June 7, 2008

"We're not entitled under the law the way it's structured to plead truth, fair comment, qualified privilege or intent or standards of journalism."

Canada's shame.

ADDED: Is this post too short? Sorry, the free speech issue is too blatantly obvious for me to have anything more to say. The substance of Steyn's opinion is irrelevant. Canada should be ashamed that its laws do not protect free speech and that it permits judicial proceedings like this.

61 comments:

AllenS said...

I can hardly wait for the first person to critize President Obama. Our standards of journalism aren't that great now. They certainly can get worse. Especially if there is a constant fear of being called a racist. Something that happens all too often now.

Padre Steve said...

No Obamination or we are headed in the same direction!

Michael McNeil said...

I notice that the reason (provided in this article) why the conservative-led government of Harper doesn't just repeal the relevant enabling law is because the requisite Liberal votes would not be forthcoming for passage, and thereafter they'd be able to harangue the conservatives with taunts such as “And then what human right will you take away tomorrow, Monsieur 'Arper?”

And yet, the fact that they have already, by this law, neutered the right of free speech doesn't embarrass them.

Pogo said...

And this is how the west commits suicide, substituting rules for principle, permitting groups that disdain you to use your tolerance as a weapon against your own.

Very sad to see Canada slowly be eroded into a nation governed by Sharia law.

It's happening before our eyes, and I'm not being overly dramatic.

knoxwhirled said...

Ordinary people who assume that our bureaucrats and public servants are basically honest basically good-willed people are stunned when they find out what goes on here.

What stuns me is that anyone, anywhere, still believes in bureaucrats or public servants. They are the most unaccountable group of any society.

Canadians--like Western Europeans--have become intimidated by petty complaints of Muslim activists in their midst. We better hope we're not the next ones to capitulate.

There's a video on youtube of Steyn debating 3 Muslim law students about this issue on Canadian TV. Very, very interesting to watch. Here's part 1 of 5:

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=ApcnpFCYd7E&feature=related

knoxwhirled said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApcnpFCYd7E&feature=related


sorry, don't know how to do links. so lame I know

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

It is interesting to me that Canada is starting to resemble other nations that are lauded for their 'right to health care' while lacking basic human rights such as free speech, e.g. the USSR, China, Cuba, Venezuela.

I wonder if there is some sort of connection between the expansion of government power for seemingly beneficent purposes and its subsequent decline into tyranny.

The Founders of the US certainly had such a notion in mind, but we lost that ideal ourselves under Wilson and FDR and LBJ.

Fen said...

Thanks Ann. Glad to see you are blogging this.

Are the email & snail mail addy's of these socialist pigs public? I'd like to exercise my free speech on them.

Superdad said...

"The Founders of the US certainly had such a notion in mind, but we lost that ideal ourselves under Wilson and FDR and LBJ."

So true but don't forget that Linclon and his "American System" or merchantilism help lay the foundation for Wilson, FDR and LBJ to so vastly increase the scope of the federal gov't.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that this is one of the advantages that we have, with a constitution written by a bunch of cynical utopians. So far, at least, analysis under the U.S. system is fairly cut and dried - Is it a government action? Then apply the 1st Amdt.

How long we can laugh at thte Canadians and Europeans in this area though is open for debate. There are plenty of places in this country that forget when applying alleged civil rights laws in just this fashion, that they are subject to that pesky amendment. This is a recurring theme over at Volokh.com, and esp. by Eugene there.

Trooper York said...

That's why all right thinking Americans should shun those filthy Canucks. They give us nothing but bad weather, toothless hockey player and an argument when we want to bomb some third world pisspot. Screw 'em, who needs them anyway. At least those nice Mexicans clean toilets and mow lawns without giving you a freakin' bullshit story.

Hazy Dave said...

Well, that's a little recursive. The Instapundit article linked above now links back to here. Vortices popping up all over with this unsettled Spring weather in the Midwest...

I've been reading the liveblogging all week at macleans.ca, and it's been quite interesting. Something like a student run politically correct campus speech enforcement committee hearing writ large, I should imagine.

Finally, at Friday noon, they noticed Coyne was liveblogging ("broadcasting") the proceedings, and asked him to stop. If anything but closed door deliberation occurred after lunch Friday, it hasn't been reported yet. FreeMarkSteyn should have updates.

But it sounds like Ezra Levant is promising a real circus when he gets hauled up in front of Alberta's tribunal. That first video on his site is choice. (He's being railroaded for republishing the "Mohammed cartoons" in the Western Standard.)

What was it Frank Zappa said? "It can't happen here..."

UWS guy said...

