Ezra Levant & Mark Steyn vs the idiotic Yuman Rites Circus

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An open letter to the BC-HRC
from James Cohen

You have set real human rights in Canada back centuries.

Torquemada would be proud of you. Your destruction of rights that matter coupled with your horrifying bias evident in selective enforcement, as Marc Lebuis demonstrated so beautifully when he tried to take a real hate speech artist, the Imam in Montreal to the HRC, makes you also cowards preferring to take on people you have no fear will actually fight you back in any meaningful way. http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/1569/128/
In a nutshell BC-HRC, you are a disgusting travesty and mockery of all that is right, of all that is just. You need to be exposed for the anti-rights people you are in every conceivable way. You are anti-Canadian, and fascist in any meaningful definition of that term, as your arbitrary and post-hoc determinations of what can, or cannot be said in any given circumstance defines big brotherism at its very worst.
I will do all I can to expose you for what you are. A true, modern, horror story.
Below, Ezra Levant on this newest travesty of yours. Look for this interview at the International Free Press Society website.
James Cohen
Ottawa Canada
Carthago delenda est.

– Cato

The CHRC’s are most certainly Carthage in this instance.

4 thoughts on “Ezra Levant & Mark Steyn vs the idiotic Yuman Rites Circus”

  1. Think that’s offensive, commissar? Then hear this…

    Mark Steyn starts:
    Last week, Commissar Murray Geiger-Adams of the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal pronounced stand-up comic Guy Earle guilty of the novel “human rights” crime of putting down lesbian hecklers in a homophobic manner.

    The judgement is horrifying in its presumption, it’s arbritrariness, its contempt for free speech, its disdain for a certain old-fashioned thing called “proof” and its sheer sense of Call me God. But Steyn’s column – unusually angry – does all that’s required to punish the wicked and this enemy of freedom.

    Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth
    TUESDAY, 10 MAY 2011
    If you wanted to confirm the notion that elections are a waste of time, you could hardly do it more swiftly than the new Canadian Conservative majority government is with its omnibus crime bill. Clause Five criminalizes the “hyperlink” – that’s to say, if you include a link to a site “where hate material is posted”, you could go to jail for two years.

    I don’t recall this figuring as a policy proposal during the election campaign. I would imagine that almost no Tory voter is in favour of the proposal: The vast majority would be either opposed or indifferent, or bewildered as to why it’s happening at all. After all, at the last Conservative conference, the vote to scrap Section 13 was unanimous.

    That last one – why’s it happening? – is easy to answer. It’s happening because it’s the kind of remorseless incremental annexation of individual liberty to which the permanent bureaucracy has become addicted. And, as I always say, the lesson of the post-Second World War west is that you don’t need a presidency-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life. It’s an outrageous law, poorly written. For example, you might link to a harmless bit of fluff at blandpap.com, but two years later somebody might have posted some “hate material” in a far corner of that site that you’ve never read and have never linked to. Tough. As the typically crappily drawn law currently stands, you’re guilty of a crime. Richard Warman, Canada’s leading Internet Nazi, has pronounced SteynOnline a “hate site” (and sued Blazing Cat Fur for linking to it). Suppose you’re some harmless little jazz site and you link to one of my Song of the Week columns. Too bad. You might have thought you were linking to something about George Shearing or Johnny Mercer, but deep within the site is “hateful material” about Richard Warman’s Nazi activities or Warren Kinsella’s Sinophobic jokes. So you’re looking at two years in the slammer.

    Who’ll determine what’s “hateful material”? Three types of people: Weird self-aggrandizing creeps like Warman; ambitious social engineers like the BCHRT judges who just fined a stand-up comic 15 grand for putting down a heckler homophobically; and just plain stupid bureaucrats, like Shirlene McGovern, who “investigated” Ezra Levant at Alberta taxpayers’ expense for years and couldn’t be bothered to learn the differences between the real Mohammed cartoons and the fake ones. None of these people is qualified to tell you how to live – or whom to link to. Yet they will. Because to them it’s entirely natural to do so, regardless of which party is in power. And, on those rare occasions when a nominally right-of-centre party finds itself with a parliamentary majority, enough of its members are inclined to string along. There’s so much of this stuff around it’s barely “ideological”: it’s just the zeitgeist, the air we breathe, isn’t it?

    At the tail end of the Cold War, I used to meet charming, intelligent eastern Europeans and wonder how they could live as they did. How could an educated citizenry not chafe under daily tyranny? I remember one of them – an amusing Hungarian cynic – explaining it to me: For most people, “rights” are theoretical. After all, how many rights do you actively need to avail yourself of to get through the day? To do your job, buy some dinner, watch a little TV. Maybe “free speech” is a big deal if you want to be a poet or a playwright, but for the rest of us, not so much so. And he gave a Mitteleuropean shrug.

    I was aghast. But I wouldn’t be today. Why not criminalize the hyperlink? After all, as that Hungarian might have said, how many hyperlinks does the average Canadian need to get through the day? What does one more concession to statism really matter?

    No government, least of all one that purports to be “conservative”, should pass this legislation. The presence of Geert Wilders on Canadian soil and the pitiful airbrushing of even mildly approving pieces about him remind us of the increasingly cowed state of our public discourse. We need more speech, more liberty, not less. If this law passes, I shall break it as a point of principle. A hyperlink is not an act of approval, but an act of sourcing: It says to the reader I trust you to go to the source and make an informed judgment. In denying that freedom to the citizen, the state couldn’t be more explicit in its contempt for you.

