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April 09, 2008

Maximum disruption

FLASH traffic from Five Feet of Fury* as the most prominent voices in the Canadian dextrosphere are hit with a lawsuit by Richard Warman, described by Mark Steyn as "Canada’s most sensitive man". This is no joke. Kathy Shaidle estimates she will need $30,000 to mount her legal defense. Ezra Levant has the details including the following. Please read the whole thing.

Warman’s not just suing me. He’s suing some of the biggest names in the Canadian blogosphere – from Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals to Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury (or, Five Feet of Furry, as the lawsuit says on page 2), to Free Dominion, the largest conservative chat site in Canada. Warman’s goal is breathtaking in its chutzpah: he wants to muzzle the Canadian conservative Internet. It’s not just his goal – it’s the goal of the CHRC itself, and its friends at the Canadian Jewish Congress, who have stated their goal is to “tame” the Internet – or at least those voices they disagree with. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the CJC was bankrolling Warman’s lawsuit – they’ve done joint legal work together before, and Warman’s number one defender is on the CJC’s legal committee. The CJC hates conservatives, and this would be a way for them to do damage to the conservative blogosphere without taking the political flak for it.

This is a roster of the most prominent blogs leading the fight for freedom of expression in Canada and, just as importantly, freedom from arbitrary interference in freedom of expression by agents of the Canadian government. Flea-readers who are not familiar with the situation in this country - and particularly the kangaroo proceedings against Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant - may find it difficult to believe how quickly things can go so far wrong.

* Henceforth to be forever known in my heart as "Five Feet of Furry"! :-)

Update: Solomonia has posted and the word "noodge" enters my vocabulary.

Follow some links, get familiar with this issue, and Americans, thank the deity of your choice for the First Amendment and remind yourself that lawsuits and unaccountable bureaucrats are not the way of solving the world's problems.

Also, keep an eye on the comments at The Castle.

Update: Instapundit asks:

I don't understand why people on the right in Canada don't just start filing lawsuits -- and, better still, "human rights" complaints -- right and left whenever anyone says anything bad about white people, Americans, etc. "Flood the zone!" Are Canadians just too nice to engage in such tactics? Not all of them, obviously.

First, because in many cases the complainant and the investigator were the same man; more Borges than Kafka and such is the law in Canada. Second, and as someone has already pointed out to the good professor, the HRC will dismiss any claims outside its political agenda. At least one case (admittedly from an unsympathetic character) was refused because it had been submitted on two-sided paper. As Mark Steyn put it, it must have been the first double-sided fax on the planet (Update: Delighted to see that Maclean's quote came in handy at Instapundit).

See also: Michelle Malkin and HotAir.

Update: Dr. Shackleford wonders if I am having second thoughts about moving to Canada. Well... moving back to Canada, actually. And, yes, I am having second thoughts. Though considering the job I am looking at would be back in the UK it would be one of those frying pan/fire scenarios. Anyone have work for me in, say, southern California?

Posted by Ghost of a flea at April 9, 2008 10:48 AM

Comments

This is terrible news for Canadian bloggers, of course, and it’s small consolation that they’re probably only a year or so ahead of their American counterparts on this particular highway to hell. It seems a little odd that Ghost of a Flea didn’t make Warman's cut. Not that I wish you ill, of course, but being left off a list of dangerous subversives like Kate McMillan must feel like a bit of a snub.

Posted by: utron [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 12:39 PM

Ha! I have been lucky that way. Someone did try to go after my job once but no SLAPP suits so far.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 01:03 PM

"may find it difficult to believe how quickly things can go so far wrong"

Flea, didn't radical feminist lawyer Andrea Dworkin manage to get laws enacted in the 80's which criminalized speech and writing deemed offensive to women? I cannot remember anything at all about it, so maybe you can tell us how relevant that was or was not to the current devolution into Maoist thuggery.

Posted by: pst314 [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 01:35 PM

That would be the "Butler Decision". Catharine MacKinnon had a big part in that one. Bear in mind these were American activists/academics shopping around an ideology their own courts would not buy into.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 01:50 PM

But your point is well taken. We really do not have the same tradition of freedom of speech and expression. I should also say I have a much more authoritarian bent than is my impression of my American cousins. That said, there is a line and some petty bureaucracy over-riding a thousand years of common law - and countless lives sacrificed - in defense of freedom is well over that line.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 01:54 PM

I should add too the main victims of the Butler decision were feminist/gay/lesbian bookstores whose shipments from the United States were regularly confiscated by Canadian customs agents. The most notorious title customs went after was "Hothead Paisan", an American "homicidal lesbian terrorist" comic book. So major foot-bullets for the feminists who had cheered the decision.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 02:02 PM

Thanks, Flea. I had no clear idea what Dworkin and MacKinnon had done. Nor did I know that they were Americans.

Posted by: pst314 [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 02:12 PM

Is there a single point to donate for defense to all the bloggers at once? Assuming this is a single lawsuit where the defense would be unified, of course.

Posted by: urthshu [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 02:40 PM

At this point it looks as though each blogger is collecting individually. I am not certain about the National Post blogger; I would have thought the paper would cover that. Michelle Malkin posted to the effect she had made individual contributions.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 02:43 PM

Found one - The Nose On Your Face has reopened its Ezra Levant Tshirt store and is donating all profits to a collective fund. www.thenoseonyourface.com

Posted by: urthshu [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 03:04 PM

At least one case (admittedly from an unsympathetic character) was refused because it had been submitted on two-sided paper. As Mark Steyn put it, it must have been the first double-sided fax on the planet.

No, no. It's quite clear they mean all cases must be submitted in the form of a Mobius strip.

Posted by: dorkafork [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 9, 2008 08:05 PM

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