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Monday, August 25, 2008

Levant gets an apology from Fast Forward Weekly

Fast Forward Weekly issued an apology to Ezra Levant and the “Western Standard community” for publishing a letter-to-the-editor in 2007 that claimed, among other things, that Levant misused company funds to travel.

In an unsigned letter, Fast Forward Weekly wrote “In particular, we recognize that as a publisher Mr. Levant would have gone to all efforts to promote and improve the Western Standard, locally, nationally and internationally, including ensuring that any use of company funds was appropriate. Any suggestion to the contrary was based on the opinion of the author of the letter and Fast Forward Weekly does not share those views.”

The offending letter was written by a former employee of the Western Standard after the Western Standard announced that it was shutting down its print edition in October 2007. The former employee has refused to apologize for the letter and the defamation matter is now headed for court.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on August 25, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink

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Your headline should read: PROOF EZRA LEVANT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN A FREE PRESS

The fact that he not only went after the author of the letter, but went after a newspaper for publishing it, shows he has no respect for a free press. So does he think that a publisher has an obligation to check the content of every letter they publish and only publish ones they can verify and endorse the truth of? Or should a letters page be a venue for people to present various opinions on subjects?

That Ezra thinks he should be able to force FFWD to be responsible for the content of letters puts a clear chill on what sorts of letters a paper might print. Remember that this is the same Ezra Levant who ridiculed the fact that the Red Deer Advocate was forced to endure a similar situation for a letter they published. It seems Ezra likes to bully the small press too.

If newspapers are to be held accountable for the factualness of letters, they will naturally have to self-censor or deploy great resources to verify all claims letter writers make. And if they can be held responsible for the factual bases of letters, why not also for the factual basis of quotes they print in writing a story. So if they write a story about a disgruntled former WS employee, can they quote him saying the same things he wrote in the letter without Ezra coming after them? It seems not. That certainly puts a chill on journalism.

It is one thing if FFWD made the claims in question. But they did not. They published a letter with clear attribution to the letter writer. So if they can be held responsible for the content of that, the WS must also be responsible for the truth of any claims commenters make here too. That is too high a standard and one that only serves to stifle free expression. Let authors be held responsible, not publishers. Those who truly value free speech get that. Ezra does not.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-08-25 6:41:26 PM


Ya know, I'm all behind Ezra in his fight with the Socialist HRC's of our little Socialist Paradise, But isn't it tempting to use them to go after these mental midgets over at the CBC?

Some "head up their ass's" description of character Fred Tupper on CBC's Little Mosque on The Prairie.

"Fred, a local in his forties, is the town of Mercy's own Rush Limbaugh. Fred uses his daily radio talk show, 'Wake-up People', to fuel people's suspicions about the growing Muslim community. If accused of intolerance, Fred would claim he only says things people don't like to hear. No one would disagree with that! Fred describes himself a textbook libertarian: like most bigots. In person, Fred's polite, and has a rough charm. Fatima (who Fred has a crush on) finds him extremely resistible."

http://www.cbc.ca/littlemosque/characters.html

Gee wouldn't the CBC be guilty of willfully inciting hatred?
I know I hate the CBC all the more....

Posted by: JC | 2008-08-25 6:49:37 PM


GOD, Little Mosque on the Prairie sounds LAME. No insult to the disabled intended.

No wonder some of my stupider relatives thought the show sounded like such a "neat idea" when they first heard about it.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-08-25 7:09:27 PM


FC - there you go again. To claim that Mr. Levant does not value freedom of expression is the height of dishonesty. Too bad Canada does not have a lot more like him to defend freedom of expression and of the press. Your absence is remarkable.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-25 10:23:16 PM


The comments of Le Bel J. in WIC Radio Inc. v. Simpson seem apposite in this case:

[74] Members of the public will generally have a more solid basis on which to evaluate a comment about a public figure than one about someone who is unknown. Thus, although public figures are certainly more open to criticism than those who avoid the public eye, this does not mean that their reputations are necessarily more vulnerable. In fact, public figures may have greater opportunity to influence their own reputations for the better.
[75] People who voluntarily take part in debates on matters of public interest must expect a reaction from the public. Indeed, public response will often be one of the goals of self‑expression. In the context of such debates (and at the risk of mixing metaphors), public figures are expected to have a thick skin and not to be too quick to cry foul when the discussion becomes heated. This is not to say that harm to one’s reputation is the necessary price of being a public figure. Rather, it means that what may harm a private individual’s reputation may not damage that of a figure about whom more is known and who may have had ample opportunity to express his or her own contrary views.

