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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Western Standard sued for publishing cartoons

Earlier this month, the Western Standard was sued in human rights court for publishing the Danish cartoons. It's been ten years since I've graduated from law school, and I've never seen a more frivolous, vexatious, infantile suit than this.

But that's the point -- this complaint is not about beating us in the law. Freedom of speech is still in our constitution; we'll win in the end. It's a nuisance suit, designed to grind us down, cost us money, and serve as a warning to other, more timid media.

The hand-written scrawl and the spelling errors were what first disgusted me with the suit; but the arguments were what really got me. The complainant, Imam Syed Soharwardy, a former professor at an anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, doesn't just argue that we shouldn't have published the cartoons. He argues that we shouldn't be able to defend our right to publish the cartoons. The bulk of his complaint was that we dared to try to justify it.

He argues that advocating a free press should be a thought crime.

Here is a letter I sent out to our e-mail list, explaining our legal situation.

Here is the formal response I shall file with the human rights commission tomorrow.

And here is where you can chip in to our legal defence fund if you want to support us. Our lawyers tell me we'll likely win, but it could cost us up to $75,000 to do so -- and the case against us is being prosecuted by government employees using tax dollars.

We're a small, independent magazine and we don't have deep pockets to fight off nuisance suits, so please chip in if you can.

ADDENDUM: In response to various commenters, unfortunately, even if we are successful in the human rights commission, we will not be compensated for our legal fees. It's not like a real court, where an unsuccessful plaintiff would be ordered to pay a successful defendant's costs. So even if we win, we lose -- the process is the penalty. Worse than that, the radical imam who is suing us doesn't have to put up a dime -- the commission uses tax dollars to pay lawyers and other inquisitors to go at us directly. Human rights tribunals themselves are illiberal institutions. Read my larger brief, linked above.

UPDATE 1: Here is a scan  of the imam's complaint.

UPDATE 2: We are currently working to change our legal defence fund web page to accept donations from outside Canada. In the meantime, please e-mail Rita at [email protected] or phone us at 403-216-2270 and we can help you that way -- thanks!

Posted by Ezra Levant on March 29, 2006 | Permalink

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» Western Standard sued for publishing cartoons from Complacent Nation
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The complainant, Imam Syed Soharwardy, a former professor at an anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, doesn't just argue that we shouldn't have published the cartoons. He argues that we shouldn't be able to defend our right to publish the cartoons.... [Read More]

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Comments

For a great take on the cartoons and the deranged left see (via SDA):

http://cjunk.blogspot.com/2006/03/cartoons-duplicity-and-unhinged-left.html

Posted by: JR | 2006-04-01 6:58:08 PM


With all the petty-name calling directed at any visitor to this board who isn't a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, it's bit rich to be accused of condescending to anyone here. Well, here's a thought; don't parade your ignorance and I won't make fun of it.
And ignorance on this topic is hardly in short supply, whether it's ET's breathtakingly asanine musings on the Charter, which should be forwarded to the university that issued her academic credentials so that they might review their decision or the endless and obtuse whining that the human rights code makes it an offence to offend.
Let's review the basic facts, shall we? Mr. Soharwardy filed a complaint alleging, not that he was offended by the cartoons, but that the WS exposed Muslims to hate or contempt by publishing the cartoons. The complaint may be without merit or may be perfectly justified, but he has every right to make it, just as any individual has the right to file a libel suit against the WS if he feels his reputation has been harmed by something the magazine has published.
Unlike the libel suit, which would allow the plaintiff to drag the WS through the courts for several years and could require the paper to spend a fortune on discoveries and the like, the human rights complaint is subject to a fairly streamlined process which is designed to accomodate non-lawyers. Despite this, the publisher of the WS complains that the paper has been sued (not, strictly speaking, true) and that Commission staff will prosecute the case against the magazine (not true at all) and that it will not be able to recover costs (not true either, nor is the suggestion that the WS could recover its actual costs in an action in an ordinary court.)And then he passes the hat.

The loyal readers write cheques and advise Ezra to challenge the whole human rights aparatus (as if that might be more economical or likely to succeed that simply responding to the complaint and defending the publication) all while adding to the anti-Muslim vitriol (let's deport them/wipe them out/hunt them down) that has already been posted here and that represents the best evidence available that the WS's publication of the cartoons was not only likely to expose Muslims to hatred and contempt but in fact did so.

You guys think that the WS was right to publish the cartoons. Others disagree. Still others, namely Mr. Soharwardy (who, incidentally, is hardly a radical) think the publication was more than just a bad idea and that it was actually harmful. This sounds like a dispute. If the Muslims were as inclined to terrorism as you lot seem to believe, the dispute would now escalate and someone would bomb the WS offices. But no, instead, Mr. Soharwardy fills out a form, files a complaint (although apparently his spelling and penmanship did not measure up) and asks an independent body to decide whether or not he's right.
Mr. Soharwardy has a tough case to make (despite the generous help of the more hateful posters to this board) but I've yet to see any explanation how giving him the opportunity to appeal to the human rights commission is any more of a threat to freedom of the press than allowing an individual to file a lawsuit for defamation(which is harder and more expensive to defend and more likely to succeed.)



Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-01 8:49:40 PM


I didn't know that, Truewest. Thanks, I'll make a note.

Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-04-01 9:16:01 PM


"With all the petty-name calling here directed at any visitor to this board..."

Isn't there a saying...something about pots and kettles?

Posted by: JR | 2006-04-02 12:01:13 AM


Truewest,

Just because Sohawaharyd has a right to complain does not stop it from being an abuse of process.

Tax payers money will be wasted on processing a claim without any merit what so ever.

Recall the man that wanted to sue GOD, sure he has a right to file a claim that will be rejected but it is still an abuse of process.

In civil jurisdictions fines can be awarded for such blatent abuse of process and waste of court time. Do you know how much it costs per day to run a court-alot?.

Just because someone is upset at something does not mean they can abuse the courts. I'm offended by women wearing the hijab, maybe i should file a complaint?. I'm offended by the colour pink maybe I should file a complaint and so on..

You really need to have good think about what you are saying.

Posted by: Dan | 2006-04-02 9:26:31 AM


Dan,
How is this an abuse of process? The law punishes publication of material that is likely to expose groups to hatred or contempt. Given the circumstances at the time, including a whole series of anti-Muslim posts on this very board, it could be argued that the WS could have foreseen that the publication of the cartoons could have exposed Muslim to hatred and contempt. In fact, the publication may well have resulted in further and more virulent anti-Muslim posts, including a number that suggested deporting all Muslims from Canada and a number of others that suggested the whole religion should be wiped out.
Now, it falls to the complainant to show cause and effect and the WS can argue freedom of expression, but this case, whatever the decision on the merits, is not entirely without foundation. This is not like suing God; in that case, the defendant doesn't exist (at least not corporeally, let's not drag this too far OT), which on its face, justifies filing that complaint in the circular file.

And for the umpteenth time -- this is not about whether or not people are offended. Human rights codes don't aim to protect sensibilities, delicate or otherwise, from offence. They aim to protects groups from being subject to discrimination and, in this case, public attacks and scapegoating.

Incidentally, courts don't issue fines for vexatious lawsuits -- they award costs. And human rights tribunals have the same power, as noted in several posts above. Try to stay with the tour.

JR: there are a number of other sayings that may be more appropriate. Here are a couple that spring to mind. Turnabout is fair play. And when in Rome....

