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Friday, September 12, 2008

Green Party's John Bennett apologizes to Leftdog and other bloggers

Leftdog received the following email earlier today:

"From:  John Bennett
To:  leftdog
Date:  Fri, 12 Sep 2008 13:58:55 -0600

I apologize for my hasty email yesterday. My actions came out of a concern to ensure that internet content is an honest and real representation of facts and I look forward to future positive dialogue with you and other bloggers.

In the TVO clip, Elizabeth May clearly says "they" think Canadians are stupid, referring to the opinions of some politicians. She then turns to the questioner and agrees with HIS assessment that a carbon
tax is essential. No spin can change that..."

Spell-checked and grammar-checked. Good for John. I think this means he's realized his mistake, and is hoping to make amends with Leftdog, and the rest of the blogging community.

One thing to bear in mind: Law suits are serious business. And Leftdog has made his demands pretty clear. In his first email exchange with John, Leftdog demanded the following:

"...Should I receive an apology from you within the hour, I will take no further action against the Green Party of Canada which would include:

1) A nationwide news release which includes the text of your threatening email to me,

2) Details which show that I had NOTHING to do with the production nor posting of the item in question on youtube,

3) That as a citizen journalist, the Green Party of Canada is attempting to suppress my freedom of speech,

4) A blog posting itemizing what has occured here including your threatening email to me.

Should your apology to me be received within the hour as I stated, I will take no further action against the Green Party of Canada"

Those demands might be a little over-the-top, but consider what he was responding to. John Bennett didn't ask Leftdog to take down the video politely. He didn't explain that the video doesn't portray the full context, and will mislead, rather than enlighten, Canadians. Instead, he went straight for the jugular: If you don't do what I say, I'm going to sic my lawyers on you. And that is unacceptable, indecent, and, frankly, outrageous.

Leftdog has decided to be the bigger man in this, and accepted the apology (even though, in my judgment, he could have asked for a little more). But he went ahead and gave John a lesson in blog journalism, just like John tried to give Leftdog a lesson in regular-old journalism:

"Mr. Bennett;

A Canadian federal election is a mutually agreed and defined period of time where an unfettered free forum of opinion and debate should ensue. The debate will inevitably contain both bold statements of vision as well as blind narrow partisan rhetoric. It will be full of humour and conflict and is intended to attract the citizens of the nation to cast their votes a particular way.

New to the debate is the ability of individual citizens to climb onto a modern day soap box - known as a ‘Blog’. The collective community of individual blogs is called the ‘blogosphere’ and it is a virile and potent force. You have witnessed the potency of this community over the last two days.

Those who do not recognize the power of the blogosphere nor even one sole member of it, do so at their own peril. The blogosphere is dynamic and it is unpredictable. It is well suited to facilitate this unfettered free forum of opinion and debate.

Using your position with a national political party to silence my voice by threatening me with legal action was both offensive to me and an extremely unfair use of your voice in the election campaign.

I will accept your apology and urge you and others to respect the potency and validity of the blogosphere in your future dealings.


You're lucky you're dealing with a gentleman here, John Bennett. But in case the lesson isn't entirely clear to not just you, but to other law types in general, let me spell it out: In Canada, we don't instantly respond to something that we think is unfair or insufficiently nuanced with the threat of a lawsuit. We respond with a simple request, and an explanation of our position. That's the decent thing to do in a country like ours. So be decent.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on September 12, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Well, this tempest-in-a-tea-pot seems to pretty much have run it's course. John Bennett is an ass and has been forced to eat crow. No thinking person could believe that Elizabeth May said Canadians are stupid. The Shotgun has probably given this far more attention than it really deserrves. But it has not even given one thread to this story:

Comedian who satirised Pope could face prosecution

Italian politicians of right and left, comedians and even some priests yesterday deplored a move by prosecutors in Rome to put a satirist on trial for contempt of the Pope.

Sabina Guzzanti, known for her take-offs of the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, risks being jailed for up to five years. The prosecutors recommended to the justice ministry that she be indicted because of a speech she made to a leftwing rally in July.

