Yes – ‘Section 13’ gets the ax!

For those of you who are unaware of what ‘Section 13’ is:  it is the ‘hate speech’ clause in Canada’s Human Rights Act   which makes it illegal to say things which have the potential to offend somebody.

‘Section 13’ had been used to stifle free speech to the point where people were handed lifetime bans to even speak to friends about certain topics on which they did not hold ‘politically correct’ views.

‘Section 13’ – and how it was used to silence legitimate criticism – is a big reason why I had started this blog in the first place.

Now, the largest step towards ridding ourselves of this selective gag order has been taken:

‘Canada is freer today than it was yesterday.

The federal government has just voted to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. While the bill still has to pass a Senate vote, Canadians likely now have permission to speak more freely.’

Awesome!

UPDATE:  now, with video…

 

Lilley and Levant on freedom of speech, hate-crimes and Toronto’s Madrassah

 

While I do agree with their major points – freedom of speech, even ‘hate speech’ – just not on taxpayer’s dime, I do disagree with them when it comes to actions which abrogate the religious freedoms of children:  just as no parent has the right to sexually abuse their child, no parent has the right to curb their child’s freedom of religion through childhood religious indoctrination.

Is the Human Rights Tribunal oppressing its own employees?

I sound like a broken record when I start writing about the Human Rights racket in Canada: from tribunals to commissions, from the federal mama-bureaucracy to the provincial daughter-bureaucracies.

As far as I can see, they have completely and uterly failed to achieve the purpose for which they were created – and instead of making the situation better and working towards an equal treatment of all the citizens of our wonderful country, they have worked to striate the society and declare which ‘groups’ were ‘more equal’ than the rest of us. And even though the mainstream media (msm) has begun to wake up to what is going on, most of its members are still too cowardly to actually say so (much less do some serious investigative journalism on the topic).

Perhaps I should not be judging them so harshly: the political indoctrination most acredited journalists got at our ‘places of higher learning’ is hard to break through….and then there is the fear that if they say what they see, they will be out of a job. But, I’m a bit of an idealist who thinks that if one has to lie to keep one’s job, and one does not quit that job but chooses to lie, they are, well, the sort of stuff you scrape off the bottom of your shoe with a stick…

So, I did a double take when I went to the local corner store for some milk (my kids will not drink the ‘supermarket’ milk) and I caught a sight of this headline in the Ottawa Citizen:

Human Rights Tribunal in turmoil: union

Employees describe work environment that has deteriorated ‘to point of toxicity’

Front page, above the fold!

I was impressed!

Coming home, I googled the article and eagerly read on.

More than half of the 25-member staff, including middle and senior level managers, have left, taken sick leave or retired over the past year. At least three have filed formal harassment complaints.

Unions representing workers confirmed they received numerous complaints of abuse of authority, intimidation and personal harassment. They say employees describe a work environment that has deteriorated “to the point of toxicity.”

Well, well, well!
Three out of twenty five – that is a full 12%!!!
There aren’t many work places where fully 12% of the employees have filed FORMAL complaints!!!
So the haughty attitude that we, the citizens, perceive as emanating from this place is not just our imagination:  sounds like the poor slobs who have to work for these arrogant elitists perceive them that way, too!  And, it also sounds like they (the arrogant elitists, not the poor suckers who have to work for them) don’t understand that one should not pee in one’s own swimingpool….or that they are honestly unaware of their own incontinence.
But, let’s get back to the worker-bees.
If they are persecuted in their workplace on one of the ‘protected grounds’, and their workplace also is the Human Rights Tribunal, whom can they get to adjudicate their human rights complaint?

Enquiring minds want to know!
UPDATE: ‘ The Lynch Mob’ re-published this post here.

Vigna vs Levant: first installment on the last day

What a day today has been!

I admit, I am a little overwhelmed by all that has been happening.

And, I will try very, very hard to put down what happened, as best as I can with my very very limited legal background (which consists solely of watching ‘Jurisprudence’ on TV whenever I can).  But, most of it will not come tonight.

As those of you who read my blog on and off, I have some long term health issues.  These last two days have seen me more up and about than I have been in months, and I admit that I am exhausted.  Yeah, I know, I am a wimp….

Still, I really don’t want to try to give an exhaustive report while I am not in a serene state of mind.

I will only offer the briefest of observations… (well, brief for my standards!)

Mr. Levant appeared more patient today.  Now, I don’t know how Mr. Levant felt – he didn’t tell me.  But, it seemed to me that he had moved past the exasperation (not completely, and with a few re-lapses, of course, but he seemed less ‘overall’ exasperated ‘much’ of the time – perhaps because he was not having to explain over and over and over how his ‘sainted father’ felt bullied by Mr. Vigna’s representative(s) trespassing on his (the father’s, not Mr. Ezra Levant’s) property for reasons Mr. Vigna claims are legitimate) and, if you can believe it, I think Mr. Levant actually pitied Mr. Vigna.

