it's useful to read the transcript too. (I'm delighted that the YouTube clips have each been viewed up to 10,000 times.)
I had a good meeting tonight at the Beth Israel/Beth Aaron synagogue. After my speech and the Q&A, I stuck around for almost an hour with a dozen of the most engaged attendees. They're genuinely concerned about Montreal reaching a critical mass in terms of Islamic radicalism.
Tomorrow I'm speaking at a Fraser Institute reception and dinner, for which there still might be a few tickets left. Details here.
Finally, for those who missed my blog update yesterday, I regret to report that I must cancel my visit to Washington next week, which I do with a heavy heart.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission and its megalomanaic chief commissioner, Jennifer Lynch, have disgraced Canada on the international stage.
According to the annual report by Reporters sans Frontieres (that's French for Reporters without Borders) Canada has plunged from 13th place to 19th place in the world, in terms of press freedom. Here's a CP wire story on the subject.
Chris Waddell, a journalism professor quoted in that story, attributes part of that plunge to the increasing bullying of reporters by Canada's human rights commissions -- and Lynch's CHRC is mentioned in particular.
You can see the full list of rankings here.
My fellow Canadians, would you ever have believed that Canada's press freedom would rank lower than, say, the former Soviet Republics of Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania? We have an 800-year tradition of freedom; they just emerged from the shadow of Communism twenty years ago. And we are less free than them.
I also note that several of the fascist Axis countries of the Second World War -- Germany, Austria and Japan -- are ranked freer than us, too.
That's sickening. Waddell blames Lynch's CHRC. Reading the questionnaire that reporters fill out, that RSF uses for their rankings, shows he's right.
You can see that questionnaire here. Thankfully, many of the more awful questions are not applicable to Canada -- such as violence towards journalists. But the following questions, taken directly from the questionnaire, are all answered negatively because of the CHRC's abuses:
INDIRECT THREATS, PRESSURES AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION
During this period, were there cases of (Yes/No):
7. Surveillance of journalists by the state (were journalists’ phones tapped, were they
8. Journalists employed by privately-owned media being forced to stop working because
of threats or political pressure?
9. Serious difficulty accessing public or official information (such as refusal by officials
to provide information, information being provided selectively, according to the
media’s editorial position)?
CENSORSHIP AND SELF-CENSORSHIP
12. How many news media were censored, had issues seized, had their premises
ransacked or had their operating licence withdrawn by the state?
During this period, was there (Yes/No):
14. Widespread self-censorship in the privately-owned media? Give a score from 0 (none)
to 5 (strong self-censorship).
15. Important news that was suppressed or not covered because of political or business
pressure? Give examples.
ECONOMIC, LEGAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PRESSURE
During this period, was there or were there (Yes/No):
23. Unjustified or improper use of fines, summonses or legal action against journalists or
INTERNET AND NEW MEDIA
During this period, was there or were there (Yes/No):
30. Cases of access to news, cultural or political websites being blocked by filtering
mechanisms or being closed down by the authorities?
31. Cases of cyber-dissidents or bloggers being detained for more than a day? How many?
In case you need a reminder, here are the facts that apply to each question number:
7. Jennifer Lynch maintains an enemies list of her critics. And CHRC staff, such as neo-Nazi member Dean Steacy, covertly monitor sites of critical journalists.
8. Had Mark Steyn and Maclean's lost their cases, Steyn's oeuvre would have been permanently banned in Canada.
9. Lynch regularly breaks Canada's access to information laws, by falsely and illegally refusing to comply with basic requests, such as to disclose her expenses.
12. Human rights commissions have the power to search and seize documents (including computer hard drives) from premises, including media companies, without a search warrant. It was under that threat that I personally felt compelled to attend a government interrogation.
14. This is obvious: the near-unanimous self-censorship of Canadian newspapers and TV stations in the face of the cartoon fatwa was as much out of fear of human rights-style hassles (like the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted shakedown of Maclean's) as it was out of fear of violence.
