Eric Brazeau’s motion to appeal: 17th of April, 2015

For the story of how I came to Toronto for this hearing, please see here.

For the anticipation of the trial before the courtroom opened, please see here.

For the very important (with immigration implications) cases heard before Eric’s came up, please see here.

Now that the preliminaries are out of the way, here is the ‘meat’ of the story:

It turns out that even though Mr. Brazeau was listed as ‘self represented’, his former counsel, a certain Misha, was there to speak on his behalf.

Let’s get this clear:  I have never seen this Misha before, nor had an contact with him, but, I don’t like him.  I don’t know why – call it a gut reaction, based on seeing him in court and briefly meeting him in person afterwards:  he might be a competent lawyer for all I know, but that ‘like’ button for me was just not clicked.  My subconscious mind put him squarely in with ‘the silly bunnies’…

Yet, it seems that when in court, he had ‘collaborated’ with the Crown and both had their ducks lined up in the same row:  Eric Brazeau is to be released on bail with the guarantee of two citizens in good standing willing to vouch for him and let him live with them.

Yes, yes, yes.

It was, somehow, anticlimactic…

But, until the actual appeal date (the day and month of which I did not catch, but I think it’ll be some time in June or July of this year..but when I do know, I will let you, my dear readers, know), Mr. Brazeau is out on bail!!!

No money to be paid, but he had to agree to certain conditions:  including staying off of public transit.

It turned out that the two guarantors into whose custody Eric had been released were siting in the courtroom, directly behind me.  Also in the courtroom was Miro, of BlogWrath, and his pretty wife Toshiko. Also there was Eric’s friend Ron.

It was a great pleasure for me to make their acquaintance!

So, there we were, waiting for the paperwork to be done.

For, before he could walk out, Eric and his guarantors had to sign tons of paperwork – in front of a justice of peace.  And the justice of peace had to clear all the cases before Eric’s first.

So, in the hallway of justice, we sat and waited…and chatted.  At this point, my friend Robert, who has been trying to raise the funds for Eric’s new lawyer fro BC to come to Toronto and represent him at the actual appeal, joined us.

And we waited..

…and we waited…

And, finally Eric came out!

Oh, what a glorious moment!!!

We met him with a standing applause and our arms outstretched for hugs!

A small victory in the grand scheme of things, perhaps, but a definite step in the right direction!!!

Long live Freedom!

Long live Eric!!!

Waiting for Eric Brazeau’s appeal hearing: 17th of April, 2015

This is a mood-setting background description – for the actual event itself, please, see here.

Finally, the day is here: Eric Brazeau will have his appeal motion hearing today!

What’s more: I am going to get to watch history be made!!!

For a wordy account of my journey here and the impressions of the courthouse, please, see here (written in the in-between time from when my bus arrived downtown Toronto to when I got to enter the courthouse, so it sets the atmosphere outside and is indulgently loquacious).

In the hour-and-a-half while I was outside in the foggy Toronto dawn (the direct sun rays never reached street level), I managed to get….sunburned. Now, my face is pink and turning redder and itchier by the minute! But, I digress!

It took me a while to find the proper place to go: that is the cost of showing up at the courthouse before the daily schedule does. Helpful people try to give you the best advice they can, but they just might send you to another building a block away and it just might take you an hour to get back to where you were in the beginning.

But, this time, the schedule was posted and I had no trouble going up the escalator and down the long corridor and around the corner, all the way to courtroom 2-6, where Eric’s case is scheduled to be heard at 10am.

There are no chairs just outside courtroom 2-6, so, at 9:15am, I am sitting around the corner, in front of 2-4, hoping that I’ll see other people who come here to support Eric and/or report on this incredibly important lawsuit and typing all this in, so that I may report to you, my dear readers, my freshest impressions of this day.

The Toronto courthouse is extremely different from the Ottawa one. First of all, the security is much, much tighter.

