CHRC/Hechme hacking was about evidence tampering

October 31, 2009

I noted this below, in today’s Lynch List, but I thought that I would flesh this particular point out. Or rather, I would point out something that Mark Fournier of Free Dominion fleshed out, so I guess I’m fleshing out by proxy ( I just like saying ‘flesh out’ ):

CHRC/Hechme hacking was about evidence tampering

Setting the record straight
The CHRC hacking of Nellie Hechme’s account

Maclean’s Magazine has issued a retraction:

EDITOR’S NOTE:

In the Sept. 21 article “The CHRC tells itself to shape up” (National), we reported that Human Rights Commission staff hacked into the email account of a private citizen to post racist comments on a website. Maclean’s is satisfied that there is no evidence to suggest that either Richard Warman or commission staff did so. We regret the statement.

This was the proper thing for Maclean’s to do because they had their facts wrong in more than one instance.

1. The CHRC did not hack into Ms. Hechme’s email account, they hacked into her unsecured wireless internet account in a process known as wardriving. To the purist, wardriving involves actually driving around to find someone’s unsecured ISP account with which to access the internet. In this particular case no driving was required because Hechme’s wireless account could be reached directly from the CHRC offices due to the fact that she lived just down the street from the CHRC building.

2. The difference between hacking someone’s wireless account and hacking their email address is significant. If someone’s email account is hacked the hacker can send emails under his victim’s name and read all of his victim’s private emails. This is not what happened here and it was never the intention of the CHRC to do so. The CHRC hacked Hechme’s account to hide the fact that they were accessing the Stormfront website at that time. It worked too, Hechme’s internet service provider testified that the accessing of Stormfront at this particular time came from her address.

3. When the CHRC hacked Ms. Hechme’s account it was not for the purpose of planting hate speech on the Stormfront website and they did not do so when they accessed Stormfront from her private account. They hacked into Hechme’s account to download ‘evidence’. This evidence the CHRC downloaded using her account became very significant because it inadvertantly revealed the user name ‘jadewarr’.

4. When the CHRC realized the significance of the user name jadewarr appearing on the document they had downloaded, using Hechme’s account, they reacted by trying to substitute another version of the document (minus the name jadewarr) into evidence. It didn’t work though because the defense was able to get both versions submitted into the record which ultimately resulted in the exposure of jadewarr and much more.

Maclean’s magazine got their facts wrong on this one so it is right that they had to retract, but the truth is much worse than what Maclean’s originally reported.

Read it here.


Today’s Lynch List

October 31, 2009

Alright, here we go.

First off, George Jonas writes for the National Post‘s Full Comment section: Saving the Canadian Human Rights Commission through amputation:

Richard Moon is the law professor retained last year by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to write a report about the regulation of “hate speech” on the Internet. He didn’t strike people as a libertarian when he got his commission, so he surprised many when he recommended the repeal of Section 13, the controversial “hate speech” provision, from the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The other day, Moon outlined in the Saskatchewan Law Review Annual Lecture how he arrived at his recommendation, leaving little doubt he threw the dead ballast of s. 13 overboard to save the leaky vessel of the CHRC. He reasoned, he said, that speech should be prohibited only if it advocated, threatened or justified violence against an identifiable group, not if it merely defamed or stereotyped it, and that prohibition against preaching violence should come under the Criminal Code, not the Human Rights Act.

“I argued,” the professor explained, “that a narrowly drawn ban on hate speech that focuses on expression that is tied to violence does not fit easily or simply into a human rights law that takes an expansive view of discrimination, emphasizes the effect of the action on the victim rather than the intention or misconduct of the actor and employs a process that is designed to engage the parties and facilitate a non-adjudicative resolution of the ‘dispute’ between them.”

Professor Moon mentioned this almost in passing, to get it out of the way, before embarking on a spirited defence of the human rights industry against its critics. I’d like to dwell on his description of human rights law for a moment, though, because it illustrates perfectly why such laws don’t fit easily or simply into a free society’s system of laws and should be repealed altogether.

Read the rest here. This article is also available via the Post proper. Also noted by Blazing Cat Fur, Freedom Through Truth, Kathy Shaidle, Free Dominion, and Scaramouche, who had this to say:

You had to know this one was coming:

Oh, we’re the Thought Police and we’re okay.
We sleep all night and we search all day.
(They’re the Thought Police and they’re okay.
They sleep all night and they search all day.)
 
