Alright, here we go.
First off, Dr. Roy’s Thoughts provides us with an inside look at Ezra Levant’s speaking engagement in Montreal: Ezra in Montreal:
I had a very busy day yesterday. President Bush at lunch and Ezra Levant at dinner.
Ezra was in town yesterday talking at the
Ezra gave an impassioned plea for freedom of speech and gave the history of the hrc thought police in Canada. He also discussed jihadi lawfare and the hrcs. He gave credit to his many supporters in helping survive the hrc and warman onslaught.
It was an enthusiastic and supportive crowd. I have heard Ezra speak about these issue many times, but I am always struck by his passion and the injustice that he fights against. It was obvious from the questions that Ezra has many Montreal fans who understand the Tyranny of Nice..
Dinner was great. The Ferreira has great food and the conversation was fascinating and lively. Barbara Kay joined us for dinner.
We also discussed Ezra’s new book , which will be about the Alberta Oilsands. Its sounds like another bestseller.
Read it here.
Second, a bit of a grab-bag. A little more on Reporters Without Borders’ rather dismal ranking of Canada’s press freedom from Jonathan Narvey, and the International Free Press Society. Dick Field’s article in the Canada Free Press – The Human Rights Crowd – Power & Money before Principle – is noted by the It’s Happening forums. Meanwhile, from Free Dominion: Jennifer “J-Ly” Lynch Testifies Monday; and Pa[r]liamentary Committee on Jus[t]ice & Human Rights/Mon 26th.
Third, an, eh..interesting recommendation. From the Georgia Straight:
Human Rights Commissions have an essential role to play in the promotion and protection of human rights, but the jurisdiction of the federal Commission is severely limited and the Provincial bodies are under-resourced, under threat and have been abolished in some provinces. This has led many communities that I talked with to lose faith in the effectiveness of these critical enforcement bodies. The Federal government, in close cooperation with provincial authorities, must work towards stronger mechanisms of cooperation to guarantee consistent enforcement with respect to obligations under the provisions of international treaties to which Canada is a party, particularly in the area of non-discrimination and equality and the implementation of the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.
Read it here.
Fourth, Richard Moon makes the National Post: No clear win for fighters of hate speech law: professor:
Critics of Canada’s hate speech laws can hope for nothing more than “a marginal win in a polarized debate,” because of their ruthlessly successful “propaganda campaign,” according to law professor Richard Moon.
“This is the most spin can accomplish,” he writes in comments submitted to a House of Commons committee looking into the hate speech provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act, in advance of his testimony on Monday.
“Their claims are repeated, often uncontradicted, in radio and television interviews. They are parroted by politicians and in newspaper editorials and columns. And, although this is more difficult to gauge, they appear to be taken up by Canadians, who watch or read the mainstream media,” he writes. “Why does it seem so difficult to have a serious and honest debate about hate speech regulation?”
Read the rest here. Also, via the Online Updates Blog: RICHARD MOON: THE ATTACK ON HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS.
Here’s Ezra Levant’s response: Richard Moon: liar for hire:
Remember Richard Moon? He’s the obscure law professor who accepted a $52,500 payment from the Canadian Human Rights Commission to write a brief brochure for them about censorship. Nice work if you can get it. Given that much of Moon’s brochure was just cutting and pasting lengthy quotations from other people, Jennifer Lynch paid him almost $2,000/page for what he wrote. 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.
Richard Moon has decided to join Pearl Eliadis and Bernie Farber as a last-ditch defender of Canada’s “human rights” commissions. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion. Oh, wait, no. This is Canada, so he’s not. But, fortunately for Prof Moon, his opinions happen to coincide with the state regulators, so he’s okay.
Ezra Levant responds to Professor Moon here. Let me make just one point. The professor sets out in this speech to demolish the claim that Section 13 has a 100 per cent conviction rate. As he says, I have made this statement frequently:
When Mark Steyn makes the claim he likes also to point out that not even Iran and North Korea have a 100% conviction rate.
True. I said it to Parliament and I stand by it. How do we know the professor is a weasel? One giveaway line. This is how he rebuts my outrageous falsehood – by conceding the point:
It is true that all s. 13 complaints adjudicated by the Tribunal have been upheld.
In other words, it’s not a falsehood. Ezra and I were right all along. Until last month’s judgment in the Lemire case, nobody prosecuted under Section 13 had ever been acquitted – with the sole exception of the “Canadian Nazi Party”, which was let off on the quaint grounds that it did not in fact exist. But, if you had the misfortune to enjoy corporeal existence and you were charged under Section 13, you would be convicted of the crime. As Professor Moon admits in plain English, Ezra and I are right on this.
