The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Ed Stelmach vs. edstelmach.ca
Here's a copy of Stelmach's legal demand letter.
The first thing that comes to my mind is that Cournoyer didn't register the domain until April of 2007. Stelmach has been in politics for decades, and premier since 2006 (though he hasn't yet been affirmed in that position by anything as messy as an election). But don't be too hard on the old man. These Inter-Nets can be confusing!
The second thing is Stelmach's first response: go litigious. Let's see how that works out in the blogosphere. Until Stelmach's demand letter, very few people would have known about any of this -- Stelmach has the .com, .net and .org sites for his name, as well as all of the provincial Tory and government websites. His approach -- lawyers -- has brought a flurry of media coverage painting Cournoyer as a David to Stelmach's lazy, low-tech and bullying Goliath.
The third thing is that Stelmach is going to lose. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority -- the administratrive body that oversees .ca sites -- is very tough on commercial cybersquatters who have no legitimate reason to register a URL, and who clearly want to sell it for a quick buck.
But that's not Cournoyer. He clearly falls under CIRA's policy 3.6(d) which allows cybersquatting if:
"the Registrant used the domain name in Canada in good faith in association with a non-commercial activity including, without limitation, criticism, review or news reporting."
Cournoyer isn't trying to make a buck by selling the URL back to Stelmach. He's not trying to pass himself off as Stelmach. He's commenting on Stelmach in a blog.
Stelmach has looked foolish twice already -- first by not registering his own domain name, then by threatening a little blogger with a lawsuit. His third humiliation will be the most spectacular: losing his case, having to pay Cournoyer's legal costs, and having yet another round of media coverage.
cross-posted to www.ezralevant.com
Posted by Ezra Levant on January 8, 2008 | Permalink
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Good post Ezra.
As someone who chose Ed as their second choice on the final PC leadership ballot I sure have buyer's remorse.
This guy is unbelievable, he's acting as arrogantly as a Federal Liberal.
If this Wildrose Alliance thing works out I will be voting for them in the upcoming election.
Posted by: Walter | 2008-01-08 5:49:28 PM
I love Saskatchewan farmland.
Ad at the top of this page.
I'm superior to Alberta farmers.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 6:51:40 PM
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-08 6:54:21 PM
Ached Stomach has no problem ripping up signed agreements with prominent Alberta companies that were honoured by previous elected premiers. Why should he behave any differently here?
This naive, bullying little man is not long for Alberta politics.
Posted by: epsilon | 2008-01-08 7:33:05 PM
He's such a bully, I'm shaking in my boots, I'm so afraid of him.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 7:38:50 PM
After all the damage this fool has caused you should be afraid of him!
Posted by: epsilon | 2008-01-08 7:40:09 PM
Faaaaarmer. Farmer, farmer, farmer.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-08 8:58:36 PM
I love Saskatchewan farmland.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 9:11:15 PM
No doubt your love for Saskatchewan farmland is fearless, set.
(sans boots of course)
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-08 9:14:32 PM
Is there such a thing as a Jewish farmer?
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 9:15:58 PM
I believe that Jewish people do a lot of farming in Israel, set.
Also there were quite a few smallish Jewish farmers in the movie 'Fiddler on the Roof'.
Historically, though, Jews have never been permitted to own much land by Europeans or other Gentiles.
They have historically been forced to make their livings as scribes, money lenders, merchants, and crafts such as watch repair, smithing silver and gold etc. whereby we get words such as jewel.
Did you ever see the movie 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz', set?
When Mr. Stelmach gets thumped in court, I hope he doesn't expect the Alberta taxpayers to pick up his legal tab.
None of this is going to look good when Mr. Stelmach calls the General Election this year.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-08 9:37:20 PM
How many members in the ‘I hate Ed' club?
I dunno why the term URL comes to mind ... phonetically You Are (word that starts with an L).
All this because he's a farmer and by implication, so much dumber than the members of the I hate Ed (the farmer like Harry Strom) group.
I hope the I love Saskatchewan farmland person who's paying for the ad above here takes note.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 10:37:33 PM
I worked on a Jewish farmers land years ago near Lethbridge. I had to meet him at the elevator, and asked some other farmers in line where I could find him. A couple of old Germans laughed and said "just rub two nickels together, and he'll find you".
