January 13, 2008

"The government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures."

We should talk about Ezra Levant. (Via Instapundit.)

47 comments:

rhhardin said...

There's chair-size inequality too.

Middle Class Guy said...

I saw this and the second part. He should be commended for standing his ground and laying into the government "persecutor". Sadly, this is slowly happening here.

Corky Boyd said...

While this incredible story is getting the play it deserves among US bloggers, I see very little reference to Canadians challenging the government's right to ban politically incorrect speech.

Unless the Canadians themselves challenge this, there will be no freedom of speech in Canada.

AJ Lynch said...

I'd vote for a candidate like this guy. Is he running for anything? He represents the way Americans used to think!

George said...

Love the painting.

rcocean said...

Wasn't Mark Steyn threatened with Canadian Legal action for something he wrote? Shocking how reactionary Canada is(in the worse sense of the word).

But still Canada isn't handing out 1 year prison sentences for denying the holocaust or saying the world is flat - like Austria. So get to work Canada.

LarsPorsena said...

Hey!! but they have great healthcare.

There is also a blogger in England named Lionheart who is under threat of arrest for the same offense.

The dhimmi left working hand in glove with the jahadis.

Paco Wové said...

"Wasn't Mark Steyn threatened with Canadian Legal action for something he wrote?"

Not exactly. A Canadian magazine, Macleans, published an excerpt from Steyn's book, and now the magazine is ensnared in the same quasi-judicial system as Mr. Levant. (Summary here.)

The Drill SGT said...

Ezra has posted 4 segments from his Star Chamber proceeding. Apparently he has 6 more postings to go. Thus far they have been riveting.

This tape should be required in evry J-school (not that there should be J-schools :) and Law school in Canada (US too).

He understands...

Paco Wové said...

"We should talk about Ezra Levant."

Yes, we should. I think most Americans who are aware of this are astonished that these sorts of goings-on are permitted up north. I often wonder just how much loss of liberty Canadians will endure in the name of inoffensiveness and multiculturalism.

dave in boca said...

The moral inversion of implicitly approving or commending the violent reactionaries' right to spew hatred about a cartoon while punishing the person who exercised what more advanced democracies call freedom of speech [It's in the UN Declaration of Rights of Man & the US Constitution] is obvious.

Besides intellectual cowardice, the spineless Tory slaves of British monarchs are guilty of ridiculous silliness.

Too bad the Levellers to our North are such dullards, or we might actually take them seriously.

Sofa King said...

Echoes of Roark.

Sofa King said...

Echoes of Roark.

John Kindley said...

I'd love to hear that same formula used more often by U.S. citizens: "The government has no legal or moral authority to [insert favorite oppression]."

Bob said...

Somewhere the ghost of Thomas Paine is raising a glass in tribute. Well done, sir.

AlphaLiberal said...

It is fun and refreshing to note I just watched this same video over at Glenn Greenwald's blog. He's about as critical as he gets over this. He refers to the video as "stomach-turning."

Yeah, sounds like our fellow North Americans have gone off the tracks with this stuff.

But Greenwald also points out those Americans who want to narrow speech rights, as well:
'Down that ugly path lies people like Newt Gingrich, openly advocating that the First Amendment be narrowed considerably to exclude advocacy of "radical Islam" as a means of combating terrorism.'

AlphaLiberal said...

So does Canada have a group like ACLU who will stand up against unpopular erosions of constitutional liberties?

Paco Wové said...

"So does Canada have a group like ACLU who will stand up against unpopular erosions of constitutional liberties?"

There is the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. They seem to be preoccupied with getting some murderer's sentance reduced, though.

Just curious, A-Lib. Can you you even take a dump without reflexively lashing out at some conservative bogeyman?

mcg said...

It is fun and refreshing to note I just watched this same video over at Glenn Greenwald's blog. He's about as critical as he gets over this. He refers to the video as "stomach-turning."

Yes, it is refreshing, until you get to the part where he engages in sickening moral equivalency. And no, I'm not talking about the section you quoted, AL, which I actually think is fair. I think it is reasonable for Glenn to help readers across the political spectrum understand why Ezra's fight should be important to everyone.