Mr. Levant’ lawyer sounded every bit as good as I had hoped for, from having watched his demeanor yesterday.  I have to admit, I really like him – he has a way of understating things that permits the listener to draw his own conclusion without ‘beating him/her over the head with it’ (if you know what I mean), but which is ‘louder than shouting’…

Mr. Vigna continued in a manner similar to the one I observed yesterday.  Much of the time (when standing up) he would rest his hands on the desk and lean forward in a bullishly aggressive manner (at least, it looked so from my point of view).  At one point the judge requested him (and it almost seemed to me that the judge was a little exasperated at having to do so) to not lean so far forward because he was so close to the microphone, it was interfering with the microphone’s proper function.

(Aside:  I think Mr. Vigna was using one of the new super-awesome Sharpie pens – guaranteed not to bleed through to the next page. There are two types of this new pen – the ‘click’ type and the ‘cap’ type.  To the best of my observations, Mr. Vigna was using the ‘cap’ type, blue, if I am not mistaken.  I rather like these ones, and used the same kind (Sharpie, cap-type, blue ink) to record my notes from today between the first break and the lunch break (approximately 12:20 and 13:00 hours… I always switch pens and ink colours between breaks….  These ‘cap’ type Sharpie pens come in black, blue, red, green and purple – but, as far as I know, you can only get the purple and green ones if you buy a multi-pack.  The GTEC-C4 pen multi-packs include the same colours – but also add orange, which the Sharpie ‘cap’-type multipack does not have.)

At other times, when Mr. Vigna was not leaning against the desk, he seemed (in my layman’s eyes) to have had difficulty containing his ‘energy’ – or, in other vernacular, one could say he seemed to have had ‘too much sharp chi’, if you will.

He kept shifting his weight from one foot to the other.  Even in between ‘weight shifts’, he kind of bobbed up and down on the balls of his feet.  In addition, he kept making small little nervous movements with his hands.  And, yes, he did pull his pants up a few times – but aside from a few little glances he threw Richard Warman who sat in on part of the morning proceedings (and one glare at me that started by looking over his left shoulder, than turning about 345 degrees and finishing the glare over his right shoulder), he did not seem to pay much attention to the audience.

While I’m on the topic of ‘audience’…

When I wrote my initial observations on the ‘Warman vs Free Dominion’ appeal hearing (yeah, I know – I never DID finish my write up….I’m still thinking over some bits of it, especially the broader implications of the Irwing case), I noted that there was a pretty young blond woman with awesome shoes in the audience who looked like she had had a tooth ache,  She arrived just after things would get under way and leave just before the breaks, preventing me from saying ‘hi’ and complimenting her on her shoes (I like shoes almost as much as I like pens).

Well, that same young woman was in the audience yesterday.  You’ll be relieved – she no longer looked like she had a tooth ache.  That made me feel glad for her.  I would not have noticed her, because she sat behind me, except that her manner of arrival and departure jogged my highly imperfect memory.

And while I’m on the topic of the audience…

At just about 10 am, Mr. Richard Warman walked in and sat down in the front row in front of me.  During this time, Mr. Vigna was cross-examining Mr. Levant, and they just happened to be talking about the part of the suit where Mr. Vigna believes his reputation was damaged by Mr. Levant’s claim that he (Mr. Vigna) ‘had access to’ a neo-nazi  website.

Now, here, I have got to be careful in how I word things…. This was one of those things ‘under dispute’ and at the heart of the lawsuit – and I freely admit, I am not trained in the legal profession.  So, please, do take this as a lay person’s highly imperfect impressions and observations and nothing more.

The issue which was discussed was what Mr. Levant had written regarding the ‘Jadewar’ membership in a neo-nazi site, and its role in ‘stuff’.  And, I do not want to get into the ‘nitty gritty details’ of the case while I am tired and before I have had a chance to think it through.

Still, it is a fact that Mr. Levant specifically said under cross examination that he believed Mr. Vigna was much better a person than to join a neo-nazi group/party/site/whatever.  He (Mr. Levant) did not believe Mr. Vigna WAS a neo-nazi at all,  All he (Mr. Levant) wrote and asserted (and, I presume, still believes to be true, based on the sources he cited) was that Mr. Vigna ‘had access to’ it – as in, was aware of and could, if he so wanted, have looked up the password or found some other means (like asking Mr. Dean Stacey) to access it (because the information and password were contained ‘in the files’ which he, Mr. Vigna, presumably had access to – at least, that is my highly imperfect understanding of the testimony).

