Tagged: Canada

HE SAID JEHOVAH! HE SAID JEHOVAH!

As we've discussed many times before, our friends in Canada have a government with very strong opinions about what opinions are "acceptable" — meaning what opinions may be uttered without prosecution, fines, cease-and-desist orders, and reeducation. It's not to American tastes to create vast bureaucracies with the power to regulate and punish speech based on vague guidelines, but Canada is a sovereign nation, and can do what it wants. Pity poor Professor Cameron Johnston at York University. He was just trying to make this fundamentally Canadian concept clear to the students in the class he was teaching by giving examples...

The Vancouver Riots And The Modern Consequences Of Bad Behavior

A couple of nights ago, after a disappointment in a hockey game, a number of folks in Vancouver rioted. They smashed windows, looted stores, and overturned and torched cars. This was not a crowd of the dispossessed. This was a crowd of hockey fans. I confess that I'm quite surprised that Canadians riot. I was under the impression that they were too polite. Riots involve rudeness. There's an unacceptable risk that someone might say something cutting that could hurt someone's feelings based on social condition or ethnic group membership or something. Anyway, regrettably for them, these were not practiced rioters,...

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: My Love Letter To The United States Supreme Court, And The First Amendment

A rule compelling the critic of official conduct to guarantee the truth of all his factual assertions–and to do so on pain of libel judgments virtually unlimited in amount–leads to a comparable "self-censorship." Allowance of the defense of truth, with the burden of proving it on the defendant, does not mean that only false speech will be deterred. It was fashionable well before 1964, when Justice William Brennan wrote those words, to criticize the United States Supreme Court for "judicial activism" in which the Court stretches the words of the Constitution beyond their plain, or literal, meaning to invent new...

Censorious Goons Will Be Censorious Goons, Eh?

Oh, Canada. You continue to be a haven for speech-despising thugs. Today's main culprit: our old friend Richard Warman, crusading censor of incorrect thought and expression. Warman, you may recall, has a penchant not only for using Canada's malevolent and totalitarian speech bureaucracies to suppress incorrect thought, but also for suing people who criticize him for doing so. He's also got a knack for endangering the lives of the most pitiful of his foes, even when they roll over and show their belly, and of a generally thuggish approach to public discourse. So it should be no surprise that, once...

Canada, Having Set The Bar High, Struggles To Remain Very, Very Silly

There are few things that can make me sympathetic to PETA. On such thing is Canada. More specifically, Canada's stubbornly unserious and unprincipled approach to freedom of expression. PETA encountered it when they tried to put up one of its belabored cheesecake-picture campaigns in Montreal, only to be thwarted by the Montreal branch of Canada's speech bureaucracy. In an email to PETA, Montreal City Commissioner Josee Rocheford said the ad "goes against all principles pubic organizations are fighting for in the everlasting battle of equality between men and women." Moreover, Montreal authorities responded by insisting their decision was based on...

The Bar Has Been Raised, M. Obama

Oh Canada. Home of all so many delightfully goofy things. And yet, it's somehow comforting to know that their politics can be just as scummy as ours. The Prime Minister, Steven Harper, has previously taken a hardline stance against the patronage appointment of Senators in Canada. Seems some wags refer to being appointed to Congress (only one Province even has Senatorial elections) as "cash for life." So, now Harper appoints a bunch of party cronies and people he likes to the Senate. There's nothing worse than people remembering your past statements. Tres inconvenient! By the way, one of Harper's appointments...

Oh, Yeah? Well, You're Guilty of DOUBLE SECRET REVERSE CHILL!!!

I keep thinking that Canada's champions of censorship can't get any more ludicrous and offensive. And they keep coming back and saying "Oh, Ken, ye of little faith." Well, they don't actually talk to me. Except in my head. You know, I think I'm straying from the point. Canada's appalling Human Rights Commissions — which we have frequently criticized here for their tendency and capacity to punish unpopular speech through bureaucracy without due process or remedy — have been under heavy political fire in Canada recently, as the public starts to grasp their illiberal censorious nature and the politicians sense...