Ezra Levant: Whiny. Hypocritical. Putz.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-08-25 10:33:55 PM


Hmmmm Its inteersting here that Matthew prints this corection. I wonder if he as well will post the comments he told me namely that he does support Ezra using defamation court and the state to silence my free speech.
That is what he told me personally!! Not very libertarian to use the state and the courts to silence ones written speech.
Yes thats right folks the STATE as the Court of Queens Bench in Calgary where this suit is filed is an instrument of the state. No doubt about it.

Thanks btw factcheck for your honesty. Few others have had the back bone to challange this new messiah of so called free speech!


Here is something else to consider:

Today on levant.com Ezra brings up an old article from 1994 that he wrote on free speech. He says laws prohibiting hate speech are wrong and that he wants to "out-talk them,out-mobolize them" he says dont rely on the state to defend you.
Well I agree, but then why file a defamation suit in the states courts Ezra to silence my opinion of you?? You would have to rely on the state to get any judgemement you may win and rely on the state to garnishee my wages.
No debate there on the merits of my letter or lack of? No just using the brute force of the state and the courts to silence me?
You are a Jew yes Ezra and you say censorship is not in line with being a Jew? Then why do you insist in suing me for something I wrote in a local newspaper? NO I say lets debate it anywhere any time Ezra. Are you up to that challenge or is relying on the nanny state easier for you??

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-25 10:35:31 PM


Fast Forward Weekly issued an apology to Ezra Levant and the “Western Standard community” for publishing a letter-to-the-editor in 2007 that claimed, among other things, that Levant misused company funds to travel.

hmm is Matthew now a lawyer to decide what the letter says and was meant to say??
Ezra claims that the letter says what he thinks it says, but a Court has not decided that at all.
Matthew seems to make a statement of fact here and thats not very wise at all.
That letter never ever claimed what he says it says, but you know what I dont use courts to stiffle Matthews right to defame me and be dead wrong!!!!!! Its your right to be wrong and ill-informed Matthew and to take Ezra's side in this.
Lets here your Libertarian views on defamation court Matthew and Ezra's use of it!!!


thanks truewest-another brave advocate of free speech!!!

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-25 10:46:19 PM


Merle, I've posted my views on defamation here:

http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/01/on-defamation.html

Thanks for your comments.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-25 10:57:34 PM


Is this for real?
I followed with interest the campaign run by Levant against the intolberable human rights commissions, so called.
I am gob smacked.
Levant is a fraud. A H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E. You can not protest when your own free speech is stifled by a creature of the state and then turn around and use oppressive libel laws to stitch up your own critics.
It would appear Levant is a champion of "me" speech -- as in free speech for me, not you!
It also appears the publisher of this once interesting website is an enabler of Levant's outrage. A rather odd position to take for a publisher who has been wrung through the wringer over the Danish Cartoons Controversy. Pity.

Posted by: "Mercury" Smith | 2008-08-25 11:14:13 PM


This Ezra Levant is sure a piece of work. Mr. Free Speech, my ass. How can anyone take him serious if he is suing former employees over criticism of his trips? Where is this terrible letter that Ezra Levant has to use libel and slander laws against someone with an opinion he doesn't like, I would like to read it. I think all of Ezra's enemies and critics should just sue Ezra for libel and be done with it. Who needs HRCs when there is the regular courts to use against free speech. I agree that Levant is a hypocrite for sure.

Posted by: Excalibre | 2008-08-25 11:34:20 PM


Good point Mercury, as for that post Matthew-its rather wishy wahsy on your part.
Why not simply tell the dear readers here what YOU think of Ezra's law suit.
Dont quote someoen else, tell people your own opinion.
I mean you have said on this blog that Ezra is a free speech warrior I believe, so is that still true?
Is he?

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 7:18:02 AM


sorry that 1st post should read that Matthew told me personally that he does NOT support Ezra's use of defamation court.
My question is why not say it here tho.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:33:17 AM


Glad you decided you had the money to fight back, Merle. Good Luck.

Having read the letter, frankly the stuff in it is critical but really quite mild.