Posted by: dp | 2008-01-08 10:50:09 PM
There seems to be an attitude here that anybody who farmed the land is somehow unworthy to become premier.
Was there anything in your experience working for the Jewish farmer to suggest he was incapable of handling complex issues?
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-08 11:00:48 PM
In the early 1900's when the Canadian government was trying to entice immigrants to open the West the easiest way for Eastern Europeon's to gain entry to Canada was to apply as farmers. There were many Jewish settlers who came to the West as farmers. I don't know how successful they were as farmers but the ploy did gain them entry and since that time they have contributed significantly to our economy and lifestyle.
Posted by: DML | 2008-01-08 11:02:20 PM
You're the one stuck on Mr. Stelmach's identity as a farmer, set.
You always bring it up first, although I tried to preempt you today by posting the single word 'Farmer' at about 5:00 PM just for giggles and the spam filter kept rejecting it.
Set, a pitiful few cared enough about the PCs to even vote to select the new leader in 2006 and of those did very few wanted Mr. Stelmach.
Now Mr. Stelmach is making waves as though he has political capital to burn and the truth is he doesn't.
Making waves, by the way, set, is not what Conservatism is about unless it is clearly necessary and the waves Mr. Stelmach is making are neither perceived to be necessary nor widely beneficial.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-08 11:07:36 PM
Actually, you asked if there were Jewish farmers. I was just confirming that there are.
My ex-wife's uncle was an MLA in the Blakeney gov. in Sask. He was one of two who stayed on in '82. He was a farmer, and also a school teacher. He was also a political opportunist with no real convictions.
Anyway, he always made me sit at the kid's table when we went to visit.
Posted by: dp | 2008-01-08 11:21:11 PM
"Is there such a thing as a Jewish farmer?"
As DML points out, there was lots of opportunity in Canada. Maybe Jews don't do farming. Not a lot of Jewish Grand Masters either. Probably those evil Euros would't let them have paint brushes.
For the Quebec farmer the joke is, "How do I find the rabbi?" "Don't pay your kosher tax!"
Posted by: DJ | 2008-01-09 2:52:14 AM
There are no Jewish farmers because they are highly successful and have no need to migrate.
Take a look at Israel, it is a land of green. Then look at neighbouring Muslim lands and there is nothing but desert wasteland.
A better question to ask might be why are there no Muslim farmers?
One must be careful with the whole farming debate because it underlines a paradox between support of free enterprise principles versus a continuing and bothersome reliance on government handouts. Does anyone know an industry in western Canada that receives more of its income from the hard pressed taxpayer than the agricultural industry?
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 8:58:21 AM
>"Does anyone know an industry in western Canada that receives more of its income from the hard pressed taxpayer than the agricultural industry?"
Epsilon | 9-Jan-08 8:58:21 AM
Those would be the Environmental Hysteria industry and the Native Indian industries respectively.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 9:05:19 AM
. . . and womyn's advocacy lobbies, too.
Posted by: obc | 2008-01-09 9:14:24 AM
True. But these groups are not making products and services for sale to the market via a product/service supply chain that ends at Walmart.
I am talking about so called "legitimate" industries. Any other industry will shut down production lines to deal with low price and low demand scenarios. When we continue to subsidize agriculture, all we are really doing is producing more products the world does not want and driving prices even lower and creating even more demand for tax subsidies confiscated by law and under threat of incarceration from so called free people.
Thankfully, food prices are starting to rise and this bloody well better translate into an end to subsidies and reductions in taxes.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 9:32:54 AM
You are correct that the 'industries' cited by obc and myself produce little of intrinsic value.
As long as agriculture is an internationally competitive industry which receives subsidies from foreign governments protective of their own national agriculture and as long as the need for Canada to independently produce it's own food stuffs remains a point of Canada's strategic security, subsidies will continue.
It should be noted that food is a tool of international foreign policy and nations that produce it in abundance have leverage at the international negotiating table.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 9:47:21 AM
Speller, these are lame excuses and I just do not buy them. Canada, with a very small population and such a large landmass exports the vast majority of its food production so why are we subidizing foreigners who are buying our food?
We could shutdown a huge component of our food production and still have a food export industry but one that is viable and one that generates tax revenue rather than consumes tax revenue.