15. See 14 above when it comes to radical Islam.
23. HRCs are a form of "lawfare" -- note that the CIC filed three identical complaints against Maclean's and Steyn in three jurisdictions, in a punitive abuse of the system. I myself have been subject to not only three human rights complaints, but four defamation suits (and another defamation threat by the CIC itself), and over 20 complaints to the law society (all of which have been dismissed).
30. The chief tool of Lynch and her mob, aside from the punishment of her abusive processes, is a lifetime ban on publications.
31. The very first Canadian to be hit with a cease and desist order under section 13 (back before the Internet, when it only applied to telephone answering machines) refused to comply, and was thus served nine months in jail. Seriously: for not unplugging his rude answering machine message, he served more time in jail than most Canadian rapists do.
Given that there are only 40 questions on the whole list, and Canada regularly breaches nine of them, I'm surprised that our rank has only fallen to 19th place.
Jennifer Lynch is an international disgrace. She and her illiberal band of censors are hurting our national reputation as a free country. She rather likes it that way, I'm sure -- she regularly confers with her counterparts in various third world human rights commissions. I'm sure she'd like to meet them half-way. (See here for her jubilant exchange with the thugs from Cameroon's human rights commission -- ranked 109th in press freedom.)
Of course, I really don't give a damn about international opinion of Canada. I don't care if some French NGO hates us or loves us. What I care about is my God-given freedom as a Canadian, and that Lynch has illegally taken it away. The fact that it takes a liberal French NGO to notice is merely adding insult to injury.
Now that the exquisitely politically correct progressives at RSF have condemned Lynch, is it too much to ask that our own Parliament actually do something about her?
Fire. Them. All.
P.S. I know the PMO staffer who selected Lynch; and I know the Conservative lobbyist who recommended her. Both are sheepish about their decision; I'm sure both regret it, and if they knew then what they know now, they'd never have greenlit this little fascist. What's so funny, though, is that both of these men tell me that Lynch lusted for the job precisely for the foreign junketeering -- she wanted to schmooze with human rights bureaucrats dictatorships around the world.
I'm sure my friends thought what she had in mind -- besides spending six figures a year in first-class travel -- was that Lynch's incessant conferences would bring godforsaken countries like Cameroon up a few notches in freedom. I don't think they ever thought it would mean Canada would be dragged down to their level.
They didn't know when they appointed her, but they know now. But so far, the government hasn't acted at the behest of the unanimous shaming of Lynch from Canadian commentators. It's probably too much to hope that they'd pay any more attention to foreigh critics of Lynch, either.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Unfortunately, I have to cancel my appearance at this conference. I highly recommend your own attendance, though -- it has a stellar line-up of speakers, and I know some great Canadians will be there, too. I will still attend my other fall events, including those in Montreal tomorrow and Thursday.
I'm honoured to have been invited to speak at the "International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech and Religion" later this month in Washington, D.C. The conference, details of which can be seen here, is co-sponsored by an array of amazing pro-liberty groups.
(In a sane world, this is the kind of conference that a "human rights commission" bureaucrat would attend; instead, Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the Canadian Human Rights Commission jets around the world to meetings with Potemkin human rights fronts for Third World dictators, where they actually plot ways to infringe upon our liberties. How embarrassing for Canada.)
I'm looking forward to telling Canada's story down there. It's actually my second visit to Washington on this matter; the first time I testified before the bi-partisan Congressional human rights caucus. Though this is not an official government event, it will still be held at the Congressional Auditorium, which is quite prestigious.
All of the speakers look interesting, but some of them have me especially excited: Sen. Jim Demint is one of my favourites; Frank Gaffney is indispensable; one of my favourite bloggers, Atlas Shrugs (Pamela Geller) will be there; Brooke Goldstein of the Children's Rights Institute (formerly of the Middle East Forum) and my fellow Canadian, the former CSIS counterterrorism agent, David Harris.
If by chance you're in the D.C. area, please come by. There is no fee (but registration is required).
