August 19, 2008


Canada’s Human Rights Gestapo (Deborah Weiss, 8/19/08,

During Ezra’s hearing with the commission, [the publisher of the now defunct Canadian magazine Western Standard] was asked what his intent was when he published the cartoons. Visibly upset, he insisted that his magazine should be able to exercise unbridled free speech without regard to intent. With provocative statements, he practically begged the commission to convict him, so that he could bring the case to a “real court” and destroy the credibility of the Human Rights Commissions altogether. Ezra’s legal written response to the complaint explained that the article and the cartoons merely constituted objective news published in a news magazine.

On July 29, 2008, the Human Rights Commission (“HRC”) issued a report on its investigation, and ECMC’s complaint was dismissed. The commission ruled that in balancing free speech rights against the laws that prohibit discrimination, the Western Standard’s publication of the cartoons, “in its full context” did not warrant a trial. Yasmeen Nizam, a civil litigation attorney and an ECMC director, disagreed. She believed that Western Standard should have been brought to trial “regardless of the context.” As she stated, the goal in filing the complaint was “to educate people” on the increased “risk” of discrimination against Muslims in a post-9/11 world.

In the meantime, the HRC’s investigation of the Western Standard article was completed to the tune of 500,000 dollars in taxpayers’ money, and 100,000 dollars to Ezra and his magazine. Had the complaint been filed in a Canadian civil court, the loser would have been required to pay Ezra’s attorney’s fees. But in HRC cases, the complainant doesn’t even have to pay for his own attorney’s fees. The investigation is conducted at taxpayer expense. Had the complaint been filed in a Canadian criminal court, charging the magazine with criminal incitement of hatred, then Ezra would have been entitled to due process and a speedy trial. Instead, he was dragged through the mud at the Alberta’s Human Rights Commission for 900 days, at the mercy of a bunch of bureaucrats.

Currently, there are fourteen Canadian Human Rights Commissions, employing 1000 people, with a budget of 200 million dollars annually. Together, they function as a parallel court system, often at direct odds with laws administered through the Canadian civil and criminal courts. While the establishment of the Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals may have started out with good intentions, over time they have become so extreme that they regularly side with radical Islamists. In a crusade to stamp out offensive language, they stifle free speech. Additionally, the legal fees for respondents can be astronomical. When they win, their speech constitutes exorbitantly expensive speech, not free speech. Soft jihadists purposely use these nuisance suits as lawfare to shut people up and prevent them from voicing their opinions. The process is the punishment. As Ezra protested: “[t]he process I was put through is a warning to journalists who would defy radical Islam.” In effect, the commissions judge both speech and thought. Worse, they preclude open political debate about the nature of radical Islam and the west’s enemy in the war on terror.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2008 4:31 PM
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