Never discount the ingenuity of a prairie farmer. If subsidies were ended, a lot of farms would shut down. But I think you would be surprised at the number of new businesses that would start up from new food products to value added processing to equipment manufacturing and technology development. Necessity is the mother of invention.
New Zealand did this very thing that I am proposing and they are now the least subsidized agricultural producer in the OECD and have a thriving and highly tax positive agricultural sector.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 10:07:54 AM
Good debate on the value of farming guys! I would surmise that the work farmers do is valuable ie production of food, but since their work is somehow undervalued, governments around the globe have in effect made it a state enterprise through subsidies.
Now, for the domain name issue.
Apparently, the only one not registered was the .ca domain.
I can only assume the Stelmach entourage did attempt to settle the issue amicably before lawyers got involved.
Which begs a legality vs ethical question:
Sure, the student is the legal owner of the name he successfully registered.
But, how ethical is it to hang onto another person's name for the purpose of creating mischief?
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 10:22:19 AM
Perhaps you should plug edstelmach.ca
into your 'go' window and describe to me the mischief you see there.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 10:38:25 AM
Set, I would turn your argument around 180 degrees:
If farmers were not so heavily subsidized by taxpayers, they would have a lot more respect.
Same for welfare abusers, indian reserve slackers and other abusers of the tax dollars that are confiscated from me under threat of incarceration.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 10:49:06 AM
Think of Canada's grain production as equal to another 5 divisions of the Canadian Army when Canada is at any negotiating table, Epsilon, and then you'll see why agriculture is meddled in by the state and why the Canadian Wheat Board exists.
>"I think you would be surprised at the number of new businesses that would start up from new food products to value added processing to equipment manufacturing and technology development. Necessity is the mother of invention."
What exactly is keeping these 'value added' food processing, equipment manufacturing, and technology development businesses from starting up now when agriculture is subsidized and raw food costs are low?
Don't think in terms of 'value added' or food products. Think in terms of Canada needing to produce food because we can and having the raw material is a strategic asset.
Also, think in terms of little farms folding and large conglomerates buying the land.
New Zealand got rid of their Airforce and had to call on Australian F-15s for help when an Islamic nut flew a planeload of explosives around the Beehive a couple of years ago.
New Zealand isn't an international player or a member of NATO.
New Zealand is run by womyn.
I don't think New Zealand is a nation to be emulated.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 10:52:26 AM
I was just asking a general ethical question, not specific to the .ca site.
There are differences between legal, moral and ethical questions.
If nobody farmed, how would food be produced?
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 10:56:02 AM
Speller, such nonsense! The military analogies are ridiculous. The New Zealnd statement is a complete nonsensical generalization.
If subsidies came off farmers would either grow what makes money or shut down. And what they can produce cheaply, ie wheat cannot be incorporated into value added processing at their internal cost of production because the Wheat Board will throw them in jail if they even try it.
A smaller but healthy agricultural sector that generates tax revenue and is self sufficient is far more strategically viable than a subsidized one reliable on state handouts. During a time of conflict, I want my tax revenues to pay for bullets and soldiers. NOT FOOD!
You are sounding like a socialist advocate meddler who does not want our farmers to be independent, proud or wealthy.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 11:00:22 AM
"Cournoyer isn't trying to make a buck by selling the URL back to Stelmach. He's not trying to pass himself off as Stelmach. He's commenting on Stelmach in a blog."
Did any of the commenters and did Ezra actually go to the edstelmach.ca site? It is simply an alias for a Wikipedia entry on Harry Strom. It is certainly not a blog.
I do not think as highly of Mr. Stelmach as SYF does, yet I think a principle is a principle. To suggest that Mr. Stelmach is the PC version of the Socred Strom is a valid political opinion. I happen to think there is a lot of merit in that opinion.
However, to register a URL with the only purpose of pointing to a Wikipedia entry and without providing further political comment (including comment of the negative sort) seems to me to be a very unethical way of making this point. Mr. Cournoyer could have certainly made this point on his own blog. If Mr. Cournoyer had been a PC supporter and had done this to a Liberal, the criticism of his ethics would have been much more than whatever criticism he will receive because he is a Liberal doing this to a PC (even if the PC in question is a Red Tory).
