Canadian blogosphere under attack

posted at 11:15 am on April 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Michelle has covered this extensively at her site, but a major escalation requires the broadest possible exposure. After publisher Ezra Levant finally prevailed against a bogus complaint about “hate speech” for expressing his views about radical Islam at Canada’s Human Rights Commission, he expected the battle to continue in civil courts. Sure enough, he got sued by Richard Warman, a CHRC investigator — who included a number of Canada’s conservative bloggers as well.

Ezra:

Today I was sued by Richard Warman, Canada’s most prolific – and profitable – user of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. As readers of this site know, Warman isn’t just a happy customer of section 13 and its 100% conviction rate, he’s a former CHRC employee, an investigator of section 13 thought crimes himself. In fact, he was often both a customer and an investigator at the same time.

Kathy Shaidle:

Richard Warman used to work for the notorious Human Rights Commission, which runs the “kangaroo courts” who’ve charged Mark Steyn with “flagrant Islamophobia.”

Richard Warman has brought almost half these cases single-handledly, getting websites he doesn’t like shut down, and making tens of thousands of tax free dollars in “compensation” out of web site owners who can’t afford to fight back or don’t even realize they can.

These bloggers and free-speech advocates can use your help. First, be sure to read their entire posts on the controversy. Next, link back to them, showing them support for their efforts to keep political and social criticism from falling victim to government-imposed speech codes. If you can, hit their tip jars to provide some financial support — because brother, they’re going to need it for the attorneys they will have to hire.

It doesn’t matter if Warman’s case has little merit or hope of succeeding. The costs involved in fighting these kinds of lawsuits will drive people into silence, intimidated by financial ruin. If bloggers won’t stand up against these kinds of tactics, then who will?


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Comments

After all what’s been going on with Steyn, my initial reaction to this headline was ‘They have free speech in Canada?’

austinnelly on April 9, 2008 at 11:24 AM

This is exactly what your garden variety liberal wants in the USA. It’d be even worse than this if not for what tatters remain of the Bill of Rights.

Akzed on April 9, 2008 at 11:25 AM

…section 13 and its 100% conviction rate

Rule of law out the window – no need for a trial here.

forest on April 9, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Another facet of Socialism is governmental control over free speech.

Canada is not so much different than a Turd World Country when it comes to applying Socialism.

Indy Conservative on April 9, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Free Republic has also been covering this, as Free Dominion hosts a spot for freepers to gather when FR is down, God bless ’em!

Connie on April 9, 2008 at 11:30 AM

This is exactly what your garden variety liberal wants in the USA.
Akzed on April 9, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Yes, this is where political correctness is designed to take us, under the banner of tolerance, inclusiveness, sensitivity, blah blah blah.

We’ll likely get a preview when next a Dem takes the WH, starting with Talk Radio.

Thanks for the suggestion, Ed. Definitely will do!

petefrt on April 9, 2008 at 11:34 AM

No one wants the publicity and are willing to assist these people pro bono?

awake on April 9, 2008 at 11:36 AM

My small bit to help: $50 each to Ezra, Kathy, Kate and Connie and Mark.

RushBaby on April 9, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Isn’t Canada an Islam Republic yet?

More immigrants!

More tolerance!

More suicide!

profitsbeard on April 9, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Sure enough, he got sued by Richard Warman, a CHRC investigator — who included a number of Canada’s conservative bloggers as well.

Wow ho!

*Cue head swirl*

It’s oooooonnnnnn bitch!

amerpundit on April 9, 2008 at 11:43 AM

It’s a lawsuit with no merit whatsoever. Warman will lose, and be forced to pay court costs.

