Keith Martin – Free Speech Supporter

Ezra Levant has reported today that Liberal MP Keith Martin has introduced a Private Members Bill (M-446) that simply states:

That, in the opinion of the House, subsection 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act should be deleted from the Act.

This is indeed big news, and will surely grab some media attention that this issue richly deserves.  I had already written my local (Liberal) MP, and I have just gotten off the telephone with her Ottawa office to ask that she support the Keith Martin Bill.  My next call is to Mr Martin’s office to support his action.

Do something today, if you have time to read this post you have time to make a 2 minute call to your MP.  The way to find your MP’s number is here, make the call.  I was asked twice by the staffer I spoke with if I would support my MP’s support of the Bill, and my affirmative answer was noted.  I know it will make it to the MP’s attention because I have emailed, written and now called.  They take these actions as serious interest and gauge wider opinion on the direct contact they receive.

The bully plaintiffs against the headline cases of Levant, Macleans & Steyn (sounds like a law firm) are on their back foot now, but we can be sure that they will be making noise about this – as will some other useful idiots as the ramifications of Martin’s Bill sink in.  The HRC gravy train is about to get derailed, call your MP and make sure it happens.

UPDATE: I spoke with Keith Martin’s office just now and the staffer told me that they have recieved "a lot" of positive comments so far.  I also gave them my name, my MP’s name & riding and informed them that I had spoken to my MP’s office to ask that they support the Bill.  Two calls and one post took 15 minutes of my day to support our right to free expression, what are you waiting for?

Hey, Osgoode 4 – Read the National Post Today?

Today the National Post covers the story of an RCMP probe into internet writings of one Bangladeshi-Canadian named Salman Hossain who supported the killing of Canadian troops and even wished for the death of Peter McKay on a trip to Afghanistan.

The Post story quotes a Canadian ‘security expert’, Professor Wesley Wark:

"So what we are in the presence of is a ranter, informed by the usual conspiratorial views that are unfortunately part and parcel of extremist Islamist thought — especially the core anti-Semitic notion of a giant Jewish conspiracy,"

The Post also publishes excerpts from Hossain’s own anti-Canadian posts:

"Canadian soldiers in Canadian soil who are training to go to Afghanistan or Iraq are legitimate targets to be killed. ? Now it is POSSIBLE AND LEGITIMATE!! … believe me, if we could have enough of our soldiers killed, then we’d be forced to withdrawn from Afghanistan."

and

"I enjoy watching the blood flow from the western troops"

Lovely.  I think deportation to Bangladesh is what this laddie needs.

The main point I want to make today is that the National Post has published a story that identifies a radical Islamist as a bloodthirsty wannabe terrorist and potential threat to Canadians.  That he is likely an imbecile attention grabber who needs (but can’t get) a girlfriend is beside the point.  From the Post article it is (just barely) possible for regular Muslims who follow Islam to be ‘offended’ by the paper’s identification of this nutjob as a follower of their religion as such identification may lead to acts of hate or feelings of victimization.

I expect the Osgoode 4 to be consistent in their (ahem) ‘thinking’ and demand a 5 page rebuttal to this story explaining to us why Hossain is not a cover girl for Islam, plus cover art and a few bucks for kicks.  I also expect them to take their grievance before at least 3 HRC’s when the Post kicks them out of the office.  The Osgoode 4 and their CIC chums should have the integrity to be defending their right to be offended against all possible injuries, and this Post story seems like just the ticket.  Of course, they should be dealing with the Osgoode Hall in-house paper first, since I was nice enough to point that out to them last week.

Final thought; we’re still waiting on that new blog we were promised over at Law is Cool.  It’s been over two weeks boys, and it takes about 20 minutes and $10 to get a blog going.  Got anything you want to share with the class?

Segregation Redux?

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has approved a request for an Afrocentric school in its district for 2009.

If you haven’t been following this, the move has been championed by local black communities to ‘combat’ a 40% drop out rate of black students.  The schools will have be Afrocentric in its style and, presumably, substance.

Martin Luther King’s dream just got tossed under a school bus by members of the Toronto black community.

Note that some of those supporting the school’s establishment claim it is not actually segregationist because they do not specifically disallow white kids or staff.  But let’s look at this with a real world perspective – how many parent of kids of ANY colour will want to send their kids to a school that is designed to take in those most likely to drop out, have behavioural or other troubles and are watched over by ‘activists’.

