March 25th should be interesting
By Ezra Levant on March 4, 2008
12:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (39) | Trackback
Note: See UPDATES 1 and 2 below
If I'm reading this order correctly, March 25th may become known as Black Tuesday at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
That's when Marc Lemire -- one of the few Canadians who has had the energy and legal resources to fight back against the CHRC's section 13 thought crimes steamroller -- will be allowed to cross examine commission staff about their "undercover" activities on the Internet. Judging by what Lemire has uncovered so far -- such as an Edmonton Police "hate crimes" officer posting anti-Semitic and anti-Aboriginal bigotry on the Internet -- it's sure to be a blockbuster.
(It's deeply disturbing that "hate crimes" police -- I'm not talking about human rights keystone cops now, but real police officers -- publish such bigotry on the taxpayers' dime, and all in the name of keeping the peace. One must ask: at what point is the "fake" hatred generated by the police a larger problem than the "real" hatred that exists already on society's fringes? And, really, is there any moral difference between the two, other than the police claim they don't really mean it? At what point does the cure become worse than the disease?)
Remember that these are the same "anti-hate" activists -- police, human rights activists, and even CSIS agents -- who paid a government agent to set up the Heritage Front, arguably Canada's leading neo-Nazi movement twenty years ago. The fact that these same government agents then "infiltrated" the nascent Reform Party, to the great embarrassment of Preston Manning, shows that these "anti-hate" campaigns have long been torqued into a partisan political weapon.
The CHRC had vigorously opposed the coming interrogation of their staff, and it's easy to see why. Dean Steacy, one of the staff who will be compelled to answer questions on March 25th, has previously admitted to creating Internet pseudonyms to infiltrate websites the commission was hunting (something Richard Warman has admitted to doing as well after, uh, first not admitting to it). But instead of preparing some hermetically-sealed, written answers to Lemire's questions, as Steacy has been able to do in the past, he must now take the stand and answer questions live, under oath, from Lemire's lawyer.
It will be fascinating to watch. Remember, Steacy was the commission staffer who once exclaimed that freedom of speech -- which just happens to be section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights -- "is an American concept, so I don't give it any value." Watching Lemire's lawyer cross-examine him might be worth flying all the way to Ottawa.
Another CHRC staffer, Hannya Rizk, will be ordered to take the stand, too. It will be interesting, if only to see why the CHRC tried so hard to deny Lemire the right to ask them questions about their investigative tactics. Surely one of the hallmarks of a limited, responsible government, where the police and other instruments of state power are accountable to civilian oversight, is transparency. If the CHRC wants to hide its tactics, isn't that in itself a sign that something is awfully wrong? The tactics and techniques of real police officers are subject to scrutiny by the public all the time -- from tasers to photo radar to search warrants to closed circuit TV cameras to wire taps. It's healthy -- and it reminds police that they serve the people, and not the other way around. Why did the CHRC try so hard to keep its tactics immune from scrutiny?
Besides grilling Steacy and Rizk, my reading of the order is that Lemire can now subpoena Internet records from Bell that would "remember" any details that Steacy or Rikz might "forget". That's another win, too.
But the CHRC isn't the only organization that's sure to be embarrassed on March 25th. If I understand the order, it will permit Lemire to enter as exhibits correspondence between the Canadian Jewish Congress and the CHRC, in which the CJC discussed methods by which Internet companies could block access to Internet websites -- that is, to censor them -- without even bothering to go through the process of a CHRC hearing.
This, I've got to see. The CHRC has a 100% conviction rate under its section 13 thought crimes section; people dragged before the commission have to pay for their own lawyers, and often are ordered to pay fines to the commission and to the person who brought the complaint to the commission's attention (like Richard Warman has done so frequently). Apparently that absurd, one-sided procedure is still too much hassle for the CJC. It will be fascinating to see the censorship plans cooked up between the CJC and the CHRC that involve short-circuiting the kangaroo court, and going straight to the censorship.
But I think the most dramatic moment of all will come when commission staffer Dean Steacy is asked about his undercover activities targetting Free Dominion, a leading conservative political "chat" website. Steacy's fake Internet name, Jadewarr, was used to sign up on Free Dominion just two weeks before a "hateful" post was made there, that later formed the basis of a CHRC complaint against the site.
Did Dean Steacy himself manufacture that "evidence" that was then used as the basis of a complaint against Free Dominion? Why was the CHRC targetting a mainstream conservative chat site, the same way it had targetted overtly racist sites in the past? Who at the CHRC had made the determination that taxpayers' dollars and bureaucrats' time should be used to infiltrate a conservative political forum?
We might just get an answer to these questions on March 25th. If so, it will be a rare glimpse into the secretive, unaccountable world of human rights commissions -- and therefore, an important step towards educating the public, and the politicians, about the aching need to rein in these commissions and cut them down.
UPDATE 1: Some commenters and bloggers are surprised that I would support Marc Lemire, because he runs websites that could fairly be called white supremacist. The answer is pretty simple: I don't. I just believe that a government that censors an offensive website is more offensive -- and dangerous -- than any website itself. And, as the March 25th hearings will likely show, in its zeal to "get" the Marc Lemires of this world, the government has become what they claim they abhor: sneaky, anonymous Internet lurkers, posting bigoted comments. Far more troubling than those government agents' own petty epithets, though, is the human rights commissions' perversion of our legal system, and their erosion of our freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
Trying to outlaw hate doesn't work; hate is an emotion that's rooted in a real or imagined grievance; if it were possible to simply legislate such feelings away, we'd have passed the Love Each Other Act a long time ago. The answer is to leave the haters alone or, if you must, engage them to try to ameliorate their feelings of grievance, or prove to them that their grievance is unfounded. That last one is the Ken McVey approach to fighting -- that is, fighting the battle of ideas using words, not police and censors. But it takes a lot more work and patience than just criminalizing your opponents.