We censor speech, we’re really nice,
We’re full of sanct’mony.
Our dossier is stuffed with rude talk and calumny…
 
We censor speech, we schmooze like mad
With worldwide counterparts.
We go to lavish confabs where we display our “smarts”…
 
We censor speech, we sanitize,
We hunt down the “Nazees”
We’re just like Wiesenthal as most everyone agrees…
 
Oh, we’re the Thought Police and we’re okay.
We sleep all night and we search all day.
(They’re the Thought Police and they’re okay.
They sleep all night and they search all day.)
Read it here.

Second, a bit of a grab bag. A little more coverage of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant’s testimony before the HoC Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights from Dustinsmart.com, and what appears to be the National Review. Meanwhile, Free Dominion notes Markham Hislop’s article for S.E. Calgary News: AB Human Rights “Kangaroo Court” A Threat To Small Newspapers Like SECN.

Third, Faisal Joseph gets back in the game. From the London Free Press: $1M lawsuit by officer alleges racial profiling:

By Joe Belanger

A London police officer has launched a $1-million lawsuit against the force and six colleagues, claiming he was the victim of racial profiling that sparked an internal investigation, fuelling rumours and suspicions he associated with a man linked to organized crime.

Omnar Hassan, a 12-year policing veteran — a decade of it with the London force — yesterday was also to have filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights commission, his lawyer said.

His complaint seeks changes in training, policy and procedures to “deal with the systemic problems they’re (the force) either ignoring or not dealing with,” said lawyer Faisal Joseph.

Hassan, 40, contends he felt “betrayed and humiliated.”

His complaint also states Hassan feared the accusation damaged his reputation and opportunity for advancement. He argues it eventually led to harassment from some co-workers, causing him “serious physical and emotional difficulties.”

Named as lawsuit defendants are the London police board and six officers — two constables, two sergeants, one staff sergeant and one inspector.

The lawsuit contends Hassan suffered “nervous shock, emotional upset, depression, frustration and fixation” over how he was treated, which the action describes as “predatory, high-handed and callous” and amounting to “constructive dismissal.”

Read the rest here. H/t to Blazing Cat Fur.

Fourth, via Scaramouche: A no muss, no fuss Halloween costume:

What every free-speecher should be wearing this year–the duct tape get-up:

Read it here.

Fifth, Let Freedom Rain notes Macleans’ retraction on CHRC hacking allegations, as have BigCityLib and Anti-Racist Canada. Meanwhile, the folks at Free Dominion push back.

Finally, stamp of approval, and Nazis, Nazis everywhere.


How Human Rights Ought To Be Dealt With

October 31, 2009

How A Wise Rabbi Dealt with Discrimination

[ ED NOTE: Mbrandon8026 from Freedom Through Truth was kind enough to let me crosspost this item from his blog. You can read the original here.

Alas, but this solution wouldn’t make nearly a good enough plot for Little Mosque on the Prairie. ]

Mitch Albom is well known for writing “Tuesdays with Morrie”. Soon he will be as well known for his latest work, “have a little faith.” It is the story of how his childhood rabbi, Rabbi Albert Lewis asked him to deliver the eulogy at his funeral. As it happened, the rabbi asked him 8 years before he died, giving Albom plenty of time to get to know his rabbi better.

Among the stories that he recounts, are instances of how the Jewish people of Haddon Heights, New Jersey were discriminated against, and how Rabbi Lewis dealt with it. Oh, that we should deal with discrimination like this today and here, rather than letting the government do it.

When Rabbi Lewis was appointed to the small synagogue in 1948, he found there was considerable angst among Christians about a Jewish congregation in their midst. There was no HRC to whine to, and in NJ there still isn’t, so the rabbi took it upon himself to do something good about it. He joined the local ministerium, and set out to meet people where they were at, speaking in classrooms to students who wanted to see his horns, and being a friend to all.

One time during the High Holidays that happened this particular year to coincide with Sunday mass at the Catholic Church in the neighbourhood, one of his congregants was accosted by the local priest who was offended that there was limited parking for his congregation, as it was taken up by the Jewish participants in the High Holiday festivities at the synagogue. The priest was abusive in his anger and even said in a fit of pique: “They didn’t exterminate enough of you.”

