Ezra Levant: How I beat the fatwa, and lost my freedom
Posted: August 06, 2008, 2:30 PM by Kelly McParland


Some 900 days after I became the only person in the Western world charged with the “offence” of republishing the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, the government has finally acquitted me of illegal “discrimination.” Taxpayers are out more than $500,000 for an investigation that involved fifteen bureaucrats at the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The legal cost to me and the now-defunct Western Standard magazine is $100,000.

The case would have been thrown out long ago if I had been charged in a criminal court, instead of a human rights commission. That’s because accused criminals have the right to a speedy trial. Accused publishers at human rights commissions do not.

And if I had been a defendant in a civil court, the judge would now order the losing parties to pay my legal bills. Instead, the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities won’t have to pay me a dime. Neither will Syed Soharwardy, the Calgary imam who abandoned his identical complaint against me this spring.

Both managed to hijack a secular government agency to prosecute their radical Islamic fatwa against me — the first blasphemy case in Canada in over 80 years. Their complaints were dismissed, but it is inaccurate to say that they lost: They got the government to rough me up for nearly three years, at no cost to them. The process I was put through was a punishment in itself — and a warning to any other journalists who would defy radical Islam.

The 11-page government report into my activities is a breathtakingly arrogant document. In it, Pardeep Gundara, a low-level bureaucrat, assumes the role of editor-in-chief for the entire province of Alberta. He went through our magazine article and gave his own thoughts on the cartoons, and pronounced on our magazine’s decision to publish them. The government’s wannabe journalist makes a spelling error, he gets facts wrong and he’s obviously not good with deadlines. We’d never have hired him at our magazine. But the laugh is on us — he’s apparently our boss, and the boss of all journalists in Alberta.

In his report, Gundara presents as “fact” his personal opinion of the Muhammad cartoons. He says they’re “stereotypical, negative and offensive.” That’s one viewpoint. Others have a different view. Why should anyone care about Gundara’s personal opinion? Do I need permission from him — or anyone other than my conscience — before I publish things in the future? Is this column okay by him?

Gundara forgave me and the Western Standard our sins because, according to him, the offensiveness of the cartoons was “muted by the context of the accompanying article” and we ran letters both for and against the cartoons in our subsequent issue. He also acquitted us because “the cartoons were not simply stuck in the middle of the magazine with no purpose or related story.”

Let me translate: You’d better be “reasonable” in how you use your freedoms, or you won’t be allowed to keep them. You’d better not run political cartoons “simply stuck in the middle” of a magazine. You’d better have a “purpose” for being “negative” that is approved by bureaucrat, when he finally gets around to it three years later.

That is not acceptable to me. I am not interested in Gundara’s views about the cartoons. I’m not interested in learning his personal rules of thumb for when I can or can’t express myself. This is Canada, not Saudi Arabia.

My dismissal is not a victory for freedom of the press. Because Alberta’s press is not free — it is now subject to the approval of the government. But Canadians have the right to a free press in spite of the government. We have the right to break every one of Gundara’s petty and subjective rules.

Exactly two months before I was acquitted, another Albertan was sentenced by the HRC on the exact same charge: “discrimination” in a newspaper. Five years ago, Reverend Stephen Boissoin wrote a controversial column about gay rights. It passed all of Gundara’s home-made rules: It was in the context of a broader debate; it was followed by many opposing letters to the editor; it had a “purpose,” etc. But Rev. Boissoin was fined $7,000 and banned for life from giving sermons or even sending private e-mails that were “disparaging”. To top it off, he was ordered by the HRC to write a public renunciation of his faith.

It’s obvious why I was acquitted and Boissoin was convicted. I’ve been a political pain in the neck for the HRC. Rev. Boissoin? He was quiet, so he’s roadkill. But neither of us are free — we both have to have our views checked out by the government.

Of course I’m glad to be done with this malicious prosecution — though my antagonists can still appeal my acquittal.
But two years ago, the HRC told me if I paid a few thousand dollars to my accusers and gave them a page in our magazine, I’d be set free. Most victims of the HRCs accept deals like that, and it’s certainly cheaper than a 900-day fight. But getting the approval of the HRC’s censor is morally no better than their shake-down attempt. Whether I have to pay off a radical imam or appease a meddling bureaucrat, it’s still an infringement on our Canadian liberties.

National Post


Photo, top: Former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant holds a copy of the magazine containing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which led to a 900-day legal battle. (REUTERS/Patrick Price) 

AddThis Social Bookmark Button Comments (79) Send to a friend Permalink
You must be logged in to post a comment
by ZeeBC
Aug 06 2008
2:59 PM

Is it any wonder that the CHRC is held in such contempt by moderate Canadians?

Maybe Stephen Harper will now apologize to Ezra and the other victims of this bizarre government created "court"? Include appropriate compensation too Mr Harper. Then do the right thing and scrap the mess.

Start over from scratch. Clean house.

by foxercat
Aug 06 2008
3:21 PM

Idea's getting to Canada read Oh,Oh, Canada by William D. Gairdner. New book gives info on rights and equality  plus much more. The CHRC problem is their employees-is stacked with left wing social activists from the bottom to the top unfortunately for reality and naturalness sakes!.

by alex_17
Aug 06 2008
3:29 PM

Keep fighting the good fight Ezra. Because of people like you our country and our freedoms still stand a chance against this onslaught. Keep up the great work.

by arbyburns
Aug 06 2008
3:29 PM

it's shocking of course, that the `responsible auhtorities' (ie. the Parliament, the supreme court, the mainstream media) have let things get this far, wherein some anonymous bureaucrat can pass judgement on the appropriate of any publication.

by FutureLeader
Aug 06 2008
3:38 PM

Ezra, please please PLEASE keep on goin'. You are one of many who will not tolerate the vicious influence Islam tries to have over our freedoms.