Of course, after the October terrorist attack in Ottawa, the security in the Ottawa courthouse also increased: main entrance only, checking bags etc. But, as of March, metal detectors and such were only used in select cases, placed in front of select courtrooms. Here, we are talking full TSA workup, with dire warnings that if they find even the tiniest pen-knife, you will be arrested and thrown in jail, never to see the light of day again, as will your children, and your children’s children and… OK, I may be paraphrasing a bit, but that is the general gist of the warning. I was a bit afraid they might confiscate my Redbull, as getting wings might seem dangerous, but I got lucky!

And while the security people checking bags and people coming in were friendly enough, in an officious kind of way (asking cheerfully if I’m showing up for jury duty), the security guard nearby the desk that lists the daily roster would do an about face and march in a different direction if a person even threatened to try to catch his eye.

The Ottawa guys are different: they go out of their way to be helpful, thinking of ways to search for your case (and, yes, at times, it almost seems like the way the cases are listed is meant to confuse and discourage). Let’s hope the Ottawa guys keep their friendly demeanour.

While waiting for 10 o’clock to arrive, I stuck up a conversation with a nice lady sitting next to me.  As we were chatted amiably, I explained why I was there and why Eric’s case was such an important one.

She took a great interest in it.  At the time, she heard something about some stuff happening on the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission), but from the mainstream newspapers, she did not understand what it was all about.  When she learned that Eric was still in jail, just because he said out loud that he did not like a specific religion, she was very angry on his behalf!

She confided that once, not that long ago, she was taken aback by a fundie (that is short for Christian fundamentalist) co-worker who had expressed a rather homophobic belief.  She did not like it, and explained to he co-worker that she did not like it, but she thought that it would have been wrong to stop the co-worker from saying out loud what she truly believes, even if it was stupid!

And I fully agreed with her!

The best response to bad speech is more good speech.

Yes, she agreed, because of the danger of driving bad speech underground, where it would gain power precisely because it was persecuted!!!

I was so happy to hear that she gets it!  She really, really gets it!

Perhaps there is still hope for our citizens!

It was on this note of high expectations that I am packing up and getting ready to enter the courtroom.

Going to the Eric Brazeau appeal hearing: 17th of April, 2015

This is a mood-setting background description – for the actual event itself, please, see here.

COURT HOUSE

361 UNIVERSITY AVENUE

That is what the carved letters beneath the royal crown on the wall of a 70’s, perhaps 60’s looking stubby concrete building said.

Nestled in the shade of the CN Tower and skyscrapers looming all around, it looked more like a prison fortress than a hall of justice.

Right in front of the downtown Toronto Court House was an indulgently big open space – inlaid brick and slate slabs, of course, greenery only in confined concrete grave-beds, and of the prickly kind too. Perhaps some of the bushed might look friendlier, had they had any leaves, but on this cool, damp and foggy April morning, they were only prickly sticks, as bare and lifeless as the concrete building beyond them.

This urban opening – is it a park? – seems made even more open because University Avenue is a split road, with a wide median, keeping the buildings opposite farther than most city streets manage to. And, in addition to the squat bunker of a courthouse, there are several other ‘historical’ buildings which boast their opulence by not being tall: every square meter in the heart of Toronto’s downtown is serious money, so a building that is short is, in fact, wasting tons of money each minute it refuses to grow tall!

In order to attend the courthouse today, to hear the appeal in the case of Eric Brazeau, Canada’s honest-to-goodness political prisoner, I took the overnight bus from my home to Toronto, thinking this would be a convenient way to spend the night and arrive refreshed and ready to go. I can sleep quite comfortably on an airplane, in a car, so, why not a bus? After all, these days, long distance buses have more legroom than airplanes!

My 5-1/2 hour bus ride was to start at 1 am, so arrived at the station nice and early (2+hours ahead), so my poor, long-suffering hubby could get to bed. There I discovered that while the seating at the Ottawa bus depot is plentiful, it is uniquely uncomfortable… Oh, well. I put my earbuds in and listened to the audiobooks of ‘The Song of Ice and Fire’ by GRR Martin.