Krydor on April 9, 2008 at 11:45 AM

We have a similar problem here. This poor guy listed a tiny apt attached to his house as suitable for 1-2 professional people. Phony nonprofit legal corps. scan ads in order to file bogus discrimination claims with the state. They claim that the language in his ad discriminates against families. He brought in all his documentation from past tenants, including a mother and daughter, to refute it. They said no dice, you are guilty, based on the ad alone. Pay $4k for expenses to the phony non profit, or the state will sue you on their behalf. He told them to stuff it. This shit has been going on for years.

http://www.stategonecrazy.com/

Blake on April 9, 2008 at 11:47 AM

This could be a good thing. Now that the racial pimps are out of their own kangaroo courts and into the real legal world, little things like ‘law’, ‘evidence’, ‘facts’, and ‘cross-examination’ that they’ve never had to deal with before come into play. Can’t wait until a good lawyer gets Richard Warman into discovery with the legal power to compel him to answer under oath.

Socratease on April 9, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Richard Warman has been a Green Party candidate in Canada. I’m an environmentalist and I just wish the Marxists in the Green Parties would stop appealing to the environment to justify their Marxism.

thuja on April 9, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Are we allowed to invade Canada?

/sarc

FishFearMe on April 9, 2008 at 12:08 PM

Thanks for giving this more exposure, Ed. Though it had nothing to do with my leaving the country of my birth (but is a telling symptom of the metastasized statism contained therein) it’s certainly not making me eager to return any time soon.

Surprisingly, the whole series of events has even the most devoutly PC groups in Canada (eg. PEN Canada – a veritable who’s who of trendy leftist panjandrums; some commentators at the reliably liberal state-owned CBC – I highly recommend checking out the youtube of Rex Murphy) clueing into what’s fundamentally at stake here.

Section 13 is a clear assault on freedom of speech in Canada. Not to say that the rest of the Code is worthwhile:

Anyone interested should check out Ezra’s blog for more examples of the egregious “human rights” cases the whackjobs at our various “Human Rights” Commissions take up.

The “right” to smoke pot in a restaurant’s doorway, the “right” to demand labiaplasty from a plastic surgeon with no experience in transexual surgery, or the “right” of a kitchen worker to keep his job even though he’s contracted Hep C, are examples of the sterling work out HRCs perform. Don’t even get me started on the “right” not to be called a “loser” at a hair salon…

SeoulMan on April 9, 2008 at 12:09 PM

“I was so impressed with the Canadian Human Rights Act, I bought the company!”

JS on April 9, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I don’t think people living in the United States fully appreciate how unique, in the world, First Amendment protection is. People here just assume that similar principles exist everywhere in the “free” world. But that is manifestly not true, especially in Canada and the U.K., where such things as out-of-control Human Rights Commissions and embarrassingly antiquated libel laws suppress all kinds of speech.

There are problems here, of course — particularly on college campuses — but we are so much better off than other jurisdictions that it is startling.

VG

Voiceguy on April 9, 2008 at 12:13 PM

JS on April 9, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I think George Zimmer is a Jooooo. Now if we could only dig up a CJC-Zimmer link, we might be on to something.

/sarc again

FishFearMe on April 9, 2008 at 12:18 PM

“Proctological” discovery ahoy!

mojo on April 9, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Soon Health Care will be the only thing free in Canada.

ronsfi on April 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Soon Health Care will be the only thing free in Canada.

ronsfi on April 9, 2008 at 12:24 PM

The Voldemort of talk radio, Michael Savage is suing CAIR for slander. They (CAIR) did what their side constantly accuses conservatives of doing: taking harsh language out of context and using it to smear someone out spoken. (This is an easy thing to do when the talk show host is volatile in his passion to save this couontry.) Well, this caused some of his sponsors to pull out, prompting Michael to sue.
I would send money for to the Anti-Warman fund, but I already gave my pittance to Savage’s lawyer, (they didn’t make it past the 1st $150,000 step, due to a Clinton- appointed judge), and I wish I had more money to burn in a productive way.
If we don’t defend the First Amendment, we can say adios right now.

Christine on April 9, 2008 at 12:37 PM

I meant to say: The ‘Voldemort’…according to the MSM.