I am instead talking about this (boldface mine):

People like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are some of the most pernicious commentators around. But equally pernicious, at least, are those who advocate laws that would proscribe and punish political expression, and those who exploit those laws to try use the power of the State to impose penalties on those expressing "offensive" or "insulting" or "wrong" political ideas. The mere existence of the "investigation," interrogation, and proceeding itself is a grotesque affront to every basic liberty.

Now that ought to raise some bile. No, Mr. Greenwald. It is not "equally pernicious, at least". It is definitely, indisputably, without question, without equivocation, without softening, "far, far more pernicious": so much so that even this attempt at comparison trivializes the magnitude of Canada's sin here.

Steven said...

Ministry of Truth
Ministry of Plenty
Ministry of Peace
Ministry of Love
Human Rights Commission.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I had an odd reaction: somehow I didn't find Levant's smug self-righteousness any easier to take just because he was in the right.

Maguro said...

"Yeah, sounds like our fellow North Americans have gone off the tracks with this stuff."

Interesting turnabout. Weren't you threatening to move to Canada a few days ago over a free speech issue?

john said...

Paul Zrimsek -
I felt the same way. In some ways, he is making Shirley McGovern appear as the calm rational person. We don't get to hear her talk (maybe in other video she does, I haven't watched all of them yet). Her own words could be the most powerful indictment of the AHRC.

He has a problem in that in trying to "delegitimize" the AHRC through argument, he might inadvertently be doing the opposite. By sitting across the table from McGovern and expounding at length his view of the injustice, he has already legitimized the process.

On the other hand, if he refused to even take part in this kangaroo court, he has ceded the contest. It is not a satisfying situation, even if he prevails, whatever that might mean to him.

It is better that the AHRC self destructs from its own internal contradictions, but that's not a likely scenario.

mcg said...

Well, there is no doubt that Mr. Levant chose a very dramatic approach. However, I think it would have been entirely ineffective for him to have simply participated in the hearing in a totally passive and submissive manner. It was important, in my view, that he press on the issue that the process is illegitimate from the start, as were her various questions. So I suppose he could have toned it down a bit; no, let me say, he definitely could have toned it down a bit. But go too far with that and the hearing would have lost its ability to illuminate us to the larger problem.

reader_iam said...

Shirley McGovern, by her very participation in such a hideous "investigation," has already demonstrated that she is an irrational (among other things) person. "Calm" is not in and of itself a virtue--hideous things can be done calmly.

I couldn't possibly have more contempt for this type of undertaking in a so-called free society.

Simon said...

AlphaLiberal said...
"It is fun and refreshing to note I just watched this same video over at Glenn Greenwald's blog. He's about as critical as he gets over this. He refers to the video as "stomach-turning.""

I can see why he'd be sickened - how dare that guy stand up against multiculturalism! I don't know what's funnier, that Greenwald thinks what Gingrich said is comparable, or that he doesn't realize that in the Brave New World Greenwald is commmitted to, he's the Ministry of Truth, not Winston.

AlphaLiberal said...
"So does Canada have a group like ACLU who will stand up against unpopular erosions of constitutional liberties?"

The ACLU doesn't stand up against unpopular erosions of constitutional liberties, it stands up against popular erosions of constitutional liberties. It'd have no need to exist if the former, because unpopular erosions of constitutional liberties are remedied at the ballot box.

Does Canada even have a Constitution? I suddenly realize that I have no idea.

john said...

As ususual I spoke too soon. Watch the Utube video "Entitled to my opinion?". The unintended irony in her final statement is too rich.

Maybe this commission can self destruct after all.

reader_iam said...

john: Excellent! I LOVE that final exchange.

Here's the link to that video.

Andrew Shimmin said...

I don't think his anger served him well. The points he made were clear and strong, the first time through, but he repeats himself, and rambles a bit.

He also doubles back on himself, seeking to prove that he's not a racist, or an anti-muslim bigot, after explicitly saying that it's none of the HRC's bloody business whether he is one, or not. Which is it?

