Archive for the ‘Go Ezra Go’ Category

London Mayhem: The Photographic Evidence

April 15th, 2009
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The posts are all in from Monday Nights FreeSpeechApalooza in London with Kathy Shaidle, Salim Mansur and Ezra Levant. Mark Steyn has been discussing it, as has Ezra himself and KathyRight Girl, Dr. Roy, Winston, Wonder Woman, Josephine and Strictly Right have all weighed in.  Blazing Cat Fur has a transcript of Kathy’s speech and Lumpy, Grumpy and Frumpy has video.

As for me, I have pictures:

free speech, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, Go Ezra Go, pimply minions of bureaucracy, Uncategorized , , , , , ,

London Mayhem

April 14th, 2009

It was a great night in London as 600 people absolutly filled the London City Music Theatre to the rafters to hear Five Feet of Fury’s Kathy Shaidle, Salim Mansur and Ezra Levant speak on free speech and human rights commisions in Canada.

Got the chance to meet Right Girl’s Wendy, Dr. Roy and Wonder Woman with her hubby Mike, and it was a pleasure to meet you all. Kathy was also on the meet list, but she was more than a little whelmed and wasn’t picking up who I was – I should have led with my twittername iambriandammit.

Kathy was, in fact, the surprise of the evening for me. I know her as one of us, a blogger. But her resume really is far more than that, and she is an excellent public speaker. Her speech was funny and informative, possibly highlight of the evening.

Salim Mansur was the dignified gentleman in black suit and tie. He looked elegant and (according to Wendy), handsome. His speech was very well thought out, you could tell he’s put a lot of time in considering these issues over his life, and highly passionate.

Of course, everyone came to hear Ezra Levant speaking. his book is a bestseller, about to enter a third printing, in the top five at Chapters and Amazon. In short, Ezra is hot at the moment. He didn’t have a prepared speech, instead grabbed a point Kathy Shaidle made, that human rights commissions are highly Canadian institutions, and rebutted it arguing that they are, in fact, un-Canadian. His main point was that something human rights commissions do is attempt to brand people who come before them as un-Canadian. He didn’t seem to like giving up the idea that they were inherently Canadian, thus making those who oppose them un-Canadian.

All in all it was a good night. I picked up Kathy’s The Tyranny of Nice and got it signed, and got my copy of Shake Down signed and I met a couple of fellow bloggers, finally. Yea, it was a good night.

I have pictures, but have to get to work now. I’ll post them tonight.

free speech, Go Ezra Go, human rights, pimply minions of bureaucracy

Is Deterred Speech Free?

August 7th, 2008
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Ezra Levant is all over the pages of the National Post today, as the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission rejected the Danish cartoon complaint against the Western Standard magazine. To Levant this was a freedom of speech issue, and rejected claim or no, he believes freedom of speech lost:

This censor approved what I wrote. His decision is not that I have freedom of speech. His decision is that I have his approval. I’m not interested in his approval. The only test of free speech is if I can write what he disapproves of with impunity. That’s what freedom of speech is, to piss off some second-rate bureaucrat like Pardeep Gundara and know that you have the right to do so, because you’re in Canada, not Saudi Arabia.

I’m frankly usually unimpressed with many people who think their free speech has been trampled on : The Internet is full of grieved morons who believe someone asking them to watch their language in a public chat room is speech oppression; or Australians who know their firsts amendment rights and how they apply to the internet. No, just because Ezra says his speech was limited does not mean it was.

However, the complainants representative, a director with the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities, Yasmeen Nizam, appears to support Levant’s argument:

Obviously we didn’t want this to continue, so [another goal was] perhaps to discourage people from further maligning our prophet and our religion…. We wanted this to have a deterrent effect.

Discourage people from maligning their prophet and religion and have a deterrent effect. And how might they do that:

I never wanted someone’s freedom of speech curtailed. I always wanted to sit down, with some third party, for mediation, and have a discussion

The question is, if a you can get a government agency to sit down and “mediate” a “discussion” about somebody maligning your prophet and religion to create a deterrent effect, how are you not curtailing that person’s freedom of speech? The answer is, as Levant argues here, that’s exactly what you are doing. And he is right.

free speech, freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, Go Ezra Go

Michael Coren on Ezra Levant… and Me

January 19th, 2008

The real issue here is not about a weak or fearful press becoming “more responsive to Muslim sensitivities than to truth or the concerns of any other group,” … or about pandering to any segment of society.

Rather, it is about cultural sensitivity, social responsibility and common sense. Freedom of speech is not and never has been an absolute. “The most stringent protection of free speech would not,” Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, “protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre.” This right carries with it a need to be responsible for one’s actions.

Garry Trudeau, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and creator of Doonesbury, sums it up best: “Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.” Exactly…

Let’s change the visual for a moment. One of the cartoons basically portrayed the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist.

So, how would a Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child, published at the height of the controversy about Catholic priests sexually abusing boys?…

Newspapers have an obligation to their communities to inform, entertain, educate and explain, to place events in context, in such a way as to make them not only understandable, but useful. Newspapers also have a duty to provoke and challenge — to act as a conduit for discussion and debate.