Rabbi Lewis contacted the local archbishop about the incident, and received a call the next day from the priest wanting to meet. The priest apologized and shared with the rabbi an idea that the archbishop had told him.

So, shortly thereafter, when the local Catholic school had recess, the rabbi and priest walked around the school grounds arm in arm, as per the archbishop’s suggestion. The priest and rabbi became friends, and finally when the priest died, Rabbi Lewis assisted in officiating at his Catholic funeral.

That’s how disputes over human rights should be handled.

What we do now is lazy. There is no wisdom in the bullying of HRCs. We need to return to simpler times, with less government intervention in our daily lives.


Today’s Lynch List

October 31, 2009

Alright, here we go. Technically, this Lynch List is for Oct. 31st, I guess, but it was meant for Oct. 30th. I just got it in late, as the 30th wasn’t a terribly productive day for me.

Anyway.

First off, a little more feedback on Lynch, Moon, et al’s testimony on Monday from Jay Currie: Lynch lies again:

At the Hearings of the Parliament of Canada Justice and Human Rights Committee, the coward Lynch stated that there was only one current s. 13 matter being dealt with by the Commission.

She conveniently forgot the Marc Lemire has filed a s. 13 against Richard Warman for the assorted messages Warman posted to the net. Now, Warman has tried to have this complaint dismissed but recently the Commission ruled (but did not publish) that Warman had failed to make his case and that the complaint would be investigated.

Which means that Lynch was either lying to Parliament or, charitably had not been informed of her seatmate’s “under investigation” status.

But here’s a puzzler: who in the hate crimes section can investigate Warman? Dean Stacey? Why no, he invented at least one of the aliases Warman had access to. Ms. Kozak? Maybe, but let’s make sure she was not trained by Warman as Ms. Rizk was. And we’d best check if she worked with Warman in his role as most favoured complainant otherwise there might be just the hint of bias.

And here’s another puzzler: what message was Lynch sending about potential s. 13 investigatee Richard Warman by having anything whatsoever to do with him at the Parliamentary Committee Hearings? Police officers don’t sit down with suspects, judges don’t speak with the accused.

Read the rest here. Meanwhile, some more coverage of the testimony from Small Dead Animals, which I can’t remember if I’ve linked to already or not.

Second, from Scaramouche: Notes from the Resistance:

While some Canadian proponents of state thought control–Jennifer, Richard, Bernie etc.–were defending their warped notions about the need to “balance” free speech with offensive speech as a means of sparing “vulnerable” people’s precious feelings (“feelings” and not freedom being these proponents’ be-all and end-all), I was off to Washington to attend the International Legal Conference on Freedom of Speech & Religion. The experience of being in the U.S. capital for the first time (at conference held right inside the U.S. Capitol Building compound, no less), of meeting delegates and speakers from the EU, the U.S. and Canada who are passionate about the cause of free speech, of taking part in an intensive, two-day event, was so heady, so exhilarating, that I’m still reeling from it.  What follows are my first thoughts and impressions, which at the moment are still a bit scattered, but which I shall endeavour to collect as I write.

Read the rest here. Also noted by Blazing Cat Fur. More at Five Feet Of Fury.

Third, Markham Hislop writes for the S.E. Calgary News: AB Human Rights “Kangaroo Court” A Threat To Small Newspapers Like SECN:

Yesterday afternoon I spent an interesting 90 minutes listening to three lawyers debate the “tension” between protecting freedom of speech and preventing discrimination that is inherent to Alberta’s human rights legislation.  The lecture theatre was mostly filled with students as far as I could tell.  As the editorialist for SECN, I had a practical reason for attending, beside covering the debate as a news story.

Just about every time I craft a column it could be argued I subject some poor soul, sometimes more than one, to “contempt” (though, in my defence, not “hatred”).  Which means I’ve contravened Section 3 of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act.  Probably many, many times.

This is no small matter.  Ezra Levant, political commentator and gadfly, and former publisher of the Western Standard, was hauled up before the Alberta Human Rights Commission after he published the infamous Danish cartoons that so offended Muslims the world over.  Syed Soharwardy of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada laid a complaint and Levant was investigated.  He claimed his legal costs alone were $100,000.  The Western Standard folded, presumably in part because of the financial pressures created by the human rights complaint.