And if you're in Montreal, I hope to see you later this week!
I've criss-crossed Canada on my free speech tour, but I've not yet been to Montreal. That changes this month, with a visit to the Beth Israel/Beth Aaron synagogue on Wednesday night, Oct. 21 (I'll post a link when I find one!) and a reception and dinner hosted by the Fraser Institute, on Oct. 22 at Café Ferreira, which I hear is excellent.
I am advised that there are still a few tickets left for the Fraser Institute event, so it's not too late to sign up. There are two kinds of tickets: the first are for a rollicking reception; the second are for the reception and a more intimate dinner afterwards. You can register right online, here.
See you in Montreal!
I enjoyed my day in Ottawa yesterday. Lunch at the Parliamentary Dining Room is always a treat -- and a good way to bump into plenty of MPs and Senators. I dined with a handful of free speechnik staffers, which was fun.
I stopped by Question Period, which is always entertaining. (It's also very relaxing, since they take your BlackBerry away from you when you sit in the gallery. That always makes me feel like I'm on vacation!) Seriously, though, QP put me in a great mood because Brent Rathgeber, the MP from St. Albert, made a great statement about section 13, censorship and freedom. You can read that one-minute statement here.
That put a spring in my step as I headed down to the Railway Committee Room, a grand room right in the heart of Parliament's Centre Block. I was 45 minutes early, so I had a good chance to kibitz with friends as they trickled in, including great freedom bloggers like Roy Eappen.
I was pleased with the media turn-out for the event -- almost ten reporters in the room, and more who were watching the proceedings on TV.
I drafted my opening remarks (pasted below in English and French!) strategically: I spent almost no time focusing on the philosophical objections to a censorship law, and almost all my time on the corruption and abuse at the Canadian Human Rights Commission. My thinking was that, in ten minutes of opening remarks, it would be extremely unlikely that I would "convert" anyone from supporting censorship to supporting free speech (although Athanasios Hadjis's conversion shows that it is possible; but that took two years). Rather, if I focused on the corruption, abuse and criminality of the CHRC, that would be something that even those who support censorship in principle would be shocked by. Whether you're Conservative, Liberal, Bloc or NDP, you probably agree it's inappropriate for a government agency to be a den of neo-Nazi membership, Internet hacking, hiring of corrupt ex-cops, stealing police evidence, etc.
Frankly, I didn't want to simply go through the same old motions in the free speech vs. censorship debate -- I wanted to forcefully introduce radioactive facts into the discussion, and talk about that.
As it turns out, that same-old debate didn't happen.
Brian Murphy, the Liberal MP who went first, actually introduced himself before the meeting and told me he had read my book! (I was thrilled -- and I regret that I didn't connect with him to sign it!) I thought that his questions were fair -- I wouldn't call them supportive, but I wouldn't call them hostile -- and it was clear that he was genuinely concerned about the corruption allegations I made verbally and in my book. He wondered aloud if my book was the subject of defamation litigation; it actually is not -- not a single person has sued me or my publisher for anything in the book. (I mention that, because the facts are rock-solid. Even nuisance litigator Richard Warman has -- shockingly -- not sued for anything in the book. I must be losing my touch.)
Joe Comartin, the NDP MP, was not as well-briefed as Murphy was, and he was candid enough to admit it. I sensed in him a genuine concern about the scandalous report I made. He asked me for documentation (which I will send him and the whole committee this week), and asked if I would return, presumably once he had time to digest everything. I found that very encouraging: I managed to get his attention, which is half the battle in Ottawa. Comartin made some traditional arguments about censorship laws stopping violence; I think they're shopworn and weak arguments, and they're not sustained by history, and I tried to point that out. But even if Comartin and I disagree on the principle of censorship -- and I still hold out hope that I can persuade him of its folly, even on the practical level of trying to censor ideas in the era of the Internet -- I think that I can appeal to his sense of fairness and justice by showing him just how corrupt the CHRC is.