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 10:15:50 AM


You know, just when I was ready to admit maybe I was wrong in thinking Ezra was grandstanding in order to get free exposure to the WS by publishing the cartoons under the guise of "freedom of the press" - along comes this narcissist plea for legal funding.

Wait. Isn't there something called insurance to cover this?

Maybe I'm old school, but if I really wanted to make a point, I would have first printed the cartoons and then let fire storm hit thereby giving more force to the "freedom" angle.

Instead rather than promote 'the cause' before even doing it and whip the readership into a frenzy to go out an buy or boycott places that pull the magazine was silly.

If anything the Western Standard could be legally guilty due to the guise of a premeditated exercise in selling magazines under deceptive selling practices.

Nothing like causing an issue and profiting from it eh?


Posted by: tomax | 2006-04-02 10:34:10 AM


truewest - YIKES !

If ignorance is bliss then I must be right next door to 72 virgins, and I in Hollywood!

I did not realize that writing - expressing my opinions on a web site could be criminal in Canada.

I've got one more opinion; run the remnants of your Liberal government out of town!

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2006-04-02 10:47:36 AM


Conrad,
Relax, you can express your opinion all you want. You just can't foment hatred against an identifiable group. Incidentally, prosecutions under Canada's hate propaganda law are rare, as are hearings under the similar provisions in human rights codes.
Incidentally, you can be held liable for any defamatory statements you post on the internet. Do you have a problem with that too?

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 11:22:23 AM


Conrad,

Trueleft does not offer solutions to the state of affairs in Canada, his mindset defines and supports them.

As has been pointed out by others, the fact we even have this ridiculous kangaroo court, and it needs to go, is not even on the radar of these people.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-04-02 11:24:34 AM


deepblue,
If you want to abolish human rights tribunals, I presume that you have no difficulty with allowing discrimination in hiring, housing and the provisions of services on the basis of race, sex, age, national origin, etc? All hail freedom of contract and all that?
Or is this the typically selective outrage of the right, which defines a kangaroo court as any court that doesn't agree with its views on any particular issue?
Oh, incidentally, weren't you the one that suggested that if you had your way that, once the smoke cleared, there would be no more Muslims?

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 11:33:04 AM


It is exactly that -- "selective outrage".

Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-02 12:30:30 PM


Trueleft,

Actually when I hire or rent I do it on the basis of who is most qualified. I don't subscribe to the race baiting classes you lefties define and set up. It doesn't matter to me if their black, white, pink, brown, male or female.

And when I fire I do it on the basis it is not working out, or the person is incompetent. I don't need a court or tribunal to replace good old common sense like you do.

Just as I don't need one to decide what I will print, read, listen to, or who's feelings are hurt. Once again common sense should rule the day, not some judge or lawyer.

If something offends me or I don't like it, I just reach over and turn it off. I have that right. Once again I don't need the state, a judge, or a lawyer to help me do that.

As far as Muslims go, once again I make no distinction, the bad ones happen to be the ones blowing the hell out of stuff and killing innocent people, and threatening the free nations all around the world so of course I want them gone, or dead.

In fact the only thing that really offends me, are you left wing nut-bars, who feel using some unnecessary court to exact revenge on something they don't like, or you don't like, and to try and squelch the very freedoms this ridiculous process was designed to protect in the first place, are necessary, proving once again the hypocrisy of the world you people live in.

The only thing I would like to see less of when the dust clears, are freedom hating, close minded, group-think, mindless Liberals such as you, fighting for what's not best for the country, but your own selfish self interests.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-04-02 1:24:29 PM


I think the case is exposing the serious problems in Canada's conflict between the rights of individuals, which includes the freedom to think and speak as individuals..and Canada's socialist, collectivist, authoritarian statism.

Canada has moved into a statist society, closed, isolate, centralist control, focusing only on 'one view' of the world, self-defining itself in only one mode. We citizens are just robots in this socialist ideal..We set up human rights commissions to enable equality of treatment in the social sphere...and also..set up our Charter, to protect individual freedoms. BUT, we also self-defined ourselves as non-critical; we are 'multicultural' which means, we are relativists. We don't evaluate; everything and everyone is equal - from the terrorist to the peacenik. Therefore, our 'rules' are equally muddled.
In our Charter - we have one section that promotes freedom, and two other sections that deny it.
We have Human Rights Commissions that have specific mandates - and that overstep their mandates.

Canada has trapped itself within its groupthink ideology...

Human rights commissions, to my knowledge, refer only to specific actions (pertaining to individuals) of discrimination, in specific social areas: employment, housing and the provision of social services. They refer to discrimination based on the values of age, sex, ethnic background, colour, religion. That is, these are 'equality rights' and function ONLY within specific social areas: an individual getting a job, housing, social services.

I might be wrong - but - that's my understanding of 'human rights tribunals'. So, I'm puzzled why this complaint is being taken to the Human Rights. Such matters are not part of their mandate. The problem is - they can and do, sidestep their mandate.

Was it because the police refused to file CRIMINAL charges? You see, in Canada, which operates within a morass of political correctness, we have Section 319 of the Criminal Code, which refers to wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group.

However, this same section says that the 'communicated statements' must incite hatred against an identifiable group'; and, 'in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace'.

And then, it says that you can't be charged under this act,
-if the statements are true;
-if the statements are relevant to the public interest, and the discussion is for the public benefit;
-if the statements are expressed in good faith, and the attempt was to establish by argument and opinion on a religious topic..

So, according to both our Canadian Charter of Rights, Section Two, which asserts 'freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication'...AND...Section 319 of the Criminal Code, The Western Standard can't be charged for 'hate crimes'.

BUT - in this same Charter of Rights, a deeply flawed document, we have Section 27, which promotes 'multicultural rights'.."the presevation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage". So, any politically correct lawyer could say that, an action deemed free under Section 2 is null and void because it harms 'multicultural rights'!!!

And, despite the mandate of these Human Rights Commissions, which seems to me to refer to rights in specific social areas (jobs, housing, employment)...we've seen cases where the Commissions have moved outside of their mandate - particularly with reference to 'gay rights'.

In BC, their hate-speech law prohibits the publication of any statement that might 'expose' (??) a person (??) or group to hatred or contempt. That ends all debate and critique. You can't say a critical word about anyone or anything.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 1:59:59 PM


deepblue,
Well aren't you a candidate for sainthood? Your personal practices aside, the fact remains that racism and sexism exist within out society and that people make decisions to hire or not to hire, to rent or not to rent, on the basis of personal prejudices. You can either say, so what, the market will solve the problem. Or you can address the problem by passing laws against such discrimination and appointing some arbitrator, either an ordinary court or some tribunal to deal with allegations arising under those laws.
You may prefer the former approach. Most people prefer the latter. But don't give me this crap about "common sense". The term is so vague and so subjective that it can be bandied about to justify all manner of idiocy, as you demonstrate every time you sit down at the keyboard to spew your right-wing rants.
BTW, I'm glad I offend you. I'd be disappointed if I didn't. You're a pig-ignorant loudmouth, so incapable of reasoned and persuasive argument that your every post eventually dissolves into name-calling as you're reduced to wishing everyone who disagrees with you could be eliminated. Well, it's ain't going to happen.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 2:00:19 PM


Hi Gorgeous!

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2006-04-02 2:22:50 PM


ET,
Here's radical suggestion: do a little legal research.

If you do, you'll discover your analysis of the Charter, your claims about who's actions are governed by it, and your musings on the relationship between s.2 and s.27 are a steaming pile of b.s. Likewise, your readings of human rights codes.

