Monday, April 27, 2009

Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights

This is the title of a new bestseller by Ezra Levant published by McClelland and Stewart.

For years, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its provincial counterparts have been acting as "thought police" persecuting ordinary Canadians without regard for the basic principles of Canadian law for their politically incorrect speech. But when they went after Ezra Levant for publishing the Mohammed cartoons in the Western Standard and then took on MacLean's Magazine for daring to publish exerpts of Mark Steyn's book, America Alone, they found they had overstepped their boundaries and the pushback they received was something they were not used to receiving. The resulting media coverage was a fire storm and brought these commissions under the spotlight for the first time. Eventually, the controversy has made this book a Canadian bestseller.

Here is a clip from the Michael Coren Show that gives you an idea of why the AHRC is now sorry they messed with Ezra Levant.

Both Steyn and Levant eventually had their cases dropped, which is not to say they won exactly. Both had to pay legal costs to defend themselves and neither received any compensation for having been drawn through a wringer. Their cases were atypical because in 91% of these kangaroo court complaints, the target cannot afford a lawyer and the HRC does not provide legal aid. Murderers fare better in our legal system because if they cannot afford a lawyer the court appoints one for them free of charge. This is why most people settle "out of court" even though they are innocent. Its the same reason small business owners pay protection money to the mob. It's not fair, but under an unjust system it is the path of least resistance.

This is exemplified by the contrast between the case of the Calgary pastor, Rev. Stephen Boisson, who was convicted by the Alberta Commission for daring to express an anti-homosexual activity position in a letter to the Red Deer Advocate. He was fined and told never to speak against homosexuality again for the rest of his life. Ezra Levant re-published Boisson's original letter to the editor, in support of Boisson, and literally dared the HRC to charge him. They refused. Levant, who is Jewish, by the way, comments:

"That's a double standard. It's a violation of the rule of law: I shouldn't be above the law, and Reverand Boisson shouldn't be beneath it. If he's guilty, I am too. If I'm free to publish his words, he should be too. That's why this case was the perfect lab experiment: All the factors were 'controlled' except one variable - the political power of the defendant. . . 'There is only one reason for [the discrepancy in treatment]: the CHRC is anti-Christian, and thus you excuse in me what you condemn in Rev. Boisson . . . I note that the CHRC has never once prosecuted a 'hate speech' complaint against any non-Christian, though there is plenty of non-Christian bigotry in Canada. . . . But you'd rather pick on a seventy-something Catholic priest for publishing a newsletter. That's why you're letting me go - I'm not a weak, penniless Christian clergyman.'" (Shakedown, 215-6)

Thankfully, Levant and Steyn have been stirring the pot to the point where some real heat is being put on these obscene parodies of "human rights" commissions. In particular, Section 13 of the legislation on the basis of which they exist, the famous "hate speech" clause, has come in for particular concern, since it has become the basis for prosecuting thought crime.

The mentality of these folks is revealed by a statement made by Dean Steacy, the senior Section 13 hate speech investigator for the CHRC, who said "freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value . . . It's not my job to give value to an American concept." (Shakedown, 201) Perhaps Dean Steacy has never heard of Section 2.b. of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which reads in context as follows:

"2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

These kangaroo courts are being investigated by the RCMP, the Privacy Commission and Parliament. We are still far from their abolition, but progress is being made. Details are in the book. Buy it. Read it. Make the abolition of these commissions an issue in the next Federal or Provincial election.

Here is Ezra Levant's blog:

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