Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Libel Chillin' With Ezra

Fast Forward Weekly issued an apology to Ezra Levant and the “Western Standard community” for publishing a letter-to-the-editor in 2007...

From the comments section: This Ezra Levant is sure a piece of work. Mr. Free Speech, my ass.

Interestingly enough, Merle Terlesky, the target of Ezra's defamation suit, has decided to fight back. This is news to me and I wish him luck.

Kinsella has the original letter, which seems pretty mild stuff to me.

17 comments:

Ti-Guy said...
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Ti-Guy said...

That discussion at The Shotgun quickly devolved with some wingnut calling for the HRC's to go after the CBC for Little House on the Prairie and Terrence Watson agreeing that the show is, like, totally lame.

Funny; isn't it the type of wholesome family entertainment Conservatives are always clamouring for?

Gawd, I hate democracy and freedom of expression.

Anyway, I'd be a little more on Ezra's side if he weren't such a comment NAZI on his own blog. Hypocrite.

Mike said...
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The LS from SK said...

You might remember that both "Lucy" and the "Lying Jackel" (now a free speech warrior) - both sued others such as Freedominion for republishing material found elsewhere.

Get your paypal account tuned right up.

tsk, tsk

Mike said...

I take it my earlier comment was inappropriate? CAre to let me know why?

Shoot me an email if you'd rather not post...

sue930 said...

I read the letter and while I think the financial disclosure was speculation and ought not have been printed, the rest was no more and certainly far less than the garbage Levant has thrown at people like Warman and Kinsella. Yet many of Levant's minions and I believe the Levant himself have whined incessantly that Warman and Kinsella have launched law suits.

What does all this tell us? I wonder?

The LS from SK said...

Now this is LIBEL CHILL.

And today...from the liberal press ti-dye will not post:

"Freedom watch
Perhaps I wrote too soon, last Wednesday, in listing the “human rights” prosecutions against various “politically incorrect” journalists that had been dismissed recently by Canada’s “human rights” kangaroo courts. A new round seems to be on the way.

Fresh from having one set of charges, filed against him by Islamists, dismissed by an Alberta kangaroo court, Ezra Levant has now been served with a fresh set from an anti-Christian activist through the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Rob Wells, the new complainant, is the same whose charges against Fr Alphonse de Valk and Catholic Insight were dismissed recently, after costing that small magazine a bundle. Nor was that his first use of the CHRC. Details and documents may be found through Ezra Levant’s website.

That the CHRC does not wish, currently, to touch such cases, is clear enough. They are getting tarnished by very bad publicity, very well deserved. An investigator’s recommendation that they not proceed appears on the covering page of the latest chargesheet. But a Kafkaesque bureaucracy is a Kafkaesque bureaucracy, and Mr Levant is legally obliged to respond to the latest tawdry allegations, and be ground once more through the gears of the “resolution process,” merely because a complaint has been made.

“Human rights commissions” are alas not unique, and the septic idea of policing public opinion has spread rapidly through many Canadian institutions, under tireless pressure from activists of various kinds -- feminist, homosexualist, Islamist, and miscellaneous leftist -- who hold the notion of free speech in contempt. Their success depends on the obsequious response of our political class -- Conservatives and Liberals alike -- who tend to wet themselves at the first shrieking note from a radical lunatic.

In the Canada of my parentage, crazy people were not humoured with a legislative agenda.

I’ve received a personal taste of the budding totalitarian order in the ministrations of the Ontario Press Council. Ottawa reader Carol Wainio, who already brought one complaint against me that was eventually dismissed by the OPC, has recently brought another. In both cases the complaint struck me as completely batty and bogus; but in each case, I and my senior editors are reduced to the time-consuming, and expensively chilling process of justifying my right to my opinions. In a country with a long history of press freedom, this is an obscenity.

Dean Steacy, a leading apparatchik of the CHRC, was directly asked in an on-record exchange during one kangaroo court hearing, “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?"

He replied: "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value."

Quote this, as it has been frequently quoted, to members of Canada’s political establishment, and you do not get a rise. Like many other “human rights” operators, Mr Steacy plays on a seedy, knee-jerk anti-Americanism, to obliterate Canada’s own deep tradition of intellectual freedom.

By chance, the American Political Science Association has an annual convention scheduled for Toronto next year. This prestigious academic organization is, by its own constitution, committed to neutrality on every political issue except that of academic freedom. A petition is now circulating among its members, expressing anxiety about the possibility of “human rights” complaints against individual members, while on Canadian soil. Search out the members’ petition online, and you will find among its signatories many of the most prominent names in contemporary political science and philosophy.

By rumour, I’m aware that a similar anxiety has been expressed within the American Bar Association, which also sometimes holds conventions up here.

The APSA petition seeks Canadian national and local government assurances that those attending the convention will be secured against “human rights” prosecutions, even when they are discussing controversial topics, for the duration of their time in Canada.

So far as I can see, from my reading of the legislation that created our kangaroo court systems, no Canadian government can now answer such a query unambiguously. In theory, they could give assurances against prosecution for “thought crimes” by any foreign national in attendance, but not for the Canadians.