A number of those codes contain provisions dealing with publications that expose a person or a group to hatred. those provisions are typically used against publications by the likes of the Aryan Nations, although there was a complaint under the Alberta code, referred to by Nbob above, in which an outraged Christian filed a complaint against Music World for carrying CDs with songs that suggested Christians were evil and should be put to death. (It failed.)So, no, they're not making this stuff up as they go along. And even if they were, judicial review is available for all human rights tribunal decision and court's have show little deference for unfounded decisions.


As for human rights commissions moving outside their mandates in terms of "gay rights", you offer no evidence or examples. Why? Because there aren't any, since sexual orientation has been a prohibited ground of discrimination in all human rights codes since the SCC read it into the the Alberta code in Vriend.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 2:29:32 PM


Trueleft,

Here's a news flash for you, racism and sexism has been around forever, and to a degree always will be. It defines personalities, you don't have to agree with it, but that's the way it is.

So lets all be polite, emotionless robots. To even consider legislating normal human behavior simply shows how out of touch and archaic your thinking is.

There is new study out showing that swearing is on the increase, it obviously is offensive to some people, in your world I suppose we should have 'bad language" police as well?

There is a time and place for everything, trade unions once were valuable as well, now are simply an archaic, political machine designed to drain the country of its wealth, using their workers to do it.

They have been out of date since Reagan cracked down on them, it kick started the US economy which has left the rest of the world in the dust.

Sorry, but I will never conform to your political correctness, no matter how much you try and legislate, and force it down my throat. As I have said before, if you don't want to be called names then start making sense, step out of your cave, and start using your head, instead of waiting for the state to do it for you.

I'm not going away either loudmouth, as for you, you are a dinosaur, and we know what happened to them.

You are absolutely right ET, that battle is upon us, as are many, and I am more than willing, as I know many are, to fight it to the end.

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-04-02 3:01:56 PM


I really don't understand why people think that liberals (the term is missued by the right all the time) live in some bubble in a hut or a cave.

Some are describing Canada as "socialist, collectivist, authoritarian, and statist". It's absurd to think that Canada is socialist. I mean the US is spending the same as Canada per capita on social programs. It's also funny to recall a time when coservatives were referred to as organic and collectivist. Now conservatives are individualists who believe in rights and unrestrained freedom of expression. Social programs are evil afterall. The right believes being the bully in the school yard, so to speak. Freedom of expression means freedom to call everyone who doesn't hold your right wing view an idiot who doesn't know anything.

We need to compromise who we are to conform to the right, otherwise we are stupid.

To listen to conservative clubs at University telling students to vote against a health plan for students (that anyone with other ccverage can opt out of), because the insurance Company provides access to abortion ,essentially confirms this all or nothing attitude that the right exhibits day-to-day. Who cares if someone can't afford their epilepsy medication because that insurance company funds abortion, no one should be allowed to use it.

Evidence exists that discrimination is rampant in society. I don't see how anyone can think that those on the left are not capable of reading Oakeshott, Mannheim, Burke, Flanagan, Harper, Kirk, Frum, Gairdner, and others. We know where you stand.

Can one say what they have to say without being hateful? Yes. I think if the cartoons were published and then all WS said was "well we wanted Canadians to see what the fuss was about and we did not mean to offend anyone"...there would be no Human Rights complaint.

Say "I am sorry if I offended you, but I feel the cartoons were newsworthy". Leave it at that.

instead of adding:

"One of the strategies of radical Islam is to use the tools of the liberal West against itself -- to use freedom to undermine freedom.
It's a paradox, in the same way Adolf Hitler's first steps towards fascism were through a democratic election"

and then

Soharwardy's incoherent "complaint" makes his CBC debate look Churchillian by comparison. In fact, he complains about that debate, bemoaning the fact I called him "radical," and implying that should be illegal.

So...you publish a cartoon...someone is offended...they want to file a complaint...you call Soharwardy a radical...then also compare radicals to Hitler...

So Soharwardy is like Hitler?

What does that say for those attending prayers with him?

Is that hateful?

Amazing.

Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-02 3:14:09 PM


dB (aka he who talks loud and says nothing),
People have also assaulted, raped and murdered each other forever and, no doubt, will continue to so for the foreseeable future. By your logic, we should revoke laws against those behaviours as well. Human rights codes don't attempt to govern attitudes. They govern actions.
And for the umpteenth plus one time: this isn't about people being offended. There no right not to be offended (although parties at both extremes of the political spectrum may like to change that), but neither is there a right to incite attacks and spread hate against groups within our society.
And all this bleating about political correctness is priceless coming from someone who would rather eliminate anyone who disagrees with him that attempt to use reasoned argument to persuade. Trust me, you can embrace whatever crackpot ideas you want. I don't want to shove anything down your throat. All I ask is that you obey the law. Think you can manage that, knuckle-dragger?

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 3:20:32 PM


In reply to deepblue - yes, what we see as a problem in Canada, is the intrusion of the state into areas which are more properly the responsibility of the individual. This has resulted in a set of federal and provincial laws which not only are internally contradictory but also, contradict each other.

As you point out, if you don't like something you read or hear - then don't read it; turn it off. Should the state intervene? Usually no. If yes, when should the state intervene?

My own view is that the state should intervene if and only if, the speech is beyond what I define as the 'field of free speech'. In other words - is the speech open to debate? If I give a lecture, in a public venue, about the irrational and dangerous sophistry and relativism of the Left, I consider this to be 'free speech' if the theme is open to debate, to dissent, to argument.

However, if this speech is not open to debate but is meant to be accepted as The Truth and The Only Truth - that's not free speech. That's dogma. I think the state should protect people from dogma, because it is usually emotive, irrational and beyond debate. How should it do this?

In Canada, our problem is that our various laws are contradictory - and of course - we are trapped within the non-evaluative blindness of socialism of the left - political correctness. We simply refuse to evaluate any minority group; they are all part of our 'multicultural heritage' (protected by our Charter!!)..and we run for our Cave rather than say a word of criticism against them. We criticize only majorities (Americans and Christians).

I've commented on our flawed and contradictory Charter, with its section two's provision of freedom of speech, which can then be abrogated by section 26 and 27. And, that infamous section 15, which is completely contradictory.

Then, you have the Human Rights Commissions, which are ostensibly set up to provide for equality of treatment within specific service areas: jobs, social services, accomodation. But, they move into areas which infringe on and contradict both the Charter and the Criminal Code, for they refer ambiguously to publications and public statements, notices and signs - which might 'expose the individual to discrimination'.

Now, reason would tell us that such public statements ought to refer to those situations of employment, accomodation and social services. Otherwise, they contradict both the Charter and the Criminal Code. But, these mandates don't say that, and we have cases judged by these Human Rights Commissions outside of these areas.

So- we are in quite a theoretical and practical mess. This case, might, just might, start us on the road to clarification, reduce the Human Rights Commissions to their original mandate and clarify ambiguity.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 3:21:59 PM


ET-

These Tribunals can cut both ways. Canada is pretty much "radical iman" free because over the last 25 years or so the true radical imans have sought refuge in places like the UK and others with little limits on expression. There they could freely spew their hate and - until very recently- openly recruit for the cause.

Canada does not appeal to them because we have laws and tribunals in place that severely cramp their ability to evangelize. The fewer people inciting hate the fewer still that will be able to use hate to incite violence. That makes me feel a wee bit safer.

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-04-02 3:33:35 PM


In reply to William McCullough

- How can you say that Canada is not socialist? Socialism refers to services that are carried out through the public rather than private infrastructure - such as our 'universal health care'. Many of our institutions are public rather than private - including our forests, much of our communication and transportation systems. And, our focus on 'equalization', which has resulted in gov't funded 'make-work' projects, is a socialist agenda.