Nay! That scurrilous wag Hamilton and his dastardly banking and mercantile system hath caused these States united far more grievous wound. Woe! That Jefferson was out bested in his revolutionary fervor.

P. Rich said...

Steyn has commented at great length on the situation. Two points he and others have made:

-- Once you introduce the notion of group rights, as opposed to individual rights, you are on a slippery slope. The Democratic Party in this country lives off of victim-group politics.

-- Activists with a particular agenda gravitate deliberately toward areas of government which address those agendas. Eventually you end up with, say, an EPA or an Education department staffed with radical activists who want to impose their bizarre ideas on an entire country and finally have the leverage to accomplish it.

Solution: Small federal government, focus on only essential constitutional functions (no "education" departments or "environmental protection" agencies or "human rights" commissions or...), and return to basics such as individual rights. This should be the mantra of the Republican Party, but we have wandered.

downtownlad said...

Canadians enjoy a lot more freedom than Americans.

Canada has freedom of marriage. The United States does not.

Pornography is legal in Canada. In the United States, the Bush Administration is trying to convict people and imprison them for making porn.

in Canada, you can buy a sex toy. In Alabama, it puts you in jail.

The Canadian government says your are innocent until proven guilty. In the United States, they torture first and don't even give you a trial and keep you locked up forever.

In Canada, the government does not spy on its citizens. In the United States, the government monitors every phone call you make if the call is made outside of the country, without even having a warrant.

In Canada, you are allowed to say "I am gay" if you're in the military. In the Unites States, that will get you kicked out of the military.

Seems to me - that the United States has a hell of a lot more to be ashamed about.

downtownlad said...

Oh and I love how all of the hypocrites on this thread want the Canadian court to be ACTIVIST and overturn the laws of the legislature - which is what the people want.

Ann is aghast when the California Supreme Court rules in favor of freedom, but she horrified that the Canadian Court is not doing the same. One is freedom of marriage and the other is freedom of speech, but they are both about freedom.

Sorry - You can't have it both ways.

UWS guy said...

P. Rich: Group rights were an inevitabilty once it was determined that minority racial groups couldn't count on their neighbors to defend or local government to guarantee their individual rights.

So you can blame modern-day-democrats all you want, but the problem lies with the South, the racism therein. It's the price of having kept them in the Union.

UWS guy said...

downtown lad: Your use of the word "aghast" I think is wrong? It's a cognate of "horrified" not an opposite.

downtownlad said...

It's not wrong. Ann didn't think the California Supreme Court should have ruled in favor of legalised gay marriage. She thought they should have deferred to the laws on the books, despite the fact that those laws were unconstitutional and anti-freedom.

But in Canada - she wants them to overturn the will of the people.

downtownlad said...

I should clarify that I am in favor of maximum freedom.

Unlike Republicans - I don't cherry pick which freedoms are ok and which are not.

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UWS guy said...

If you were really in favor of freedom you'd look for moderates in the Republican party to come to your cause. Since you, with a rhetorical flourish, cast anyone who's not a Democrat antithetical to your cause, you seem more keen to be partisan than to be convincing. You make yourself part of the problem.

I still hold that the (para)phrase, "She is aghast when...BUT she horrified at..."

that this clunky and confusing as it puts aghast and horrified as two emotions that are opposites.

Palladian said...
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MadisonMan said...

you'd look for moderates in the Republican party

Anyone? Bueller?

SteveR said...

Those who don't learn from the present are condemmed to repeat it.

Pastafarian said...

DTL -- it's interesting that most of the precious rights that you feel have been abridged in the US center about that most cherished of human rights, the right to stuff whatever you want into your squeak hole.

The loss of rights in Canada is something a little more serious -- the right of political expression, one of the two fundamental rights (the other being the right to keep and bear arms) that ensure the continued existence of all other rights.

If you wanted to make a serious list of the erosion of rights in the US, you would want to start with campaign finance reform. It's not as extreme or Orwellian as Canada's Human Rights Gestapo, but like the Canadian problem, campaign finance reform is an abridgement of political speech.

D said...

It appears that the only way to solve this problem is to grab the Human Rights Commissioners, tar and feather them and ride the out of town on a rail.

I'm not using that as a metaphor.

UWS guy said...

--it's interesting that most of the precious rights that you feel have been abridged in the US center about that most cherished of human rights, the right of white women to stuff black men into their squeak holes. [loving vs. virginia 1967]

Sounds different doesn't it?

And really the 2nd Amendment? When was the last time the right to bear arms protected you personally against unwarranted searches by the police Pastafarian?

Your right to a jury of your peers is related to the second amendment how again? Women's suffrage?