This quote popped out when I read the story:

"human rights activist Vicky McPhee said an Africentric school "is a right," and the only type of school to which she wants to send her 6-year-old child. She called for these schools in each of the city’s 22 wards. "

In other words, Ms. McPhee wants segregated schools for all of Toronto; and it is likely that activists in other Ontario and Canadian cities will demand the same.  Last night’s decision in Toronto is a very flawed one that seems to have been granted to emotional pleas rather than good sense. 

The price of this folly will be paid by the unfortunate students of this school when they realize that even if they graduate that their futures may still be dimmed by the fact they attended a segregated school – employers may well wonder how well the graduates are prepared to adapt to an integrated workplace.  It is not an irrelevant question when the parents pushing for this school make claims that the students often fail due to the ‘European-centred’ system currently available.

This is civil rights backwards, you can imagine the outcry from the black community if white administrators had proposed this idea to ‘combat’ the high drop out rate amongst black students.  Equally, the fact that this was demanded by black parents for black kids does NOT make it right. 

Pandora’s box is opened in Toronto; the next group to want ‘segregated’ schools will have an easier time of it now a precedent exists.  The children of Toronto are headed for a brave new world of racial tension that had been mostly forgotten in Canada, and is delivered to them by those that should have best cause to remember the value of equal rights.

Osgoode Hypocrisy?

Here's a thing I found; an Osgoode Hall house magazine article that could be interpreted to be at least as Islamophobic as any that Maclean's has published.  Certainly the author concludes with a suggestion that Islam could be the dominant religion of the west, if not for its thin-skinned followers.

So, why are the Osgoode 4/CIC NOT pursuing a case against the Obiter Dicta, Osgoode Hall's in-house magazine and author Corey Wall for the October 10th 2006 article titled: "An Islamic Chill on Expression?" 

Screen Cap of the article (click the text link above for the PDF, read page 3.  Clicking the image will only get you to tinyurl):

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Not only does the Obiter Dicta article criticize oversensitivity on the part of Muslims, it also publishes (slightly) redacted versions of the cartoons that Ezra Levant is being taken to the Alberta HRC for publishing.  Some of the cartoons that caused riots are clearly visible under the 'censored' banner, so why no outrage?

Some choice quotes from Wall's article:

"Depictions of Mohammed are contentious and considered blasphemous by some in the Muslim world, whereas freedom of expression is a sacred principle underpinning much of western civilization. Are these two beliefs reconcilable?"

and

"Upon viewing the cartoons, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that the Muslim world’s reaction suggested an incredibly thin skin."

Also, to make Ezra feel better – (he made a sale to this guy no doubt):

"I was not satisfied with simply viewing them through online sources — I wanted to economically support a publication that was willing to reprint the cartoons, as I felt it was important to allow individuals to make their own judgments."

There is little difference in the tone and topic between this article published in Osgoode Hall's own in-house magazine and the content in the Maclean's article.  What do you suppose the chances are of seeing the CIC and Osgoode 4 launching a human rights complaint against Osgoode Hall?

***

Update: Here's a word I never thought to be adding to my blog: Instalanche!  Welcome Instapundit readers, thanks for dropping in.  If I'd known you were coming I would have picked the place up a bit, but feel free to blow the dust off any old posts you see laying around.

Update 2: Just when I figured that links didn't come any bigger than one from Instapundit , along come even more visitors, this time from Mark Steyn's own site.  My blog will never likely never be this popular again.  I just have to figure out how to tell it that…

Afghanistan: The Manley Report

I posted a few thoughts yesterday on Canada’s role in Afghanistan, mostly about the inability of the three opposition parties to understand that role and how important it is.

Since I wrote that post I have read the entire Manley report (available as a PDF here), and I was deeply impressed by the clear, no-nonsense analysis of the situation.  Manley’s panel saw the problems first-hand, warts and all, and its all right there in the report.  PM Harper chose the right man for the job in John Manley, the report is a useful one that the government can rely on for policy decisions.

