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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What about the Charter?

Perpetual "Tory" malcontents Eugene Parks and Carole Jamieson want Elections Canada to shut down 200 websites, collectively known as the Blogging Tories (including many bloggers on this site).

There are a dozen things one could say, but I'll stick to two:

1. Uh, isn't freedom of expression protected by our beloved Charter?

2. I expect Blogging Tory traffic to tick up today. When can I get Parks and Jamieson to try to shut us down? What does a fellow have to do to get that kind of PR-friendly bullying? Leak a Red Book or something?

Posted by Ezra Levant on January 18, 2006 | Permalink


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» This is MY lawn... from A North American Patriot
...and I'll put any damn sign I want, on it! Thanks to BBS and Andrew for pointing out the little tidbit that inspired this rant...Canada's election watchdog received a complaint Tuesday morning from a disaffected party member who claims the [Read More]

Tracked on 2006-01-18 10:36:36 AM


Oh dear. Can they actually do that?


Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-01-18 8:20:35 AM

Please let them try. And the Hydra will sprout a thousand heads.

Posted by: Norman Lorrain | 2006-01-18 8:23:08 AM

This argument, if I understand it correctly, claims that no group, made up of like-minded individuals, can legally exist. Wouldn't that also apply, if we confine ourselves to political groups, to all student political discussion groups, and to all informal groups that meet at the local restaurant to discuss politics, and even to all groups classified within a political ideology on Blog Links, under such headings as 'Conservative blogs', 'Liberal blogs'etc?

It seems to claim that IF such a group exists, it did not come together by 'cohesion' - a process where like-minded individuals hear about each other and 'join the group'. Instead, the assertion is that groups exist only because of a Top Down order and governance.

These people don't understand anything about the nature of the Internet and Networking. The Internet is a unique force for 'cohesion' and 'coalescence'. It can link groups by virtue of a search of KeyWords. This linking is not done by any TopGun Authority; it's content-oriented; it's from the 'bottom-up', so to speak. The real world of everyday life operates in a similar manner; people get to hear about other people who share similar views..and they get together to discuss these issues.


Posted by: ET | 2006-01-18 8:32:20 AM

"This argument, if I understand it correctly, claims that no group, made up of like-minded individuals, can legally exist"

Ok, so I assume they're protesting polygamy as well?

Posted by: Plato's Stepchild | 2006-01-18 8:35:53 AM

What about the mainstream media? Should they not be shut down for their ongoing lib-left bias?

With MSM business coverage guests indicate if they have any relationship to the stock they are discussing. Should not every reporter covering an election campaign indicate their voting record and if they have ever taken money from political organizations for speech writing, media consulting, and other services?

Posted by: Fritz | 2006-01-18 8:39:35 AM

So, if it were The Blogging Right instead of Blogging Tories, then it would be okay? How much does it cost to run the website that simply compiles a list of other blogs' posts anyway? Is it over or under the $150,000? Besides, it does not post the full posts. I simply gives snippets and easy access to them. It would be nice if more of the internet were run this way. I went to rabble to try to find the other side of the story, but could not get people to discuss anything other than climate change. Sad really.

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2006-01-18 8:48:51 AM

Besides, it is just a website. It is not forced upon anyone. You have to actively 'surf' to that site. If you come across it and don't like it, leave the site. If you want to see what opinions exist on the right, stay as long as you like. I check it now and then when I have time and my other sources for right-wing info have been exhausted (like the Western Standard). The comments sections, for many of the blogs to which the Blogging Tories point, contain both left and right wing views - some more than others. Really, it is because I get both sides of the story that I like the Internet.

John M Reynolds

Posted by: jmrSudbury | 2006-01-18 9:02:01 AM

Those people are on the verge of turning facists. That is why we urgently need a big change in our society.

That is what happens when lawsuits by "rights" groups are lauched agaisnt free speech. See cases of the archbishop of Calgary, the Lesbians and the Knights of Columbus, the officer suspended from a School Board, etc etc.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2006-01-18 9:07:47 AM

Hey, if the Blogging Torries are supposed to be violating election spending laws, where the hell is my cut?

I didn't get jack shit!

I look forward to these David Orchard former-PC's complaint into Maud's "Think Twice" coalition and Buzz Hargrove's finances.

I will not hold my breath.

In the mean time, Jamieson can FOAD.

Posted by: Warwick | 2006-01-18 9:14:24 AM

It would be a plus if single/very narrow issue groups would find a "political home" in a self-funded (read not tax-payer funded) lobby group, unite under their own political party such as the CHP, or whatever - and stop trying to find a home in an established political party. They are bound to become disappointed when all of their very narrow wants/needs/wishes aren't met.

To go public about trying to stop those "blogging bloggers" is utter nonsense. It will only serve to alienate a whole lot of people. Whatever message they want to convey will be totally discounted.

Federal Government funding policies over many years have brought us to where we are now - individual/minority interests/rights (supported by Charter challenges) have become supreme.

There are few comensurate responsibilities to go with these rights and it has literally become the majority in effect being governed by a minority in far to many areas of society. It is time to put the brakes on tax-payers funding this element of politics.