I'm very pro-second amendment, but that line of reasoning, although popular, doesn't really mean anything outside of rhetoric.

PO'd said...

DTlad, you have no clue about what you're talking about.Freedom of marriage? Imposed by activist unaccountable judges, and opposed by 50% of Canadians. Porn being legal is not normally a national selling point, particularly when it results in becoming a sex tourism destination due to lax age of consent laws, recently changed from 14 to 16. Going to jail in certain states for buying sex toy is not a federal problem. Gov't "says" you're innocent? Gov't here says no such thing, and the proof of that is the existence of these " human rights" tribunals. These are opinion and thought suppression devices, created by social engineers,staffed by activists who believe you are guilty merely because you've been accused. And to actually believe the US gov't "monitors every phone call", whew, that takes some heavy duty paranoid fantasy. Look up "data mining" somewhere, that may help you understand what may happen to int'l phone traffic. Instead of listening in on our phones, they kick doors in at 0300 to bust law abiding firearms owners, suspected of letting their paperwork lapse.

P. Rich said...

UWS Guy said: "Group rights were an inevitabilty once it was determined that minority racial groups couldn't count on their neighbors to defend or local government to guarantee their individual rights."

I think it all depends on how you define the problem, and it helps to restrain the argument to one era. When the Civil War was fought, slavery was not illegal. In the 1960's, when the Civil Rights Law was passed, it was. That law was unnecessary, because it didn't accord any rights that blacks didn't already have. The problem was that existing federal laws weren't being enforced, much as immigration laws aren't today. And as with all special group rights, the eventual outcome is likely to be negative. Read Thomas Sowell on the "benefits" blacks have realized from the civil rights era and subsequent group politics.

This is the classic left-right debate. The former see big federal government and over-reaching laws tailored to groups as solutions. The latter see them as problems and want equal opportunity for all individuals and not mandated outcomes for certain designated victim groups.

PO'd said...

Also, DTLad, a former "human rights" prosecutor, now the only individual in the country to have filed sec.13 complaints and who has gotten rich from the settlements, has admitted under oath,he, along with other hrc investigators, hacked into a private citizen's wireless connection to hide his tracks, while trolling private blogs, and posting racist, even violent comments, to try to entrap the site owners for shakedown and/or hrc prosecutions. All under the auspices of gov't. If you honesty think we enjoy more freedom here, let's trade passports.

knoxwhirled said...

DTL sees gay marriage/rights as the barometer by which a country is to be judged. Nothing will ever change that.

rhhardin said...

It's all caused by news bunnies.

I'm not sure what might be meant by the standards of journalism, by the way.

Trooper York said...

In Canada you have the right to be a hoser and wear one of those hats with earflaps and you can marry an Eskimo. But in a lot of the time you have to do it in French. So let’s review, you have to deal with nasty supercilious people who refuse to talk to you unless you speak French. While freezing your balls off. Sounds like Paradise.

Zeb Quinn said...

Unlike Republicans - I don't cherry pick which freedoms are ok and which are not.

So you're saying you're a bigtime advocate for the unfettered right to bear arms, eh? Welcome home.

Steven said...

Bruce, having something written doesn't help that much. Not only does the whole thing violate Canada's Implied Bill of Rights, but it violates the clearly-written and fairly recent Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

David Davenport said...

Canada has freedom of marriage. The United States does not.

So polygamous marriages to thirteen year-old girls or boys are OK with you?

In Canada, you are allowed to say "I am gay" if you're in the military. In the Unites States, that will get you kicked out of the military.

We're so sad about that.

Fen said...

downtownlad said: blah hate america blah blah be more like Canada blah blah

No surprise that dtl sides with the facists. He's indicative of the type of weasels that make up these PCBS commitees.

Seerak said...

Bit by bit, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Left is not, and has never been, about "liberalism".

About all they have left is downtownlad's incredibly corrupt "reasoning" that somehow, because conservatives are also not about freedom, that makes their own profound illiberalism excusable.

Newsflash for downtownlad: you are not a friend of freedom. You can't be, if you don't know what it is -- and equivocating between "freedom of marriage" and freedom of speech, or treating the issue of gays in the military as somehow of equal importance with freedom of speech, well that just about clinches that.

If you knew what freedom was, you would have pointed out that "freedom of marriage" is but one instance of a wider freedom known as "freedom of association", a right which IS still recognized in America -- while in Canada, individuals lack the freedom of association in medical trade -- you go to jail for that (although I'm hoping that the Chaoulli case eventually helps to mitigate that particular socialistic evil).

