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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Intellectual freedom in Canada: Fire. Them. All. News Roundup - Hey, spring hasn't been cancelled after all!

I am told - though I am not yet clear as to the details - that the enforcement of infamous Section 13 of Canada's Human Rights Code (the one under which you can only be found not guilty if you don't exist) has been suspended indefinitely.

Kommandants and Uberleutnants! - brush up your resumes, and get your travel vacs. Looks like you may need them.

Hey, don't despair, there must be some country somewhere that really lusts for sneaks, snitches, snoops.

Here is just a small sample of things that feel to me like the buds of spring:

- The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal may finally be living up to its name - which is why, for once, I didn't put its name in sneer quotes: Ezra Levant has noted that the Commission issued a ruling calling the behaviour of one serial complainant “disappointing and disturbing.”

Well, that's putting it mildly.

In recent years, the biggest organization for putting out racism is Canada has been the "human rights" industry. (Yes, the sneer quotes have appeared again and they will stay there until this mess has been cleaned up. So far we have only acknowledged that it is a disappointing and disturbing mess.)

Look, most Canadians are preoccupied with making a living, looking after their families and friends, and contributing to reasonable, benevolent causes. We are literally one of the safest countries on Earth!

There simply are not a lot of evil skinheads crawling around here attacking members of visible/noticeable minorities. True, the Israel-Palestine conflict has produced some serious problems recently, but those are precisely the ones that the "Commissions" have punted!

Thus the Commissioners confirm what many of us have long suspected - that such Commissions are just an easy way for some people to make a living off the taxpayer by shaking down foolish, perhaps in some cases nasty, people who have little social power and therefore don't actually matter - while avoiding all the important problems. Or else to advance - again, at taxpayer expense - social agendas rejected by most Canadians (the right of a gent to shower with the ladies, for example). Also a shakedown usually follows.

The fact that "human rights" workers were permitted to post hundreds of racist comments on the Internet is a ruddy disgrace, commented on - I am sure ably - in Ezra Levant's new book Shakedown. And don't forget Pete Vere and Kathy Shaidle's The Tyranny of Nice. As Kathy "Five Feet of Fury" Shaidle points out, the Canadian Human Rights Commission may well have been the biggest single, consistent source of racism in Canada in recent years. All at taxpayer expense, remember. So, if you are a taxpayer who is at risk from racist comments, you actually paid for that! And, as Shaidle points out, it is the Government's Web site where that rubbish is archived, not the original ones.

I wonder, should the Commissioners get the Order of Canada? Or - as I think - The Order of the Boot!

- Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council of Canada weighs in as usual with his excellent report, which I copy for your interest, with some comments appended:
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint against Jim Pankiw.
Pankiw, a former MP in Saskatchewan, had been accused of publishing political pamphlets that "discriminated" against aboriginal Canadians.

The Canadian Press reports here.
[The critical question is, can we legally have a reasonable discussion about why a disproportionate number of Aboriginal Canadians are in prison? Pankiw's comments may not have been the most useful, but he was raising a serious issue that impacts many people's lives, including people in his own riding, when he was a Member of Parliament.

It is a disgrace, in my view, that the main response was to get him charged with an offence, in a "human rights" setting that explicitly permits bizarre accusations that would never be tolerated in a normal Canadian court.]

- Carter also writes: Terry Tremaine faces contempt of court charges for disobeying an order of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Tremaine -- a far-right mathematics professor who also lives in Saskatchewan -- was ordered to stop publishing racist propaganda on the World Wide Web.

In The Globe and Mail, Kirk Makin reports.

[Lots of math profs are crazy. Just as a minor and unimportant example, there is a math prof at the University of Waterloo who has posted nonsense about me for years. If Tremaine is not contemplating a career in public life, the Government of Canada should have better things to do than worry about his rants. Because the Globe and Mail wants me to buy the article, and I won't, I don't know much more than I am telling you about Carter's original link but here is the Regina Leader-Post's story.]

- And: Finally, Alain Deneault has urged the provincial government in Quebec to introduce legislation to curb "strategic lawsuits against public participation" (or SLAPPs).

Deneault is a co-author of a book called Noir Canada. Deneault, his two co-authors and publisher are the targets of libel suits that were filed by Canadian mining companies.

In The Gazette, Catherine Solyom reports.

[Well, given all our current problems with taxpayer-funded persecution of any opinion about which someone or other claims to be offended, one thing we do NOT need is SLAPP lawsuits - though I know of a number of Canadians who have been SLAPPed with them.

My own view: The best way to understand these problems is this: Government is drying up as a source of funds for "creative" intellectual enterprises, so people who could once have got grants are now shaking down private citizens, by discovering grievances and pursuing them with compliant government agencies. Right? Wrong? We'll see.]

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