The Canadian public is beginning to awaken - unless of course you are the victim of a cartoon. I think your publishing of the cartoons was one of the best things to happen to Canada in the past few years (except maybe the Liberal Party's fall to the ground - hah!). People have realized our freedoms are indeed under attack, and that journalism can't be selective of who it decides to criticize.

With the fall of the Western Standard came the rise of the real, and historic Canadian identity - one who appreciates the freedoms upon which this country was founded.

Our culture WILL NOT bow down to any other's demands. Let's keep it that way.

by ZeeBC
Aug 06 2008
3:49 PM

Stephen Harper presented Mayer Arar with $12 million for his ordeal and the actions or inactions of the government. He should do no less if not more for the 900 days of torture Ezra Levant endured by the Feds inaction in not curbing  HRC's run amok.

If you are too embarrassed to apologize Stephen, just slip the cheque in the mail.

Today would be not soon enough.

by Ambrose99
Aug 06 2008
3:57 PM

I just don't see how publishing an opinion, however inflammatory, can constitute a human rights issue. Human rights are violated by such things as killing, rape, and torture not by publishing a cartoon. The burden of proof is one the HRC to demonstrate exactly how a cartoon can violate anyone's rights. Is there a right not to be exposed to cartoons depicting Muhammad? How ridiculous.

by GeorgeSmiley
Aug 06 2008
4:14 PM

I've followed this to some degree, but one thing I don't know is:  What are Reverend Stephen Boissoin's legal options at this point if he decides not to accept the AHRC's ruling?  (Because I sure wouldn't)

by TCTheTiger
Aug 06 2008
4:14 PM

modern witch burning. Witchy which witch? The Human Rights witch, aka Freedom of Speech witch, one that uses magic freedom that causes the leftists to twitch - a crime that is maximum sentence punishable, preferably retroactively, maybe from the moment of conception?

by marc in calgary
Aug 06 2008
4:18 PM

Thank you Ezra.

The HRC is nude.

Fire.   Them.    All.

by goats
Aug 06 2008
4:18 PM

ZeeBC and foxercat - Parliament and Stephen Harper had nothing to do with this matter - it was a decision of the Province of Alberta's Human Rights Commission.

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
4:23 PM

... Putting aside the legal HRC issue, it's hard to understand why Mr. Levant would think that publishing the offensive cartoons would be considered a constructive contribution to our society.

... Of course, one can hide behind the "it's just a laugh" excuse... like the morons behind the "Jesus sucks" banner.

... However, there is really very little distance between the two.

by wallyj
Aug 06 2008
4:38 PM

Iain,you have totally missed the point. The point is that the HRC's should not be allowed to be the editor of the 'free' press. We have laws against hate speech.If the cartoons offend you,then simply don't buy the magazine. Ezra was harrassed because the islamic poobahs did not like the cartoons. Mark Steyn was harassed because he wrote facts about islam.See a pattern yet.

by Maureen93
Aug 06 2008
4:39 PM

I actually think publishing the cartoons was very constructive. When no other North American publisher had the balls Ezra did and for that he should be heartily thanked. I haven't even seen the cartoons but that isn't the point is it. When any group can intimidate the public into silence to prevent discussion or criticism it should be resisted by all who value liberty.

by Paganista
Aug 06 2008
4:40 PM

In the week that Solzhenitsyn died the very idea of government approval for publishing ideas is outrageous beyond belief.

by MarnieTunay
Aug 06 2008
4:45 PM

You'd be a more sypmpathetic 'victim' if you weren't so petty:  "low-level" bureaucrat?? Would it have been okay to share his thoughts if he'd been a high-level bureaucrat?  He made a spelling error??  How do you know it wasn't a secretary's typo?  And what's the connection between a typo and someone's right or lack of it to express an opinion on something?  

And you do go on and on.  It's hard to feel sorry for whiners - even if they have been hard-done-to.  

And it's not like you published that cartoon for any high moral purpose, like promoting public accountabili-ty:  you knew exactly what you were letting yourself in for when you published it - and you got exactly what you wanted out of it: which is a lot more publicity than you would ever have got without it.

You're sorry about the public money spent on you?  So am I.  I'm sorry the government didn't give your publication of that cartoon what it really deserved - which was to be totally ignored.

Marnie Tunay


by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
4:53 PM

... Anyone who uses their freedom merely to denigrate the faith of others- as Mr. Levant- does not deserve the prosecution of the state, but does not deserve our respect either.

by Bill_37
Aug 06 2008
5:05 PM

Hear, hear, Mr. Levant! And many sincere thanks for your work in exposing these petty tyrants to the clear light of day. Transparency  and publicity are their mortal enemies. And as a Canadian taxpayer, please also accept my equally sincere apologies that you had to endure this modern day "inquisition" in what is supposed to be a modern democracy. I have nothing to do with this band of 'enlightened bigots' directly, but as they are funded and supported by the Government of Canada, all citizens of Canada bear some responsibility for your suffering.

You're right of course, the only reason that the HR despots decided to break the 100% conviction rate record, of which they used to be so proud, is that they realized that this time they had a national audience. Again, actual public scrutiny is intolerable to them; as it is to any despotic institution.

Those cartoons were the source of riots and mayhem throughout the Muslim world. To try and say that they weren't newsworthy is patently preposterous.

They're on the run now, but we have to keep after them. They've realized that they have not yet assumed the absolute impunity that they crave and have beaten a strategic retreat. But have no doubt, they are now huddled in their caves trying to figure out how things could have gone so horribly wrong and are planning their comeback as this is being written.