I really appreciated the thoughtful questions by Serge Menard of the Bloc Quebecois. It was clear that he and his colleague, Marc Lemay, were new to this file. That makes sense: the massive debate on this subject in Canada has been almost completely in the English language press. (I'd have to check to be sure, but I don't think that in the 32 year history of section 13, anyone from Quebec has been either a complainant or a victim.) It just isn't on the radar screen in French Quebec. But I sensed in them a genuine interest and curiosity, and I think that they took advantage of their questions to brief themselves quite quickly. I didn't sense the same philosophical opposition in Menard as I did in Comartin. But, like Comartin, Menard clearly cares about the administration of justice not being thrown into disrepute.
Ujjal Dosanjh was an interesting case. The Liberal MP from Vancouver -- a former NDP member and in fact a former Communist -- seemed to be the most defensive about section 13 in the room. That said, he told reporters afterwards that he was very much in favour of reform -- he just hadn't made up his mind about what kind of reforms he wants! Fair enough. I found him very bright and engaging, and despite his clearly partisan approach, I think he is intellectually honest on this file.
He pressed me about the criminal conviction of Jim Keegstra, the anti-Semitic teacher. I answered honestly: I don't think that Keegstra is a criminal, just a foolish man who ought to have been fired for teaching lies and propaganda in a classroom. Dosanjh grabbed this answer as some sort of political "win" -- proof of the radicalism of my ideas. After all, I didn't think Keegstra was a criminal!
That's true; but I think Dosanjh's desired effect was lost because I happen to be Jewish, and so the implication that I might not care about anti-Semitism just doesn't stick. More to the point, the committee is studying section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, not the criminal code. I would expect that any recommendations from the committee would deal only with the CHRA, and not the Criminal Code, so in that context, I'm not pressing for him to repeal the criminal provision, too, though that is my personal opinion. Politics is the art of the possible; as a pundit, blogger and author I can call for the repeal of both; but as someone who is actually trying to accomplish legal reform, repealing section 13 and having the CHRC's culture of corruption flushed out are what I'm aiming for. I'm happy to let Dosanjh call me "radical" for wanting to repeal the Criminal Code provision, precisely because that makes merely repealing section 13 "moderate" and "reasonable" by comparison. I didn't mind our debate at all.
The Conservative MPs were more reserved, because I think they generally agreed with Mark Steyn and me. I think they are still a little bit cautious about coming out forcefully for reform, because they are worried how it might play politically. But I think that they must have left that committee hearing feeling the same way I did: that the Bloc wasn't alive to the debate, but not committed to preserving section 13; there are elements within the Liberals and NDP who are ideologically resistant to repealing it, but not completely closed to the question; and that the corruption, abuse and criminality at the CHRC is something that every party is repulsed by. Perhaps that's the winning formula in this minority Parliament.
That said, let's also acknowledge that there is a strong libertarian element in the Liberal Party (and perhaps the others) that was not necessarily represented in that committee. Remember, it was Liberal Keith Martin who first put the private member's motion to repeal section 13; and other Liberals (like Sen. Grafstein) have been excellent on the file. And, as Steyn pointed out in his remarks, Michael Ignatieff himself has written and spoken strongly about freedom of speech.
I won't go on any longer right now. I found all of the questions to have been put in good faith; I found all of the MPs to be receptive to my concerns about the corruption, abuse and criminality at the CHRC; and I was grateful to the MPs who expressed a desire to learn more. Finally, even the more feisty MPs in the opposition telegraphed their openness to reforms -- even Dosanjh himself.
I have never been more optimistic.
P.S. Here is the text of my opening remarks as written, in English and then in French. (I ad libbed a bit in my actual delivery). I'll link to the actual Hansard transcript when it's up:
Last month, section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the censorship provision, was declared unconstitutional. Athanasios Hadjis, the vice-chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, ruled that section violated the Charter. He said the Canadian Human Rights Commission had become a bully, calling it, quote, “aggressive” and “confrontational”.