If you knew what freedom was, you would not be defending Canada. I am an expatriate Canadian for a reason, sir. I would refer you to the "Charter of Rights and Freedoms" to see why in fact Canadians do not have the same freedoms as Americans do, not in principle. I would suggest that you read its opening paragraph. Then there is the infamous notwithstanding clause, which is essentially a "get out of the Constitution free" card for provincial and federal governments. That is the one that the province of Quebec uses to shield its notorious "language police" from such trifles as the freedom to communicate in the language of one's choice.... but if you are as incapable of thinking in terms of principles as your postings prove, you won't get it.

In America, individuals have rights that are being eroded around the edges (mainly by the Left, but conservatives are doing their fair share, no doubt). In Canada, individuals merely have a very long leash that is getting shorter.

I like the fact that gays can marry in Canada, but that's just a mere legalism -- gays have not been forcibly separated from each other in either country. But there are basic individual rights upon which all derivative freedoms, such as "freedom of marriage", depend -- and freedom of thought, of communications and of association are among them. Without those rights, there can be no freedoms of any sort, period. You might as well trade away your heart and lungs for a nose job, see what good that does you.

The Steyn case is not the same sort of picayune erosion around the edges of the core right, as the gay marriage bans are -- it is a direct assault on the principle itself. Where gay marriage could be called the beginning of a slippery slope, the Steyn case illustrates what awaits you at the bottom of that slope.

When the religionists start pusing for the return of arranged marriages, then perhaps the two examples will be commensurate.

Until then, downtownlad, if you really want to be taken seriously as being "in favor of maximum freedom", I suggest you learn what freedom really means -- and quit that tired old Leftist tu quoque BS while you are at it.

Palladian said...

Excellent comment Seerak and others but downtownlad is soooo not worth it. Like an ape in a circus cage, he's a shit slinger and nothing more. Actually, except for the shit slinging, he's really not much like an ape, since apes are intelligent and interesting.

Moon Rattled said...

Mark Steyn is indeed Canada's shame. I wish he would move to your country, but alas, he seems to enjoy the public health care system after all.

knoxwhirled said...

You might as well trade away your heart and lungs for a nose job, see what good that does you.

Let's leave titus out of this

Moon Rattled said...

Gah, so many of the commenters here are right wingnut ignoramuses who know not the first thing about Canada or its constitution nor, apparently, do they know the first thing about the erosion of civil liberties in their own country after Bush. If I were Ann I'd be embarrassed by this fanbase, but then Ann's been a Republican nutter since forever so there's no surprise here.

Ann Althouse said...

downtownlad said..."It's not wrong. Ann didn't think the California Supreme Court should have ruled in favor of legalised gay marriage. She thought they should have deferred to the laws on the books, despite the fact that those laws were unconstitutional and anti-freedom."

Please cite the post that makes you think that's correct. I can't find it, and I can't remember writing any such thing.

SteveR said...

I see you don't have to be right-winged to be an ignoramous. And I didn't have to look far.

TMink said...

See your future.

Don't Be Your Future.

Trey

Ralph said...

I thought Steyn is a Canadian-born British subject who lives in New Hampshire.
knowwhirled, I keep this How to Link link in my favorites. The tricky part is remembering the second " after you cut&paste the URL.

Ralph said...

Even trickier is typing "knoxwhirled."

ruleswatch said...

Easy.

Julian Porter is a lawyer. He has a client. In a contentious situation. A formula for scrupulous objectivity?

Mark Steyn is a writer. With principles. With a principles-brand to support.

Whether or not this complaint is sustained or sustainable remains to be seen.

But the Canadian Human Rights system, characteristically underfunded and chronically over-worked has performed a remarkable, educating, legitimizing function across the country.

On closer examination it has internal checks, external checks in the form of judicial review, offers remarkable free assistance to advance human rights to many people who otherwise never afforded and have helped to embed protect fundamental Canadian values.

Before throwing the system under the bus we should be taking a closer look at the law that sets up and governs these bodies.

We might be surprised!

rcocean said...

Canadians, they even make fascism boring.

Palladian said...

I know, it's like Brazil without the menace.

Steve said...

Per RulesWatch: "On closer examination it has internal checks, external checks in the form of judicial review, offers remarkable free assistance to advance human rights to many people who otherwise never afforded and have helped to embed protect fundamental Canadian values."

OK. Um, regardless of anyone's position on gay rights, or freedom of religion, to wonder whether the Alberta tribunal disagrees with the statement above.
http://ezralevant.com/2008/06/what-could-mark-steyns-punishm.html

Hector Owen said...