I suspect they'll try to lie low for a while and hope it all just blows over so they can regroup and try again. Certainly I expect that for the next while they'll stick to persecuting the truly small and vulnerable and try to rebuild strength. It's up to all of us to keep writing to your MP's and MPPs demanding the end of these tin-pot dictators!

by ZeeBC
Aug 06 2008
5:06 PM

by goats

"Aug 06 2008

9:18 PM ZeeBC and foxercat - Parliament and Stephen Harper had nothing to do with this matter - it was a decision of the Province of Alberta's Human Rights Commission"

Harper also had nothing to do with Komagata Maru or Chinese immigrant head taxes. He apologized for a perceived wrong anyways. If anyone cannot see what is wrong with the HRC, Provincial or otherwise, then they should go whistle Dixie in Umbogintwini. Harper could have together with Parliament stopped the inquisition. Failure to do was a dereliction of duty IMO. 900 days of mental torture is worse than 900 Saudi lashes. That pain and distress would subside after a few months. 900 days is almost 2 and 1/2 years. Cruel and unusual punishment. $12 million compensation is peanuts in Levant's case.

Pony up Stephen.

by Maureen93
Aug 06 2008
5:09 PM

MarnieTunay and IainGFoulds it is of course your right to criticize the publication and ignore the cartoons - aren't you fortunate no one has taken that right away? I used to find it hard to understand how the Nazis could persuade an otherwise advanced european society to follow their odious doctrine, lately I don't find it as much of a mystery anymore. We really do need to vigorously protect those priviledges which we have grown to take for granted.

by chuck80
Aug 06 2008
5:14 PM

Question: How do you tell jihadists and radical Muslims that you will not accept their greaseball attempts to control your destiny?

Answer: You demonstrate to the scumbags that the license they give themselves to "make commentary" on Christians and Jews, will be met with the same verve.

Question 2: Was Ezra correct in bravely defying the Cro-magnons?

Answer2: You f...cking right, he was!!

Question 3: Was Ezra motivated by racism or prejudice and trying "to denigrate the faith of others"?

Answer 3: If you answer yes, you did not pay attention for 900 days. If you answer no but still criticize him, you have not been paying attention for 900 days

by Bill_37
Aug 06 2008
5:16 PM

Well said Maureen. My only exception would be to your last comment "We really do need to vigorously protect those priviledges which we have grown to take for granted.". The word 'priviledges' should be replaced with 'rights'. And if we don't protect them; if we allow the outright corruption of public institutions without protest; we shall indeed reap a bitter harvest.

by Johnny Maudlin
Aug 06 2008
5:24 PM

Dear Ezra

Maybe I am missing something. You appear to be really excited by the numbers of visitors to your blog, the ranking your blog maintains in the blogosphere and the ongoing packaging of Ezra Levant, free speech martyr.

This seems to be satisfying. So why the complaining. You are literally making a living, temporary though it will be prove to be, from this story. Enjoy your 15 minutes Ezra. Tic toc tic toc tic toc...

by Blazingcatfur
Aug 06 2008
5:25 PM

The Lawfare Jihad has met with a set back today but the battle is far from over.

The Islamists and their allies among the Human Rights Cabal will bide their time in the hope that Section 13(1) and its provincial counterparts will survive intact.  

by minaka
Aug 06 2008
5:28 PM

Not another thread where every lefty demonstrates complete lack of understanding about the concept of free speech, the life's blood of western liberal democracy.  It does not have to be constructive (luckily as there is disagreement about what is constructive).  It does not have to be polite.  It does not have to be something YOU agree with or are willing to pay for.  

Only a totalitarian mindset thinks it's a good idea to subject other people's speech to a bottleneck censorship process run invariably by mediocre minds.  China's solution to criticism is on display for everyone with eyes to see during the Olympics.  

Hope some principled liberals show up here to defend free speech from their fellow travelers on the left who are foolishly pleased because the Canadian state censorship apparatus is confining itself to their opponents at the moment.  Such supporters of sanitized speech apparently lack the imagination or knowledge of history that would let them realize how uncomfortable it would be for them if the censorship shoe switches to the other foot.

The "free speech for me but not thee" double standard is untenable in the long run without adding another totalitarian tool - force.  Is this really the direction Canada should be taking?

by Maureen93
Aug 06 2008
5:35 PM

Bill_37 I agree with you the word "priviledge" somehow implies that consent must be granted and that isn't exactly what I meant. Having said that however I do feel that we have been very fortunate to live in a democratic society where we regard certain "rights" as given. We have in effect granted ourselves these rights through the political process and have defended them in venues too numerous to list here. I think the real danger today is not a frontal attack on liberty as such but the steady whittling away at the margins until we will find ourselves bound and gagged. I for one am far too noisy for that.

by muggeridge
Aug 06 2008
5:50 PM

Mr. Levant is a modern day hero fighting the onslaught of medievalist Islam against the west. He is no less a hero than Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732,

or  the King of Poland John III Sobieski rescuing Hungary from the Ottoman Turks at the Gates of Vienna in 1683, or General  Norman Schwarzkopf the commander of Desert Storm quickly reducing the "Mother of All Battles" against Iraqs Saddam Hussein to the  "Mother of All Defeats, in 1991.

Ezra Levant stands as tall as the historical Western heroes because he has the courage to stand up and be counted  unlike most of our politicians.

by minaka
Aug 06 2008
5:53 PM

Johhny Maudlin, Yes, you are missing something, as always.  If you think being persecuted by the HRC's and their employees launching additional personal nuisance suits is an easy way to make money, try it some time.  If Ezra were not able to rally supporters, he would have been bankrupted, clearly the point of the exercise.

Mark Steyn has pointed out that his livelihood as a writer is threatened by this kind of fatwa chill.  Sure, you might sell a few more volumes of your already published book, but future publishers will think twice about about giving you a contract if your work is going to cost them large legal fees in the lawfare jihad being waged by Muslims the world over.

The fact that Ezra has made the best of a bad situation for himself  while performing a priceless service for the Canadian public, (including your non-comprehending and ungrateful self) is a credit to his intelligence and resilience.