What a pity then that Stephane Dion remains committed to the defeatist dogma of a full withdrawal from combat operations by February 2009.  I watched Dion’s appearance on CBC’s ‘The Hour’ last night – and in answer to the question of February 2009 being an artificial timeline, Dion responded:

"..it’s not an artificial date, it’s the official date"

Stephane Dion clearly has not read the Manley report, which clearly and unmistakably looks to the February 2009 date:

"In any event, the Panel could find no operational logic for choosing February 2009 as the end date for Canada’s military mission in Kandahar—and nothing to establish February 2009 as the date by which the mission would be completed." (page 30)

The Manley panel continues on page 33:

"A premature military withdrawal from Afghanistan, whether full or partial, would imperil Canadian interests and values. It would diminish the effectiveness of Canadian aid in Afghanistan, by further constraining the ability of Canadian aid workers to move among Afghans. It could encourage insurgents. It could weaken the confidence of some Afghans living in Kandahar in their own future and in their own government, increasing their susceptibility to the Taliban insurgency. It would undermine Canada’s influence in the UN and in NATO capitals, including Washington. It could curtail Canada’s capacity (and raise questions abroad about our future willingness) to act, and persuade others to act, in enforcing peace and restoring security where peace and security are threatened. In sum, an immediate military withdrawal from Afghanistan would cause more harm than good. Even an ill-prepared partial withdrawal would risk undercutting international confidence in Canadian commitments and impose new burdens on others obliged to take our place in Kandahar."

If Dion cannot read the above passage and comprehend the wider issues for Canada and Canadians, then he truly is not fit to hold a position which could see him become Prime Minister.  We live in serious times, and we need serious men of character and backbone to lead our country through the turmoil and danger, Stephane Dion is not such a man.

My final thought on the Afghan campaign is reserved for Stephane Dion’s preferred opposition party leader, Elizabeth May, who in her official response to the Manley report said:

"The Manley Report fails to consider that the recommendation of more ISAF forces from a Christian/Crusader heritage will continue to fuel an insurgency that has been framed as a ‘Jihad’. "

That a leader of a party can utter these words is disgusting.  That the words remain as the official response on the Green Party website is also disgusting.  That Dion has not condemned these words from his ‘pet’ is as bad.  While I would to see this clueless blowhard charged with bringing aid and comfort to the enemy, at the very least May could show some decency, resign her position and apologize to the nation.

Note: Formatting is off in this post, likely something I did importing the quotes from Acrobat. Sorry for the hard to read text, if you have any ideas how to fix it, please let me know.

Afghanistan – Mission: Possible

John Manley’s panel released its report on Canada’s role in the Afghan campaign yesterday.

The panel recommends staying in and doing the job right, and good for them for saying so.  Our mission there is a critical one, and Canadian troops are doing a great job in tough circumstances to secure one of the most down-trodden and poor populations from tyranny so that they can build, breathe and hope again.

Families of soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice support the panel’s conclusions, and so should any self-respecting free-born Canadian.

I fully expect PM Stephen Harper to implement the recommendations of the panel, and beef up our activity to get the job finished, to lead where some of our weak-willed NATO allies are unwilling to tread, for fear of domestic political unpopularity.

Leaders of Canada’s opposition parties are beneath contempt and dead-wrong on the Afghanistan issue.  Following the press conference, here’s what the three amigo’s had to say*:

Stephane Dion, Liberal: "…repeated the party’s long-held position that Canada’s combat mission must end as scheduled in February 2009, although Canada could continue to play a role in construction, training and humanitarian aid."

Jack Layton, NDP: "This report is clearly out of touch with the feelings of a great many Canadians and a careful reading of the report shows that this mission is failing on many, many fronts… The NDP continues to believe that a complete change of direction is essential in Afghanistan."

Gilles Duceppe, BQ: "Canadian and Quebec military have done more than their share. Other countries now must step in and take up the challenge"

*Quote source here

To deconstruct these defeatist views, here is my own translation smart-ass mockery of them:

Dion: We don’t need to ‘win’ wars anymore, they just end when we say they do, and then the bad guys will stop shooting at our troops and we can build schools and hospitals free of fear while the Taliban play happily with leprechauns at the end of the rainbow.