Having the government tape someone's mouth shut won't make his feelings go away -- it will probably make him hate even more, and it will confirm all of his suspicions, conspiracy theories and other rationales for hatred. I truly believe that the "war on hate" that the Canadian Jewish Congress and others have waged has had a symbiotic relationship with the haters -- they both feed off each other. If the government and officious do-gooders like the CJC simply ignored harmless haters (and focused on actual crimes, not thought crimes), the problem would atrophy. David Ahenakew is a prime example of this.
My "support" for Lemire is my support for his fight against the human rights commissions, which are procedurally and substantively unCanadian. I suppose that's one of the differences between Warren Kinsella and me: I don't rejoice when my political opponents are dealt with tyrannically by my government. I think it's unfair and, at best, amoral. But I also realize that the precedents set when the state prosecutes the Lemires of the world are then used when the state prosecutes the Levants and the Steyns of the world.
And if they ever go after the Kinsellas of the world. So far, Canada's left has been exempted from these human rights complaints. That's partly because the commissions themselves are stacked with lefty, politically correct appointees who would find a creative way to dismiss a complaint filed by a conservative or a Christian. (I have probably read 50 tribunal rulings, and the only one in which a complainant was a Christian was dismissed. A dairy farmer in Alberta didn't want his milk to be picked up on Sunday, but the commission told him he should have thought of that before becoming a farmer.) But I think the exemption for the left is mainly because conservatives and Christians don't tend to run to the nanny state to censor their opponents. Conservatives are so used to being in the minority that we've learned to debate, and to take rough and tumble insults without complaining quite as much, at least to the government.
But should that ever change -- should conservatives start filing the same sort of nuisance complaints at human rights commissions as do liberals and Islamic fascists -- I bet it wouldn't be too long before the left started to worry about due process and constitutional freedoms. That's why lefty groups like PEN Canada have stood with Steyn and me -- not because they agree with us, but because they see how it's Lemire's white supremacism yesterday, my conservatism today, and Kinsella's pain-in-the-neckism tomorrow. Any fellow who makes his living offending his rivals should realize that when Lemire's right to be offensive in danger, Kinsella's is, too.
A lawyer like Kinsella knows that you don't have to be "pro-murderer" to support the criminal law concepts of the presumption of innocence, a fair trial, no cruel or unusual punishment, etc., even if they -- because they -- benefit accused murderers. We support those rules because that's our own moral standard for justice. I support Lemire's fight against the human rights commissions not because I support his website -- I've actually never visited it, and I don't really care to. I support his fight because it's my fight too.
UPDATE 2: Marc Lemire responds to Kinsella's and commenters' criticisms of him with his own comment (I assume it's him, and not a CHRC staffer posing as him):
With all the controversy about my alleged beliefs, I figured its time to add my $0.02. I am moving up the ladder daily. A few years ago I was a "nobody", now according to Wornout Kinsella, I run one of the largest white supremacist website ON THE PLANET! (Sadly the poor CHRC, who read every single thing I wrote since 2002, was unable to find a SINGLE post I wrote that was ?bad?)Amazingly how the more I expose what the CHRC is really up to the bigger a "nazi" I become. After smoking the CHRC on March 25, 2008, I may well become the secret inspiration behind MEIN KAMPF, and the driving force behind the entire Nazi regime.For the blog morons who have never heard of sarcasm? let me be clear: I have never been or will ever be a Nazi or supporter of Adolf Hitler. In fact look at my website. You know, the largest white supremacist one on the planet, and see if you can spot what Kinsella is talking about. (For those who don?t see the dripping hate, gas chambers, nooses and swastikas on my site? you must BE A NAZI SYMPATHIZER! Or perhaps, like Wornout, you might need to be knee-high?)Funny how people like Richard Warman go around signing his internet posting on Stormfront.org with Heil Hitler (which Warman admitted to doing under oath?) ... and he is the "anti-racist" YET, I have never spoken a single word in support of Hitler, no swastikas on my website? Yet, I am the "nazi".As George Orwell called it, "NewSpeak" is alive and well. Now "Anti-Racist" has become, someone posing as a woman on message boards, and posting vile hate for the purpose and intent of "stopping online hate". Seems sorta backwards to me.. but hey, I am just a vile Neo-Nazi, fascist, white supremacist, hater, Muslimphobic, ShariaHater, anti-semite, who knows nothing better. (did I mention Nazi?)With top "anti-racists" and hate crime unit police officers filling up message board from here to kingdom-come with hate messages, I feel somewhat left out. Being Canada's top nazi, hater and anti-Semite, I feel somewhat cheated. There is no one left out there, I can call a "n*gger" and "c*nt".From now on, I am going to assume fake names online like LUCY (oh wait thats already taken...) ok.. hmmm... ok... JENNIFER, then. And I will post things like: "THIRD-WORLD IMMIGRANTS WHO COLLECT WELFARE, RIP OFF OUR SYSTEM AND LIE TO GET INTO THE COUNTRY ARE .. A-OK"Christ this is CanaDUH, I might be able to get a government job pulling in close to $100k with those sort of comments!Time to change professions. Being a computer expert (with forensics specialization) certified by Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Citrix, and Novell, just doesn't cut it anymore, I need to get into the "Anti-Racism" racket.... My fingers are crossed the CJC will be hiring soon, since their current poster boy might not occupy that spot for too much longer.