Maudlin, dollars to doughnuts you didn't lecture Mohammed Arar on collecting millions, telling him that he's achieved fame and fortune so why complain about his persecution.  Don't insult Ezra or our intelligence by treating him to the sharp side of your double standard.  

by Bill_37
Aug 06 2008
6:05 PM

Maureen, we are in perfect accord on your last post. The HRC's are the blatantly obvious threat, but I agree also that this "frog is feeling the water getting warmer and warmer by small degrees".

by The Dash
Aug 06 2008
6:08 PM

Marnie and Ian, I think you got it about right.  Even if you don't respect Mr. Levant or his tactics, you seem to agree that he has the right to publish even offensive material, and the government has no role in judging opinion.  The marketplace of ideas- such as yours and others here - will determine if Mr. Levant has any lasting currency.

by siavoshj
Aug 06 2008
6:22 PM

As a Muslim, I bow my head in shame in the light of the ordeal of Mr. Levant. I find myself, more than often, on the left side of the political and Ideological spectrum, but I have always believed in free expression of freedom for everyone, especially those with whom I disagree. I left Middle East and opted to live in this great country primarily because it was supposed to provide a platform for all ideas and opinions to be expressed and exchanged. It is repugnant how an "Islamic council" is able to hijack freedom of press in Canada. Mr. Levant! I disagree with your opinions most of the time, what's more, I don't like you. However, I do support to death your right to inform, to report freely, to speak your mind, and the least I could do is apologize for the actions of this so-called council which apparently represents me!

by Rectificatif
Aug 06 2008
6:46 PM

Here's the way we can "apologise" to the Sikhs sent back on that boat, 1914:

- Erect a statue to Ezra Levant. His example is the one that truly illustrates the deeper values of Canada, the ones which stand against racial and other injustice. Let his example be cited, for self-reliance, fairness, rigor, and freedom. Everyone else on the block is a sponge, soaking up our heritage of liberty.

 The sad part is that we had to wait until the Jihadists came along, and finally took the HR tyranny-bait, before the outrage emerged in full bloom. But look again -- the HR censors, like all our "Hate Laws," are someone else's folly -- they came from a better-intended, more repected lobby.

 Possibly, Canada will need to codify the foundations of all our freedom, both civic and personal.

Meanwhile, the country is still a tarted-up, neo-stalinist State in which anyone can be persecuted for expressing unorthodox views (in the workplace; in the classroom, etc.) and for offending bullies with lobbies.

   -Get the losing party in this dispute to pay damages and costs to Ezra Levant.

   - ABOLISH ALL H.R.C.s. and let the ordinary Justice system deal with material injustices.

Aug 06 2008
7:19 PM

Canada has no award befitting such bravery.

That is, the bravery involved in taking on a department of

"Canada's massive socialist bureaucracy".

Bravo Mr.Levant, a battle well fought and well worth winning for all those who love true freedom and true freedom can not exist without free speech.

by MexicoGuy
Aug 06 2008
7:21 PM

Maybe it's time for Ezra to file civil charges against these Islamists and have them pay for abusing his rights under the AHRC's socialist, corrupt program. As a Canadian who now lives in Mexico, a beautiful, free country unlike Canada, I am so glad not to be living under the tyranny of the Canadian thought police.

by TheSafetyGuy
Aug 06 2008
7:23 PM

THe Manitoba Human Rights commission recently condemned the Winnipeg Police Service as "racist".  The process was tainted even worse than in Mr Levant's case. There was no hard evidence presented, hearsay was allowed and the hearings were public meetings where people were encouraged by a free meal to give statements about how racist the police were. This destroyed the MHRC's credibility among most taxpayers, but not among the demagogues and poverty pimps who incited this farce in the first place.

When will our governments wake up and get rid of these kangaroo courts once and for all.

by Yo!
Aug 06 2008
7:47 PM

Daylight is the best disinfectant.  May daylight continue to shine on these non-rights commissions.

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
8:12 PM

... Interesting the difference between the collectivist "human" rights, and individual rights.

... Of course, "human" rights is a red herring- a mis-leading label to distract from the reality of the sacrifice of individual rights to collectivism.

by JohnnyQuest
Aug 06 2008
8:32 PM

You all act as if the HRC’s were acting in an anomalous fashion.  They were acclimatized by the various self-censors that have taken up the special interest group causes in Canada.

The press councils have ferreted out the politically incorrect columnists. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Censors have ferreted out any opinion contrary to their own.  

The same can be said for the Ad Standards censors.  

Academia has collectively acted worse than any small group of McCarthyites could have.

The MSM press, save the post and the rebellious columnist, has ignored these shenanigans for fear of HRC supporters (CJC, Bnai Brith, Muslim group) reprisal.  Let the truth out.

The HRC’s would not have acted if these biased censors had not the laid the foundation for them.  

It is time to hold the watchers to account.  If the press had any teeth left, it might.  

Given the collective CBC, Canwest, Thompson suck up to the Chinese over their Human Rights record this week, it surely will not.

Shame on the mainstream press for ignoring the whole censorship game that the HRCs, the CBSC, CRTC, the Ad Standards megalomaniacs have been playing.  


by Ambrose99
Aug 06 2008
8:35 PM

Another question is whether there are such things as human rights. Are they natural or are they granted only in the context of a state constitution? One obvious point is that if the latter is true, we must grant rights equally to everyone. If I have the right to air my opinions on this blog, Mr. Levant has the right to publish his cartoon. Contrary to IanGFoulds, the matter of whether the cartoon is in good taste is irrelevant to Mr. Levant's right to publish it.

by rita guigon
Aug 06 2008
8:39 PM

Syed Soharwardy, having been struck by a bolt of opportunism has taken up the "Multi-Faith Walk Against Violence" and is presenting himself as another Ghandi walking for (in his words):  "Though I have never faced persecution, I have personally witnessed so much violence...and I have made it my mission to stop violence everywhere, be it in school, bullying, gangs, child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence or terrorism.

"This walk is my physical and spiritual journey in an attempt at uniting Canadians against all forms of violence."