For what it is worth, I happen to agree with Ezra that the legal effort will fail since organizations such as CIRA tend to interpret their own rules in a liberal fashion.
Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-01-09 11:01:32 AM
Come on Set, this is the same tired old horse the farmer-socialists have been trotting out for years.
No one buys this nonsenes. Let the market set the price and keep the government and the agri-socialists and my tax dollars out of it.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 11:02:22 AM
Oh, Epsilon, you were talking about these value added businesses being right on the farms run by the farmers themselves.
Gee, how could I have missed that?
So you're are stating that food prices are too low because of subsidizing raw food production, but somehow if raw food prices rise then these 'value added' industries will become more possible?
I'm so confused.
Could you elaborate please?
I'll give explaining the strategic importance of domestic food production a rest.
I'm clearly not getting any traction there.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 11:09:09 AM
>"Did any of the commenters and did Ezra actually go to the edstelmach.ca site?"
It doesn't look like mischief to me.
It looks like someone spending his own money how he sees fit and it looks like free speech.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 11:15:30 AM
What, then the purpose of the .ca address, other than to point out that Strom and Stelmach's backgrounds as farmers?
And, by extention, to suggest that history somehow follows a pre-determined path as the original post did?
My objection, even though I have never been a farmer, is that there seems to be some prejudicial view that farmers are incapable and therefore should be excluded from holding the highest office in the province.
This particular argument has been reinforced with the partisan portrayal of Stelmach as a country bumpkin, suggesting that he is from an inferior ethnic group (those dumb Ukrainians from around Edmonchuck).
As we have seen, there are Jewish farmers in southern Alberta. Poster dp said he had worked on this farm and I believe him.
In our system of food production, nobody can deny the primary producer gets the short end of the stick compared to the manufacturing and retail sectors.
I try to buy directly from the producer whenever I can at weekly farmer's markets and such because I appreciate the valuable work they do.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 11:23:10 AM
Speller! YOu are smarter than this!
Free markets allow participants to shift resources to produce those goods that generate the highest return. I have no idea what farmers would shift into but they likely would produce another product or shut down. End the Wheat Board so that if farmers want to grow regulated crops, they can undertake downstream processing at their lower cost of production if it is lower than the wheat board price (and it usually is). Right now, if a farmer is really effecient at growing wheat, and wants to build a pasta plant along with other producers and investors, he is forced to sell his wheat to the wheatboard at THEIR price and then buy from the wheatboard at THEIR price. He is prohibited from using his own cheaper internal cost and will be prosecuted and incarcerated for doing so. As a result, efficient farmers are denied the opportunity to be rewarded for their efficiency. mediocrity is rewarded and secondary processing and all the jobs, revenue and tax returns is non-existant and opportunities that would permit producer integration forward into the supply chain and allow the producer a larger return on their production is denied under federal law.
I don't know how they would structure their downstream processing. Nor do I care. Let them look after that not me or the government. Let the unsuccessful ones fail. There will be successful ones too that will thrive.
We deny them this chance to be so successful under ridiculous national security excuses while wasting tax dollars. This is insanity!
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 11:24:02 AM
Epsilon, I totally agree with your 9-Jan-08 11:24:02 AM post.
But dismantling the Wheat Boards and eliminating subsidies are not intersecting issues.
They are concepts that exist without linkage.
There are other nations which have agricultural subsidies that don't have forced pool marketing boards.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 11:31:06 AM
syf: "I can only assume the Stelmach entourage did attempt to settle the issue amicably before lawyers got involved."
You're assumption is incorrect. David Cornoyer was on Rutherford this morning and said the first and only communication was the letter from the law firm.
Posted by: Kathryn | 2008-01-09 11:33:30 AM
Is Ed Stelmach a supporter of the Canadian Wheat Board?
I doubt it, but I could be wrong.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 11:37:39 AM
Thank you Speller,
Both need to go. I don't care how they do it but it is better both politically and economically to inflict a little pain all at once and get it over with than to draw it out interminably.
With commodity food prices now beginning to rise, I cannot think of a better time to Set Our Farmers Free.
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 11:38:31 AM
Thanks for that clarification. You've now heard Cornoyer's version and if that's what he said, that's what he said.