Christine on April 9, 2008 at 12:40 PM

Someone on another blog said:

If they all got together and hired a Soprano type it would cost less and save a lot of time. Obviously this man has caused much trouble in the Canadian legal system. Don’t they have judges that can prevent frivolous lawsuits?

Has merit

wepeople on April 9, 2008 at 12:46 PM

I wonder if there’s any basis to rounding up all the prior victims of this scam and forming a class-action suit for “extortion under color of authority” or some such. The trick for such blackmail is to take a small enough bite that the victims cave rather than fight, then using the proceeds of the last to prosecute the next. If forced to disgorge a chunk of those proceeds, the blackmailer would likely be destitute.

cthulhu on April 9, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Don’t they have judges that can prevent frivolous lawsuits?
Posted by wepeople on April 9, 2008 at 12:46 PM

No. These guys use the Human Rights Commissions. No Judges, no jury. No rules of evidence or procedure like in a real court. The ‘judge’ could be another lawyer or a librarian or a social worker (appointed positions). The accused pays his/her legal expenses. The complainant (like Warman has done many times) has all his HRC costs paid by the state while he reaps any financial awards. You are guilty until proven innocent. The process is the punishment. This guy has been the complainant on most of the Section 13 Human Rights Complaints filed at the CHRC. And even worse, how would you like it if all your so called ‘judges’ in the USA were PC leftards?

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 1:02 PM

One last thing my American friends, watch out! Canada has, and still is, essentially branding conservatism as a blight on society because Conservatives don’t want the state to regulate what they are able to think or say. Conservatives are viewed as a societal defect, to be dealt with under law, in the eyes of the PC leftards who have historically run this country and made it’s laws most of the time. A Bill O’Reily here would be charged with hate crimes simply by repeating what some real hateful bigot said.

Be warned. Be careful. Don’t let this happen to you.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 1:09 PM

Soon Health Care will be the only thing free in Canada.

HAHAHAHAHHAAAHAHAHAAH oh man you nearly killed me there.

Our bill for health care last year was around $160 billion. Now remember, our population is 1/10th America’s so call it $1.6 trillion, adjusted for population. But we don’t have a choice – it took the Supreme Court (Chaoulli v. Quebec) to point out that torturing and killing people for the sake of “public” health care isn’t all that cool. And yet while provincial governments continually “de-list” procedures due to spiralling budget constraints (that is, just decide they aren’t going to pay for certain things anymore) the costs keep outpacing inflation and population growth.

Free? Sure, if you’re fine with paying extortionate taxes for the privilege of waiting two years to see a specialist when you’ll be dead in two months.

Sorry, that was completely off-topic. But say a nice thing about our “free” “healthcare” to a Canadian, and you’re going to get a rant, despite what Michael Riefenstahl Moore tells you.

SeoulMan on April 9, 2008 at 1:12 PM

If the Dems ever go after talk radio, the American public will no longer be able to ignore their totalitarian underbelly, and it will be the end of Democrat power for decades.

I’m actually betting they will do irreparable damage in this current election cycle.

John the Libertarian on April 9, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Warman will lose, and be forced to pay court costs.

Krydor on April 9, 2008 at 11:45 AM

That would be nice, but it won’t happen even if he does lose. He literally has nothing to lose in these lawsuits but his time. (It’s not like he has a reputation worth worrying about.)

Given the foothold that this sort of thing has gained in speech codes on college campuses, this is somthing that Americans have to worry about as well. We have a whole generation of young people who are accustomed to be censored and don’t really see anything wrong with it. These are the people who will be writing, arbitrating, and enforcing the laws starting in the next decade or so. We don’t really have much time to fight back against it, so if we don’t act now, we’ll certainly pay later.

Laura on April 9, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Where is that chill wind coming from anyway.

Plus, this is why I think evolution is bogus. Natural Selection couldn’t possibly account for this sort of stupid in a species that survives in Nature solely on its intelligence. Not that I’m a fan ID either.

jrl on April 9, 2008 at 1:39 PM

I support, but I don’t wholly understand, this whole idea of running around paying a fortune to frantically plug hole after hole in the dike being made by this asshat Warman.