Publishers and journalists paid attention to that case, believe me.  Especially small publishers like me.  My company is young and still struggling financially.  One human rights complaint and the attending legal bills, and we are bankrupt.  Talk about “tension” between human rights commissions and newspapers!

Read the rest here. Also noted by Blazing Cat Fur.

Fifth, from Freedom Through Truth: Australia Considers Bill To Criminalize Free Speech By Christians:

Excerpt from The Australian:

Australians who wear a crucifix to work or offer to pray for a patient in hospital could run foul of a charter of rights, according to a British legal expert who says its introduction in this country would trigger an attack on religious expression.

[…]

Canada has similar infringements on religious expression because of the anti-Christian Canadian Human Rights Act.

Read it here.

Sixth, a bit of a grab-bag. Britannia Radio notes the Canadian Jewish News article that covered one of Ezra Levant’s latest speaking engagements: Hate laws backfire on Jews, author says. Five Feet Of Fury notes Rebekah Hebbert’s latest for Mercator.netThe ABCs of fighting for free speech – while Blazing Cat Fur notes Gerry Nichols’ Top five stories guaranteed to scare conservatives no. 3: Night of the Living Bureaucrats. Meanwhile, BigCityLiberal talks about Marc Lemire’s application to testify before the HoC Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Seventh, from Scaramouche: Gee Officer Lynch, ma’am, krup you:

On Sunday, the day before I traveled to Washington, I was in Stratford, Ontario, watching West Side Story. While the film version of the musical is familiar–I know all the songs off by heart–this was the first time I’ve seen a full scale stage production. (We put in on once at my Zionist summer camp, but I don’t think that counts.) Compared to the movie, the play’s language and song lyrics are uglier, rawer (I think–I haven’t seen the movie for quite a while). Granted it was written in an era that, in retrospect, was refreshingly free of political correctness. But as I watched the racial epithets flying fast and furiously in these politically correct times it was, frankly, a little shocking. I kept looking over my shoulder, half expecting a contingent of Jennifer’s or Babsy’s thought police to burst through the door and shut the thing down. How is it, thought I to myself, that at a time when the “n” word can get To Kill a Mockingbird axed from the public High School curriculum, actors impersonating 50s gang members get to hurl “mick” and “spic” and “wop” and no one seems to mind?

Read the rest here.

Eighth, from the Beacon Herald: Family needs help for unhappy return to Mexico:

Posted By BRIAN SHYPULA

A dream for a better life in Canada has become a nightmare for a family from Mexico who must return home before their visas expire Nov. 6.

Juan Soler, who is on compensation after being hurt on the job at a Sebringville business, and wife Claudia Perez, who isn’t legally allowed to work in Canada, don’t have the money to get themselves and their three children back to Mexico.

They’re grateful to local schools and churches which are coming to their aid.

“I’m afraid because I have wonderful family and I want my family to be OK,” Mr. Soler said in an interview.

[…]

Mr. Soler has applied to the Canadian Human Rights Commission to intervene.

“I want to get justice for my treatment,” he said.

Read it all here.

Ninth, from Dawg’s Blawg:

Well, well, well.regret this, still on-line after all this time? Wouldn’t want us to doubt the sincerity of your “regret,” now.

In this week’s Maclean’s magazine (no link on-line as yet):

EDITOR’S NOTE:Do the Maclean’s editors, then,

In the Sept. 21 article “The CHRC tells itself to shape up” (National), we reported that Human Rights Commission staff hacked into the email account of a private citizen to post racist comments on a website. Maclean’s is satisfied that there is no evidence to suggest that either Richard Warman or commission staff did so. We regret the statement.

 

Read it here.

Finally, Barbara Hall’s old hunting grounds, and *giggle* human rights activists ( scroll down ).


Some Rights Are More Equal Than Others

October 30, 2009

No Apologies Writes

[ ED NOTE: Mbrandon8026 from Freedom Through Truth was kind enough to let me crosspost this item from his blog. You can read the original here. ]

Over at No Apologies Neil Dykstra has a good synthesis of the goings on with CHRA Section 13.

He cites the two ways that the Federal Law is being examined, the Appeal of the Lemire decision, and the JUST committee meetings and coming recommendations about it.