Layton: Canadians feel that womens rights and human rights in general are fine for Canadians, not so much for Afghans.  Hey, if they want to not be stoned, don’t walk around all western-looking; and education – why do they need it, they have no factories, and therefore no unions, so no NDP votes.  We need to concentrate on poor Canadian workers who are unable to afford HD for Hockey Night in Canada, not worry about those gung-ho soldier types with guns… on the streets…in Afghanistan!

Duceppe: It’s not in Quebec, I don’t think Afghans support Quebec separatists, so why should we care, let some other country fight.  It’s what the French would do, non?

Let Stephen Harper grind these three losers into the dust come an election.  Canada deserves better from its politicians.

Steyn/Macleans & Levant: Scope Creep, Overreach & Blowback

If you ever read this site, you’ll know that I support Maclean’s/Steyn and Ezra Levant in their respective fights against the various Human Rights Commissions investigations and potential muzzling effects thereafter.  I watched Ezra interviewed on TVO last night and he once again made his point effectively and with brio.

Today, both sides of the argument are in trouble.  For the complainants, the Osgoode 4 appear in the Globe online edition today, and for the ‘good guys’ Kathy Shaidle has landed SDA and perhaps others in a potential world of hurt.

First, the complainants against Maclean’s/Steyn have noticed the effects of massive blog coverage of their case.  In today’s Globe and Mail they whine that ‘Attacking Human Rights Commissions attacks us all’, which in a neat lawyerly manner turns the whole mess on its head.  The Osgoode 4’s choice to join with the Elmasry CIC outfit to use the human rights commissions to attack us all leaves us no viable option than to attack the commissions for daring to overstep their authority to hear issues that could directly limit free expression in Canada.

That the Osgoode 4 are still so clueless as to think that by trying to deflect criticism by wrapping themselves tightly in the cloak of some sweeping sense of victimhood shows us that the complainants are in fact running scared.  The Simard complainer lost its voice on the Law is Cool blog, many commenters on the left are joining the chorus of the outraged over this frivolous and frankly pathetic complaint.  For 4 Osgoode students to suggest that they chose the HRC’s because the civil court process is too expensive is, well, rich.  They chose the HRC’s because they are risk free and do not require the complainants to prove a case.  That Osgoode is churning out lawyers afraid of using actual courts is not a great recommendation for the school’s program.

The cases against Maclean’s/Steyn and Levant are gaining real traction, and attracting international attention if not much actual news coverage in Canada.  Yet.  But, with the continued pressure from all sides of the political spectrum it will be covered and the scope creep of the HRC’s will be exposed and, in all likelihood, corrected as politicians become aware of the smouldering outrage these cases have exposed.  That’s the blowback for the Osgoode 4 and those that have relied on HRC’s to promote personal agendas.

BUT, you may have read my post of ‘Overreach Theory’ in which I used the HRC complaints as an one example of groups that overreach their goals and as a result suffer unintended consequences.  Well, overreach is a two-edged sword and can equally be applied to those of us that support Maclean’s/Steyn and Levant. 

Which brings us to the ‘good guys’ troubles today.  Some respected bloggers have gotten far too riled up* about Richard Warman’s serial complaints to HRC’s.  I said before that Warman is a distraction, and he is.  There is more than enough outrage over the two headline cases to promote useful change to the HRC process, if not their abolition.

*please note that the linked post has been edited since its initial publication.

By jumping on the Warman bandwagon and embracing the siren song of ‘scope creep’, the pro-free speechers have been set back today by the normally sound Shaidle and any bloggers that heeded her call:

"everyone who reads this and has their own blog post a link to the original post at FreeDominion, and use the words "Richard Warman" as often as possible in your post."

I read that post yesterday, and didn’t act.  Turns out to be a good call for me and a bad play for the pro-free speech side of the equation.

Macleans/Steyn and Ezra Levant are not playing games, and this campaign to bring some sense of justice and control back into the HRC universe is important.  It’s important enough that it requires a disciplined focus on the Maclean’s/Steyn and Levant cases which are easily identified and attacked by the HRC’s stepping into areas of protected free speech rights. 

Reflect for a moment that any changes effected by the publicity and outrage over these cases will also affect any potential for abuse by serial complainants like Warman, or any other persons or groups that would use the HRC’s for censorship and/or nuisance complaints.