And in March, Edward Lustig, another tribunal member, ruled that the commission’s conduct was quote, “disturbing and disappointing”. He said he would follow Mr. Hadjis’s lead on the question of its constitutionality.
Mr. Hadjis is a past president of a large multicultural organization in Montreal and was appointed by Prime Minister Chretien. Mr. Lustig was appointed by Prime Minister Harper.
So that’s the state of affairs today: Conservative and Liberal members of the tribunal agree: the commission is out of control. The tribunal will not enforce the illegal law. They’ve concluded that the commission is abusing our human rights, like freedom of speech.
So how did things go off the rails?
To understand what the commission does, we have to understand what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t help minorities. It doesn’t help immigrants, or gays. In fact, all but two of the commission’s censorship prosecutions in the past decade have been launched by the same individual, a privileged white male lawyer here in Ottawa, named Richard Warman. He was actually a commission employee, and he started filing censorship complaints while he worked there – and his co-workers would investigate his complaints. Needless to say, he won them all – and was awarded tens of thousands of dollars, tax free.
When Mr. Warman left the commission five years ago and went to work for the Department of National Defence, he continued to file complaints. Even though he no longer works at the commission, they still pay his expenses – travel, hotels, parking, meals, even an honorarium. The commission doesn’t pay anyone else in Canada to file complaints. Section 13 really is Richard Warman’s personal law. Without him, there would be no prosecutions.
That in itself raises issues like conflict of interest and abuse of office and malicious prosecution. But that’s not why Mr. Hadjis or Mr. Lustig rejected section 13. Like I mentioned, they called the commission, quote “disturbing, disappointing, aggressive and confrontational”.
I’ll give you examples of that conduct now. I think it will shock you. I myself couldn’t believe it at first. So I would be happy to provide documentary evidence for what I’m about to say – almost all of it comes from sworn testimony of commission staff themselves. Here goes:
Mr. Warman does something I don’t think Canadians expect a government employee to do. For nearly ten years, he’s been a member of a neo-Nazi group called Stormfront. And another neo-Nazi group called Vanguard. And another called the Canadian Heritage Alliance. He actually fills out membership forms. And then he goes online to their websites, and writes bigoted, hateful things. Like that gays are a “cancer” on society. Or white police should be loyal to “their race”. Or that Jews like Irwin Cotler are, quote, “scum”. Seriously: he did this as a commission employee.
He wrote hundreds of bigoted messages like that.
And he convinced other commission staff to do the same thing. At least seven staff have membership privileges in Nazi organizations. Last year, investigator Dean Steacy admitted under oath he was one of them, and he fingered his two assistants and Sandy Kozak and Giacomo Vigna; and their manager John Chamberlin, too.
Several years ago, Mr. Warman, Mr. Vigna and Mr. Steacy sat down at a computer together, and logged into a neo-Nazi website, using their membership. But to cover their tracks, they hacked into wireless Internet account of a private citizen named Nelly Hechme, so they couldn’t be traced back to the commission.
Bell Canada’s security officer testified to this fact, and the RCMP investigated it for months. The status of the investigation is officially “unsolved”, but the commission remains the only suspect.
I could go on: I could mention the lack of a written ethics code; that Ms. Kozak was hired after she was drummed out of a police force for corruption; that the commission illegally “borrows” material from police evidence lockers, without a warrant; that Mr. Steacy boasts this kind of behavior doesn’t break any rules, because there are no rules. And instead of cleaning up this mess, the chief of the commission, Jennifer Lynch, defends it – and attacks anyone who criticizes it.
Section 13 was thrown out not just because censorship is un-Canadian, and a violation of the Charter. It was thrown out because the commission itself has become a threat to our human rights, and both Liberal and Conservative tribunal members refuse to let that go on one minute longer. I hope this committee will be united in their revulsion to what I’ve just reported, too.