How about "violence by frivolous complaints to the HRC"?  To be out $100,000 in your own defense, as is Mr. Levant, must hurt a tad I would think.  

I think I would respect Syed more if he were walking against violence in Darfur or against the genital mutilation of women in Islamic countries.  In fact I would respect him a whole lot more if he were actually doing his "walk" in those countries.

I think by backing off from Mr. Levant, the HRC is not showing a change of heart but simply recognizes that they need to retrench in order to enjoy their perks and well-paid sinecures so they can harass less feisty citizens who aren't represented on these stacked HR commissions.    

by Raze
Aug 06 2008
8:42 PM


At the risk of drawing your ire, I wish to point out, dear man, that you asked:

"Question 2: Was Ezra correct in bravely defying the Cro-magnons?"

It's just that Cro-magnons were rather intelligent. Perhaps you were considering Neanderthals?

I realize you may want to stick to your original description. I won't call the Cro-magnon rights council on you for associating them with jihadists.


by Raze
Aug 06 2008
8:54 PM


You've asked quite the philosophical question there. I remeber it was Hegel (please correct me fellow posters) who suggested that the very existence of the human mind brings about, ontologically, the very right to exist.

His idea was considered a "watershed" for modern philosophy. Those on the Left side of the watershed believed it brought about an equal right to the resources required to sustain it, and those on the right saw it to mean that the mind has a right to the "ownership" of such resources.

As our associate IainGFoulds fully appreciates, this 'watershed' has lead us to intellectual and political tensions, between Nietzche and Marx, individual rights versus collective rights.

Natural rights do not necessarily lead to legislative rights. And as Ian has pointed out succinctly, your individual rights can be easily clobbered by "human rights."

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
9:42 PM

... Raze... "associates" it's true.

... Of course, we all have our moments...

by Rectificatif
Aug 06 2008
9:47 PM

Thank you, Johnny Quest, for your excellent post, above, in which you indict our media elites for their complicity in this busines. Perhaps the better word is "complacency," which surely could be the motto on Canada's degenerated escutcheon.

  But you failed to name one of the key culprits: THE POLITICIANS, and especially that craven crew in Edmonton. It's Ed Stelmach who has allowed the travesty to happen in one of his government agencies.

 Who could better define complacent than an Alberta politician?

   Perhaps it's time to talk about what freedom really means. It doesn't mean washing your SUV three times on Monday.

    And give a special whack, please, to academia, which you mention in passing. All this crap -- all of it -- has emerged from there.

by chuck80
Aug 06 2008
9:47 PM


The Neanderthals are the simpletons who can always be counted on to form a mob at the instigation of the Cro-magnons.

I assume there are at least some cerebral impulses in those who lead the pack.

by Rectificatif
Aug 06 2008
10:09 PM

Raze, your last post was superb.

 One query, though. Why should we accept that the term "human rights" means collective rights, and is a contrary to "individual" rights? Although the dichotomy is excellent for illustrating your point in philosophy, or rather, the history of philosophy, it is not necessarily true in all cases.

  It's been perhaps 10,000 years since humans thought they could  just do absolutely anything they felt like doing as they wandered the primeval forests. The limit of freedom is someone else's endangerment; theft of property; or enslavement. It doesn't take a Jihadist in a Toronto suburb to show us the differences between community rights and personal ones.  

  Human rights is the generalization of individual rights through complex societies, and in a world of several billions of humans. Period.

   At any rate, we're not talking about freedom in its widest and most abstract application. We're talking about the freedom to read and write; the freedom to dissent; the freedom to know; and to argue the least popular theories.

  Why can't we say that there is no "collective" right to anything that infringes upon that, short of calls to murder, treason, or libel.

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
10:32 PM

... Social collectivism is considering ourselves divided into groups- the context of HRC's perspective.

... In a nation based upon individual rights, the state does not recognise citizens divided into groups,

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
10:44 PM

... Collective rights always sacrifice individual rights and liberty.

... Ex. Unions deny the individual member's freedom to accept offered conditions.

by Rectificatif
Aug 06 2008
10:48 PM

Iain, although I'm in sympathy with this individual focus, you're missing some complexity here. We live in groups and we work in groups.

   Example: Girls working on an assembly line for minimum wage are earning their living just like everybody else. However, they need a law here and there to survive. For example, their forelady needs to know they have the right to go the bathroom and to take a lunch and coffee break.

    As an individual, the gal in the executive suite needs exactly the same things. However, she probably doesn't need a law to be able to take a break.

    The Labor Code guarantees bathroom breaks for the gals on the assembly line, and that's what we mean by "individual rights" defined by group circumstances, which is something we often call "human rights."

    This weekend we are focusing on China, where the human rights of individuals, both alone, and in groups, are often trampled. So there we are -- you don't wanna be workin' the assembly line in China.

by IainGFoulds
Aug 06 2008
10:55 PM

... Rectificatif... this is the good discussion. Let's keep it going.

... At the moment, I am working at a call center, with my laptop at the side of my desk, yet my shift is over in a few moments.

... Till the next time...

by Rectificatif
Aug 06 2008
11:01 PM

Iain, I feel certain I can say this on behalf of everyone here:

  If you're working at a call center, I hope your boss lets you take bathroom breaks!

   On the other hand, you may be the boss . . . ;>)

by Dare_Balo
Aug 06 2008
11:06 PM

There are no such things as collective rights.  Only individual rights are valid.

"A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)"

(For more, please see Ayn Rand's essay "Collective Rights' as published in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.")

by ExGrunt
Aug 07 2008
12:01 AM

It's fairly obvious - well at least to most, that Ezra is "The" champ.

It's not about blog ratings or 15 min of fame

Spend some time on his site, read his words - you don't have to agree with everything the man says, which is a tad hard, he's usually right.

Just take a look at the comments section on his site. Filled with a vast amount of different people VS the sites of say BCL or the Dawgs Blog - the same people over and over. All though I do like some of what they say as well.