Referring to the attitude to gay people of the Catholic church and Pope Benedict - the former cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - Guzzanti said: "In 20 years Ratzinger will be dead and will end up in hell, tormented by queer demons - not passive ones, but very active ones."

The 1929 Lateran treaty that created the Vatican city state describes the Pope as a "sacred and inviolable person". It makes insulting him an offence in Italy on a par with contempt for Italy's president, punishable by between one and five years in jail.


Christofascism is alive and well and living in Italy. But also note that last sentence: it is also illegal in Italy to insult the President. Here's hoping the current controversy over this case leads to a change in their laws. It's probably asking too much to expect it to have any spill-over effect here too. Pitty.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-12 3:44:26 PM

Fact Check: If you had emailed me that story, I would have been on it instantly. I don't see what you see, and sometimes I miss a story that is worth talking about.

Like this one.

Send me tips, and I'll follow up. Okay?

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-12 3:52:05 PM

Betty May said it. I believe that she was serious about it. That settles her campaign - it was over before it started.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-12 4:33:31 PM

I still think the Green Party can do serious damage to the Liberals and the NDP, regardless of whether or not they can gain traction in a particular riding and actually elect a Member of Parliament.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-09-12 4:38:40 PM

P.M., in the sense that they can steal a portion of the Left-wing vote away from the Liberals and NDP, you're right. And I'm not complaining. Harper is the only one with a credible team. The Natural Governing Alternative is headed by an overly dense and pedantic professor type who was the last choice of his party and the other two leaders have never seen their parties in power, not once.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-09-12 4:47:12 PM

Tonight on Duffy May admitted she said what she said because she talks too fast.
John Bennett has a different excuse.
Greens are sure turning into thin-skinned litigeous protectors of the enviroment when they don't get their own way.

Posted by: bocanut | 2008-09-12 8:44:59 PM

What Eliza May wants us to believe is that she talks so fast we missed the "I fundamentally DIS-agree..."


Did ANYONE hear the "dis."

Does this mean Ms. May is dissing us? Not so fast, young lady...

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-12 8:52:28 PM

Anybody notice that 2 of the biggest asshole politicians in this country are Elizabeth May and David Miller, and both happen to be Americans.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-09-12 8:57:40 PM

Ironic, isn't it, that both May and Miller, the "champions of the people" not only are American-born but both are also products of prestigious private schools. May: Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, and Miller: Lakefield College School ("The Grove") in Lakefield, Ontario.

There's nothing worse than a blue blood socialist. They think nothing of taking our hard-earned money to be a "champion of the people," while they live hermetically sealed lovely lives far from the madding crowd.

I live in the middle of the madding crowed in the middle of an urban jungle--David Miller's to be precise--and I'd invite both Miller and May to live in the real world for a month or two--no visits to the cottage in mid-summer or jetting off to some cozy corner somewhere to get away from it all--to see what their socialist worldview has imposed on the rest of us.

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-13 7:48:32 AM

Cadillac Socialists are never affected by what their doctrine imposes on the working class. It's talk the talk not walk the walk.

In the case of David Miller, he comes out of his opulence for set up appearances to call for banning guns after each Toronto shooting or social events like the Gay Pride Parade.
If he's anywhere close to being as stunned as he appears, surely his days in politics are over.

Posted by: Liz J | 2008-09-13 8:56:11 AM

BCadillac Socialists are never affected...
Posted by: Liz J | 13-Sep-08 8:56:11 AM

I love that term. And its so true.
believe me, Socialists and Communists are truly Capitalists in that they want to make lots of money and gain lots of power and prestige...they just don't want "everyone" doing it. Again, these low life extortionists are all about control.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-13 9:33:28 AM

Hey Liz, don't know how the "B" got in there.

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-13 9:36:15 AM

JC, I think the B stands for "Bloody"... as in Bloody Cadillac Socialists...

Posted by: batb | 2008-09-13 1:41:22 PM


I'll Buy that! :)

Posted by: JC | 2008-09-13 1:47:46 PM

I'll buy that for a dollar.

Sorry, couldn't resist the Robocop reference.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-09-13 2:03:37 PM

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