Le mois dernier, l’article 13 de la Loi canadienne sur les droits de la personne, la clause de censure, a été déclaré inconstitutionnel. Athanasios Hadjis, membre instructeur du Tribunal canadien des droits de la personne, a décidé que cet article enfreint la Charte. Il a jugé que la Commission canadienne des droits de la personne est devenue tyrannique, il l’a traité d’ « agressive » et « militante ».
Et au mois de mars, Edward Lustig, un autre membre du Tribunal, a décidé que le comportement de la Commission était « troublant et décevant ». Il a dit qu’il suivrait M. Hadjis sur la question de sa constitutionnalité.
M. Hadjis est un ancien président d’une importante organisation multiculturelle à Montréal et a été nommé par le Premier ministre Chrétien. M. Lustig a été nommé par le Premier ministre Harper.
Voilà l'état des choses aujourd’hui : des membres Conservateurs et Libéraux du Tribunal sont d’accord : la Commission est hors contrôle. Le Tribunal n’appliquera pas cette loi illégale. Ils ont jugé que la Commission viole nos droits de la personne, comme celui de la liberté d'expression.
Mais comment cela se fait-il qu'on en soit arrivé là ?
Afin de comprendre ce que fait la Commission, on doit d’abord comprendre ce qu’elle ne fait pas. Elle n’aide pas les minorités. Elle n’aide pas les immigrants, ou les homosexuels. En fait, hormis deux cas, toutes les poursuites-bâillons au cours de la dernière décennie ont été intentées par un seul et même individu, un avocat blanc et privilégié dénommé Richard Warman. En réalité, il était encore un employé de la Commission quand il a commencé à déposer des plaintes – et ses collègues enquêtaient sur ces mêmes plaintes. Il va sans dire qu’il les a toutes gagnées – tout en se faisant décerner des dizaines de milliers de dollars, un revenu non imposable.
Quand M. Warman a quitté la Commission il y a de cela cinq ans pour entreprendre un nouveau poste au Ministère de la Défense nationale, il a continué à déposer des plaintes. Bien qu’il ne travaille plus à la Commission, cette dernière paie encore ses dépenses – voyages, hôtels, stationnements, repas et même des honoraires. Richard Warman est la seule personne au Canada qui est ainsi rémunérée par la Commission pour déposer des plaintes. L’article 13 est en réalité une loi personnelle de cet individu. Sans lui il n’y aurait pas de poursuites.
Ceci en soi soulève des questions de conflit d’intérêts, d’abus de position et de poursuites malicieuses. Mais ce n’est pas pour cela que M. Hadjis ou M. Lustig ont rejeté l’article 13. Comme déjà mentionné, ils ont qualifié la Commission de « troublante, décevante, agressive et militante ».
À présent, je vais vous donner des exemples de cette conduite. Je pense qu’elle va vous choquer. Moi-même j’avais peine à y croire au début. Donc, je serais heureux d’apporter des preuves documentaires à l’appui de ce que j’avance – presque tout nous parvient des témoignages du personnel de la Commission donnés sous serment. En voici ces quelques exemples :
M. Warman fait quelque chose dont les canadiens ne s’attendent pas de la part des employés à la solde du gouvernement fédéral. Depuis environ dix ans, il est membre d’organisations néo-Nazis telles que Stormfront, Vanguard et Canadian Heritage Alliance. En réalité, il rempli des formulaires d’adhésions. Ensuite il va sur leurs sites Web avec l’intention de rédiger des messages racistes et haineux. Tels que, les homosexuels sont un « cancer » pour la société. Les agents de police devraient être loyaux envers « leur race ». Ou encore que les juifs comme Irwin Cotler sont les « rebuts » de la société. Sérieusement, il a dit tout cela en étant un employé de la Commission.
Il a ainsi rédigé des centaines et des centaines de messages haineux et racistes.
Et il a convaincu d’autres employés de la Commission d’en faire autant. Au moins sept employés de la Commission sont membres en bonne et due forme d’organisations néo-Nazis. L’an dernier, l’enquêteur Dean Steacy a admis sous serment qu’il était membre d’organisations néo-Nazis et il a du même coup pointé du doigt deux adjoints et Sandy Kozak et Giacomo Vigna; et aussi leur gestionnaire, John Chamberlain.