You may or may not like Ezra's politics - There not or were his actions illegal.

Ill ask the ones who seem not to get it this:

What "rules" should we as Canadians be following: the very cut & dried

indications of the Canadian Constitution and Canadian law, or the

vague outlines of section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Code? The

rights to freedom of speech,expression, and religion are all in great

danger as a result of this particular section in a code that does not

even deign to allow itself to be governed by the standard rules of

law. It simply runs rampant over our rights as Canadians, saying that

it is "protecting" the rights of "other" Canadians. Aren't we all

entitled to our opinions? Aren't we all entitled to the same rights?

by Raze
Aug 07 2008
12:23 AM


Your point's been taken.

I thought your coice of caveman may have been made casually, but you've obviously put some thought into defining the instigators who've tormented Ezra.

Let's hope the Neanderthals take a hint from the 'success' of their leaders.

by MMC2008
Aug 07 2008
12:35 AM

Cry me a river.  Ezra is just *disappointed* that he’s been vindicated because it gives him less to rant about … and less ammunition in his fight to scrap the entire system. The last thing in the world he and others of his ilk want is to have to admit that the human rights system can and usually does work properly.

I do agree with Ezra when he says this, though:

“Both managed to hijack a secular government agency to prosecute their radical Islamic fatwa against me — the first blasphemy case in Canada in over 80 years. “

It’s just that I don’t think for one minute that our Islamic friends [term used usely] are the only ones with an agenda in this piece of theatre.

And sorry to disappoint but believe it or not, I actually am a "moderate" Canadian. Heck, I lean so far to the left that most people just presume I vote NDP.

by Raze
Aug 07 2008
12:39 AM


Interesting theme.

Then there's Hobbes, who described how the Leviathan could effectively collectivize human action to help prevent life from being too "...nasty, brutish, and short..."

He postulated that natural man had one duty, and one right, only, and that was to strike down any other man that may cross his path for the sake of self-preservation. Quite Neanderthal. (It's usually about here that some anthropologist jumps in to defend Neanderthals!)

See Dare_Balo above.

By forming a 'social contract' with the Leviathan, we gave away the individual right to personal defence for the priviledge of collective defence. This lead to a modicum of 'peace' among men, a new social phenomenon.

In evolving our collective versus individual rights within the context of social compacts, or social contracts, we've come to understand that we should be able to criticize the Leviathan without fear he might strike us down, just as any Neanderthal might have.

If we lose that right, then in a way we revert back to the days of the Leviathan, social peace is broken yet again.


by TCTheTiger
Aug 07 2008
1:11 AM

Denial of free speech is the denial of exercising free will, reducing human to non human - this attempt has been made many times over in history, in vain.

When will they ever learn?

by westar
Aug 07 2008
1:25 AM

Ezra, what courage and determination you have.  No one else had the fortitude  to publish the cartoons on this continent, the free press around the world should have rallied around Denmark.  I never imagined that you would be prosecuted by the Province of Alberta.  What a travesty.  Fire. Them. All.  It is an outrage that the commissions have been persecuting people for so long, we don't need the government operating as a nanny.  You are a hero Mr. Levant.

by Rectificatif
Aug 07 2008
1:29 AM

Fascinating cross-reference, Raze. Been years since I read my Hobbes, and my ignorance is exposed.

 Social peace begins as an instrumentalist decoy that temporarily suspends our intuitive need for identity, rebellion, leave-taking, or even violence. Social peace can seep into our consciences. But social peace never survives the qualitative shifts and sharp turns in individual conscience -- and that's what makes history happen.

   Then, we'd have to ask whether certain religions, Christianity, for example, are primarily focused on individuals, or whether they only work when the person is in a group.

  Nothing convinces me, though, that a human right is ever just a group right, so I'm inclined to reject the parallel. Otherwise, my siblings are going to divide up the legacy equally, and leave me penniless, and I'll have no argument to make.   :>)

by Jacques3
Aug 07 2008
3:54 AM

There is no essential difference between today's Human Rights Commission process, the courts described by Kafka, and by Stalin's courts.  Secret trials, truth is no defense, arbitrary judgments made by political appointees, no rule of law or expert testimony. Just a bunch of activists making arbitrary decisions based on their own inexpert opinion.

It is a disgrace that this situation ever occurred, and a bigger disgrace that Canadians care more about their Timmy's and iPhones than about the most fundamental loss of  freedom in Canadian history.

If ever there was a need for a royal commission, this situation calls for it. But of course, no one has the political courage.

Political correctness manipulated by activists and politicians for narrow ideological gains is destroying this country.

I have nothing but utter contempt for those who participate in these kangaroo courts at any level.

Thank you Ezra. There is a long way to go.  

by Paul McKeever
Aug 07 2008
6:52 AM

Social contracts are for people who prefer to believe that a human being cannot derive an ought from an is.  The false and contrived nature of the social contract idea is precisely what gave rise to the notion that it is right to hold Ezra to account for his words.  So long as we believe in social contract nonsense, we will have censorship.

by Sassylassie
Aug 07 2008
8:42 AM

Quote: ... Anyone who uses their freedom merely to denigrate the faith of others- as Mr. Levant- does not deserve the prosecution of the state, but does not deserve our respect either.

The liberal/socialist left have been hurling degrading and insulting things at Christians and Catholics for two decades, apparently that's okay but hands off the Illiberal Jews and now we're told to coddle Political Islamists or else the  HRCs will punish you. The compliant is the punishment, if you are found guilty of "Hate" that's just the icing on the cake to the Marxist nobodies at the HRCs.

Well I'll take  the "Or Else" this is Canada not a third world Islamic Hell Hole, we're not controled by Imams or Mufftis who believe in living in the 9th century. Contrary to the HRCs "Marxist/Socialist" mandate Canadians will not cede our chartered rights to special interest groups ANYMORE.

