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A Hero For Free Speech

One would have thought that Canada wouldn't have needed such, but apparently it does, in the form of Ezra Levant.

I wouldn't call it a kangaroo court. Given the locale, more like a moose court. Here's his opening statement. Here is the transcript. Read it and weep (for different reasons, depending on whether you are a proponent, or opponent, of freedom of expression).

I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.

I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the Canadian Human RightsWrongs Commission? Let us hope so.

Mark Steyn has further thoughts, more eloquent (as usual) than mine:

Shirlene McGovern quizzes him on his intent in publishing the cartoons, and another in which she raises the fear that his publishing them could lead to violence against Muslims “particularly in today’s world post-9/ 11 that has made a number of Muslims more vulnerable to hatred and contempt.” Ezra's answer speaks for itself, but Ms McGovern's question reminds me of a passage from Melanie Phillips' book Londonistan:
Minority-rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority.

Ms McGovern, a blandly unexceptional bureaucrat, is a classic example of the syndrome. No "vulnerable" Canadian Muslim has been attacked over the cartoons, but the cartoonists had to go into hiding, and a gang of Muslim youths turned up at their children's grade schools, and Muslim rioters around the world threatened death to anyone who published them, and even managed to kill a few folks who had nothing to do with them. Nonetheless, upon receiving a complaint from a Saudi imam trained at an explicitly infidelophobic academy and who's publicly called for the introduction of sharia in Canada, Shirlene McGovern decides that the purely hypothetical backlash to Muslims takes precedence over any actual backlash against anybody else.

Indeed. More discussion over at Samizdata.

[Update a few minutes later]

I smiled at this: "I hope this goes all the way because the good guys need some high profile wins right now. A little bit of marching in the street wouldn't hurt either, but I don't know if Canadians can overcome their empassioned apathy."

Followed up by, "It is important to note that no one person ever actually "tried" by these "courts" has ever been found innocent.

Canadians...why do you tolerate this?"

C'mon, you hosers. Stand up for freedom, eh?

Posted by Rand Simberg at January 12, 2008 07:19 PM
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