It is important also to note once again, that Alberta’s similar law in Section 3(1) of their human rights legislation is on trial, and now awaiting a decision in the Stephen Boissoin case that was heard at the Alberta Court of Queens Bench in mid September 2009.

The court heard about the egregiousness of the Decision on its face, but also was put to task on the constitutionality of a law limiting free speech in this country, with the words “likely to expose to hatred or contempt”.


The ABCs of fighting for free speech

October 29, 2009

[ ED NOTE: Rebekah from The Miss Marprelate Tracts was kind enough to let me crosspost this item from her blog. You can read the original here. ]

I published an early version of this piece on my blog awhile ago. This is the revised version which was published by MercatorNet.com

The Canadian Human Rights Commission is an administrative body responsible for enforcing Section 13 of the Human Rights Act. This section prohibits phone or internet messages that are likely to expose a person or person to hatred or contempt on the ground of race, sex, religion, etc. In recent years the CHRC and Section 13 have come under attack by activists and bloggers who allege that the CHRC and Section 13 are a danger to freedom of speech and expression.

It was a motley party from the beginning. A confusing mess of die-hard social conservatives and liberals (not to mention libertarians), Jews and Muslims, gay rights activists and priests and pastors who had dedicated their lives to opposing gay rights activists. They were attacking the inaptly named Canadian Human Rights Commissions and most specifically hate speech laws.

The weapon of choice was mostly blogs. You know, those online diaries where people pontificate around like their opinions are the most important things in the world and usually have a readership of — well — not a lot. This collection of rag-tag fire-breathing radicals was attacking a decades-old law and a nicely established government department. A government department, moreover, that monopolized most of the feel-good words — human rights, anti-hate, reconciliation, arbitration, anti-discrimination — and had a whole host of feel-bad words to toss at their opponents — hate-mongerers (sic), bigots, racists, regressive, anti-human rights, right-wing extremists, unfeeling, marginal, obnoxious…

No bookie would have given this collection, held together with as much duct tape and Tim Horton’s coffee as anything else, better than very long odds on getting the Human Rights Commissions to acknowledge their existence, much less anything more. It looked like another tedious social conservative-type stand-off where a few “radicals” stormed around talking a lot and achieving nothing while the status quo slipped blithely along without registering more than an occasional little ripple.

But this time it was different. This time they got publicity. This time they got the attention of their opponents and had them squealing. This time they gained momentum. This time, although it is far to early to be sure, victory is starting to look rather likely, if not very likely. This time they aren’t withering in obscurity, they are not on the defensive, they are on the offensive and the enemy is retreating and deserting rapidly.

How could this happen and what can we learn from it?

The Power of the Active Individual:“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.” M. Scott Peck

Okay so this is very clichéd but do I get extra points if it’s true? Every cause needs a hero to rally around or, failing that, a martyr. The free speech movement got a major boost when the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal made the worst mistake in their history. They accepted a complaint against magazine editor Ezra Levant for reprinting the Danish Mohammed cartoons as part of a news story about the cartoon riots. Levant won his case, or rather got it dismissed (which, as he explains, is not really a win), but the experience opened his eyes to the direction that the HRCs were taking. Once he started talking the government quickly realized that he was impossible to shut up. Since then he and others have been incredibly influential in bringing the abuses of the Commissions and the totalitarian nature of hate speech laws to the attention of the public.

The Power of a Dedicated Minority: “History has never been dominated by majorities, but only by dedicated minorities who stand unconditionally on their faith.” R.J. Rushdoony

Without dedicated friends and supporters even the greatest people can accomplish little. Few people have the time, money, energy, eloquence, or just pig-headed stubbornness to lead an activist movement. Most people have the time, money, energy, eloquence, and/or stubbornness to write to a politician, donate $20 to a favourite cause, write a letter to the editor, discuss these issues with their friends, vote for leaders who support their point of view, pray, or just refuse to bow to the self-proclaimed arbiters of political correctness in their own lives. This minority, a minority that is active and concerned, can do great things.

The Power of the Media and/or Alternative Media:“They have an engine called the Press whereby the people are deceived. We should die without ever being heard of.”C.S.Lewis

You can have individuals making heroic stands but if no one ever hears about them it is useless. The free-speechers, or at least their message, won the friendship and support of the entire mainstream media, from conservative to liberal. While the blogs, Youtube, and other forms of alternative media had a pivotal role to play in the fight, the established media is still more widely respected and influential. Many conservatives seem to regard the press as a perpetual enemy. While this may be true for the most part, we are facing an uphill, and probably futile, battle as long as this problem is not adequately addressed. How can people form a dedicated minority if they are ignorant of the issues at hand?

