Alright, here we go.
First off, a little more coverage of Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant’s testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights from VDare.com, Legally UnBound, Waka waka waka, The Virginian, Stand Like A Rock, No Compromise when you’re Right!, Infidel’s Paradise, and a final word from Gates Of Vienna: Mark Steyn on the “Withering” of Free Speech:
Mark Steyn’s brief essay yesterday on NRO concerns the “withering of free speech”.
That’s an accurate way to describe the slow motion death of freedom of expression. What is happening to our public talk and writing and art has a further consequence: the withering and eventual cessation of free thought. The zeitgeist has made it increasingly difficult to “go there” – choose your own forbidden zone – even in the privacy of one’s own heart.
The purportedly well-intentioned establishment of such tribunals as Canada’s speech “commission” is an alarming signpost on the road to hell. Ordinary people begin to self-censor simply to avoid the enormously destructive consequences of simply speaking. Yet the persecutors prove to be even more corrupt than those they would silence.
Certainly on our blog we self-censor in order to avoid being shut down by Google. But by many, particularly the fearful Left, we are still considered racist and beyond the pale. They use shunning and the pressure of disapproval in an attempt to rein us in even further, but our line in the sand is drawn.
Having read parts of the Lisbon Treaty, I fear for Europeans when it is finally in full force. Free speech will not “wither” then, it will be beaten into bloody silence by a soviet mentality. Samizdat will flourish once again.
All hail the vox populi: One place in Canada where free expression is flourishing is in the comments section that follows the story on the Ceeb website about Steyn’s and Levant’s appearance before the parliamentarians looking into state censorship. As of this writing, there are some 217 comments. Here are a few of the more, ahem, colourful ones.“CalmCalm,” whose remarks belie hizzer (my neologism for the clunky his/her–feel free to borrow it) alleged tranquility writesI easily understand why Chief David Ahenakew was so angry.
Following the Hitler Trip and the horrible experiences of the Jews, many left Europe and invested heavily into media and Hollywood.
Some of the same people who had just experienced and fled from the discrimination, stereotyping and racism by Hitler, arrived in North America and purchased movie lots and film companies which created film and other types of media which depicted Indians and blacks as savages and subhumans.
The native people suffered hugely from years of Hollywood films and sterotyping.
North American natives and blacks were described in films in almost the exact same manner in which Hitler had described the Jews.You mean David Ahenakew (the First Nations elder who thought Hitler was on the right track, Jew-wise) was “angry” because Louis B. Mayer and the other Jewish movie moguls escaped Hitler’s clutches and came to America to make movies stereotyping blacks and the North American indigenes formerly known as “Indians” (as in Cowboys and…)? What an interesting–and at the same time completely inaccurate verging on the deranged– interpretation of history.
The CBC ran a story on Ezra’s and my testimony to the House of Commons, and Scaramouche has been bravely trawling through the comments from the CBC audience. I rather like this one. For someone with the amusing name of “Amusing”, she nevertheless appears able to utter phrases like “mosaic of diversity” with a straight face:
Isn’t it a matter of respect? Open discussion about issues specific to an ethnic or religious group is different from making fun of them.
Canada is the quintessential tolerant society. We are the world’s mosaic of diversity and should be proud enough of that fact to ensure it continues to grow.
And come on, what’s the big deal about freedom of speech and property rights next to the smug self-righteous glow you get from being so quintessentially mosaic-esque?
Speaking of which, how about this bit of obscure triumphalism? Chris McNally of Yellowknife points out this curious opening in a recent CHRC speech to the disgusting UN “Human Rights” Council:
Thank you, Mr. President.
I speak on behalf of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a National Human Rights Institution accredited with A status.
“A status”? Is that good or bad? And on what scale? What “status” does Saudi Arabia have or North Korea? Or are they out of letters by then? And is this an internationally recognized credential of humanrightification or just something you can download off the Internet for $19.99?
Read it here.