But there is a world of difference between discussion and debate and engaging in sweeping generalizations and racist stereotyping…

Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it.

The above was written by Jim Jennings at the Toronto Sun in Feb 2006, explaining why they did not publish the now infamous “Muhammad cartoons”. I called it cowardice at the time, and it’s still cowardice. So it’s interesting that today Michael Coren writes in the same newspaper about Ezra Levant, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and “the real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences.”:

Actually the real disgrace here is that the Western Standard was the only Canadian publication to print the cartoons. They should have been featured in every media outlet in the country, in that they made international news. The ostensible reason that they weren’t published was that they were, yet again, offensive.

So bloody what? Canadian newspapers publish cartoons that are offensive to Christians, for example, dozens of times a year. Tolerating that which offends is part of being an adult, being sensible and being part of an adult, sensible county with an adult, sensible culture. Or at least it was.

The real reason the cartoons were not published, of course, is that people were terrified of the consequences. In some cases editors had private security companies give them estimates of how much it would cost to protect their buildings. Which is not only cowardly, but deeply insulting to Canadian Muslims, who are some of the most moderate in the Islamic diaspora.

The editors at the good old New York Times pretentiously explained why they wouldn’t publish pictures of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. They could, they said, adequately explain the cartoons in words. Odd, then, that in the same week they printed a photograph of an alleged artwork depicting the Virgin Mary covered in excrement. Suddenly their ability to describe had abandoned them.

The stench of double standard and fearfulness is as heady as the perfume from an Arabic harem.

We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.

“We know they’re lying and they know they’re lying.” Exactly! It was so then, it is so now. Yet Michael Coren takes the New York Times to task for it’s pretentious explanation, is the Toronto Sun’s any less so? And as Coren very accuatly points out, that quote about “Catholic react to a cartoon of Christ sexually abusing a child” is nonsense. They sure wouldn’t kill the cartoonist, and if they did the Toronto Sun would be the first ones to publish the cartoon to give the story it’s proper context.

The media’s cowardice on this issue is a major reason Ezra Levant is in front of the Human Rights Commission: if Western Standard wasn’t the only publication printing them, they likely wouldn’t have had a complaint. Yet the news media, outside of a few editorials, has been silent on this issue. (MPs staffers didn’t even know it was an issue.) Once again those who have the most to lose by the crushing of free speech in this country seem to be uninterested in it’s demise.

Of course, if it was the Sun’s right to publish pictures of Karla Holmolka that was at issue, they would be all over it. What shouldn’t need explaining to them, but clearly does, is next time it may Karla taking them to the human rights commissions, claiming her rights are violated by surreptitious pictures printed in the Sun, and they will have already forfeited the argument:

Just because a society has almost unlimited freedom of expression doesn’t mean we should ever stop thinking about its consequences in the real world.

Words to lose by.

Go Ezra Go, human rights

Fun With Ezra Levant

January 16th, 2008

Some funny stuff from The Nose on Your Face:

Top 9 Little Known Facts About Ezra Levant

9. Global warming began when Ezra Levant willed the temperature in Canada up a few degrees–you know, just to take the chill out of the air.

8. 95% of all monsters surveyed reported that they are either “absolutely terrified” or “hysterically afraid” of Ezra Levant. Levant already ate the remaining 5%.

7. Ezra Levant once looked Helen Thomas directly in the face and lived to tell about it.

6. (tie) Ezra Levant can grow a thicker mustache than both Tom Selleck and Rosie O’Donnell.

6. (tie) Ezra Levant is actually registered twice as a lethal weapon: once for himself and once for his aura.

5. Ezra Levant eats live cougars sprinkled with Jack Bauer, washes it down with a sandpaper and Chuck Liddell milkshake, and then wipes himself with Chuck Norris.

4. Ezra Levant got the gang from Scooby Doo to stop meddling. Singlehandedly.

3. Ezra Levant forced the band “Better Than Ezra” to change their name to “Alberta Human Rights Commission”: because no one is better than Ezra.

2. New studies show that Muslim suicide bombers aren’t sacrificing themselves for Allah, they’re just trying to escape the wrath of Ezra Levant.

1. If you ever find yourself being persecuted for your views by one of those politically correct government types, simply say “Ezra Levant” three times really fast. He will appear out of thin air and reduce the offender to a whimpering kitten in no time flat with his irresistible onslaught of crane-style verbal kung fu.

And the video version:

h/t Wendy

Go Ezra Go, human rights

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me.

January 15th, 2008

I wish I had half the guts Ezra Levant has. Here is his opening statement to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, or as Ezra put it that ” low-level, quasi-judicial body.”

Go Ezra Go!

Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary

My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website,

I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.

I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.

It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.

The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.

But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.

We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada.

That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War.

In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote

1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

(c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press.

In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote:

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;

Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance.

For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values.

It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.)

It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors.

I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.

You may start your interrogation.

This ones for you Ezra:

Go Ezra Go, human rights