I know that trying to get bloggers to adhere to some single strategy is like herding cats, but let’s all fight the fight, but stay focused on the winnable arguments of the two headline cases and don’t give the anti-free-speech crowd easy ammo again – the stakes are too high.

Dion le Daft

Stephane Dion was in Kabul, talking da bull and happily ignoring any pesky reality about the situation on the ground there.

He and ‘Iggy’ are pushing the Liberal agenda to end Canada’s ‘combat’ mission in Afghanistan and change it to something they like to call a ‘security’ role.  That ending the one makes the other impossible is a reality that neither Dion or Iggy seem to be able to grasp.

Much like Jumpin’ Jack Layton, the leaders of the Liberal Part of Canada are in the naive belief that the Taliban will allow food drops and other humanitarian missions to continue when troops stop being troops.  They also likely believe that the girls enrolled in schools, and women that have taken on economic roles since the Taliban’s defeat, will all be left in peace to continue these noble activities.

Nonsense, of course as soon as the troops stop being able to shoot the bad guys, the killing of innocents will escalate, the fear and dark days of extremism will return to the lives of the poor long-suffering Afghans that we gave hope to, and years of progress and the brave sacrifice of heroes will be lost.

The reality of the Dion position is more cynical than naive.  Dion knows that if Canada stops performing the combat mission that the US will have to pick up the slack.  NATO seems unwilling to step up, each nation kind of shuffling its feet and waiting for the other guy to go first.  The horror scenario of the girls being hounded out of schools and being stoned for having a better education than their grandfathers will not happen while the US Army and/or USMC are in town.  Dion knows this, and would prefer for the US to lose the lives and spend the dollars to bring lasting security and peace to Afghanistan.

If ever there was proof that this weak leader was unfit for duty as Prime Minister, then this preening PR visit to Kabul is it.  Next to President Karzai, Dion’s weasel words and cowardly positioning are a far better fit for his French passport holding persona than his Canadian one.  Stephane Dion was an academic for a long time, and perhaps a good one too, I have no insight for that past.  As a politician he has shown himself to be inept, rudderless and weak. 

If Dion ever actually opposes something as leader of the opposition and brings about an election, I hope that Canadians show him that as a nation we ARE willing to support our brave men and women in a combat role, and that any politician that would dare to quit before the job was done is unworthy of a leadership role of the country.

Law is Cool Runs Away

The Osgoode Hall bloggers at Law is Cool have metaphorically thrown Daniel Simard under the bus.

They’ve discarded the troublesome topic of the HRC case against Maclean’s and Mark Steyn in order to concentrate on their ‘academic discourse in peace’.

Simard must be thrilled at this fine show of solidarity in the face of some opposition to his suit to the HRC’s. 

My advice to M. Simard, get used to watching your ‘friends’ run away.  As one of the named complainants on the suit, you don’t have the option of ducking and running from the attention this case has gained.  But many of those other fairweather friends of your will likely take off, like ‘roaches when the lights come on.

As the internet buzz about Ezra Levant’s YouTube performance in front of the Alberta HRC whets people’s appetite for the fight back against politically correct thought control, the momentum of support for the magazine(s) will grow, and any support you thought you had will wither.

Law is Cool suggests that a new blog will come along to represent the Osgoode 4’s thoughts on the topic.  I’m not holding my breath, public discourse is anathema to them, the fair and open exchange of ideas and opinions makes them weak at the knees and giddy, and not in a good way.

Overreach Theory

I have an idea, which I am calling ‘Overreach Theory’, about why some events seem to become the tipping point for causes, conflicts or other momentum driven ideas.

The simple theory is:

At some point a person or group with ‘Belief A’ will become so emboldened by the acceptance or absence of opposition of Belief A that they will make a large and potentially fatal (to their Belief) error, and cause ‘blowback’ that will often end their ability to continue promoting that Belief, if not the actual end of the Belief itself.

Here are three examples that I can try to apply to my theory:

1.  Islamic Terrorists

Islamic terror groups spent much of the 1990’s nipping at America’s interest overseas, notably the USS Cole, the Khobar Towers bombing and the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.  America never responded strongly to these attacks, and this was seen as weakness.  Even after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre, no serious action was taken against the terror groups.