Bravo Ezra, the fight will be long and exhausting but we will not cede our rights to Anti-Canadian Bigots who believe we should surrender to "Islamic Supremacy".  Political Islamist have destroyed the fabric of society in Europe, I have no intention of bowing and scraping and appeasing Islamic Sensitivities.  

This is Canada where all cultures, races, religions are free to grow and add to our Culture, but we'll never surrender to the demands for Islamic Supremacy.  I do not believe the Canadian Islamic Congress speaks for "ALL MUSLIMS" in fact "I suspect" they represent perhaps five people who's goal we're well aware.  I harbour no anger at the Muslim Community, we all have bad apples that stink up the entire barrel it's just a matter of removing the rotten apples out of said barrel.

by Rob34
Aug 07 2008
9:14 AM

My first impression is who the hell is Ezra Levant, so I checked out his website it looks like he’s got quite the following I know this because he brags about it on his site, along with begging for money.  It’s clear he is in it for the fame and money by feeding off the anti Muslim sentiment in this country.

by ExGrunt
Aug 07 2008
9:31 AM


Look a little deeper at whats going on.

900 days

500.000 taxpayers persecution

100,000 cost to Ezra

I could go on and on - but if you can take the time to go to Ezra's site but cant take the time to read - go stick your head back in the sand

by Rob34
Aug 07 2008
10:08 AM

“100,000 cost to Ezra”

Why doesn’t he disclose how much money he is taking in?

I did read some of his blogs and its clear he is in it for the money, I was starting to think his name was Donate.

Is it true that he still lives with him mom?

I would say 900 of the best days of his life$$$$.

I would discuss the issues with the cartoons but it seems Ezra is not interested in the discussion.

by Lokestep
Aug 07 2008
10:52 AM

"I became the only person in the Western world charged with the “offence” of republishing the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, "

That fact alone (coupled with some of the self loathing statist commentary here) displays the toxic effect of PC fascism in our nation.

It is the duty of every patriotic Canadian to seek out and defeat this mugger of our civil liberty birthright.

by Rectificatif
Aug 07 2008
10:58 AM

Rob's a troll for the Alberta HRC, I suspect, baiting the hook. Rob, give us a logical defense for your Star Chamber's actions, and we'll begin to read what what you say.

  Turning to the substance of the matter, a short post-mortem. If the issue is press freedom, then we might locate heroes and goats in this event. The hero is an independent publisher unwilling to bow to the censor.

  The villain is his oppressors, but the goat is the press and/or media establishment. A free press has many tools for its defence; but the urgency is coming from journalists, not ownership.

    Well, it's coming from traditional journalists, not the trendy stalino-leftists of recent vintage.

    But a hard question. What is the media and news industry prepared to do, to defend freedom from vested interests and from censorship?

    You could, for example, politely refuse advertising from the governments who run the HRCs. It's the right of every private enterprise not to swallow poison offered by a client.

    I can hear the snickers of derision from readers already. However, Ezra won, not just because he was right, but because he had spine. Where's the spine in the rest of the press?

by free74
Aug 07 2008
11:14 AM

Somehow I personally doubt it cost Ezra Levant $100,000 to fight a HRC complaint.

I mean do the math of a good lawyer at $400.00hr?

Thats a lot of billable hours folks. Other than appearing at the hearing and such what else was there?

He himself is a lawyer too-so why all the head ache?

Secondly Ezra complains about fighting defamation suits-yet he is suing a letter writer named Merle Terlesky in Calgary for defamation.

Hmmm how does one defend free speech and then sue against speech?

Can you spell SLAPP?

by Lokestep
Aug 07 2008
11:28 AM

Paul McKeever Said:

" So long as we believe in social contract nonsense, we will have censorship."

I think you are focusing on the weapon rather than the criminal who is misusing it to rob us of our freedom Paul.

The "social contract" was a construct of archetype civil libertarians and liberal democrats like John Locke and the fathers of the most successful democratic republics.  In context of liberal democratic civil liberty social contract implies that the people give up some minimal rights to a government authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order. That is an acceptable compromise for the sovereing individual to make as long as the authority does not abuse the ceded powers.

Recently the Traditional Canadian civil paradigm of preserving peace order and good government has been hijacked and mutated to meet the needs of  cultural fascists (political correctness enforcement zealotry) to use as a weapon to rob us of our unsurrendered civil liberty.

So, as in the gun control debate, we have to ask if it is the tool or the robber misusing it which is at fault in the mutation of social contract?

by Paul McKeever
Aug 07 2008
11:49 AM

Lokestep: "In context of liberal democratic civil liberty social contract implies that the people give up some minimal rights to a government authority in order to receive or jointly preserve social order. That is an acceptable compromise..."

There's no compromise or contract required.  Every individual - whether in government or not - has, by nature, the right to defend his life, liberty and property.  There is no need, in fact or in law, to delegate such powers to the government: those who constitute the government ALREADY HAVE the power to defend our rights because they are human beings.  Consider that, were Z to be holding a gun to Y's head, saying "I'm going to shoot you in the head right now if you do not give me all of your money", X would - as a matter of nature - be in the right to shoot Z.  X would not first have to obtain that authority from Y.  The social contract is a mistaken notion: one that gives collectivists of every stripe a framework with which to attempt to justify their claim that A owes something to B, and that the government is there to ensure he pays.  It also leads to the mistaken belief that because government has the power to shoot Z, Y has given up his power to defend himself by shooting Z in self defence.

by Rectificatif
Aug 07 2008
12:45 PM

The discussion is fascinating, but puts a very fancy bonnet on a very plain problem.

  If you want to be a survivalist and occupy the few acres not yet covered by a house, ranch, or parking lot, go ahead. But the rest of us live in society.

   In the vast organism called the modern state, we delegate authority and we divide the tasks. We cultivate political bodies, and develop learning, specialization, inspection, and standards. That's to make sure nobody re-invents the wheel or makes fanciful claims to know what they don't know.