I also disagree with your suggestion about publishing the cartoons. Essentially, you reject criticism. You are focused only on 'never offending someone'. That shuts off all debate, ends criticism, ends science, ends progress. You cannot, in your world view, criticize anything because 'it might offend'.

Why should one apologize for free speech? Why should one say the cartoons are newsworthy and NOT SAY WHY they are newsworthy? They are newsworthy because they raise legitimate questions; namely -

1) Why is your religion promoting terrorism?

2) Why are you refusing to discuss the agenda and activities promoted by your religion - which actions are POLITICAL - by saying that these actions are protected under the veneer of 'religion' and therefore, cannot be criticized. Why are you using the freedom of religion, to assert a political agenda - and putting that political agenda beyond discussion?

3) And, we can indeed discuss dangerous totalitarian movements within stages, and compare stages - including Hitler's use of democracy to gain power. Most movements go through stages:
1) the creation of a movement, ideology
2) the linking of that ideology to a political agenda and rooting that movement in the current political system
3) seizure of power
4) exercise of power
5) 'la longue duree' - what will be the result?
(excerts from R. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism),

As rational beings, we had better learn to analyze historic movements, and compare them with what is happening now. Fascism and communism are extremely similar to Islamic fundamentalism - and we had better realize this - rather than slither back into the Cave of political correctness and 'no wish to offend you'.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 3:40:50 PM


ET-

Oh - and your argument on the Charter can be made much more directly by looking at the very first section. Everything you get from s. 2 onward can be limited if it meets the test in s. 1 . Our rights in Canada are " fundamental" not "absolute" and there is a big difference between the two.

s. 2 rights can not only clash against s. 15 rights - the rights set out in s. 2 can clash with themselves. There are no absolutes and one right does not trump another. Rights have to be balanced in the individual context in which the clash arises.

We solve our clashes with impartial courts and tribunals not baseball bats.

Posted by: Nbob | 2006-04-02 3:50:32 PM


We don’t need a Human Rights Commission any more than we need Sharia Law. If the law of the land isn’t working for some reason, change it; don’t add a whole new layer of adjudication.

This reminds me of when Mordecai Richler called the Quebec language enforcers the “tongue police”. Gosh I miss Mordecai, he’d have a field day with this stuff. It’s also important to state that despite his criticism of Quebec, his attacks were about the separatists, the extremists; he was very inch a Quebecer, which is why separatism upset him so much. In other words dissent is key to fixing problems. Mordecai’s dissent made a difference.

Like the archaic Separatists, the left that is advocating all these “group-rights” layers of adjudication which I believe have an ulterior motive, they are really anti-business, anti-capitalism and anti- freedom of expression. They claim to be pro-human-rights but that is just a smoke screen. Because any business in Canada that ignores half the population as customers, i.e. women, will fail. That would be a recipe for business failure.

Because a business is going to have to have female customers. Therefore it needs an appropriate amount of female employees to sell and service those products. So setting up a whole bureaucracy about “the equality of the sexes” has some ulterior motive other than the concerns of consumers and employees. Ditto the same arguments apply to ethnics etc.

Does sexism and racism exists? Of course and they always will. But competition is the best weapon against it. Not more bureaucratic layers. We need one law of the land and one judicial system to enforce the law. The layers are expensive diversions.

PS

I recognize from reading the above posts that the right is also being accused of “ulterior motives” and of course I plead innocent. Both sides are pointing the finger over the same thing “ulterior motives”. Maybe the motives aren’t as bad as we think they are. But due to political correctness and a lack of competition in the MSM we don’t know. I’m trying to listen … honest. It helps when I see a post like the one Nbob just posted without ad hominems .. let’s keep doing that .. thanks

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-02 3:51:37 PM


nbob - I think that the reason that the hate imams have been more successful in Europe (including UK) is not that they don't have the 'hate speech' laws which you say we do, for our laws are completely muddled, contradictory and depend on the political correctness of the members of these tribunals.

I think that it's because of numbers. There are far more immigrant Muslims who have gone to Europe/UK than here. That's an important difference.

And, there's the economy. Canada, because it is completely and totally bonded to the US economy, and operates at one economic level - that of a middle class, with no high percentage of either a low economic or high economic level - doesn't have the massive unemployment found in some places in Europe.

So, numbers and economic level play a key role.

Mark Steyn has a column which argues against 'everybody's busy professing their respect for Islam'..and ignoring the guys marching in London with placards 'Behead the Enemies of Islam' and 'Freedom of Expression is Western Terrorism'.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn.cst-edt-steyno2.html

And, Theodore Dalrymple - 'The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris' - a 2002 piece that is very astute.
http://www.city-journal.org

And, Bruce Bawer has a great pice in the Hudson Review, Vol. LVIII, No. 4. Winter 2006, on the Crisis in Europe.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 3:54:20 PM


-All I ask is that you obey the law. Think you can manage that, knuckle-dragger?-

Laws written by a socialist like you? Take your laws and stick them where they belong. That's why I am not the only one here opposing it.

That's what I love about you weirdoes, if I don't agree with you and you are in power, you simply legislate against my way of thinking, whether the majority supports it or not. That's why we are in the ridiculous state we are in.

-but neither is there a right to incite attacks and spread hate against groups within our society.-

For the 100th time, they were cartoons. And you wonder why liberalism is considered a mental disease.

By the way, when have I ever mentioned eliminating someone? Another fantasy in your dream world perhaps?

Posted by: deepblue | 2006-04-02 4:18:56 PM


This is not about cartoons. This whole sorry episode is about Muslims embarking on a world domination march. Look around the world, similar things are happening in every 'Western' country. If it is not stopped now it will only get much, much worse. 9/11, Madrid bombings, London bombings. When will the western governments realise what the everyday folks already know, we are already in a war with these people and it has got a lot further to run yet. Take a look at the trouble around the globe, 99.9% of all troubles involve Muslims. When the CN Tower is a pile of rubble maybe then Canada will wake up to the truth.
Regards from the UK to all true Canadians.

Posted by: Alan | 2006-04-02 4:21:33 PM


nomdenet,
You pretty accurately set out the argument against human rights laws that I mentioned above, namely that the market will take care of punishing those that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, etc. I think history demonstrates that discrimination thrives under that approach; people are more than just economic animals and will make decisions that are inconsistent with greater profit.
and if you're going to have human rights codes, it makes a certain amount of sense to have human rights commissions, which have specialized procedures designed to facilitate settlement, reduce costs and assist lay litigants, rather than burden the ordinary courts with human rights complaints. After all, it's not as if the commissions are the only specialized tribunals; there are also labour boards, residential tenancy commissions, competition bureaus, copyright boards, police complaints commissions, etc, not to mention a fair number of self-regulating professional bodies.

btw,
I see ET continues to disregard my advice about actually researching the law; ah, well, as long as she has an opinion, why fuss as to whether it's an informed opinion? If ignorance is bliss, she must type her thoughts on the law with an ecstatic gleam in her eye.


Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 4:24:40 PM


dB
Nice to see you're as surly and loud and ignorant as ever. GFY.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 4:26:29 PM


Nbob - yes, I see your point on the Charter. As I've been saying, key clauses are contradictory, and yes, Section Two is also contradictory in itself.

Our problem is that not only is our Charter written within the relativist emptiness of political correctness, but, our courts, with their appointed judges - most of them cronies of the Liberals - follow that political ideology and they are activist judges rather than impartial.