Therefore, in 2001 when the atrocity of 9/11 was unleashed on America, the terrorists had little reason to consider that any response would be severe.  Yet within a year of the 9/11 attack, Afghanistan was lost to them as a safe haven, their global support networks were being dismantled and their leaders being captured or killed.

Had the leaders of the 9/11 attack been able to foresee the blowback, would they have continued with their evil plans?  Hard to say, but there is no doubt that they are weaker and less effective today than they were in the years before 2001.

They were guilty of ‘overreach’ and the blowback isn’t done with them yet.

2.  Man-made Global Warming Activists

There is only so much scare-mongering that a population can take.  As Al Gore’s movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ led the battle for hearts of the mindless, there can be no doubt that the movement gained massive ground and inserted the much-abused term ‘global warming’ into the mainstream of everyday conversation.

What little opposition there was to this movement was small, marginalized and effectively shut out of the debate during the crucial opinion forming period.

Then, sometime in late 2007, just as Gore et al were receiving their Nobel prize, the tide of public opinion started to turn.  The process is not yet complete, and may never be, but for those of us watching carefully, seeing skeptical stories in the New York Times is a sure sign of trouble for the greens.

Overreach again.  This time Bali was a factor – the carbon-spewing festival of greens made people look more closely at those demanding we all accept a poorer lifestyle to ‘save the planet’ – and we saw hypocrites in action.  And lots of them.

2008 will see more balance in the debate, but I estimate that the green movement has passed its high point.  For evidence I point to this weeks decision by the UK government to pursue nuclear power as the emission free solution to future power needs.  This is a rational, sensible decision, yet Greenpeace is outraged. 

A year ago, I posit that the green movement’s power would have given pause to policy makers on the nuclear decision.  Today that power is diminished and the wonderful unintended but completely foreseeable (except by the greens of course) outcome of more nukes is reached.  Blowback, and there will be lots more as the wilder claims of the activists come back to haunt them, and bit by bit, undermine their own argument.

3. Canadian Legal Activists

For years in Canada, legal activists – groups and individuals – have been waging battle against views, opinions, groups and people they disagree with (or are ‘offended by’) in Human Rights Tribunals and Commissions across the nation.  There has been almost no media comment on these cases, other than basic rehashing of press releases once cases were heard and ruled upon.

Probably the reason there was so little dissent on the topic was that most of those being accused were groups or individuals that it would be distasteful to defend; white-supremacists, anti-Semites etc.  So activists across the country became complacent that they could continue to attack views and opinions they disagreed with, with impunity.

Then, inevitably, the activists committed overreach.  The recent and high-profile case against Maclean’s magazine and Mark Steyn has lit up the issue of the Human Rights Tribunals and Commissions and how they have expanded in scope to potentially affect every Canadian’s right to free expression.

The result is massive blowback and national attention on both the case and those bringing it against the defendants.  If ever there was a demonstration of the sudden-ness and surprising nature of blowback, this must be it.  I wonder if the Canadian Islamic Congress or the Osgoode four would have filed their complaint if they could have foreseen the national attention and outrage they have initiated. 

Yet, how could they have anticipated this reaction when no other case has resulted in any real attention?  Answer, they could not have foreseen it, because their action was the final action in the long inevitable road to overreach. 

Summary

Populations and mainstream conciousness are not what those that would seek to control or undermine them (Belief A sponsors) would think: stupid or complacent.  Not forever.  Sooner or later, especially in todays wired and connected world, people will notice what is going on around them.  There will be a period of this noticing, and eventually some commentary will start, but not enough to alert the Believers that danger lay ahead. 

Then, Belief A followers will commit an act of overreach, and the population will take great notice, the collective conciousness will follow and blowback against the sponsors of the act of overreach will ensue.  The consequences may be devastating to Belief A followers (i.e. the terrorist example), or it may be more like a slow air leak from a tire (the greens).  But the point is that there will be consequences.  For the Canadian legal activists, it may be the loss of their favoured forum, the HRC’s.  Or, it may be that the HRC’s remain but their mandate is redefined. 

Either way, the salad days are over once the blowback from the Maclean’s/Steyn case is done.

Quick Update:

In the face of the stunning counter-argument left by Allan in the comments, I surrender.  It was so refreshing to have a fully thought out response to the ideas instead of the usual mindless lefty name calling that I was won over…  Oh, wait…nevermind.

/sarc