Alright, here we go.
First off, as Scary Fundamentalist has already noted for this blog, Canada moves down several notches on the Reporters Without Borders report on press freedom. Mark Steyn comments: Breaking: Canada Almost as Bad as America:
Reporters Sans Frontières has just released its annual report on press freedom. Can’t say I know much about them, but I assume they’re the usual bunch of Euro-lefties. However, I was happy to have done my bit to aid Canada’s plummet in the world rankings from big hit sound Number 13 all the way down to Number 19:
The Paris-based group, also known by its French acronym RSF, did not say why Canada dropped six spots from last year’s ranking.
Chris Waddell, a journalism professor at Carleton University, says he can think of two things that may explain Canada’s drop this year.
The first is the decision of Canada’s top court to take on a press freedom case involving the sponsorship scandal…
Waddell says the second thing that comes to mind is the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which has come under fire recently over a couple of high-profile cases.
One of those cases involved a Mark Steyn book excerpt on the Maclean’s magazine web site. The excerpt was accused of promoting hatred and contempt of Muslims.
I’m not sure “tossed out” is the word. It was the subject of a week-long trial in Vancouver, which might certainly strike RSF as a bit odd. Alas, my puffed-up pride at exposing Canada’s government regulation of opinion was somewhat deflated by the U.S. performance in the same global hit parade:
The United States rose to No. 20 this year from No. 40 in last year’s ranking, which the group attributes to more relaxed attitudes toward the media under U.S. President Barack Obama.
Well, that’s one way of putting it. The press are relaxed about him, and he’s so relaxed about them he’s bringing in Canuck-style “hate speech” laws and a new “fairness” doctrine and regulation of the Internet. As far as I can tell, this present survey was completed before the inauguration of his Fox-ostracization policy. That should be good for another ten places in next year’s chart — and by then Canada may be out of the Top 20 entirely.
Read it here. A report from the Canadian Press on the matter here. Meanwhile, from Ezra Levant’s blog: Jennifer Lynch and the CHRC have disgraced Canada before the world:
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:
Second, 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 KitmanTV, while, from Xtra mag: Feds consider striking hate speech clause:
After three years of public thrashings, a controversial hate speech provision is now under the federal microscope. In a committee room in the bowels of Parliament Hill, a cross-section of MPs will debate the clause’s merits through the fall, and possibly into next year.
The provision in question, Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, allows the Human Rights Commission to deal with complaints regarding hate speech by phone or internet.
Opponents of Section 13 complain that it establishes a lower threshold for offences than the two hate speech laws that appear in the Criminal Code.
A raft of free speechers — from civil liberties groups to the Canadian Association of Journalists — decry the clause as an unnecessary intrusion on Canadians’ right to speak their minds. The issue gained visibility in 2007 after Muslim groups used Section 13 to pursue Ezra Levant and Macleans columnist Mark Steyn for publishing material they found offensive. Steyn and Levant are now avowed enemies of the clause.
But the worst blow was dealt to the provision in September, when a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal declared the clause unconstitutional.
Fifth, Mark Steyn’s book America Alone turns three years old! A round of congrats all around. Meanwhile, America Alone‘s subsequent status as a Canadian hate crime also turns three years old. From Mark’s blog: A hate crime turns three!
Something called The Official observes the third birthday of my notorious hate crime in Maclean’s. I see The Official bills itself as “the unconventional point-of-view on events that are shaping our world”, but you’ll be glad to know that, like most organizations that brag about their unconventionality, they are, at least with respect to trends in Europe, boringly conventional. Still, I like the way they end up:
What really sucks about all of this is that, in the mind of the average conservative Canadian, Mark Steyn has emerged as a Rosa Parks type figure who fought against the human rights tribunals for the right to write shady journalism.
Steyn as Rosa Parks. And if that’s not “unconventional”, what is?
Meanwhile, back on the conventional front, the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission has a fairness competition for grade-schoolers, with a prize for coming in 20th. Seriously.