I mean, obviously one has to defend oneself if attacked, but it doesn’t seem to me that defeating him in court will solve the problem. He’ll just file more suits.

And since he’s apparently pretty much a one-man frivolous suit machine, i.e. he’s the entire problem concentrated in one person, it’d make a whole lot more sense to me to do something about him.

Cure the cause, don’t waste time treating the symptoms.

But that’s just silly old pragmatical me.

Misha I on April 9, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Misha, the cure is to have Canadian Law changed so as not to outlaw or chill free speech. In other words, take away Warman’s gravy train.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Misha, the cure is to have Canadian Law changed so as not to outlaw or chill free speech. In other words, take away Warman’s gravy train.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 2:49 PM

Couldn’t agree more!

Misha I on April 9, 2008 at 2:50 PM

This stuff is so over-the-top Orwellian, that they’ve actually become parodies of it. It’s amazing to me that they don’t see it when they look in the mirror. What’s even MORE amazing is how the Canadian Media and most Canadian politicians just sit back and let it happen.

If we could just entice the freedom loving Canadians to change places with the US Marxist/Lib crowd currently running the Democratic Party and cities like SanFran, then everyone would be happy.

Gartrip on April 9, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Then the obvious question is: What’s the likelihood of that happening? Unless the Canadian legislature is unique among all legislatures in the world in that they actually listen to the people they govern and move at a pace faster than a paraplegic glacier, of course.

Misha I on April 9, 2008 at 2:55 PM

It is quite possible for the required change to happen. Ezra Levant has done an excellent job of ripping of the mask of injustice in Canada. Many organizations, bloggers and some news papers have come out for ‘fixing’ the problem. Even Norm Chomsky defended free speech. A Liberal Member of Parliament has introduced a motion to scrap the offending section of the law. The latest CRHC hearing, first one on public, revealed a Stalinist organization, an absolute horror show has been orchestrated against Canadians, even breaking the law to plant evidence to prove a blogger was responsible for hateful comments. The problem is the Harper Conservative government is a minority one. Without support of the Liberals, laws don’t pass and on critical votes, insufficient votes would bring down the government and force an election. So with a government, a good one I might add, struggling to survive, timing is not good to go ahead and limit all this PC stuff in a histrionically very Liberal country. Up till now, the government has been quiet on the whole Human Rights Commission issue. It is very awkward to say the least. But, it must be dealt with and won.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 3:07 PM

This action is NOT a CHRC claim. It is a ‘normal’ libel action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

It is also an incredible act of hubris by the ignorant idiot Warman. This action leaves him open to paying the costs of the defendants when (not, if) he loses. You should remember that in Ontario, COSTS FOLLOW THE EVENT and THE LOSER PAYS.

And that can hurt. A lot.

rgn on April 9, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Further to Warman having to pay the defendants costs when he loses, unless he thereafter pays those costs, anyone else he tries to sue will have grounds to move for an order for security in respect of their costs in the later action, since the failure to pay would be good evidence that “the plaintiff ..has insufficient assets in Ontario to pay the costs of the defendant”.

That is, unless he pays up after he loses, he is basically estopped from bringing other actions (ok, there are other tests…but if he loses against Levant, et al, any other purported slander claim *would* be ‘frivolous and vexatious”.

rgn on April 9, 2008 at 3:44 PM

Yes rgn, lets be clear here. There are two issues.

#1 The recent Warman lawsuit alleging libel by certain bloggers and a national newspaper, and

#2 All the previous HRC injustices, fascism and corruption that came to light, with Warman and Stacey at the center, and the blogging and reporting thereof, leading to #1, the Warman lawsuit.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 3:56 PM

How difficult is it to prove slander/libel (or defamation?) in Canadian court? I have no idea – stupid American here! But my understanding of U.S. law – a layman’s understanding, at best – points towards a rather difficult case brought by a plaintiff. I’ll cite, since I’m around this, the Kwame Kilpatrick fiasco in Detroit. Kilpatrick has yet to even try bringing a slander/libel suit against various media persons; although, he’s waging just such a campaign outside of court. So, the only thing I can think of is that Kilpatrick, a trained lawyer himself, believes he would lose such a case.