   So I'm quite happy to have a  unarmed population of neighbors. I do wish to see a better equipped and better funded police force, though.

   The adjunct to delegation is oversight by the civilian population. If tasers, for example, are now a casual killing device, wrongly employed, we're the ones to say so and to demand accountability.

by Lokestep
Aug 07 2008
1:04 PM


I think we are saying the same thing in differnt ways.

The original concept of social contract as envisaged by civil libertarians like John Locke was that the concessions to civil autority be minoer and as few as possible to attain civil order.

You may be a tad utpoian to thing that each individual can be his own police force or fire department..but these funtions we must take collective responsibility for such as an enforcement authority to ensure individual rights are respected, is the limit Locke set to the individual power ceded to authority.

In Locke's republican polite and civil society empowering a police force did not entail surrendering the basic civil right or means of the individual to defend himself. Similarly Locke supporting the right of the individual not to suffer property damages at the hands of slander, did not mean we surrendered out democratic right to dissent or objective criticism which may offend. Similarly Locke's social contract of ceding your will to be governed and obey the rule of law, was not a contract to be devolved of basic  of civil liberty and be oppressed by the state.

As you have said statist collectivism has taken the original Lockeian social contract idiom and subverted  its meaning, mutated its intent and used it in a fascistic way to force compliance to a system of "control" rather than protect the system of civil freedoms Locke intended social contract with authority to defend in our civilly free liberal democracy .

As I stated it is not the tool but the criminal who is at fault in the misuse and mutation of the Lockeian social contract construct. POGG ( peace order and good government, our social contract construct) was never intended to be a tool to force secular collectivist statism or cultural fascism upon us. POGG is a paradigm of civilly free liberal democratic society of the Blackstone-Lockeian model.

In Ezra's case, an illconceived organ of government has been infected with a cultural fascist cabal's agenda and gone rogue. They breeched our original POGG social contract by perverting ceded civil authority to empower their particular ideological orthodoxy as the only "correct" moral authority in interpersonal relationships of citizens...instead of POGG guardians they became inept pious interloper tyrants ...and as we see it play out, rogue statist moralizing supplanting liberal social contract produces the predictable social effects of cultural fascism.

by Paul McKeever
Aug 07 2008
3:55 PM

Lokestep: "You may be a tad utpoian to thing that each individual can be his own police force or fire department..."

That's not what I am saying.  I'm no anarchist, and I believe that the government does and should have a monopoly on policing, the judiciary, law-making etc.: there can be no freedom without an Objective system of law.  The anarcho-capitalist notion of competing police forces etc. is a load of nonsense that I strenuously oppose.

My point is only that the powers held by the government were not delegated to it, such that no contract was necessary and such that none really exists.  In short: the government's authority is not relational, but personal.  And it is a monopoly because, otherwise, law would not be objective.  

by TCTheTiger
Aug 07 2008
4:03 PM

Paul McKeever:

problem is: objectivity is subject to to the government's subjectivism.

by ZeeBC
Aug 07 2008
4:35 PM

"This is Canada where all cultures, races, religions are free to grow and add to our Culture, but we'll never surrender to the demands for Islamic Supremacy."

Well said Sassylassie!!

by ExGrunt
Aug 07 2008
9:44 PM

Free 74

Did you fail basic math in school?

As you say $400 per hr

So $400 x 4 hrs per week

- not unlikely, considering the math works out to what - 900 days for a 15 page document -  68 days per page from the Alberta Govt

So $400 x 4 = $1600 per week

$1600 x 4 = $6400 per month

3 ys = 36 months

$6400 x 36 = $230,400

Id say Ezra got a deal and your a moron

by Freedom Fan
Aug 08 2008
6:53 PM

<i>It is repugnant how an "Islamic council" is able to hijack freedom of press in Canada.

Mr. Levant! I disagree with your opinions most of the time, what's more, I don't like you.

However, I do support to death your right to inform, to report freely, to speak your mind, and the least I could do is apologize for the actions of this so-called council which apparently represents me!</i>

-Siavoshj, a Muslim

Siavoshj you are an honorable person who embraces the fundamental human right of freedom of expression in Western society.

Your refreshing comment stands in sharp contrast to complacent Libs like MarnieTunay, IainGFoulds, Johnny Maudlin, MMC2008, Rob34 and free74 who spit on our fragile freedom and encourage the Canadian 'Human Rights' Commission fascists to transmogrify Canadian citizens into toadies of the state.

by ShayGaetz
Aug 08 2008
7:14 PM

If everbody here can forgive a silverback the perogative of age by tolerating repetition, two old questions jump to mind:

Where was the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal when “The Miracle” a Canadian “Muslim” newspaper repeatedly wrote articles denying the holocaust while also accusing Jews of pedophilia, fabricating the Holocaust, committing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and instigating both world wars?

How about Team Ezra jamming the AHRCC with a flood of their own complaints?

by E33
Aug 08 2008
9:02 PM

Paul McKeever: "Social contracts are for people who prefer to believe that a human being cannot derive an ought from an is."

I would argue that it should read "people who prefer to believe that a human being CAN derive an ought from an is," but I think that was your point.

A pity leftists posting here can't offer as compelling evidence to support their positions.


Related Posts

June 14, 2009, 10:54 PM The CHRC wants a debate -- as long as they do all the talking by NP Editor
TAGS: Full Comment, Ezra Levant 40 Comments
December 02, 2008, 4:15 PM Ezra Levant: Dion's hidden agenda may include a Senate seat for Elizabeth May by Kelly McParland
TAGS: Full Comment, Ezra Levant, Canadian politics 8 Comments
November 24, 2008, 5:20 PM Ezra Levant: CHRC sets out to bury the Moon report by Kelly McParland
TAGS: Full Comment, Ezra Levant 10 Comments
October 24, 2008, 12:45 PM Ezra Levant: A new low for 'human rights' by Kelly McParland
TAGS: Full Comment, Ezra Levant 41 Comments