We need an Antonin Scalia up here on our Supreme Court!

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 4:49:44 PM


Poor definition of socialism ET. Like I said, the US spends the same per capita on social programs. Many industries are public because they would not have been domestically sustainable otherwise. Slowly, whether by Liberal or Conservative governments, sustainable enterprise will be privatized.

I don't reject criticism, but to call someone a radical and then to say that radicals are like Hitler is basically defamation of character.

Do you realize that you can say the exact same things without offending someone?

1) I am going to publish the cartoons...I am sorry if that offends you but Canadians have a right to know what is causing the controversy without having to go to a blog on the internet.

To say "IN YOUR FACE MULLAH I HAVE A RIGHT TO FREEDOM...SUCK IT UP ISLAM..BY THE WAY YOU ARE RADICAL AND RADICALS ARE LIKE HITLER" is a bit much. Again, I want to live in a society that is about peace and order, and has some degree of respect.

The intent of Mr Levant was not to offend -- initially. It wasn't to have a good laugh at the expense of Muslims. I give him that much. So then say "if I offended some, I apologize, but I would do it again because the rest of the world deserves to know. How about a warning "this issue may be offensive to some muslim viewers next time?

You know, when you talk to Mr. Levant in person he isn't the kind of guy that sounds offensive. Why isn't he the same in person as in print?

Please understand Canadians have a need to know the whole story".

Questions can still be asked:

1) Why are some in the Islamic movement promoting terrorism?

2) Why does your sect not denouce terrorist acts?

3) Why are you not open and transparent about your religion and its aims?

I actually believe that some conservatives are close to fascism and authoritarian mentality within their own views. And your leader, has turned into the most politically correct person on the planet. A man very careful in any word uttered from his mouth. Why? Because he's afraid of being too honest. This doesn't mean I am calling him dishonest.

Finally, we are quite aware what some islamic movements are doing, and that some crazy people are beheading foreigners in Iraq. Of course, you do realize that the Iraqi jails were emptied during the invasion. So, if you have some strange serial killer type characters running around, it may be partly because of that. I've seen the beheadings online and they are pretty horrible.

So, I don't live in a cave, nor am I socialist. I think there are ways to get the answers you want without being rude.


"I have a right and a responsibility to publish the cartoons, Canadians have a right to know what's going on in the world."

Constructive dialogue is not the same as political correctness. Ann Coulter mentalities will not solve world problems. Also, it's not this "no wish to offend" mentality.

This isn't liberalism vs. conservatism here. It is just common sense that you treat people with respect.

I'm not talking about being afraid to offend, I am talking about being decent. Love your neighbour as yourself, ask a question the way you would want someone to ask you a question.

Finally, the cartoons do not ask any of the questions you want answered.

Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-02 5:52:46 PM


Agreed truewest, I don’t think the market will take care of 100% of discrimination, nothing will. But contrary to those that don’t trust market forces I argue that the market is in fact incented to take care of most of discrimination because it makes damn good business sense to do so.

I also agree with you that just as we differentiate between traffic court and criminal court; sexists and racists issues should find some efficient way to be handled as you suggest. So why not without adding an HRC layer? HRC is now an adjudication system that has lost all credibility with many of us by essentially overruling the judgement system that I do trust on the WS issue.

In fact, I’ve now come to believe that we should get rid of hate laws. Slander and/or physical injury or threats of injury should suffice. But verbal hate is like beauty; it is in the eye of the beholder. Besides I want to know who hates and why. Such as Isalmofascists Imams. Shutting them up is more dangerous than knowing who they are and figuring out how to deal with them. If Imams slander or threaten to kill infidels, we should take them to court. On the other hand I loathe Paul Martin, but I don’t hate him, he’s not evil. But I get the feeling if Paul Martin were an Imam he’d have me before the HRC.

But to get back to the “ulterior motivations” argument. I have never seen you express the notion that you even loathe radical Isalm. Therefore I assume you are going after WS and Ezra for other reasons that suit your agenda; shall I call it a central government “social engineering “ role. Maybe I’m wrong about drawing that conclusion?

I think a lot of society’s wasted energy has to do with assumptions about the other person’s “motivations” which must in a lot cases be wrong assumptions by both parties. Otherwise I would not have life-long Liberal friends that I am very fond of. There is a disconnect in how we analyse world events, particularly Islamofascism.

I hope you and I can continue this dialogue over future threads without ad hominems because I fear we’re wasting valuable time and energy on something that Canadians ought to agree on. Such as a conservative person like ET admonishing a fellow conservative like Scott over Tim Horton’s. That’s an issue both left and right should agree on. Dissent on other issues is healthy with maybe some Mordecai Richler type lampooning thrown-in but no ad hominems.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-02 6:28:46 PM


Wm Mc.
Government represents about 35% of GDP in the USA and 42% in Canada. But they have a big military expense, we don’t.
Yes we both spend about the same on Health at the government level between 6 and 7 %. Additionally, the US spends 9% privately on Health and we spend 3% privately.

Before 9/11 Bush was planning to take that 35% much lower. Now as you know many in the GOP are upset because of creeping socialism into US spending.

Harry S Truman said a decision to tax was a decision to spend. The only way to shrink government involvement in our lives is to not let them take as much of our money away from us, because they’ll just spend it.

Finally the Danish cartoons were not even newsworthy until a few cartoons were deceptively added by the Imam. Now I can say the cartoons have raised a lot of questions even in the minds of Liberals that heretofore thought Islamofascism was not a concern. The cartoons are a defining moment in the War on Terror.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-02 6:35:18 PM


William McCullough

There are some people whom you cannot respect. Evil exists, and it doesn't merit respect. I think that your rejection of this, is more to do with your own view of yourself than of reality.

If you don't like my definition of socialism, then, please provide one that you consider more valid. It can hardly be equated with the cost of a program.

I disagree that you have to, before you publish the cartoons, go to the local imam, and ask for his forgiveness, i.e., apologize. There is no need to apologize for criticism. If a critique offends, so what. That would be like someone writing an unfavorable review of, let's say, an article of mine, and prefacing it with 'I'm sorry if this offends you'. There's no need to apologize. Reality isn't about 'being nice' and 'not offending' or 'not being offended'. As for religion, religion should not be immune to criticism.

Did Mr. Levant say 'In your face, mullah; suck it up Islam'? If he didn't, then, why are you changing what he said and interpreting it as such?

Who are you referring to as 'my leader'?? I don't belong to any group and don't have any leader. What are you referring to?

Are you now saying that the people who are murdering other people in Iraq are primarily 'criminals' jailed by Hussein? And that they were all released and THEY are the ones doing the killings? Do you have proof? Why do you call them 'serial killings' rather than terrorist insurgents, meant to stir up internal conflict and prevent democracy?

So- you are denying the Jihad ideology as preached by the imams? You deny their preaching and exhortations to murder and kill westerners?

You say that the killings are carried out by Hussein's prisoners and that if the invasion hadn't occurred, they wouldn't have been released..and there'd be no killings? No bombings, no towers blown up, no trains blown up?? Do you have any proof of this?

I don't know what the 'Ann Coulter' mentality is.

I disagree with you. I don't think that terrorists deserve to be treated with respect. People who deliberately blow up trains, planes, restaurants etc..don't deserve respect. You think they do. Hmmm.

The cartoons DID ask the questions I suggested. The cartoon with Mohammed with a bomb in his turban, was saying: How is it that you and your religion are carrying out terrorist actions?