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2008-08-26 11:03:06 AM


Well it looks like someone stirred up an ants' nest and a bunch came swarming out. Interesting that not a single one is leading the battle to regain our traditional freedom of expression. Your personal pettiness in relation to the big picture is pathetic. This is not about Mr. Levant, but you cannot grasp this fact. Grow up and get a life.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-08-26 12:03:07 PM


Hey Alain why dont you piss off! Do you have any idea what its like to face a $100,00 law suit.
Yes thats right $100,00 then talk to me dude.

Big city I am fighting, but I have no money at all.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 12:57:07 PM


Hey Alain why dont you piss off! Do you have any idea what its like to face a $100,00 law suit.
Yes thats right $100,00 then talk to me dude.

Big city I am fighting, but I have no money at all.


Well Merle if you libeled Ezra he has every right to use Civil Law to right a wrong and clear his name. British Common Law isn't about Nanny it's an established system to protect we the little people.

Merle if you spoke the truth, which I highly doubt, why didn't you have the gut to sign the letter? I find it amusing that a person who hasn't got the guts to sign a letter alledging wrong doing against Ezra is now demanding the right to debate Ezra. Note Merle, once horse is out of the barn closing the door is pointless.

LOL this place really attracts the Ezra haters, first of all free speech is grand but members of society can't be allowed to go around smearing a person's reputation with lies or inuendo with impunity. That's the beauty of British Commonlaw, if ole Merle is innocent he shall be set free and cost awarded, however; if he's deemed guilty of libel he'll suffer the consequences of his actions.

For the anti-Ezra shrieky crowd, he's a Libel Lawyer that's what he does for living. Just thought I'd state the obvious to the knee dippers.

BCL, wipe your chin your "Self Rightous" spittal is running down your chin buttercup. Tisk tisk such anger.

Posted by: Rose | 2008-08-26 1:30:27 PM


Jeepers, Rose...even a Conservative should be able to spell *tsk*.

Read more books, dear.

Posted by: Wolverhampton | 2008-08-26 1:41:07 PM


Hi, Rose.

Just for clarification...

The apology from Fast Forward Weekly was unsigned.

However, the orginal offending letter-to-the-editor was signed by the former Western Standard employee.

Thanks for your comment.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-26 1:43:11 PM


Yes Rose I did sign the letter and ya go ahead an call it what you like its still libel chill. Until you have been sued for writing a letter you are talking out your ass.
I love how so called conservatives yammer on about free speech and then support SLAPP suits and current defamation law.

Oh btw I dont hate Ezra at all, thats a lot like the pro-homosexual lobby with their homophobia nonsense.
I disagree with Ezra on many points and that too is my right!

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 2:35:52 PM


Freedom of speech...USA-style.

http://pageoneq.com/news/2008/Woman_forced_from_fed_building_for_wearing_lesbian_t_0826.html">USA-style.

Thank God there aren't any Star Chambers making their lives miserable, like in godawful Canuckistan.

Posted by: Wolverhampton | 2008-08-26 2:38:03 PM


Matthew, if you support Ezra's right to sue for defamation then surely you support Richard Warman and Warren Kinsella's right to sue Ezra and Free Dominion for defamation. You and Ezra can't suck and blow at the same time.

Posted by: ML | 2008-08-26 2:39:59 PM


Matthew:

Come to think of it you have no right to make any assertion as to what the alleged defamatory letter means, that is up to a Judge.
I thus request that you remove the sentence that implies the following: "that claimed, among other things, that Levant misused company funds to travel".
You your self know thats not true and posting it is in fact defamatory towards me.
Please remove it today.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 2:43:57 PM


Sure he can ml, Matthew has no problem being a hypocrite at all.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 2:46:53 PM


Thanks for your comment, ML.

I made no comment about my support for Ezra in my post. I simple reported news of the FFW apology for Western Standard readers.

As for my views on defamation, I would invite you to read my post here:

http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2008/01/on-defamation.html

I've been very open about my views on this subject.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-26 3:03:04 PM


Merle made very serious charges of impropriety against Ezra, knowing them to be false, and expecting that they would damage his reputation and his business. He refuses to apologize or retract. He is entirely the author of his own misfortune. Ezra has merely acted within his rights. It's not an abuse of the libel laws to sue when you've been maliciously libelled.