In other words, an American has rights guaranteed to him under the U.S. Constitution, even while abroad, but a Canadian is (to paraphrase Mr Steacy’s argument) a kind of “zek” -- who must submit to after-the-fact censorship by the thought police of the Canadian state. (The Chinese were able to give similar assurances over the Olympics: that, in effect, “We won’t censor the New York Times, but what we do to our Tibetans and Falun Gong and Christians is strictly an internal matter.”)

This is an appalling state of affairs.

The response to it from many Canadians, who like me were raised in a country where ideological restrictions on debate were unthinkable, is to dismiss the issue, and suppose that those raising the alarm are “overheated.”

I regret to say that the alarm is fully justified; and that if we do not respond to it, in a very public way, free speech will soon be dead in Canada, and with it, all the other rights and freedoms we associate with an open society.


David Warren

bigcitylib said...
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bigcitylib said...

Sorry Mike, Merle contacted me off line and asked me to remove something as being biased towards Ezra's side of events. I thought it was your comment and deleted, then realized it was not. It was in the original WS quote. My apologies. No coffee.

Ti-Guy said...

If you want to delete anything, BCL, delete copy-'n-pastes from prairie rednecks referencing that lunatic David Warren, who, obviously, is too addled to remember anything from a couple of decades ago. I can't believe he'd venture something this stupid:

The response to it from many Canadians, who like me were raised in a country where ideological restrictions on debate were unthinkable...

When stupid, pissy, hissy people like David Warren were in charge, public discourse was nothing other than a complex of ideological restrictions, outside of which certain ideas were not only undebatable, but were also unthinkable.

Once again, the warriors are simply moaning about challenges to their freedom to lie and to disseminate hate speech unchallenged.

bigcitylib said...

Notice that D. Warren is down on press councils, too. He's agin' anything that prevents him from doing his usual shitty job (by the way, I think I know the person he's talking about too. They felt the council was biased towards Warren).

Ti-Guy said...

No doubt in a feeble attempt to shame Canadians, he highlighted the APSA's histrionics about academic freedom here in Canuckistan, while no doubt being completely unaware of the Orwellian Academic Bill of Rights campaign, spearheaded by the insane fraud David Horowitz that proposes to compel academics, through legislation no less, to respect lunatic, unscientific/pseudo-scientific and irrational propositions in an academic setting.

The excessive litigation involved in American approaches to freedom of expression is what has resulted in lunatic speech codes and incoherent reactions to art, entertainment and obscenity, all of which are anti-intellectual and a waste of time, since they only exacerbate and prolong disputes, which never results in any widespread public consensus on what is acceptable or not...and then moving the fuck on. Those people are still debating the morality of slavery, for fuck's sakes.

"Conservatives" are so stupid; the only reason Americans still produce so much expression that is objectionable, especially to "conservatives" themselves, is because of unresolved conflict that continues to provide that expression with a degree of unmerited controversy and gratuitous sensationalism. And in the "marketplace" of ideas, that's what sells...and keeps the lazy media and the lawyers in business to boot.

The LS from SK said...

What is that song "Too late" Mike.

The door swings both ways and I smell a libel suit (badly fitting liberal polyester one) cumming on.

Love it when a plan comes together!

Ti-Guy said...

I smell a libel suit (badly fitting liberal polyester one) cumming on.

I think what you're smelling are the hogs you're currently slopping...

...or courting.

Love it when a plan comes together!

This sounds like Richard Evans. NAMBLA-Dick, is that you?

Terrence C. Watson said...

"That discussion at The Shotgun quickly devolved with some wingnut calling for the HRC's to go after the CBC for Little House on the Prairie and Terrence Watson agreeing that the show is, like, totally lame."

The problem is, Ti-guy, I never claimed to be much of a conservative.

I find most TV not worth watching, honestly. In any event, my comment didn't seem to stop the thread from continuing on its merry way, as it is even now.

Little Mosque on the Prairie does sound lame, though. But I don't think the CHRC should go after the CBC for broadcasting it -- nor, I think, did the original poster (he was being, you know, facetious; check your nuance detector.)

Ti-Guy said...

I'm just picking on The Shotgun, Terrence. Not you personally. I think you're doing a fine job with The Shotgun, considering what you have to work with.

he was being, you know, facetious; check your nuance detector.

Conservatives have lost the right to use nuance, as well as satire, parody, sarcasm, sardonicism, hyperbole, litotes and irony until further notice. That was established shortly after The Half Hour News Hour was cancelled. They're still allowed to use simile and metaphor, but only under close supervision.

You were at the meeting, remember. We ALL agreed.

Terrence C. Watson said...

Ok ok, yes, I was at the meeting. No sarcasm, satire, or parody from conservatives until 2010. As I recall, the libertarian license to satirize has been revoked until 2050 because of the republication of Atlas Shrugged.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment, ti-guy. Some of us are trying to improve things.

Best,

Terrence