The cartoon about the 72 virgins asked - why, in the name of your religion are you carrying out suicide bombings?

All of them, as so often with political cartoons, were pointing out the discrepency between an ideology and an action.

What is puzzling is why you would bother to 'respect' someone who insists that their only goal in life is to kill, murder, destroy any and all of your people,
You think that the Pakistani imam who issued a 'fatwa' calling for the killing of the 12 cartoonists' - should be respected? What about the imam who faked three cartoons, added them to the collection and urged riots? Respect as well?

What about Muslims burning down 15 churches in Nigeria? Respect?
Respect for the 9-11? For the London bombers?

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 6:52:44 PM


Nbob - your comment at 3:33PM got my slow thought process started.

That Canada is radical-Imam-free as compared with the UK and other places which allow freer speech... etc.

I think your theory might be true, among the more Socialist places (i.e. European) with "freer" speech than Canada.

If you have lots of people sort of "on the dole" or underemployed (in a Socialist economy), but still "living" then you probably NEED to keep close track of what they are saying, and even what they are thinking.

In America (for all our problems) we have a LOT of Arabs. These people by and large are here because they were fleeing to safety.

These people have the same background-culture as those many in Europe. But here they are just getting very rich. It's majic! They brought pilphered millions with them! They don't pay taxes! It's luck!

The golfer, Arnold Palmer, said" The harder I work, the lucker I get."

The Arabs who land in America (1) want to be here, (2) are smart enough to see that if they work hard they can prosper, (3) if they waste their time griping and grousing, they can become Imams, or something.

Most of them seem to prefer building "little" castles made out of solid marble.

We also have disgruntled native born Americans who have adopted "Islam". A lot of these guys are finding the unsavory passages in the Koran, or where-ever the screwed up ideas which they claim are part of that religion, come from. These guys are also mostly living in very solid well built structures. Mostly concrete with steel bars on the windows.

Freedom and sunshine will cure the screwed up parts of a "culture" or a philosophy.

People who have become convinced that "society" rather than their individual efforts determines their future will find bad things to do or say, and you have to be a genius to "police" their thoughts and actions.

Give-teach people the real proof that their own hard work will produce money and property they can keep and be proud of, and they become fiercely patriotic Americans (or Canadians, etc. if you let them).

I learn about America from "newly" arrived Americans. I don't fear people who come here who really want to be here (i.e. become part of this freely evolving culture of independence and Rule of Law, etc.) and make this place their own. They are way too busy working at doing something that somebody really wants done, e.g. so much so that they are willing to PAY for it in the free market place, to do me any harm.

I hate people who come here to destroy this place or just to "rip off" something and then go away, or to get some sort of stupid "rights" that nobody else has.

You probably need a bunch more laws if you don't have a system that naturally and freely allows people to benefit from their good hard work, and suffer from their indolence or nefarious acts.

I don't know if this fits in here, but I just also wanted to say that I REALLY like the kind of government they have in Taiwan, where the Senators get into actual fist fights right on the Senate floor. That's the kind of guys I want to vote for.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2006-04-02 7:07:34 PM


I will reply to your comments directly, ET.

1) Socialism is a political and economic theory or social organization based on collective or state ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. This does not mean public ownership of a few industries, that were otherwise domestically unsustainable at the time. I am pretty sure Adam Smith and Edmund Burke made comments on this, although I would need to look that up. It does not mean that because the government funds health care or education that Canada is a socialist regime. Canada is a mixed political system.

2) One should not respect evil. But, it is not true that a majority of Canadian muslims are terrorits. Nor, is there evidence that proves the Inam in Calgary is a terrorist, supports terrorism, or is "evil". You ask if I have proof that crazy people are on the loose in Iraq. Do you have proof that the Inam in Calgary is a terrorist or a radical?

3) Ezra Levant called the Inam in Calgary a radical, he then said radicals are like Hitler. So is the Inam in Calgary like Hitler?

4)I should have said that, after the fact, Levant should have explained that he did not mean to offend Muslims, but rather inform Canadians on what the fuss was all about.

Then say that he wanted to ask terrorists

5) When I say "your leader" it is because this magazine is conservative and most people in Alberta seem to have voted conservative. It is in reply to those who label me as a "liberal" or "socialist". I have very little in common with Jack Layton.

6)I am saying clearly, that we should look at Islam within the Canadian context. Obviously some leaders in Islam are telling their followers to kill westerners. That doesn't mean that the Inam in Calgary is.

7) I am talking about respecting Canadian muslims not terrorists overseas. Terrorists in Canada should be arrested, obviously.

The cartoons are asking questions to terrorists, as you claim, but again, all muslims are not terrorists. And the cartoons are disrespectful to all muslims.

8) I didn't say terrorists need to be treated with respect. But Muslim Canadians should be treated with respect, especially the majority of them who have nothing to do with terrorism.

I am saying that Canadian muslims are not slaughtering people on our streets. Did the Inam in Calgary say "my only goal in life is to kill murder and destroy all your people?" I doubt it.

So yes, explain why you publish the cartoons. This is not the same as writing a critique on a book. Because at least you are criticing the author of the book, not a person who looks like him or goes to the same church. Criticize specific actions and specific people. Be truthful and correct, and you will win any lawsuit.

The Inam didn't sue anyone for saying 9/11 was horrible, and the London Bombings were horrible, and that suicide bombers are horrible. Because that's obvious. Now if you say to him that he is a radical, which partially links him with those events, without evidence, that is defamation of character.


Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-02 7:49:41 PM


First, just for the heck of it, I’d quantify socialism as GDP exceeding 1/3 rd of the economy excluding military and emergency expenditures.

That assumes all Western countries are socialist except the US. But the US sits on the cusp of becoming socialist, which is why conservative Americans are getting antsy.

I’ve admittedly backed into the quantification, but it makes sense, to me.

Secondly I went to a luncheon here in Toronto where Ezra explained very lucidly, in a business-like manner why he published the cartoons. The short version is:
Because he is in the news business and the cartoons were the most prominent news item on the planet at the time. Plus they were even published in Egypt, Jordan etc.

Ezra did a very good job articulating his reasoning at that function. I don’t see how anyone could not agree with the 70% of journalists polled who also thought the cartoons should be published. This is an open and shut case as the Albertan justice system has already declared. Any continuation IMHO is a form of harassment and we need to support Ezra against further persecution because freedom of speech is one of our most cherished values.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-02 8:30:04 PM


William McCullough - thanks for your considered reply. I'll reply to your points.

1)I don't think that socialism can be defined as referring only to the economic system, as you have done, in your statement about the means of production, distribution and exchange as 'state owned'. There probably isn't a country in the world that can meet those criteria. I still claim that Canada is socialist, in that not merely many of its major industrial developments, but its major services, are state owned.

2)I think you are in error in confining your analysis of terrorism only to those Muslims in Canada. Terrorism is a global action; and to view it only within the boundaries of one country is, in my view, hiding yourself from its reality.

3)You are the one who made the allegation that the killings in Iraq are being done by the prisoners of Saddam, being released from jail. You should provide evidence - and not refuse to provide evidence by asking me if I have proof that the Calgary imam is a radical or not. I never called the imam a radical/or anything. But - YOU make allegations about the causes of Iraqi violence, and therefore, YOU should substantiate your claims.

4) I don't know enough about the Calgary imam to arrive at any conclusion.

5) Who is claiming that the majority of Canadian Muslims are terrorists??? Who is making that claim? Where does anyone say this?