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2006-01-18 9:18:41 AM

This idea that the Blogging Tories is being "used" by the Tory campaign is ridiculous. I own ConservativeSpirit.ca which is a member of the B.T. and I feel insulted by these accusations.

There is so much freedom and liberty (conservative ideas, no less) running through the blogroll streets that it would be impossible for any party to control it. The neo-soviet gag law nonsense has to stop!

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | 2006-01-18 9:23:18 AM

Relax people. I run a blog that is there to promote the ideals of the right and I do it for free. I am certain that nearly all the blogging tories are also volunteers.

If the name Tory offends .. then change it to something else. But bear in mind, that unless they can shut down the internet and set up a grand computer registry in the Maritimes along side their vastly successful gun registry ... this is just hot air.
Even if they manage to do such a thing (I chuckle as I type this) then only criminals will be on line. That's how the control freaks on the left like things isn't it? .. All screwed up with tons of unenforcable restrictions that make no sense at great cost!

What it does do, is show how thin their gruel has become.

Posted by: Duke | 2006-01-18 9:44:47 AM

This is outrageous.

Posted by: Jason Kauppinen | 2006-01-18 9:57:47 AM

This is outrageous.

Posted by: Jason Kauppinen | 2006-01-18 10:10:13 AM

If you'll all recall, there's been an incident where gag orders applied to blogs.

I'm not surprised, of course, by any of this; Socialism leads inevitably to tyranny. In one month, we see the evidence of it in promises about laws, and intent about free speech. This is why Alberta should separate, I think. Even if the Conservatives win, there's just too much intertia to fix things.

Posted by: Tozetre | 2006-01-18 10:13:29 AM

Eugene and Carole????? They should move to Iran or China with attitudes like that. Regardless who wins on Monday in the next provincial election and will be voting for a party who will take a very tough stand with Ottawa at every turn.

Posted by: themaj | 2006-01-18 10:32:58 AM

The scary thing is this. Canadian companies are helping the Chinese government with software to police the blogosphere. Words like democracy aren't allowed. Other countries are trying to pressure the UN to find ways to control the Internet. If it weren't for the attachment of the Americans to their 1st amendment, I'd be worried about how quickly blogs could be shut down. Web crawlers are great for aggregating info and putting good information at the click into a search engine. But imagine how easy it would be just to pressure companies to remove certain "offensive" blogs. Have you noticed on blogger there's a space where you can flag an "offensive" blog?

Posted by: Deborah | 2006-01-18 10:39:31 AM

It would be so sweet if they shut down the blogs for a day, even an hour. How many more converts would realize how their freedom of speech is being eroded?

As much as i hated Chretien, he did (unintentionally)do some good things. The election spending laws shut up the environuts and other crazies with their global fundraising organizations and leave the blogosphere to disseminate facts. His proudest achievement, the Clarity Act, makes it harder to run a pointless, dishonest Quebec referendum. But it makes it easier to run a pointed, honest Alberta separation referendum.

Thanks, Jean

Posted by: johnmac | 2006-01-18 11:37:08 AM

Can you say pathetic desperation? In the far-fetched chance that Elections Canada tells us unpaid blogging tories that we can't organize under that title, well we'll be blogging under a different organization name within an hour.

Sites like Steve Janken's are so busy now, that they could shut down "Blogging Tories", but all of the sites would remain operational and benefit from increased traffic due to this exposure. Kate at SDA notes that the story is now on the Liberal site. Thanks for helping out your opponents!

This reminds of the segment on "your turn" on CBC when Paul Martin stated that the military ad was released on a blog. Mansbridge gently reminded him that it had been released on the Lib site. It's now secret that Liberals don't like the freedom of the blogosphere.

Posted by: Angela | 2006-01-18 12:47:13 PM

According to The Canada Elections Act at http://www.canlii.org/ca/sta/e-2.01/

"319. The definitions in this section apply in this Part.

"election advertising" means the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated. For greater certainty, it does not include

"(a) the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news;

"(b) the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for no less than its commercial value, if the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election;

"(c) the transmission of a document directly by a person or a group to their members, employees or shareholders, as the case may be; or

"(d) the transmission by an individual, on a non-commercial basis on what is commonly known as the Internet, of his or her personal political views."

In light of 319(d), I think Carole & Eugene are simply fear-mongering. Anyone surprised?

PS: There is more information on 2004 SCC 33 at http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2004/05/no_disrespect_i.html

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-01-18 4:34:30 PM

The Elections Canada announcement on the matter of 2004 SCC 33 is here:

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-01-18 4:50:59 PM


I think that is thier complaint -319(d) sez " individual" and they claim BT's are a group

but not to worry - 319(a) "editorial" "commentary" etc. all those are found on blogs. BT's only "transmit" to the public a number of individual editorials etc. ( who would be protected under both (a) and (d) )

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-01-18 4:53:35 PM

Ezra - if these accusations prove true (heh), will you get in trouble for "pro-Liberal" blogging for leaking the Red Book?

Just asking. ;^)

Posted by: Meg Q | 2006-01-18 5:32:39 PM

BTW, I think that BT is a group, as opposed to "individual" in the EC legal parlance, only in the sense that a herd of cats is a group.

Same, of course, for Blogging Dippers and Liblogs.

Posted by: Meg Q | 2006-01-18 5:34:38 PM

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