I read the books years ago, then followed the show faithfully. Now that the narratives of the two are set to diverge in the 5th season of the show, I thought I’d refresh my memory of the books by listening to the audiobooks of them when I had insomnia or time on my hands – like a bus ride between Ottawa and Toronto!

My plan seemed flawless….the key word being ‘seemed’!

It turns out that the seats on this particular doggy bus are even more uncomfortable than the Ottawa bus depot ones!

Not only is the seat short and somewhat forward sloped, making you feel like you will slide off the smooth surface of the seat with every slight breaking of the vehicle, the back rest is concave so that if your lower back is actually touching the seat, your head and shoulders are thrust into an aching forward-crouching position. And since the seat is so short, trying to sit sideways will jolt your ‘hanging’ hip with every pothole on the highway. And in today’s Ontario, the potholes on the highways are exquisite!

I was glad to escape my little torture-chamber on wheels when we reached the downtown Toronto bus depot at 6:30 in the morning! Making my way through the throng of waiting and eager taxi drivers, I walked the few short blocks from the bus depot to the courthouse, only stopping briefly at Timmy’s to pick up a tea.

Aside: I’ve discovered a most amusing way to converse with our British cousins! One time, in a line-up (queue for our cousins) I struck up a conversation with a couple of Brits in front of us. Inevitably, the Canadian obsession with Tim Horton’s came up. I professed my deep love and appreciation for fine tea, which met with their full appreciation. I ended by pointing out that tea just does not taste the same if it is served in anything but a Timmy’s paper cup!

 I thought they were going to choke! But, eventually, they seemed comforted by the thought that I was just joking them – so I left them happy.

Currently, I am sitting on a cold concrete bench in front of that dungeon-ish courthouse and waiting for 8 o’clock, when the doors are supposed to open. Hence the, perhaps, over-sharing of my impressions and experiences so far.

My apologies.

As I am sitting here, typing, the sun is beginning to shine and burn off the early fog. It looks like it will be a glorious day outside! Let’s just hope that it will be as glorious inside…

Looking around, one cannot miss the centerpiece of this urban square: a nod to the Greek roots of our democracy. Sort of…

It is a statue-type thingy with the triangular roof resembling an ancient Athenian temple, but instead of supported by Greek pillars, it is supported by 12 flat, two-dimensional grey metal abstract representations of humans. 3 males and 3 females on each the front and back. These abstractions of the human figures are featureless – no faces, no arms: so the ‘triangle of justice’ roof thingy is not being supported by their arms, it is standing on their heads.

Let’s hope the justice meted out beyond them today will not also be standing on its head….

Political Correctness: mind-shackles from within

Last year, at the 1st annual Essentials of Freedom conference, I spoke about the difference between speech limits being imposed from the outside of oneself versus from within oneself:  I used the examples of my childhood in behind-the-iron-curtain Czechoslovakia (limits imposed from the outside) versus living in present-day Canada (limits imposed from within by political correctness).

This is why I found it particularly interesting to listen to the former President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, making the same point!

He also used the example of the pre-velvet-revolution Czechoslovakia, but he contrasted it with the modern Czech Republic…sad, so sad…but an interesting speech nonetheless!

 

February 6th – International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Guest Post by BeaverMoose: ‘Charlie Hebdo’ march in Toronto January 11, 2015

This is a guest post by BeaverMoose:

Attendance wasn’t bad at Toronto’s ‘Charlie Hebdo March’ that started at  New City Hall at 2 pm on Sunday, January 11, 2015:  there were slightly more than 2,000 people in the crowd, about ten percent of the Montreal march’s turnout of 25,000 held the same day.

A marcher explained to me, ‘That’s understandable that Montreal had more attendance. They read Charlie Hebdo and identify more with Paris than Toronto does.’