Terrorism is an international action; it's not something happening 'just over there', and Canadians, both Muslim and non-Muslim are involved. Therefore, we all have the right and duty to be informed, to discuss, to question.

And, Canadian Muslims should speak up, loudly, if they disagree with these terrorist actions being carried out in the name of their religion. Are they doing this?

6) Publishing the cartoons has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with 'treating Canadian Muslims with respect'. These cartoons were used, by several imams, to incite anti-Western riots. The cartoons were asking legitimate questions about the discrepency between FACT (blowing up trains) and FICTION (Islam is a peaceful religion).

What on earth does examining the terrorist actions, of blowing up commuter trains, have to do with respecting/not respecting Canadian Muslims? Are you saying that, in Canada, we shouldn't discuss these terrorist actions..for fear of offending 'Canadian Muslims'? That we shouldn't discuss what is happening in London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the ME - all, all - because we must not 'offend Canadian Muslims'????

So, to you, the only people in the world, who are allowed to discuss Islamic terrorism, are people in countries whose trains, hotels, restaurants, have been bombed? The rest of the world must remain silent...for fear of offending?

Sorry- I don't buy that. I think it is the DUTY of all people in the world - Muslim and non-Muslim, to confront terrorism - and ask WHY? And tell them - STOP.

Canada is not isolate from the rest of the world. I disagree, completely, with your view that we should only consider Islam 'within the Canadian context'. That means that, according to you, we must not say a thing about terrorism in London, Paris, Madrid, the ME.

I disagree. The world cannot be silent while wrongs are done. They've done it too often before - in Germany. In Rwanda...In Bosnia.

7) I'm not from Alberta. I don't have a leader.

8) You cannot always criticize specific actions and specific people. If a mob develops, and they go on a rampage, then, are you saying you shouldn't criticize the mob of people?

9)The imam is suing Ezra - not the other way around. He is suing him for publishing those cartoons. He, like you, doesn't want people to know those questions. After all - those cartoons are political questions. And they are legitimate questions. Muslims in Canada should be standing up - rather than quiescent - and proclaiming that Islamic terrorism is wrong.

We in Canada, both Muslim and non-Muslim, have the right to know why there were riots in Syria, Lebanon, why the president of Iran called for Holocaust cartoons.

We have the right to know why the Danes published those cartoons - and the questions those cartoons were asking - about why Muslims are killing non-Muslims.

According to you - we, both Muslim and non-Muslim, don't have such rights.

I disagree with you. Canada is not an island, and terrorism is a global issue.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-02 8:30:23 PM


So truewest, the law is that if speech can reasonably be expected to cause "hatred and contempt" for, I presume, ethnic or religious groups, then if that speech is communicated, it's a violation?

I suppose calling people "crackers" and "rednecks" doesn't fall under those boundaries? Otherwise I'm sure you wouldn't have said it.

It's a good thing hypocrisy is something anyone can engage in, otherwise I might be scared of stirring up "hatred and contempt" by pointing out how much you dabble in it. I wonder how forceful you are in real life, usually people who act like you are meek little losers off the computer. But that's just completely unsupported conjecture.

Posted by: Chaos | 2006-04-02 8:58:07 PM


There are many issues about Islam and its teaching that should be aired in a forum where rights of individuals, sexes, and groups are considered. It is good that the imam wants a spotlight put on Islam. It would be interesting to have all the writings of Islam put to the litmus test of human rights and freedoms. This is a great opportunity and should not be wasted.
There should also be debate on Canada as a secular society if it wants to be truly multicultural.
mac

Posted by: mac | 2006-04-02 9:55:14 PM


Nomdenet,
Human rights commissions aren't perfect, but they've been unfairly demonized. They're cheaper, faster and more informal than the ordinary courts and, at the end of the day, their decisions are subject to review by those courts, which give less deference to HRC decisions that they do to more specialized adminstrative tribunals.

Unlike courts, however, the HRCs can establish processes to encourage settlement - look at the complaint flow chart on the Alberta commissions website -- that, like all settlements, allow parties to craft the terms of their settlement rather than have it imposed from above. That same process allows vexatious claims to be dealt with early in the process.

The debate over the limits placed on speech by hate propaganda laws and the like take place across the political spectrum, but if you look at the record, the provisions are rarely used. Certainly, they are less frequently used than the civil law of defamation or the criminal law that forbids the uttering of threats and yet they cover similar territory.
Its imporant to remember that groups cannot sue for defamation, nor can they complain that a publication lowers their reputation. Only when the speech crosses a certain line -- provoking hatred or contempt -- do they even get a hearing. To convict someone of uttering threats, you need an identifiable victim or victims; you can't threaten a group in that way. The hate propaganda law captures behaviour that will threaten a group.

What do I think of radical islam? I think they're nuts. I think their ideas have no place in our civil institutions. I think using state power to enforce arbitral decisions made under Sharia law is a terrible idea. But I also think fundamentalist Christians and anyone else who think secular law should reflect their particular superstitions is nuts and worrisome. I'm a secular liberal; I don't want an imam breathing down my neck and I don't want Pat Robertson deciding my elections or helping to write my laws.

And no, I don't think there's any ulterior motive to my criticism of the WS and Levant. While I defend their right to run the cartoons, I thought their actions were cavalier and ill-considered; they pandered to those who would paint all of Islam as irredeemable terrorists and make every Muslim a party to 9/11. And they did this even as posters on this board made suggestions that bordered on a call for genocide. And now, when the inevitable complaint to the HRC arrives, they misrepresent the process, smear the complainant -- he's a radical imam (no he's not), he has messy handwriting (ummmm, I think you may have him there), he wants us all to obey Sharia law (uh, no)-- and turn the whole effort in a fundraising tool.

as for ad hominem, I've been on the receiving end of plenty and I've dished out my share. In a forum where liberals are dismissed as traitors, weirdos and so on, I'm not going to take the high road with someone who doesn't take the high road with me. That said, if you want a civilized discussion, I'm happy to reply in kind.

Posted by: truewest | 2006-04-02 10:10:57 PM


I have already staked out where I stand. That we should take some responsiblity in how we say what we say.

As for the jails. And remember my choice of words. Some crazy people MAY be involved in these beheadings that were legitimate psychologically unstable criminals.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2343843.stm

I never once said we don't have rights. When did I say that?

For amusment and to lighten things up a bit, maybe we should go back to the past and see what Ezra Levant thinks about lawsuits.

Claims Jewish man linking Day to holocaust deniers was defamatory, but we won't sue because we have to go fight the Liberals (This one is a warmup)

http://www.cjnews.com/pastIssues/01/apr26-01/front5.asp

LEVANT RESIGNED BECAUSE HE THREATED TO SUE CHUCK STRAHL.

http://www.chilliwacktimes.com/issues01/05401/news/05401N5.html

"Ezra Levant, Alliance Leader Stockwell Day’s director of communications, resigned Thursday after a leaked letter in which he and three colleagues threatened to sue Strahl if he didn’t apologize to them."

Apologize?????

Because the guy said you are not doing a good job?

"Mr. Levant apparently went a lawsuit too far in sending a letter Wednesday, along with three of his employees, threatening rebel MP Chuck Strahl with a defamation action unless he immediately and unconditionally apologized for remarks the group found offensive. "

oooo offensive! I like that word.

My final quote from the Globe and Mail.

"In 1998, Mr. Levant, who was by then working in Mr. Manning's office, wrote a fundraising letter, signed by then Reform MP Rob Anders and circulated to 31,000 Albertans, accusing then-senator Ron Ghitter of being lazy and un-Albertan. Two years ago, the pair offered Mr. Ghitter, by then a former senator, an apology and an undisclosed payment for making false and defamatory statements."