No one has done anything comparable to Richard Warman or Warren Kinsella. They've launched groundless lawsuits against people they don't like, purely in order to harass them and, with luck, to extort money out of them. Suing for the hell out of it, out of pure malice, is an abuse of the law. It's entirely legitimate to criticize these people, and to advocate reform of the law so as make it harder for them to do this.

So, Merle has abused his freedom of speech and is being call to account for it. Warman's and Kinsella's victims have exercised freedom of speech responsibly, honestly, and in the public interest, and they're being attacked by goons. There's no similarity at all. A sensible free speecher - a sensible citizen - will be squarely for Ezra and against Warman and Kinsella. Any other position is dishonest.

The sad thing is that Merle is proud to bear false witness against his neighbour, and then pretends to be a Christian. I'm sure it'll fool Jesus.

Posted by: ebt | 2008-08-26 3:23:49 PM


Actaully ebt I attempted on two occasions to make some kind of apology or retraction, but on both occasions Ezra asked for a sum of money I do not have.
The first time he asked it to accompany FFWD paying his costs, well they now have paid him some amount of $$$ its sealed so I dont know how much.
Secondly I never did lie, the letter is my honest opinion and thats the truth.
The 1st sentence of your post is 100% B.S!!! 100%
There is no malice or intent to harm Ezra on my part and it is you who lies in saying so.
BTW who is ebt anyhow as you has postd on this before I think, no?
Was it not you who made vile comments about shit in my teeth?
I am not afraid to say who I am, are you?
No one said it was an abuse of libel law as libel law is an abuse on its own, its used to stiffle free speech with SLAPP suits like this.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 4:37:08 PM


so emt says that when Warman and Kinsella sue for defamation they attack free speech but when Ezra does it he defernds it. What total bull.

Posted by: dave | 2008-08-26 4:52:26 PM


Merle, Merle, merle, when one plays with fire one sometimes get burned.

A libel court is the correct and just place to argue this type of complaint. After all, if you are clean, you can countersue Ezra's pants off, right? You ARE clean, right?

The difference here my friend is that YOU have the right to due process under libel law, TRUTH indeed IS a defense. You DO have truth on your side, right?

Were this at an HRC you could prove that your statements were in fact correct and STILL be convicted if Ezra's feelings were hurt. If one is not sufficiently wise in the ways of a real court Merle, then one should keep ones mouth shut (or pen capped, whatever) to avoid such suits. Sorry about your luck or lack thereof, but hey, it isn't EZra's fault that you may have libeled him, that sir, is YOUR fault.

Posted by: Hoser | 2008-08-26 5:17:24 PM


yup thats right Dave, they think Ezra can do no wrong and probably walk on water while he is at it.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 5:18:20 PM


Merle, I for one am quite sure that Ezra has his faults, who among us doesn't?

I did ask a few questions, do you believe yourself to be "clean" in this, and do you predict a cash windfall to pay for your legal bills when you countersue and inevitably win? Consult that crystal ball man!

Posted by: Hoser | 2008-08-26 5:32:20 PM


You folks are letting Merle confuse two separate issues.

There's the issue where the HRC's (the state) are attacking the political speech of people they disagree with and then there's the issue of the defamation suits launched by Warman and Kinsella (private citizens).

Ezra has been claiming, and rightly so, that the state, through the HRC's, has no business of going after the political speech of the individual. He has not claimed that Warman and Kinsella don't have a right to pursue defamation suits. If anything, he's encouraged them. He's more than happy to let the courts settle the dispute.

Remove the HRC's from the mix and compare apples to apples. Warman suing the blogger 5 and vs Ezra suing Merle and FFWD;

Ezra, Kate, Kathy, the folks at FD and the NP have readily available proof to back the claims, that Warman is whining are defamatory, and we all know it. It's quite clear that Warman's suit is a SLAPP suit because it's being used in an attempt to silence the obvious truth.

Merle hasn't provided any proof to back his claims against Ezra. FFWD, with their lawyers, and the disclosure Merle provided to them, decided that it wouldn't be in their best interests to continue backing Merle's assertions. In other words, Ezra's suit may have merit, which, wouldn't make it a SLAPP suit.

Start from there, apply some logic, and then continue posting...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-08-26 5:39:03 PM


Nice to see you turning on one of your own in the name of the mighty Ezra, Matthew.