On several occasions, Mr. Levant said he did not think Mr. Vigna himself was a neo-nazi, like ‘Richard Warman’ or ‘like that man there’ – while he indicated Mr. Warman….

More to come tomorrow!

Ezra Levant and Giaccomo Vigna ‘cross swords’ inside a courtroom

Ezra Levant is a colourful character – to say the least.

He is the Canadian lawyer who became a household name as the guy who is willing to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to defending the most important and fundamental of all the human rights – the right to freedom of speech.

Because of his responsible self-conduct as both a human being and a journalist (he was the editor of Western Standard),  he had become the target of the Human Rights Commissions – both the Canadian federal version as well as its various provincial tentacles.

It is difficult for most of us, reasoning human beings, to understand just how badly twisted things have become in our society, just how endangered our rights as human beings have truly become, until this Kafkaesque nightmare Mr. Levant found himself in brought it to our awareness.  Once there, there was no going back.

Even kids could figure it out!

What is the best way to fight injustice?

Expose it – so everyone can see it for what it is and judge for themselves.  Most people are actually much smarter than the ‘Nanny State’ gives them credit for!

What is the best way to take power away from a bully?

Humour.

Mr. Levant has, over the years, combined these two weapons very, very effectively.  Which is what got him in trouble with Mr. Vigna….

Mr. Vigna is a fascinating person.

He is (or was – I don’t know his current employment status) a lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  His one and only claim to fame (to the best of my knowledge) so far has been to be the lawyer who, during the Mark Lemier case, asked for the court to adjourn because he was ‘ not feeling serene’ and thus unable to argue the case…

Today (thanks to email by BCF alerting me to this), I went to watch what happened during the court case where Mr. Vigna is suing Mr. Levant for defamation or libel (I can’t keep those two things straight…), based on what Mr. Levant wrote about Mr. Vigna on his blog.  It was the second last scheduled day of the trial:  Mr. Levant finished his testimony and Mr. Vigna began his cross-examination of him.

Tomorrow were supposed to be the closing arguments only, but Mr. Vigna was unable to finish his cross examination today.  The judge suggested another day be added to the proceedings:  this seemed (in my never-humble-opinion) to throw Mr. Vigna into a panic!  He promised to be more focused and brief – he already has his closing argument written up (he said).  To a non-lawyer type person like me, the level of Mr. Vigna’s agitation at the suggestion that another day be added to the proceedings seemed rather out of proportion.  What do I know!

Anyhow, after Mr. Vigna swore up and down that he’d be brief (sic!), the judge just said we’d start earlier in the morning so we could hope to get through it…

So, what went on today?

I am a notoriously slow thinker.  It will take me a while to mull this through – so, these are really really really preliminary observations.  I’ll do a better write-up, with the proper links and all, later.

What I WOULD like to focus on, though, are the ‘big things’.  The major topics, true, but even more than what was said, I’d like to focus on how it was said and the body language that went on.

Why?

Because I think that our brains are very curious organs.  They process information on many levels – and they don’t always tell us all of what they are doing.  But, they DO tell our bodies…which is why body language can tell us more about what is going on (at times) than words can.  And, Mr. Vigna seemed so delightfully unaware of what his body language was projecting, it made quite an impression on me…

Even before things got underway, the two main characters in the trial presented very different demeanor.

Mr. Vigna was first nervously arranging numerous boxes of ‘stuff’ he had wheeled in (in those ‘Staples’ boxes that hold many bundles of printer paper).  Then he sat at his desk/table, leaned forward over papers, head resting on the tips of the fingers of his right hand (which also held a cheap pen) as if thinking hard through a headache (we’ve all been there!).

Mr. Levant was  full of excited energy – sort of like what you see in an athlete before a race.  He was busy telling his lawyer about Atatürk and analyzing his policies – including his take on the whole freedom of speech and libel ‘stuff’:  it seemed to me Mr. Levant had gone to quite a lot of depth as well as breadth to prepare for this issue!

When the case resumed, Mr. Levant was giving testimony.  Then, after he finished, Mr. Vigna began to cross examine him.

While he testified, Mr. Levant’s body language was pretty natural.

Mr. Vigna, at times, objected:  during the objections, his body language varied between frustrated and aggressive:  lots of little ‘fussy’ movements with his hands, head tilts and so on.  Otherwise, his body language suggested to my layman’s eyes that he was still ‘working through a headache’.  I ought to mention:  he did wear a lovely tie with beautiful, serenely blue stripes on it.

The judge’s (the Honourable Mr. Justice Smith)body language was ‘carefully neutral’.

