[ UPDATE: Welcome Five Feet of Fury readers! ]
Well, today, after taking a nap that started in the morning and lasted ’till late afternoon ( to be fair, I was up for most of the night ), I woke up to find a piece of mail that I hadn’t been expecting at all: the Lynch List itself; Jennifer Lynch’s list, a supposed enemies list, 1001 entries long.
For those of you who are wondering what this is all about, it all started with a piece in the National Post, by Joseph Brean, who had taken the time to talk to Jennifer Lynch and get some of her thoughts on the whole ‘let’s scrap the HRCs’ debate. Jennifer was, of course, her usual defensive self, but one interesting factoid slipped out during the article – a couple, in fact, but one in particular: there was a list of, she approximated, 800-1200 names of the critics of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as compiled by the CHRC itself ( whether this last had been compiled by Jennifer Lynch, or by somebody in the bowels of the CHRC’s rather impressively fortifiedHQ, is unknown ). After this revelation, a small group, of bloggers mainly, wanted to know who’d made the cut, and what was it exactly that was contained in that list? Blazing Cat Fur suggestedthat some of these bloggers put their money where their mouth is, and file a request under the Freedom of Information act to get a copy of the list – I wasone of the bloggers who did so.
It took, oh, probably a month, month-and-a-half, two months – something along those lines – with two mini-updates along the way, but today the quest, such as it was, has ended: I’ve got my hands on the list.*
And I must say, it’s rather disappointing**. And not just because I’m not in it.
To be honest, Jennifer’s list, the supposed Enemies list, although impressive in its own right, reads more like a collection of media and press mentions than anything else. Indeed, it mentions letters to the editor, editorials, media reports, and the like – although it references very few blogs. I saw no mention of Blazing Cat Fur, Five Feet of Fury, Ezra Levant’s site – you know, the usual suspects. And it’s not as if Jennifer Lynch isn’t aware of these sites. So I think it’s safe the say that this list – or at least the list which I received – is not nearly so personal as some may have thought. It reads more like a ‘media’ file such as many companies and organizations have compiled than anything else.
But that being said, it’s still a rather impressive collection of names and media mentions. 1001 entries, references to pieces penned by all manner of authors ( although only some of the list’s entries contained the name of the author ). There were, among many others, articles by Paul Schneidereit, Ezra Levant, Nigel Hannaford, Jesse Ferreras, Rob Breakenridge, Naomi Lakritz, Andrew Potter, Jonathan Kay, David Warren, John Carpay, George Jonas, my pal Byron Tau, and, of course, Mark Steyn, in articles ranging from the pages of the Chronicle-Herald, the National Post, the Toronto Star, Macleans’, and The Calgary Herald, to the pages of the Red Deer Advocate( I even saw an article by AHRCC complainantDarren Lund in there ). And of course, there were many more. I even saw an entry mentioning the far-right-wing website Vdare.com.
And this list does raise two, I think, very important questions.
Number one: what are the details behind this list? Who compiled this list of 1001 entries – 49 pages worth? Was it part-time? Was it full-time? Was it on the public dime or during off-hours? Was it compiled by Jennifer Lynch, or by another member of the CHRC, or by whoever wished to add an entry? Is this list still being added to? And for what purpose?
Two, and I think more importantly: how is it that Jennifer Lynch and her subordinates at the Canadian Human Rights Commission could compile this list, almost painstakingly going through literally hundreds of media mentions and critical editorials and letters-to-the-editor of newspapers and publications across the nation, and still remain so obtuse about the debate, and why it is that we’re even having the debate in the first place? How? How is that possible?
It is obvious that Jennifer knows the direct reasons for the criticism of her commission. It is obvious that she must be aware of the scope and span of that criticism, of the wide range of forums for those opinions. She has to know. And so why the seeming surprise and shock at those criticisms being leveled at her, their ‘chill’? Why continue in her side of the debate as she has? She has the knowledge. She has access to the same information as everybody else. Surely she isn’t so willfully blind as to deny or denounce them; although perhaps if she is, it might validate one of my previous theories.
A final thought: if, as it has been suggested and appears, this list is merely a list of media mentions, why does it collect the good mentions with the bad? Wouldn’t the purpose of a media file, for all intents and purposes, be to sort of boost the ego and make the employees of the CHRC feel good about the job that they’re doing? And if the purpose of including these negative mentions, as it might be for another organization, is to provide incentive to do a better job and improve upon mistakes and failings, why is that the CHRC continues down its path of disastrous behavior? None of this seems to make much sense; not that I should be particularly surprised.
*There remains, of course, the possibility that what I have received is not, in fact, the list that Jennifer Lynch was referring to, in which case I’ve either been had, or it was a genuine mistake on the part of the CHRC’s information liaison. If this is the case, then I suppose we may find out in the future that there was, indeed, a real Nixonian enemies list, and if that happens, then I hope to find out about it.
Also, if there are any other writers or bloggers who have filed FOI requests, and the results of their query have been different from mine, I would very much appreciate hearing about it.
**There are 49 pages, all of them much the same, but if I remember to, I’ll try and scan a few of them in the future and upload them, although they are supposedly confidential documents.