The Canadian Bill of Rights. Sounds good at the beginning, but as you read on through you see it has so many weaselly exceptions that it's a statement of good intentions, not actual bright-line law. John Diefenbaker's Canadian Pledge:

I am a Canadian,
free to speak without fear,
free to worship in my own way,
free to stand for what I think right,
free to oppose what I believe wrong,
or free to choose those
who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom
I pledge to uphold
for myself and all mankind.

Now, that's good: "speak without fear."

A newer version:

I pledge my loyalty to Canada,
And the freedom which it's democracy brings,
Provinces, territories and first peoples,
United equal and strong.
A country of rich colourful history and diversity,
Having many differences,
But one, unique, nation,
Upholding the rights and responsibilities,
Of all its people.

It says nothing about anything much; goes along with the Human Rights Commissions and such like. Soft slide into, not fascism exactly, but abdication of any defense of the rights of individuals.

Steve said...

Apologies for bad link. It's under Ezra Levant's blog http://ezralevant.com/
It's the 6/6 4:50pm post.

OldGrouchy said...

Laws meant to engineer social behavior will do us in. Minneapolis, God bless my home town, is passing/did pass, a law forbidding idling a car for more than 3-minutes, unless it's Zero outside, when it may be idled for up to 15-minutes, in the theory that such idling is wasteful and pollutes. Next up is a law to forbid advertising cigars inside a store that sells them.

Next will be a law that forbids criticizing the Messiah unless one is talking about Jesus Christ, in which case, shoot that imposter down; he's no Obama!

What do we do, as a nation, when we're no longer hardy Americans but merely wimpy citizens of a greater world of which we are a major irritant.

Perhaps another way of expressing my disdain for coming social trends is to ask: Who will preside over the investment of President for Life Obama? Or, was Nikita right?

PatCA said...

It seems to me that in their own way, these self-appointed guardians of good, the entire activist class, hold more than a few unpleasant characteristics of the mad rabble that followed the French Revolution.

Who will be the first to be destroyed by today's mob of self-righteous tyrants?

PelaLusa said...

Greetings to all from Vancouver, BC on Canada's Left Coast! I'm ecstatic that you're all following this Kangaroo Court Nightmare as closely as you are. It has been a major embarrassment for me and for any other Canadians who actually care about Free Speech. You might be surprised to find out how many don't, doubly so because it's Mark Steyn involved. Sad and pathetic.

Anyhow, there's a new development, one for which I hope you're both sitting in a stable chair and have not hot liquids close by.

A "Journalism" Professor from the prestigious Ryerson School of Journalism in Toronto, has just published a long diatribe ... wait for it ... AGAINST Mark Steyn and Maclean's and fully in support of the complainants. I've carefully outlined everything here.

God help us!

Revenant said...

Amusingly enough, despite the fact that Canadian journalists can be put on trial for accurate reporting of unclassified public-domain information, Reporters Without Borders still ranks Canada as having more press freedom than the United States.

Which says more about RWB's visceral dislike of America than it does about freedom.

Fen said...

MoonBat: Mark Steyn is indeed Canada's shame.

Ha. We'll trade you 20 Maureen Dowd's for 1 Steyn. Best op-ed writer I've ever read.

he seems to enjoy the public health care system after all.

I doubt he enjoys waiting in line 12 months to get medical treatment. Tell ya what, in addition to the 20 Dowd's, we'll send back every Canadian who's fled here to seek quality medical care... but you have to supply the buses.


Gah, so many of the commenters here are right wingnut ignoramuses who know not the first thing about... the erosion of civil liberties in their own country after Bush.

Vague unsupported assertions. Erosion of civil liberties, the Constitution has been suspended!. Total bullshit. If there was any truth to your desperate attempt to draw equivalence, you would be able to provide specific examples.

If I were Ann I'd be embarrassed by this fanbase, but then Ann's been a Republican nutter since forever so there's no surprise here.

Ah yes, you even threw in an Appeal to Conformity. Why not simply announce that you have no real argument? Idiot.

PelaLusa said...

People like Moonbat always remind me of something Dennis Miller periodically talks about. In times past, when he was considered a "leftie", everyone on the left use to love him and think he was a comic genius. But since Sept. 2001 his views on a few issues (I repeat, A FEW) have changed.

Ever since, he has been ostracized by some and roundly hate by many more on the left. Being the thoughtful person he is, he reflected on this phenomenon deeply and came to the conclusion that so-called "Open Minded Progressives" are anything but. They love to use such labels to describe themselves but in the quiet of their own minds, they know it's false advertising.

Incidentally, for any of you interested, Mark Steyn has taken some much needed time off after this horrendous travesty of justice in Kangcouver, Kanuckistan.