Mr. Levant’s lawyer (remind me not to play cards against him) had non-existent ‘natural’ body language, but maintained the ‘professional blankness’ that seems the preferred body language of the most highly paid lawyers (from my limited observation

OK – this is getting long.  I wish I had the ability (like this consise write up by thenice dude who sat next to me) to percolate the pertinent facts into a brief article…. while I’m getting ‘up there’ in the word count…

During the cross examination, Mr. Vigna rested his hands on the edge of his desk and really, really leaned forward with his upper body, giving him a very ‘bull-like’ aggressive body language – until Mr. Levant answered (in response to one of Mr. Vigna’s questions)  asserted that he thought Mr. Vigna WAS a ‘political bully’.  It was at exactly THAT point that Mr. Vigna’s body language ‘softened up’….

Mr. Vigna seemed to think that the ‘best’ way to cross examine Mr. Levant was too, at times, fire several questions with mutually contradictory answers at once – and hoping Mr. Levant answers one of them in a way Mr. Vigna could ‘paraphrase’ (as, in, twist).  Another approach he also seemed to take was to fire ‘statements’ at Mr. Levant – without a question – and waiting…..if Mr. Levant responded, he’d say ‘THAT’ was ‘NOT the question he asked’ – until even the judge began to point out to Mr. Vigna that he had failed to ask an actual question….

Mr. Levant’s body language went from ‘anticipation-excited’ to ‘passionate’ (freedom of speech bits) to frustrated (having to repeat himself 7-8 times).

The judge’s body language?

Hard to read.

In my never-humble-opinion, the judge’s body language went from ‘guardedly impartial’ to ‘suppressing the giggles’ to ‘bored’ to ‘mildly frustrated’ to ‘seriously disturbed’ by Mr. Vigna’s behaviour (which, at one point, included Mr. Vigna actually physically pulling up his pants as he shot a self-satisfied ‘we got him now’ look to his only supporte in the audience over something that was NOT a ‘goth-cha’ moment, but rather another demonstration of how Mr. Vigna just ‘did not get’ what was happening around him….)

OK, I am not a lawyer or any kind of legal mind….  These are just my personal observations.  But, today was the first time I saw Mr. Vigna in any circumstances whatsoever.  Yet, I was forced (by his dmeanour as wll as his behaviour) to conclude that he is not really aware of what he is doing, how he comes across or just how irrelevant his arguments to the court are…

Sorry to quit before I told the whole story – I plead fatigue and hope (not certainty) that I’ll make it back to the  courthouse tomorrow….

Either way – more to come later!

There is hope for us yet!

The Canadian Senate is actually doing useful work!

YES!!!

Four senators, Finley, Duffy, Wallin and Tkachuk ‘get it’!

They even quote Kathy Shaidle from her ‘Tyrany of ‘Nice”!

Blazing Catfur has the scoop…

I just  hope Justices Kent, Heeney and Wilton-Siegel are reading this!

Free Dominion – court date is 8th of April, 2010

Mark Fournier posted on Free Dominion:

Richard Warman vs Personal Privacy and Internet Anonymity

April 8, 2010

161 Elgin Street

Ottawa, Ontario

On April 8, 2010 in Ottawa a Divisional Court Justice will hear an appeal of a disclosure ruling in the Richard Warman vs The Fourniers and John Does 1-8.civil case. At issue is whether the Fourniers, operators of the Free Dominion website, should be compelled to disclose confidential information about the website’s members to the plaintiff, Richard Warman. Last year Superior Court Justice Stanly Kershman ruled for the plaitiff in a motion he brought forth seeking information he hopes to use to identify the John Does who posted anonymously in Free Dominion’s political discussion forum. Four of the eight John Does have already been identified by the plaintiff and have been added to the underlying defamation suit brought forth by Warman.

The defamation case itself will by necessity bring forth a number of public interest issues such as freedom of speech, political commentary and opinion but it will also venture into several areas where our laws are outdated by internet communications. The internet has given us a means to communicate that was inconceivable when our current defamation laws were written and those laws are now in need of legislative upgrades. Until those legal updates are made though we will have to fight for our internet anonymity and personal privacy in the courts.

This appeal of the disclosure ruling of Kershman is more important than the case from which it grew. There are now privacy issues at stake that didn’t previously exist. Outing someone’s internet alias can have far-reaching effects that should not be on the table in a minor civil squabble. Because of the serious privacy issues surrounding this appeal of Kershman’s disclosure ruling, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic will be intervening. This is good news for those on the freedom side of the debate.

Nothing will bring justice in our courts and action in our parliament like public interest and participation in these cases. If you are near Ottawa and can get the time to go to the courthouse on Elgin Street please do so on April 8, 2010. This is an important battle in the ongoing contest to protect our freedom and it should be witnessed by the public.

See you there!

Apparently, the time has not yet been set – but the Fourniers will be at the Courthouse by 9 am.