The Internet Is A Powerful Ally

We've written numerous times about Canada's censorious speech laws. We've lauded Ezra Levant, a man with whom some of us agree on almost nothing but whose tenacious defense of his own right to free speech we admire.  We've beaten that horse. And we're going to beat it again. Had I been charged with hate speech 10 years ago, I could not have fought back as effectively. If all this had happened in 1996 instead of 2006, few would have known anything about my battle. YouTube, which brought my story alive for 600,000 people by the time the traffic died down,...

"Could I Try the Heart?"

That was the question Canada's Governor General, Michaelle Jean, asked after trying a little bit of seal meat at an Inuit Festival. Ms. Jean was taking a shot at the EU, which Monday banned seal products because they determined the seal hunt was cruel. The EU responded by calling her Mola Ram act as "too bizarre to acknowledge." I have to admit, it would never occur to me to eat the raw heart of any animal. The idea that a representative of the Queen's government (ceremonial, admittedly..) would be cutting seals up and eating their heart is sort of quaint....

Protect Free Speech: Stop Canada!

I don't vouch for this story, because it comes from an AM radio station, but considering Canada's record on speech generally, I'm inclined to go for it. Watch what you say about mass-murdering terrorists in Toronto: Approximately 40 people stood on the overpass, just north of Gerrard, with signs saying "Protect Canada, stop the Tamil Tigers." … The signs were held as part of a counter-demonstration, at an event held by Tamil-Candadians.  It's worth pointing out that the Sri Lankan civil war has probably claimed 100,000 lives, many killed by the Sinhalese government but many also civilians killed by the...

Canada To Make It Illegal To Discriminate Against . . . Um . . . They'll Let You Know If You've Done It

We've blogged before many times about how Canada's Human Rights Act is used as a weapon by unfettered bureaucrats and censorious serial litigants to punish unpopular (often justly unpopular) ideas. You can see some of our relevant posts here. Now it appears that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has discovered a new and exciting way to chill, and retaliate against, unpopular speech — by broadening the scope of its power to punish discrimination against, and speech unflattering to, "social condition."

The Beginning of the End for Canada's Crusading Censor, Richard Warman

I'm been unforgivably lax in my schadenfreude. I've taken far too long to note the public humiliation of the loathsome Richard Warman, Canada's censorious serial litigant and crusader against incorrect speech, a man whose contemptible excesses we have covered before. Warman's weapons and sources of income are Canada's Human Rights Commission and its Human Rights Tribunals, upjumped bureaucratic star chambers with the power to punish various species of bigoted and moronic speech if it offends anyone — even if Warman is the only one to read and be offended by it. But now Canada's professionally censorious human rights apparatus —...

Discretion Is The Better Part of Censorship

People willing to empower the state to punish a wide and ambiguous range of conduct — say, "offensive speech" — generally try to address concerns about abuse with pragmatic arguments. "There's no way the government will have the time or resources to punish all offensive speech," they say, "so they'll only go after the worst of the worst." The problem, of course, is that the people exercising this discretion are (1) human and (2) bureaucrats, and therefore can be expected to exercise their discretion not to punish some objective Platonic ideal of the "worst of the worst" conduct, but to...

The Game's . . . On.

Remember the severed feet washing up in Canada? Now there's been a sixth one. This seems uncharacteristically discourteous of some Canadian. The littering alone is boorish. Those Timberlands are not biodegradable, sir. I presume that the Human Rights Commissions are scrambling to answer the burning question posed: are the former owners (sorry, companions) of the feet being properly accommodated in their new disabilities?

Applying For A Writ of Daaaaaaaaaaaad, You're So Unreaaaaaaaaaaaaasonable

So it would appear that if you misbehave, and your parent grounds you and forbids you to go on a class trip, you can just go to court and get the decision overturned. So long as you are Canadian. The girl took the matter to the court … [and] Madam Justice Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court ruled on Friday that the father couldn't discipline his daughter by barring her from the school trip… Remember: government knows better than you do. My two favorite parts of Eugene Volokh's treatment of this news item are (1) the way he satirically...