Regarding “previous HRC injustices,” would that even be admissible in this current civil suit? To further that, could this case be turned into a case that is a defacto ruling against HRC? Or am I getting my hopes too high for you frozen freepers?

jrl on April 9, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Free Republic has also been covering this, as Free Dominion hosts a spot for freepers to gather when FR is down, God bless ‘em!

It’s a great place for Paulians and Michael Savagites to congregate. If you’re Savage fan and post “George Bush is the worst president ever” you get loads of love. If you mock Savage and post the same thing you get banned.

FR is a Klown Klub.

Tinian on April 9, 2008 at 4:49 PM

jrl., one of the accused, Ezra Levant, says on his blog : “As a defamation lawyer, I know that Warman’s complaints are baseless. So, other than the nuisance and cost of defending the threatened suit – the “maximum disruption” that Warman promises – there’s nothing to fear. For me, at least.” and here: “I can tell you that I’m not just going to play defence here – I’m going to use Warman’s lawsuit to put his conduct, and the very conduct of the CHRC itself, on trial.”

I don’t know much about libel law, but this guy might end up being sorry he took on Ezra Levant.

Sounder on April 9, 2008 at 4:52 PM

Warman is a petty thug, an extortionist, and used his position of authority to enrich himself.

The only differences between Mugabe or Kim Jong Il and this turd are 1) scale and 2) a trail of bodies.

That SOB doesn’t just need to lose, he needs to spend at least 5-10 in PRISON for extortion and abuse of authority, and as many of his co-conspirators as possible.

I realize that we in America are very, very lucky when it comes to right and law, but we care about our neighbors, too.

Merovign on April 9, 2008 at 5:02 PM

Sounder

I’ve read Levant’s blog, but I’m guessing much of this will be based on the demeanor of the judge who handles the case – as to whether it’s a baseless suit, whether previous HRC stuff can come into play, etc. I was just wondering if anyone more familiar with Canadian law could, er, put it into perspective (and, no, I don’t exactly trust Levant’s postings on this aspect since he clearly has a stake in the outcome – even though I do agree with him in principle, Warman should have no basis for a lawsuit).

jrl on April 9, 2008 at 5:41 PM

Allow me to share my favourite comment about all this so far. You have to have read some of Kathy’s stuff to really get it, but the line gets the point across!!

“…this guy is simple enough to wanna square off with kathy shaidle in a court of law?

“geezus… that’s like shakin’ up a bag of feral cats… and then sticking your face in to see how they’re doin’.

“i ALMOST feel sorry for this dumbstick.”

50 smackers have gone out to each of the respondants in this annoyances lawsuit.

Jim708 on April 9, 2008 at 7:25 PM

I’ve said it before and I am sure I’ll say it again.

Canada sucks.

JayHaw Phrenzie on April 9, 2008 at 7:28 PM

Never said it before, but will say it now.

Yer a moron.

Jim708 on April 9, 2008 at 7:39 PM

I’ve said it before and I am sure I’ll say it again.
Canada sucks.
JayHaw Phrenzie on April 9,2008 at 7:28PM

JayHaw Phrenzie:Not all Canadians dislike America,we are
your neighbour,your friend and ally!

And yes,Canada seems to have gone orwellian
too political correctness!

canopfor on April 9, 2008 at 9:49 PM

It is time the United States join the community of nations and stop going-it-alone. We need to stop offending the tender sensitivities of others. So we can all get along, please suspend constitutional gurantees and just enjoy the warm embrace dhimmitude.

moxie_neanderthal on April 9, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Lawyers? We don’t need no stinkin’ lawyers.

Johan Klaus on April 10, 2008 at 2:11 AM