Kinsella has the origonal letter, and I have linked to that post of his. Anyone thinks that letter is worthy of a lawsuit is nuts.

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2008-08-26 5:42:13 PM


Quote: yup thats right Dave, they think Ezra can do no wrong and probably walk on water while he is at it.

I'm sure he has many faults but the topic isn't "Ezra Levant" and his faults. It's about an apology being rendered.

Quote: Jeepers, Rose...even a Conservative should be able to spell *tsk*.

Read more books, dear.

Posted by: Wolverhampton | 26-A

Thankyou ever so much for your advice, but I've learned that when one debates the left one usually knows they've won the debate when the adled brain of the left scream you spelt that wrong. Where's my trophy?

Comparing British Common Law to the HRCs legislation is assine, apples and oranges what a silly lame argument. Truth matters in Civil Law under HRCs legislation they openly opine it's not a ligitimate defense.

Posted by: Rose | 2008-08-26 5:43:13 PM


BCL:

If the lawsuit is "nuts", then our aggrieved friend Merle can countersue his way to riches. That's the beauty of a REAL court, not a 'Roo/ HRC court. Besides, it doesn't matter what we, the unwashed masses, think is nuts; that's up to a judge to decide. And if that judge decides otherwise, well then It's Ezra's noggin' on the chopping block, isn't it?

If Merle is lily white on this he has nothing to be concerned with, does he? Undoubtedly, it sucks to be Merle right now, but my sympathy for Merle is extremely finite . 'Fire', 'play with', get burned', so on and so forth.

Posted by: Hoser | 2008-08-26 6:13:07 PM


bigcitylib wrote: “Nice to see you turning on one of your own in the name of the mighty Ezra, Matthew.”

Huh? My post on the Fast Forward Weekly apology to Ezra Levant was free from personal commentary and was simply a presentation of the facts of a story of interest to Western Standard readers.

I have also commented in the past that I do not support defamation law.

In what way have I turned on one of my own?

Terlesky supports defamation law, by the way – or at least he did until he was sued.

I know specifically that Terlesky sued the Kamloops Daily News for comments written by editor Susan Duncan.

Maybe Terlesky had a case against Kamloops Daily News. Maybe Levant has a case as well.

One thing is certain, Terlesky wrongly claims on this thread that the Western Standard has no right to comment on the public apology from FFW or the public statement of claim by Ezra Levant. He is demanding that this post be removed, with a not so subtle threat thrown in for good measure.

Does that not strike you as libel chill?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-26 6:19:21 PM


Hoser,

Lawsuits are fine if you can afford them. In any case, not sure they'll be much left of Ezra in a year to collect from anyway.

Matthew, I think you should find a way to link to the text of the original letter (for example Kinsella is hosting it). The idea that it is lawsuit worthy is, as I say, kooky.

Otherwise, forgive me if I spoke harshly.

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2008-08-26 7:44:00 PM


This thread seems to have become rather quiet...............always happens when pointed specific questions are asked of the resident trolls.

Posted by: Hoser | 2008-08-26 7:45:51 PM


http://www.scribd.com/doc/3107178/Ezra-Levant-Claim

Well, it sure is good to have a look at the original letter. I was not following this story as closely as some and any time I tried to follow it, the original was always deleted because of a fear of being sued. So, today is the first time for me to read the letter. The letter clearly is unflattering to Mr. Levant in 4 areas: as a manager in the running of the business, as a manager in the treatment of employees, drives a Hummer to spite people ("just to make people mad"), and the comment about Muslims in general. I will leave the decision about whether or not this constitutes libel to others.

However, I thought I would make one comment to you, in particular, Matthew. I do not know too much about this case, but your comment at the top caught my attention - "that Levant misused company funds to travel." I notice Merle was bothered by that comment as well. The actual comment that was filed with the court was: "In addition, Ezra's junkets to Taiwan, Israel, etc. did not help the bottom line at all." I suggest that that comment is ambiguous and could be interpreted in at least two ways: 1) in the way you and Ezra have interpreted it and 2) by suggesting that Ezra did not have all his energies focused on the running of the business as he was involved in other matters. I further suggest that the second option is the more natural of the two when one considers the context of the entire letter because it follows the general theme of the "bad manager" comments.