    [UPDATE: Denyse O’Leary has an excellent post on this topic, listing three key errors that people who want a future make.]

    [UPPERDATE: Her Britannic Majesty’s former ambassador, Charles Crawford, has some thoughts, too.]

  3. Just about any link to YouTube might qualify as a link to a site “where hate material is posted”. How about a search engine result, such as:

    “islamic hate site”

    Islamic hate site says Spencer is like a “cancer” that must be …
    17 Nov 2010 … An Islamic hate site that offers excuses for jihad terror and windy pseudo-refutations, rife with errors of fact and logic, of my work has …

    FBI investigating Muslim hate website – Jihad Watch
    1 Feb 2005 … Weblog about jihad theology and ideology, correcting popular …

    Islamic Hate Site RevolutionMuslim.Com Shut Down After South Park …
    2 Mar 2010 … Thursday, April 22, 2010 Theo Van Gogh – Have Matt Stone And Trey Parker Forgotten This? South Park Aired Episode Insulting The Prophet …

    (I wasn’t expecting to find Jihad Watch with those terms)

  4. Canadian Human Rights Commission Goes After Free Speech
    by Adam Daifallah
    June 22, 2011 at 5:00 am

    One of the greatest protections Americans have against Islamists, and the threat they pose, are the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. Never take them for granted, for most countries, even some Western allies, do not benefit from such a bulwark against illiberal forces.

    In Canada, for instance, freedom of speech is not constitutionally guaranteed to the same degree it is in America. And those wishing for a glimpse into how forces sympathetic to Islamism will try to influence (read: stifle) public debate about the Muslim faith should be aware of recent Canadian experiences.

    The weapon of choice for those attempting to muzzle Muslim critics in public fora isn’t guns, but rather the bureaucratic mechanisms of the state – more specifically, entities known as “human rights commissions.” And their victims are free speech and media commentators like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant.

    But be careful. The name is a misnomer. These organizations have little to do with protecting “human rights” at all. They are quasi-judicial, politically-correct bodies that have the authority to pursue anyone if a complaint is made based on one of the “prohibited grounds of discrimination” listed in the enabling legislation — race, ethnic origin, age and sex, for example. The law goes on to state specific examples of illegal discrimination, such as communicating anything that “is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”

    Standard rules of procedure and due process are not followed, and just about any complaint is admissible for consideration – as long as the feeling of being wronged is there.

    The list of cases that have been heard by the commission’s tribunals is baffling – as are their rulings, which almost always come down on the side of the plaintiff. (To cite just one egregious example, a British Columbia human rights tribunal ruled in favor of a McDonalds employee who refused to wash her hands.)

    Those who originally conceived of the human rights commissions never intended for them to be used to limit speech.

    They have strayed far from their original purpose, which was to protect minorities from discrimination in situations like job hiring and renting an apartment.

    Two well-known Canadian journalists have found themselves in the crosshairs of these commissions – for discussing Islam. Ezra Levant, a conservative commentator who now hosts his own national TV show, had the temerity in February 2006 to republish the infamous series of Danish cartoons of Muhammad in the pages of his now-defunct magazine, the Western Standard.

    Levant thought he was simply reporting on an issue that was making news. That was his job. But a complaint was filed at the Alberta Human Rights Commission by activist Syed Soharwardy, who claimed the Danish drawings were offensive towards Islam and Muslims. In his grievance, Soharwardy alleged he and his family had been subject to “violence, hate and discrimination” because the cartoons were republished. Amid an outcry from people of all political and religious beliefs (including Muslims), Soharwardy eventually withdrew his action. But it wasn’t until after Levant spent tens of thousands of dollars, and wasted countless hours, defending himself against this assault.

    The next target was Mark Steyn, one of Canada’s best known leaders of thought. Steyn published an article in Macleans, a newsweekly, called ‘The future belongs to Islam,’ which was an excerpt of his best-selling book America Alone. The Canadian Islamic Congress filed a complaint to the British Columbia, Ontario, and Canadian Human Rights Commissions, accusing Steyn and Macleans of spreading “hatred and Islamophobia” in the book excerpt and 21 other articles published over a two year period.

    The Ontario and Canadian commissions rightly declined to hear the case, although the latter issued what amounted to a guilty verdict without trial in its statement, noting that it “strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims” in the magazine. The British Columbia commission heard the case and ruled in favor of the defendants.

    The persecution of these commentators, as ridiculous as they were, has served a useful purpose. Before these sagas, most people had never heard of these commissions – and many of those who had weren’t aware of the dangerously far-reaching powers. It brought together people of different political stripes – many on the left were just as outraged as those on the right. And it put into sharp relief the extent to which radical Islam will go to silence critics.

    Keith Martin, a Canadian member of parliament (he has since retired) from the Liberal party, proposed to change the legislation that creates the national commission to remove the section that enables press persecution.

    “In an open and liberal democracy, we have a right to be protected from hate speech, but we do not have a right to not be offended,” Martin said. The proposed legislation didn’t become law before the last election, but hopefully someone will reintroduce it in the Canadian parliament.

    It is important for all those devoted to free speech and pluralism to be aware of the Canadian experience. Human rights commissions, or various incarnations thereof, exist in America, so watch out.

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