Ok so Levant has made false and defamatory statements in the past?


Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-02 10:56:35 PM


truewest , I still don’t see how HRC can be cheaper and faster than the judicial system, which has already quickly and efficiently dealt with this. WS reported a world phenomena. WS didn’t initiate anything. Our system threw out the case. So why is the HRC still looking at it? I think it’s because the HRC was set up with a different agenda than the law of the land. So let’s re-examine all those tribunal tentacles of the justice system that you named, I’m now suspicious of the agendas of all of them. It looks to me like the tail wagging the dog.

I’m pleased to hear your thoughts on radical Islam but then you move quickly into relativism mode by comparing radical Islam to Pat Robertson. Pat may be breathing down your neck but he’s leaving your neck intact.

You then say you support the WS right to print the cartoons. Good! But then you say it is “pandering to those that paint all of Islam terrorists”. How? It’s just news. News isn’t a cause. It reports. Adults are capable of handling the news; to think otherwise is the road to suppression. What’s next? … a judgment that a woman showing an ankle causes bad behaviour in males?

It appears to me that you are doing the relativist thing of equating one side’s nutbars (the ones that “paint all Muslims as terrorists”) to Muslim nutbars who kill us infidels. You make them seem equally bad. Maybe that isn’t your intention to equate them? But without clarification, your comments fit the infuriating pattern of Liberals regarding cultural relativism.

I’d rate Pat Robertson as being about as dangerous to society as Jack Layton is with socialism. Fortunately Pat and Jack are both marginalized, they aren’t life threatening, unlike radical Islam. Neither Pat nor Jack “decide our elections” we the people do. But I don’t understand that if the Imam is trying to muzzle our cherished freedom of speech then why doesn’t the Imam bother you as much as Pat does?

I find the cartoon issue is waking up a lot of Liberals that I’ve had arguments with in the past. So I believe all this exposure and debate is a good thing. The cartoons have also exposed the fact that our laws and institutions and tribunals of enforcing laws all need to be examined and they will be. All to the good.

We have our differences, but now that I know radical Islam worries you too and that you agree with the right to publish the cartoons, the differences are a lot smaller than I once thought. Plus nobody got beheaded on this thread, that’s progress, thanks.

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-03 6:06:24 AM


Jonathan Kay in the NP addresses the morphing of the HRC and other agencies “ In a handful of unusual but disturbing cases, complainants have sought to transform them into an instrument of censorship and social engineering.”

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/columnists/story.html?id=3d677348-99eb-442f-80cf-2b802d6d8a1d


a Quote…

“As Canadian Civil Liberties Association general counsel A. Alan Borovoy wrote in the Calgary Herald on March 16, such threatened censorship is the exact opposite of what liberal human-rights proponents had in mind when they set these commissions up decades ago: Human rights meant -- and should still mean -- protecting vulnerable Canadians from bald-faced discrimination that prevents them from getting a job or renting an apartment. It shouldn't be a pretext for wading into political and social debates -- much less the clash of civilizations.”

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-03 7:18:07 AM


nomdenet- thanks for the link to the NP article.

That's exactly my point. The HRC had a specific mandate, which referred to situations within employment, accomodation, and social services. That's all. They did have a role to play, as immigration increased in Canada. But, that phase is over.

The HRC weren't meant to be then transformed into Big Brother Watchdogs over speech. And yet, that is precisely what they have become. There's a similar concern by David Bernstein in 2003, in a comment: 'You can't say that'.
http://www.nationalreview.com

These committees have specific rules to follow but only within their limited original mandate. However, since they have moved outside of that mandate, there are no rules and since the effect of speech can be subjective, then, their rulings are equally subjective.

Their intrusion into this social engineering violates the Charter - but - since the Charter is extremely flawed and contradictory in its protection of individuals, pitting group rights against individual rights - then, the Charter isn't much help in stopping this creeping erosion of civil liberties.

Whether their rulings are about Owens, Brockie (both gay rights) or other - the point is, their original mandate was limited and clear. The censorship and stewardship of speech was not part of that mandate - and to have a small group of unaccountable citizens act as Big Brother watchdogs over a marketplace, is disturbing.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-03 7:52:56 AM


deepblue - "candidate for sainthood"

You briefly explained how you make business decisions - each action being something that impacts somebody else for the good. Or else it didn't happen (unless you are dealing with slaves as we want to do down here with "people doing jobs Americans won't do").

In every business decision, you take a risk with someone else and you benefit or you lose. If you keep your word, the other person benefits for sure (they chose the product). If you don't keep your word, they get to recover from you, who had something to risk.

This system benefits everyone involved and does it simply and efficiently.

deepblue et al seems to think all that is unimportant. Or much less important than what you were thinking about the other guy, or horrors, what you might have been saying about him.

That problem is much harder to discern and decide than your "saintly" actions.

This system of weighing intentions and biases and thoughts and maybe facial expressions is REAL hard to do. It has to cost a lot. I think YOU ought to pay a lot for it, and I think that your entire nation should pay even more for it.

I think that your nation's economic activity should be ground down to a halt in order to pay for this valuable contribution.

You ought to have a wild card wrench in the machinery that can show up anytime. It should eclipse the entire process of what you are being cannonized for, and interject an additional process which might make you the tenant and somebody with a broken heart, the landlord-owner.

As much as I like you, and as devout of a Catholic as I am (we're way into saints, ya know), I don't think I want to invest ANY money in your businesses.

I'm not a saint. I never hurt anybody. I've taken lots of hits maintaining my "reputation" as a guy who delivers 100% on his contracts even when he eats it all as a loss. But that is all aside from being called a "Hitler" in lovely Liberal "newspapers" because I proposed such things as cutting government employees' salaries.

Your country (and certainly mine) has to appreciate that a focus on thought crimes which clog up all of the courts and all of the legitimate activities of normal people, divert all national resources away from human progress of caring for families, building homes, growing things.

The newspaper guys and government guys never had a real job, at least not one that "Americans won't do."

All the praise and newspaper space is devoted to deviants and hangers on ("luminaries" we call them) while honest working patriotic reliable people and their ideas are not "news worthy". It is gravely important to dwell for days months years on the thoughts and perceptions of the "twentieth hijacker" or garbage like that.

You've got to sweep this trash out of your government.

Down here, I am convinced that the young people are going to bust this phony baggage wide open. And the "newspapers" are so dumb they wouldn't know it even after it hits them in the face. The "polling data" from calling each other just didn't show it, during Al Gore's widely anticipated and predicted second term.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2006-04-03 9:49:00 AM


Conrad , are you sure you mean deepblue?
He has a post where he's quoting others and it might look like his words, but I'm just wondering if you've targeted the right poster?

Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-04-03 10:13:08 AM


Right - I think it's not deepblue but William McCullough and truewest - they are the 'Thought n' Talk is a Crime' posters.

Posted by: ET | 2006-04-03 10:29:04 AM


I did not say that thought and talk are crimes. I said that thought and talk do not stop an individual from complaining. A Lawsuit or a hearing at a tribunal is not a criminal case.

I wonder why Levant threatened to sue Chuck Strahl for stating that Day's office was doing a bad job. Probably because he was offended.

And the tribunals rule under provincial legislation I believe. In fact, I believe that the case will be heard under the "Code of Conduct" of Alberta's Human Rights, Citizenship, and Multicultural Act's Article 3.

Posted by: William McCullough | 2006-04-03 10:55:33 AM



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