As an occasional lurker here, I find your posts and comments well thought out. Therefore, I trust you will ponder my comment not as a personal attack or flame but merely as one who is trying to assist. Thank you.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-08-26 8:07:51 PM


BCL:

I put the link in my previous post.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-08-26 8:09:11 PM


Matthew I only said you made an assumption of what the letter means and thats is not your place. You DID NOT simply report the issue you made a judgement on what the letter means. That is not your place.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 8:27:44 PM


Hoser,
Allow me to break the silence to point out that you haven't a clue what you're talking about. But then, you're in good company, if you consider equally misinformed nitwits like Rose, ebt and Richard Evans good company.
Let's take these points one by one
1) You suggest that Merle can "countersue Ezra's pants off" if he's succesful in defeating the Thin-Skinned Hypocrite's defamation claim. Countersue for what, perchance? Bringing an unsuccessful action? Hardly. Merle will be lucky if he gets a fraction of his legal costs from Levant if he's successful
2) You and your fellow morons insist that truth is a defence in defamation. Technically, that may be true -- the defence is actually "justification" -- but very few defamation suits are decided on that basis for the simple fact that proving truth on a balance of possibilities is quite difficult in defamation law. In Warman v. National Post and the Lyin' Bloggers, for example, it will be all the more difficult since the only "proof" that seems to have emerged is the opinion of a non-expert neo nazi that was shot full of holes even before most of the defendants cobbled together their laughable statements of defence.
3) Unlike the Lyin' Bloggers, the statements Merle made about the Ezra (the Begging Blogger) Levant were, by any reasonable measure, expression of opinion or, to use the legal term, fair comment. It takes a real moron -- and, as I said, you're in good company -- to characterize those comments as statements of fact.
You may disagree with Merle's opinions, but he's entitled to express them in forceful language, without regard for Ezra's tender precious feelings. And he doesn't have to prove the validity of those opinions, to you, or to a court, or to Ezra.
4) The supposed difference between the procedural rigours of a court and that of a human rights tribunal is illusory. First, because while tribunal procedures may be more flexible than those found in superior courts, there are procedures in place and their fairness is subject to review by superior courts. And second, because in order to get to the stricter procedural protections of the ordinary courts, you need enough money to make it to court. When even the simplest superior court defamation case costs $50,000 to defend and when deep-pocketed defendants can grind the process out so that costs rise to double that, most people can't afford to see a defence all the way through to court.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-08-26 8:34:32 PM


The conversation has drifted from what I commented on, but Brent's post brings us back to it again. I support defamation law and, as I wrote before, if there are defamatory words in the letter, then the author, not the newspaper printing it should be held accountable. As Brent points out (and thanks for the link), Ezra has threatened lawsuits against bloggers for merely reporting on the publication of the letter and his lawsuit when they also republished the letter. Those are clearly the actions of someone who does not believe in a free press. Ezra would have it that any media that reports comments that may or may not be libelous is committing libel themselves. That they are merely reporting the fact that certain statements were made in a letter is no defence for Ezra.

Except it is for Ezra when it comes to things he publishes. He has said that he thought that when he published a story about the Danish Mohammad cartoons it would have been absurd not to reprint them so the reader would know what started the controversy. But when bloggers (the littlest of little guys and easy to bully, as Ezra has also noted) does the same thing - reporting the fact of the lawsuit and reprinting the letter so readers would know what started it all - he threatens them with lawsuits to silence them.

Ezra also is the guy who defended the Western Standard publishing an unattributted comment by a friend of Ralph Klein saying of his wife, "Once she stops being the premier's wife, she goes back to being just another Indian." He reacted to criticism of that publication by saying "Don't shoot the messenger" and "What is the job of a news magazine? Is it to protect the feelings of the premier's wife? I don't think so." But apparently it is the job of FFWD and bloggers to protect Ezra from people knowing what possibly defamatory things have been said about him.