Il y a quelques années, M. Warman, M. Vigna et M. Steacy se sont assis ensemble devant un ordinateur de la Commission dans le but de se connecter en leur qualité de membres à un site Web néo-Nazi. Mais afin de couvrir leurs traces, ils ont piraté un compte de réseau sans fil d’une citoyenne ordinaire dénommée Nelly Hechme, parce qu’ils avaient peur d’être retracés et découverts.
Un agent de sécurité de Bell Canada a temoigné à cet effet et la GRC a mené une enquête pendant des mois. Le statut de cette enquête est officiellement «non résolu »; cependant, la Commission est le seul suspect.
Je pourrais continuer comme cela indéfiniment, je pourrais mentionner le manque d’un code d’éthique; que Mme Kozak a été engagée après avoir été renvoyée de la police pour une affaire de corruption; que la Commission “emprunte” des éléments de preuve matériels appartenant aux forces policières, et ceci sans autorisation légitime; que M. Steacy se vante que ce genre de comportement ne contrevient pas à des règles, parce qu’il n’y a pas de règles. Et au lieu de nettoyer ce fouillis, Jennifer Lynch, la présidente de la Commission canadienne des droits de la personne, le défend – et attaque toute personne qui ose le critiquer.
L’article 13 n’a pas été jugé inconstitutionnel par la Commission seulement parce que la censure n’est pas dans les mœurs des canadiens et qu’il viole la Charte. Il a été jugé inconstitutionnel parce la Commission elle-même est devenue une menace pour nos droits de la personne et les membres Libéraux et Conservateurs du Tribunal refusent que cela continue une minute de plus. J’espère que ce comité sera aussi uni dans son dégout pour ce que je viens de lui relater.
Today, Mark Steyn and I testified before Parliament's Justice and Human Rights Committee, in support of their investigations into the Canadian Human Rights Commission and their discredited censorship powers.
Later this week I'll share some of my views about how it went, including my assessment of the questions from the MPs. (In a word, I was quite encouraged.) In the meantime, here are YouTube videos of the whole hour, courtesy of SDA Matt. I'm curious how you thought it went: feel free to leave a comment not only about what Steyn and I said, but what the MPs said, too.
On Monday afternoon Mark Steyn and I will testify before the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee in support of their review of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and its abusive censorship powers.
If you're in Ottawa, come by in person, to room 253-D in the Centre Block. It looks like I'm up first, from 3:30 till 4, and then Mark is up from 4 till 4:30.
I am advised by a friend in the Justice Department that Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissar of the CHRC, was scheduled to appear on Monday, too, but when she heard that Steyn and I were appearing that day, she insisted that she be permitted to testify another day. If this were high school, I'd merely laugh at Lynch for her childishness. Given that Lynch is an adult, in a postion of authority in the government, her behaviour is worse than pitiful or disgraceful -- it's long past time she were relieved of her duties.
At least Lynch didn't try to bully the Justice Committee MPs like she tried to bully CTV a few months ago, when she insisted that CTV rescind their invitation to me to appear on a national public affairs program. What a classless, bitter, paranoid woman. But I don't take it personally; Lynch has seven employees who are members of neo-Nazi organizations; it's simply her survival instinct kicking in. Seriously: if you had seven neo-Nazi members working for you, would you want to appear in the same room as a Jew like me who actually cares about anti-Semitism? It could put her in a tough spot.
It will be interesting to see if Lynch actually appears at a later date. Remember that she skipped town the last time she was asked to come to Parliament to answer for her fiascos, sending in her clueless deputy to take flak for her. Like I say, classless -- and out of her depth. But enough about Lynch and her neo-Nazi staff.
I'll have more to say about Lynch and her corrupt crew on Monday. If you can't attend in person, you can watch the proceedings online, by clicking here.
I'll also post a transcript of my remarks (and Mark Steyn's) when they're published.