So his “rebuttal” consists not of demonstrating, as he promises his unfortunate audience, that our claims are “false and malicious” but that, even though they’re true, they’re nothing to worry about. Relax, he says. Sure, everybody prosecuted under Section 13 gets convicted, but don’t worry about it, because the “human rights” commission prosecutes very few people so the 100 per cent conviction rate simply demonstrates their shrewd eye for a good case, and their ability to winnow out all the ones where the defendant would be acquitted.
Really? So the 100 per cent conviction rate is just a tribute to the fine judgment of CHRC agents? In that case, why has one man been the plaintiff on every case since 2002? Moon goes into a lot of statistics about the proportion of Section 13 complaints that never come to trial, so perhaps he could give us the following figures: What proportion of Richard Warman complaints are rejected? And what proportion of non-Warman complaints are rejected? If we are being invited to trust in the finely balanced sifting processes of CHRC investigators, why is one lone individual among 30 million Canadians the sole plaintiff? Why did this institution abet the transformation of Section 13 into Warman’s Law?
Fourth, from Capital News Online: The fate of hate:
Yelling fire in a crowded theatre for no reason is one thing you just can’t say. But not all illegal speech will trigger a stampede and an angry mob once the moviegoers realize there is no fire. A foggier realm of unlawful speech is managed by Section 13 of the Human Rights Act.
This codified conundrum prohibits the online distribution of hateful messages. It’s a law that has come under high profile fire from provocative journalists to the Prime Minister for defining hate speech too broadly and for the investigative and punitive mandate given to its governing body, the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Section 13 has been constitutionally challenged, upheld in the Supreme Court, recently challenged again, and is now at the bench once more in Federal Court.
“I think there needs to be real victims of hate speech before there are prosecutions. There must be a group that has actually suffered harm.” — Brent Rathgeber, Conservative MP
The legal hot potato is also the subject of an expansive parliamentary review. Two key testimonials are scheduled to be heard next week.
The decision won’t be easy or clean because even critics are divided on what the problem is, says Joe Comartin, NDP MP for Windsor-Tecumseh and a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST), the parliamentary authority over the future of the provision. Some want Section 13 repealed because they argue hate speech doesn’t belong in the hands of civil law, while others would be happy with a narrower definition of what constitutes hate.
Section 13 calls it a discriminatory practice to “communicate telephonically [which includes the Internet] … any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”
“It’s been a problematic section because of problematic interpretations,” says Brent Rathgeber, Conservative MP for Edmonton-St. Albert and member of the JUST Committee.
The committee will hear from Richard Moon, a law professor at the University of Windsor, and Jennifer Lynch, the chief commissioner of the CHRC, on two overall options: amend Section 13 or throw it out.
Read the rest here.
Fifth, from Scaramouche: The censors come roaring back:
While Moon still thinks Sec. One Three should be revoked–oh, not because he’s against censorship per se, but because he doesn’t think it can do what it’s supposed to, i.e. “censor” the Internet–he remains a steadfast supporter of the “human rights” system. He is highly critical of Steyn and Levant and others, who are “spinning” the issue (It apparently doesn’t occur to the prof that he and Jen and their gang “spin” just as vigorously–only in the opposite direction). And he doesn’t like the tenor of the debate–or even the fact that there is a debate–and would prefer that we all knock it off and allow the “human rights” bunch to get back to the critical work of ridding their domain of “discrimination”.Well, what did you expect him to say?Another chap who has absolutely nothing new to add to the discussion but who can always be counted on to add his two cents worth because he likes hearing the sound of his own voice so much: Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Unlike Prof. Moon, Bernie remains convinced Section 13 must remain in place. Otherwise, Jews and other “vulnerable” minorities remain at risk from scary Aryans of the Third Reich ilk. Here’s what Bernie has to say, ironically, to Capitol News Online, another Steyn link (ironic not because of his words, but because Bernie and the other Official Jews want to lasso the Web and scrub it clean of unacceptable chatter–you know, like they do in China):Supporters of keeping the provision, such as Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, say it’s a necessary limit on free speech because the intent is to curb discrimination.“Don’t throw it out,” says Farber.He points to a 1990 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that upheld Section 13 as a justified limit on expression. The decision was in response to an appeal of a lower court ruling that found John Ross Taylor of the Western Guard Party in contravention for having pre-recorded hate messages on an answering machine…Farber wants a fix instead of a repeal because keeping hate speech in civil law actually softens the blow for offenders.“Civil remedies are far better than the criminal,” says Farber, because the civil order is to cease and desist with a potential fine whereas “a criminal finding leaves you with a record for the rest of your life.”So as I understand it, Bernie prefers the “civil” route because…he doesn’t want the likes of John Ross Taylor and his roto-dial-up hate line (how quaint it all seems today) to be saddled with a criminal record? M’kay.