Washing young brains the CHRC way: Did you know that along with being in the censorship game the CHRC is in the education game? No? Neither did I until I happened upon some scary lessons plans for Canucki teachers on the CHRC site. Here, for instance, are some lessons the CHRC would have teachers foist on impressionable Grade 7-8ers (I’ve italicized the parts that prompted me to exclaim “You gotta be freakin’ kidding me!”):Lesson Plan (grades 7-8)Lesson Title: Introduction to human rights in 20th century in Canada
Total Duration: 1 week + 1 day
Materials: Computer lab, Internet access, copies of handouts 1, 2,3,4,( 5)
Specific Objectives: To have students discover, analyse, synthesise, and integrate the evolution of human rights in 20th century Canada.Activity 1: Launching the unitDuration: 15 minutes
Suggested directives:· Launch a discussion about fairness. Ask: “Can anyone give me an example of a situation at home or at school where a dispute was settled fairly? Can anyone give me an example of an injustice they have witnessed?”· Brainstorm possible solutions. Write the answers on the blackboard. Ask: “How would you propose ending injustice and promoting fairness all over the country?”· Explain that the Canadian government has asked itself the same question throughout history. Invite the students to discover the government’s response to injustice by visiting the Canadian Human Rights Commission web site (http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca).Activity 2: InvestigationDuration: 30-45 minutes
Suggested directives:· The purpose of this activity is to have students explore the site. The site will become a powerful research tool once the students have become accustomed to it.· Tell the students they are about to go on a “scavenger hunt”. Distribute Handout 1. Tell the students to scour the site to find the answers.· Assist the students. Students may work individually or in teams if resources are limited.Teacher Tip: If students are lacking motivation, have them compete to see who can hand in a complete and correctly answered handout. Give prizes to those who finish 1st , 5th , 10th , 15th and 20th in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to win.Yeah, wouldn’t want the kids to actually have to compete and possibly, you know, lose or something. So much “fairer” to reward (or punish) everyone equally (saith Marxists and Trudeaupians).
This, of course is not only true of Limbaugh, but of those criticized by lie and innuendo throughout the US and Canada. You may remember how Jennifer Lynch started a campaign of innuendo against her critics this summer, where she misrepresented things that Mark Steyn had said about Pearl Eliadis by a country mile, and misrepresented a death threat she allegedly received, where the so called writer of the threat even got her name wrong, and only said what should be done with her, which was nasty, but hardly threatening. She, of course also misrepresented to the people she preached to, the minor facts of the misbehaviour of her staff when investigating Marc Lemire by joining and posting on Nazi web sites.
“you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.”
True, but the real meat of his column is in his conclusion:
Ultimately, this is not about Rush Limbaugh or anybody else who is smeared with impunity. It is about the whole climate in which issues are discussed.
Without a range of opposing opinions being available to the public, the basic concept of a self-governing democracy is a mockery. If views that some people don’t like can be silenced or discredited by character assassination, the whole country loses.
The courts should not be the only line of defense. Common decency should be the first line of defense, so that people who smear others will pay a price in the outrage that their lies should provoke, even among decent people who do not agree with the target of their smears.
His conclusions are telling, and true in our North American societies. Our Canadian HRCs/HRTs are muzzling opposing opinions with “likely to expose to hatred or contempt” which is such a bogus phrase, but also with many of the so called discrimination cases they take on, in the name of hierarchical rights and privileges being given to special groups.
Anyway, back to Sowell. In his article he quotes the late Senator Daniel Moynihan who said:
Read it all here.
Eighth, a very relevant article by Don Watkins for the Ayn Rand Center: “Hate Crime” laws criminalize ideas:
The House recently voted to expand federal “hate crimes” to include those committed because of the victim’s sexual orientation. The New York State legislature succinctly stated the case for these laws in its Hate Crimes Act of 2000: “Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs.” Thus, if someone commits a crime motivated by an idea the government deems “hateful,” he faces special penalties. Despite the denials of “hate crime” law supporters, this criminalizes certain ideas. If the government can punish a criminal more harshly based on the “message of intolerance and discrimination” he sends through his crime, then the inevitable conclusion is that sending a “message of intolerance and discrimination” is a crime. Most Western countries have made that explicit: even Canada punishes “hate messages.”
It is irrelevant whether the ideas currently deemed “hateful” are repugnant, which in the case of racism or anti-gay vitriol they certainly are. Every attack on free speech starts by targeting ideas people find repugnant; that’s how censorship gains purchase. But once the principle is established that the government can punish people for holding unpopular ideas, then any dissenter is at risk.
Read the rest here.