On short notice, 2,000 wasn’t bad for a march organized in Toronto concerned about free speech in France.  I happened to see a notice about the march on TV and showed up to find about 2,000 people with king-sized, hand-made cardboard ‘pencils’, French, Iranian and Ukrainian flags, a hundred ‘je suis Charlie’ posters.  Many held up home-written posters and slogans in different languages, Dutch, Danish, Iranian and English.

About fifty expat Iranians held large ‘je suis Charlie’ signs in written in French and Arabic script, along with free speech detainees persecuted in Iran.  They described how no freedom of expression whatever is allowed in Islamic Iran.

A Dutchman wearing wooden shoes marched next to a Frenchman holding a hockey stick with a French flag on it.

A woman with a paint brush agreed that artists seem to understand the critical importance of free expression more than people in other lines of work.  ‘As early as I remember,’ she admitted, ‘I was getting in trouble for drawing caricatures, usually of my teachers.’

Another person chimed in: ‘Artists have to maintain a ‘screw-you’ attitude – otherwise, they can’t be much of an artist.’

I agreed.

After speeches about freedom at Toronto’s New City Hall were finished, the crowd marched half a kilometre to Dundas Square, up Toronto’s main street, while chanting ‘Charlie…Charlie…’ and ‘liberté…d’expression’.

Muslims on the street averted their gaze, while a seller of ‘halal’ poutine looked on nervously while muttering prayers to seek refuge from those who were demanding free speech.

There was also a man who wore a sign on his hat that said, ‘I am a Muslim but I am human first.’

I walked up to him and smiled before asking his point of view. He said he doesn’t agree with terrorism. I asked him:  ‘Do you think I am a kafir? ‘ (i.e. a troublesome disbeliever) ‘No, you must do something bad to be a kafir,’ he responded.

Were the Charlie Hebdo artists kafirs? ‘No, I do not think so,’ he said.

Did he disagree with Sharia law about blasphemy? ‘I do not think we should kill people who write something.’

‘But,’ I said, ‘If you do not follow Sharia law, you have left Islam…can you convince the mullahs at Al Azhar University that you are right and they are wrong?’  He replied, ‘No, I do not think I can do that.’  In other words, nice Muslims like this man, realize he cannot change Islamic law.
The Toronto ‘Charlie Hebdo’ march was attended by people who understand that freedom is not free.

Unfortunately, freedom isn’t secure once for all when there are Islamic terrorists who are trying so hard to take it away. I really thought that after the attack on our national Parliament Buildings, Toronto would have had more marchers.  Canadians will need to see they are the ones who must pay for our freedom by getting out of their comfortable chairs and marching for it. Our battle is against those who claim their right not to be criticized is more important than our right to speak out against misogyny and supremacism.

This is my moment to speak to those who did not attend. Canadians, it’s YOUR freedom we marched for today. How important is freedom to you? What has to happen to us Canadians before we realize how precious our freedom is?  Let’s not wait until something worse happens.

So let’s keep marching for freedom (more next time, please).  The Islamic terrorists won’t stop their marching, their bombing and their shooting until they realize that we love freedom more than they love death!

They won’t stop until they realize their actions are completely futile. Rather than give in to them, we have to rally against them and tell our politicians ‘OUR FREEDOM IS NOT NEGOTIABLE!!!’

JE SUIS ERIC!

Earlier, I wrote about Eric Brazeau’s upcoming trial and I said he had already served more time in jail than was possible for the ‘crime’ he had committed.

I was wrong!

I did not expect the judge would not only sentence him to double what the prosecution was seeking, but also that the judge would not apply the usual 2.5 to 1 credit for time served pre-trial, as is customary in Canada…

Oh, how naive I feel…

So, let me be the first to say:

JE SUIS

ERIC BRAZEAU!

One of the most distrusted professions in Canada is ‘lawyers’.

The other one is ‘politicians’.

Yet our judges are ‘patronage appointments’ of lawyers by their politician buddies.

Ever wonder what is wrong with our judicial system?

Me too!!!

I just can’t put my finger on it….

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 133 other followers