The Power of Polemicism: “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” Georg Wilhelm

This idea I stole unapologetically from Mark Steyn. The vast majority of people do not want to be seen as extreme radicals. They want to be seen as left of centre or right of centre. Therefore, although the extremists and polemicists on both sides are not really effective in persuading the majority, they can be effective in moving the centre. Some may not be comfortable with the idea of a “Fire. Them. All.” (Levant) approach but because of it they are emboldened to advocate for reform. After all, they aren’t like THOSE extremists.

The Power of Scratching Below the Surface:“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.“ Franklin D. Roosevelt. “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Lenin.

The tension between these two quotations affects us all. A lie repeated often enough can produce a veneer of consensus and the appearance of truth, but it can never really become the truth.

In today’s society we have an ingrained set of politically correct responses to any issue. Hate speech laws: well,of course, we don’t want people spouting hateful speech all over the place. Human Rights Commissions: well, isn’t it good that we have an organization to look after human rights?

But if you scratch below the surface and start to explain to people what these things are really about, they can have an entirely different response. Hate speech laws, you are censoring who for saying what?! Human Rights Commissions, you mean I could get in trouble for doing that?!

The Power of a Greedy Enemy: “Another such victory over the Romans, and we are undone.” Pyrrhus

While this is not really something that we can control, it should give us room for hope in times of discouragement. The free speech movement took off because the Human Rights Commission went too far. They thought that they had carte blanche to define the word “hate-monger” and deal with all forms of “hate speech”. What they didn’t realize was that there was a Canada beyond the doors of their office building which might have different ideas. It was the atrocious cases where they tried to prosecute pastors and popular, mainline media that provoked the storms of outrage. No one really wants to publicly defend a neo-Nazi, but Macleans? Or your local priest? That is something that people can defend and feel good defending.

In Conclusion: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” Ghandi

It is not enough for conservatives to have good ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The ideas that change the world are those which can reach the cabbie and the mechanic. The ideas and issues that get discussed over coffee at work. The ideas that inspire professors and lawyers to speak and write. The ideas that get airtime on every TV and radio network. The ideas that creep into our education system. The ideas that a dedicated minority push in every possible way until they become in the minds of your average Joe to be self-evident truth. If the liberals and social engineers can alter the heartbeat of a nation so that abortion, gay marriage, and censorship becomes the normal status quo, we can alter it back.

Remember: Politicians want to get elected. If they start to lose elections because of their stance on Human Rights Commissions do you think they won’t notice? I promise you, they will.


Today’s Lynch List

October 29, 2009

Alright, here we go.

First off, a little more coverage of Lynch, Moon, et al’s testimony before the HoC Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights from  Jay Currie, who writes: Lucy and Jenny sitting in a tree:

By the way, guess who Lynch was sitting beside during the second hour of the meeting? Richard Warman who is under investigation for hate speech. I’ll let you draw any conclusions about the appropriateness of that. The Miss Marprelate Tracts 

Too bad no one snapped a picture.

But if this is true and there is no reason to doubt Rebekah is shows just how tone deaf and arrogant Lynch is.

Read it here. Meanwhile, Paul Tuns writes for the Libertas Post: Lynch defends the indefensible CHRC:

In Jennifer Lynch’s opening statement before the Parliamentary Justice and Human Rights Committee, the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission made the case for her federal agency without addressing the specific concerns of her critics (the Interim, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, and others) that the extra-judicial body is unnecessary in the battle against hate.

She offered standard human rights commission industry boilersplate about hate being an evil that needs to be stamped out and that in a democracy we need to balance rights — the right to be free of discrimination and the right to freedom of expression.

Read the rest here. This can also be read at the Soconvivium blog.

Second, via the Canadian Jewish News: Hate laws backfire on Jews, author says:

MONTREAL — 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.

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.

Read the rest here. Also noted by Israpundit. Meanwhile, Ezra writes in his blog: How far have we come?

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.

Read it all here. Also noted by Blazing Cat Fur and Free Dominion.

Read the rest of this entry »