Second, Mark Mercer writes, for The Saint Mary’s Journal: Ending government censorship in Canada:
Is government censorship in Canada finally coming to an end? Signs are hopeful, but much work remains. There’s no rest for the wicked, and so the just had better not ease up, either.
Early this past September, Athanasios Hadjis, the Member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) who heard the complaint Warman v. Lemire (the Member is the presiding official, the judge-like figure who makes the decision in the case), agreed that Marc Lemire had, indeed, on his website contravened section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the section that prohibits posting material likely to expose members of certain groups to hatred or contempt. And yet Member Hadjis dismissed the complaint.
The CHRC can make a good case. Member Hadjis’s reasoning was far from compelling.
What Hadjis actually determined is that section 13, the censorship provision of the act, is inconsistent with section 54, the penalty or compensation provision of the act. The two sections are inconsistent given that the act and the CHRC are supposed to be concerned with resolving conflicts and finding remedies, not with punishment. As Hadjis noted, section 54 was not part of the act back in 1990, when, in the Taylor case, the Supreme Court of Canada narrowly decided that section 13 is constitutional. Moreover, in its Taylor decision the court had insisted on the importance of punishment being no part of the CHRC’s mandate.
Third, Binks from Free Canuckistan does that thing that he does so well: Steynian 389. Do go and check out the links, videos, and content-a-plenty Levantian, Steynian, freespeechian, and so much more that he’s provided for all to enjoy. Also noted by Five Feet Of Fury and Blazing Cat Fur.
Fourth, some already-touched-upon stories: first, Amy Alkon writes for Mensnewsdaily.com: The End Of Free Speech In Canada; second, via NationTalk.ca: “Don’t ask me to close my eyes and vote for it… I’m here to represent my community,” says Senator Charlie Watt on government sentencing legislation.
Fifth, via the Ottawa Citizen: Missteps on York Street stairs:
By Andrew Duffy
OTTAWA — The decade-long legal battle over wheelchair access to the York Street staircase is back at Step 1.
The Federal Court of Appeal last week returned the case to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a new hearing to decide if the steps discriminate against the disabled.
The three-member appeal court panel said both the initial tribunal and the judge who reviewed its decision made mistakes in their rulings.
Read the rest here.
Sixth, via the CBC: Hearing begins on UPEI mandatory retirement:
A P.E.I. Human Rights Commission panel will start a hearing Tuesday on whether mandatory retirement at the University of Prince Edward Island is discriminatory.
‘There’s room for both new professors and old professors.’— Thomy Nilsson
The hearing was called after three university employees were forced to retire at age 65 in 2005: Dr. Richard Wills, a professor in sociology and anthropology; Yogi Fell, a staff member at the Atlantic Veterinary College; and psychology professor Thomy Nilsson.
Nilsson is hopeful the panel will rule in their favour and he will be able to go back to work.
“I would like my job back, and my laboratories restored. And I’d like to be paid for the wages that I’ve lost in the meantime,” said Nilsson.
Read the rest here.
Eighth, the Human Rights Mausoleum keeps itself alive with some book-cooking. From Scaramouche:
It hasn’t even opened its doors and the “human rights” mausoleum is already in such desperate financial straits that it has resorted to some dubious accounting practices, reports the Globe and Mail:The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, still an estimated three years from opening its doors in Winnipeg, has dodged a financial crisis, thanks to an accounting sleight of hand.In its 2008-09 annual report tabled late last week in the House of Commons, the museum announced that the government has approved a request for an advance of $5.2-million to meet its operating budget for the current fiscal year. The money is being “reprofiled” from the $21.7-million the Conservative government previously had benchmarked for the Crown corporation’s operations in 2011-12.Previously, the CMHR, the construction of which began this year, had been budgeted to receive $3.4-million to operate during the 2009-2010 fiscal year ending March 31. The $3.4-million was part of a $6.1-million operating package Ottawa provided for 2008-09 and 2009-2010.
Read the rest here.
Finally, keepin’ company; but if…; and Why is the Religious Right so in Love With Mark Steyn?