It's a good fight; he should trust his principles more, and his tongue a little less. To the extent that this plays as some verbose, shouty man haranguing a not-obviously-offensive woman, it does him no favor. Watching him reminded me of Scott Ritter--he has the same perpetual high dudgeon delivery.

The Drill SGT said...

RIA,

He has posted more. Parts 5 and 6.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The anger's OK, under the circumstances. What annoys me is how pleased he sounds with himself.

paul a'barge said...

You Canadians are just complete mutts if you put up with this stuff.

You are all standing about six inches away from the edge of the fascism precipice and acting like your nearest problems are miles away.

You people have not freedom of speech and you do not live in a free society and every one of you Canadians should be mortally ashamed of yourselves.

Even 5 year old children in America know better than you.

Beth said...

Does Canada even have a Constitution? I suddenly realize that I have no idea.

Good question, Simon. I was wondering that myself. I have only some anecdotal memories to indicate they don't have an equivalent of our First Amendment. One involves something I read on boingboing.net a year or two back about some Canadian gov't scandal that wasn't being covered in the Canadian press, under an order from the government. And back in the 1980s, I remember that publishers of books aimed at gay and lesbian audiences often had trouble getting their products through customs in Canada to gay and lesbian bookstores there. I'm not talking about porn, either; sappy romance novels, non-fiction stuff, all sorts of things got thrown out at the border.

Blame Canada!

I am not familiar with Ezra Levant, but the idea of a Human Rights Commission calling any writer or publisher to heel is repugnant. Even Libertarians publishing Mein Kampf.

Smilin' Jack said...

I think he undercuts himself somewhat by claiming he doesn't have to have to make an argument, and then making one at rather tiresome length.

It might be better to refuse all cooperation with the HRC (even the initials seem sinister, for some reason....) Don't go to any hearings, just very publicly defy them. If they impose a fine, refuse to pay it. Force them to the point where they either have to back down or put him in jail. I doubt they'd have the stomach for the latter, but if they do, take the case to the UN and Amnesty International, organize boycotts of Canadian products in the U.S.,etc. When Canada reaches the threshold of political and economic pain, the HRCs will permanently disappear.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Canada: Freedom of Speech succumbing to Kangaroo Courts of the Human Rights Commission

Proceedings against Ezra Levant are nothing short of ridiculous, but let's consider the implications for moderate Muslims. This "investigation" will further divide Muslims and non-Muslims in Canada. It will give credence to radicals' claims that the West is at war with Islam. It will antagonize non-Muslims and radicalize moderate Muslims. Regardless of the outcome, once again Islamists skillfully manipulated Dhimmi justice system and came out as clear winners. Thank you, Human Right Commission!

john said...

MAS -

Thank you. Well spoken, and worth saying.

And thanks for the blog link too.

pst314 said...

"back in the 1980s, I remember that publishers of books aimed at gay and lesbian audiences often had trouble getting their products through customs in Canada"

Wasn't that in part thanks to the efforts of famous femi-nazi Andrea Dworkin and the legal theories that she promulgated and that leftie politicians embraced?

Beth said...

pst314,

What's a "femi-nazi"? Something you heard on the radio?

I have no idea why Canada went after queer literature. Did Dworkin work in Canada? Are you under the impression that there were no anti-porn laws before Dworkin? Or that queer bookstores never experienced censorship before Dworkin?

Beth said...

I should add that I have rejected the positions on porn that came from Dworkin, or more accurately, Catherine MacKinnon. I wouldn't be surprised if you're right that their arguments influenced the Canadian policy, since the timing is about right (mid-80s to early 90s). At that time I put myself in the First Amendment feminists' camp, and that's my continuing position. It seemed obvious to me at the time that any crackdown on porn as broad as those two argued for would be used against queers and women. And it was incredibly stupid strategy to pal up with the social conseratives.

Simon said...

Muslims Against Sharia said...
"Regardless of the outcome, once again Islamists skillfully manipulated Dhimmi justice system and came out as clear winners."

That's an interesting slip of the tongue. The radicals manipulated the Canadian justice system - Canada, the host country which even the moderates choose to cast as a Dhimmi population. "The term connotes an obligation of the state to protect the individual, including the individual's life, property, and freedom of religion and worship, in exchange for 'subservience and loyalty to the Muslim order.'" Is this how you see non-muslims in Canada, and if not, why refer to Canada's legal system in that way?