I leave it for others to debate whether the letter is defamatory. My point is that if Ezra insists on suing anyone who dares to print it, even in the clear context of reporting on the fact that the letter exists and is the basis of a lawsuit, then he is no friend to a free press. Can the discussion that has been going on here about whether the letter is defamatory even happen if people can't read the letter for themselves? Surely not. If Ezra believed in a free press he would not have sued a newspaper for printing (without endorsing) the words of one of their readers. But he did sue. The conclusion is clear.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-08-26 8:42:19 PM


Btw Matthew it is true I tried to sue a paper in Kamloops run by a socialist who said I was a man full of hate-due to my views on traditional marriage,pro-life and support for our troops.
That is not hate thats a political view.
Guess who convinced me to drop the suit-guess?
My boss back then-Ezra Levant, who made a compelling argument to me that it takes a lot of money and its not worth it.
I guess maybe Ezra thinks he has the $$ to sue me.
Remember Ezra himself is a lawyer and he knows the rules of the court and this is no big deal to him.
I have almost had a nervous breakdown. I have tried several times to settle this fairly, but for Ezra no deal no way.
Ezra says because he worked on a campaign to elect a federal Muslim that he does not dislike Muslims.
I leave that for you to ponder.
Factcheck said it all better than I could as did truewest. Thank you!!
It takes a lot of $ to fight this suit so dont give me BULLSHIT about my defence and getting back costs-That is BS!!!!!!
You who have never been sued are talking out yours ass!!!
Wait till it happens to you then talk people.
Matthew you ride the fence as usual and you make no real statement as you dont want to piss off ezra or be sued by him.
Tell us here honestly has Ezra ever threatened to sue YOU ever?? Has he?

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:11:43 PM


Btw Matthew it is true I tried to sue a paper in Kamloops run by a socialist.......................
Posted by: Merle | 26-Aug-08 9:11:43 PM

For fuck sake give it a rest.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-08-26 9:15:51 PM


"Btw Matthew it is true I tried to sue a paper in Kamloops run by a socialist who said I was a man full of hate-due to my views on traditional marriage,pro-life and support for our troops.
That is not hate thats a political view."

Merle, there's absolutely no difference between the suit you filed against the Kamloops paper and the suit Ezra filed against you.

You're in a hole buddy. The best advice I can give is that you quit digging.

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2008-08-26 9:32:07 PM


True enough Richard, but I dropped my suit at the advice of Ezra while employed at the WS.
I am glad I dropped it as it was futile.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:41:14 PM


As you know, Merle, I don't support defamation law. I’ve restated that several times on this thread.

I’ve been threatened with two human rights complaints, one civil lawsuit and two defamation lawsuits since I took over the job of publisher. I would rather face a human rights tribunal and a civil lawsuit than face a defamation lawsuit, even though I do have access to lawyers.

Anytime you go to court you lose. It's a costly and time consuming process that prejudices people without access to legal resources.

I’m riding the fence, as you say, Merle, because I worked closely with Ezra for four years and watched him struggle valiantly to make the Western Standard work, even giving up his own salary for a period so that we could meet our payroll obligations. (That is only one of countless sacrifices Ezra made to keep the magazine going.) He’s not perfect, but he is still a great man.

He has my respect and friendship.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-08-26 9:42:28 PM


Stig give what a rest? debate and comment? A bit too much for you take in hmmm?
You would rather this all just go away eh?
Well go read levant.com and leave real debate to people who care.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:42:53 PM


Yes and I worked hard too Matthew, I gave up a college degree in PR and brought in over 80% of the ad revenue in the 1st year for the WS.
I contributed to the succss of the WS and in your words I was the best sales man you had!!!
Whats the thanks I got?? Fired from the WS,barred from the premises,threatened with restraining orders from Ezra and my name was made mud among staff at the WS.
Ezra never once offered to just talk and negotiate our differences at the time-not once!!!!
You know that to be true as well!!!
I dont regret my work at the WS at all and thanks for your comments.
You were generous in those days and even put me up in your own place.
Dont expect me to share the same view of Ezra at this point in time.
That is not fair to ask of me.
I wrote a letter of my honest opinion and I face a $100,000 law suit because of it.
Were this the USA it would be a SLAPP suit and you know damned well.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:50:21 PM


Good point made by factcheck below:

Ezra also is the guy who defended the Western Standard publishing an unattributted comment by a friend of Ralph Klein saying of his wife, "Once she stops being the premier's wife, she goes back to being just another Indian." He reacted to criticism of that publication by saying "Don't shoot the messenger" and "What is the job of a news magazine? Is it to protect the feelings of the premier's wife? I don't think so." But apparently it is the job of FFWD and bloggers to protect Ezra from people knowing what possibly defamatory things have been said about him.

Posted by: Merle | 2008-08-26 9:52:27 PM



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