I'll wait to see what the lawyers have to say about whether they tried to contact him and why they were unable to contact him in the past.
In this case, it seems curious that this was the first contact.
The truth will come out eventually.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 11:50:45 AM
I was simply commenting on the ethics as you were. I do not see this as a "farmer" issue so I will not address the digression even though these are valid points in their own thread.
Now, further points on the ethics question. Several years ago, an Alberta Pro-Life group was taken to court by a pro-abortion group for having several telephone numbers listed under names that were similar to pro-abortion groups. The pro-abortion groups advanced the case that this was a deliberate attempt to direct potential abortion clients to pro-life counselling offices; the judge agreed with the pro-abortion groups.
When I was living in Alberta I had my own company. I had an attorney set it up; he did a name search before we registered it; certain names could have exposed me to litigation.
I do understand that the Web addresses are operating under different legal rules than the 2 examples that I just gave. Yet, the ethical principle is the same in all 3 cases.
Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-01-09 11:56:39 AM
When it comes to the law, ethics are irrelevant.
Ached Stomach will:
1. Lose the legal case.
2. Once again look like a flaming idiot.
Meanwhile, our political science student will:
1. Win the case.
2. Look like a genius.
And the voting public always loves an underdog, a David versus a goliath.
Long live freedom of speech!
Posted by: Epsilon | 2008-01-09 12:03:45 PM
>"The truth will come out eventually."
set you free | 9-Jan-08 11:50:45 AM
What is important is that there is going to be a General Election in Alberta very sooner rather than eventually later, because the last one was November 22 2004, and this suit is going to make Mr. Stelmach look shabby.
Good onya, Red Ed.
I should think that many people who surf edstelmach.ca
will think the site they wanted is down(link rot) and carry on elsewhere.
I don't think it's a bait and switch like the abortion information case you referred to.
I also don't think Mr. Cornoyer is being unethical.
He is making the subtle statement, too subtle I think, that Mr. Strom is a metaphor for Mr. Stelmach.
It is free speech.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 12:11:35 PM
Yeah, the internet world and domain names are more complex that simple registration of company names.
The ‘farmer' thing is mentioned in the first line of this post.
Ed Stelmach, the Alberta Tories Harry Strom ...
So, the tone of this post right out of the gate equated a premier from a farming background today with a premier from a farming background 35 years ago.
I'm sure you're familiar with the New Testament chastisement of pharisees and lawyers, who were experts at explaining the letter of the law, but were unable did not apply to their own conduct.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 12:21:06 PM
When it comes to the law, ethics are irrelevant.
Wow! That's quite an interesting position to take.
Without an ethical or moral base from which we write laws, what then are they ... other than a means of control?
Posted by: set you free | 2008-01-09 12:30:22 PM
"Yeah, the internet world and domain names are more complex that simple registration of company names."
It is actually the other way around, but they are clearly different.
"So, the tone of this post right out of the gate equated a premier from a farming background today with a premier from a farming background 35 years ago."
I do not see it as a "farmer" thing.
So, the tone of this post right out of the gate equated a premier who [is from a political party holding power for about 40 years and could be the last Premier of that party] with a premier 35 years ago [who was from a political party holding power for about 40 years and who was the last Premier of that party].
Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-01-09 12:33:04 PM
"I'm sure you're familiar with the New Testament chastisement of pharisees and lawyers, who were experts at explaining the letter of the law, but were unable did not apply to their own conduct."
Fair comment. That comment deserves a thread on its own. If not, it deserves a dedicated blog ....
Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-01-09 12:35:12 PM
"He is making the subtle statement, too subtle I think, that Mr. Strom is a metaphor for Mr. Stelmach."
Agreed. It is not his point; it is his manner of making his point upon which I have commented.
Posted by: Brent Weston | 2008-01-09 12:37:36 PM
>"Strom was the last Social Credit premier of Alberta."
This, I think, is really the metaphor that Mr. Cornoyer wanted to point up.
That the Social Credit dynasty ended as the Progressive Conservative dynasty will end.
They were both farmers and served in an agricultural capacity for their governments?
Get over your farmer fixation, set.
Most people don't get the link that YOU have between the words farmer and idiot.
It's in your mind, set, not ours.
Posted by: Speller | 2008-01-09 12:48:14 PM
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