Kirk Parker said...

Simon,

And here I was giving MAS the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that "Dhimmi" was meant sarcastically (though, in the case of the HRC, not undeservedly.)

Kirk Parker said...

In fact, if you look at the burka'd Statue of Liberty on their site, with the caption "Just say no to liberty / just say no to freedom / The Dhimmi Award", I'm pretty sure my initial take is the correct one.

Father Martin Fox said...

I think we Americans had better fortify ourselves for facing similar assaults.

After all, our political class, via all three branches of the federal government, ably assisted by the major media, academia, and many other opinion shapers, have gone after political speech via so-called "campaign finance reform." The proud author, Sen. John McCain, has a good shot at the GOP nomination, while another supporter of it is supposedly coming up "on the right" (Thompson).

Before the left pins this one on the right, remember Hilary voted for it, as did most Democrats, and really, how much outspoken liberal/left criticism has there been of this?

The Supreme Court may yet save us from this, but if so, will it be because of justices that the left wouldn't have confirmed? My point isn't to pin this on the left, only to show how both parties are about equally culpable.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Simon,

This is not a "slip of the tongue". If Canadian justice system is used to punish Free Speech of the infidels while protecting hate speech of Islamic radicals, it is a clear indication that Canada is moving towards Dhimmitude. That's a neutral observation. If you want to know what our position is, you can figure it out by visiting our site.

Simon said...

Father Martin Fox said...
"The Supreme Court may yet save us from this, but if so, will it be because of justices that the left wouldn't have confirmed? My point isn't to pin this on the left, only to show how both parties are about equally culpable."

It's a colossal failure, but at least it's a colossal bipartisan failure. ;) My reading of Roberts and Alito is that they are very interested - albeit for reasons different to mine - in restoring the basic ground rules for constitutional litigation to the pre-Warren Court days. To that end, they have a keener interest in standing, they seem very interested in deciding only as much as the decision of the case before them requires, and they seem interested in limiting the use of broad pre-enforcement facial challenges. So in WRTL last term, there wasn't any need to overrule McConnell so they didn't (cf. Carhart, or Watson this term), but on the other hand, when the resolution of the case does demand directly overruling a precedent, they're willing to do so (e.g. Bell Atlantic or Leegin). With all this in mind, it's hard to know whether they'll actually overrule McConnell and throw out BCRA directly - my guess is that they would far prefer to nibble away at it in individual cases, not because they agree with McConnell (or because they think BCRA is sound), but because of how they view the role of the judiciary. This is also bad news for those who hope they're going to overrule Roe, by the way.

The only concern I have about McCain as President is whether he will use support for BCRA as a litmus test for judicial appointments. There are very few acceptable candidates for the Supreme Court who are willing to defend BCRA on the merits, but on the other hand, I think you could probably find someone who is acceptable who would say "I think it was wrongly decided, but I think it's close enough that stare decisis would sustain it." And maybe that's enough.

XWL said...

I say fight fire with fire, I demand a hearing before the Ontario Human Rights Commission!

Methadras said...

I realize that Canadian laws regarding who does or does not get offended at something someone says, does, prints, or publishes an be somewhat outrageous, but to actually see it in these videos is another thing entirely.

I don't know of a single instance in this country where anyone; citizen or journalist was hauled before a federally sanctioned commission of some kind to be questioned and defend their speech. We just assume in this country that this couldn't happen like it's been happening in Canada for quite a while and this only goes to the utter discrediting of the leftist tripe that has been allowed to pass for law in that country. All for the sake of protecting minorities or anyone else for perceived injustices, slights, offense, or anything that is considered a disparagement. This is why political correctness adjoined to multiculturalism is anathema to free peoples anywhere in the world and when government employ these tactics as a matter of policies of protection, they must be fought and torn down. In essence, I blame leftism and to a large degree leftists for allowing Canada, our great northern neighbor to the north to become such a leftist enclave. I hope they fight this crap tooth and beer.