Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Coulter in Canada! University of Ottawa speech canceled due to "Security Concerns"

On March 23, 2010, American commentator Ann Coulter was to speak at the University of Ottawa.  Due to security concerns, the event was stopped.

More video of Coulter Speech:   CTV News,  CBC News
The Ottawa Sun reports:

Security concerns cancel Coulter talk

Huge crowd upset after plug pulled on Ottawa U event
Coulter was scheduled to speak before an audience gathered at the University of Ottawa’s Marion Hall Tuesday evening.
Instead, security concerns raised by the university kept the Republican firebrand from speaking.
Organizers pulled the plug on the speaking engagement because there were just too many people — too many of whom were just too rowdy.
“At a university, instead of free speech, censorship,” said Ezra Levant, a Canadian conservative writer, lawyer and blogger who was scheduled to introduce Coulter.
More than 2,000 people tried to get into the event, several times the capacity of the venue.
Hundreds of people pooled into the lobby in an attempt to get into the auditorium. Organizers, who turned away those who didn’t register ahead of time, had allowed about 200 people into the auditorium when the fire alarm was pulled minutes before the talk was set to start.
“Francois Houle got his wish,” Levant said of the University’s provost and vice president. “He telegraphed to the community that University of Ottawa is not a place for free debate.”

In the lead up to today's event, the usual suspects for censorship raised their ugly heads to stifle freedom of speech. 

Mark Steyn writes:

Ah, that famous Canadian hospitality. One François Houle, Provost of the University of Ottawa, writes to warn a forthcoming visitor to the campus, Miss Ann Coulter, that Canadians enjoy only the right to government-regulated "free speech" and that therefore she may be liable to criminal prosecution:

Dear Ms. Coulter,
I understand that you have been invited by University of Ottawa Campus Conservatives to speak at the University of Ottawa this coming Tuesday. We are, of course, always delighted to welcome speakers on our campus and hope that they will contribute positively to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a great university campus. We have a great respect for freedom of expression in Canada, as well as on our campus, and view it as a fundamental freedom, as recognized by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or “free speech”) in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here. You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this University, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. Hopefully, you will understand and agree that what may, at first glance, seem like unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression do, in fact, lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.
I hope you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful country, city and campus.
François Houle
Vice-recteur aux études / Vice-President Academic and Provost
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
550, rue Cumberland Street
Ottawa (ON) K1N 6N5
téléphone / telephone : 613 562-5737
télécopieur / fax : 613 562-5103

What a sad and embarrassing letter, even by the standards of the Canadian academy. Does M Houle write to all University of Ottawa speakers like this? Or does he reserve his telekinetic powers to detect "pre-crime" only for the ideologically suspect? 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Federal Court Ruling: BCCLA is allowed to intervene in Lemire case

On February 25, 2010, Canada's largest Civil Liberties Association has filed at the Federal Court of Canada to intervene in the Marc Lemire Constitutional Challenge to the internet censorship of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission and Section 13 of the "Human Rights" Act.

[See: BC Civil Liberties Association files at the Federal Court of Canada to oppose Internet censorship from the misnamed Canadian "Human Rights" Commission: BCCLA Intervene in the Marc Lemire Free Speech case]

Earlier today, the Federal Court of Canada issued it’s ruling, allowing the BC Civil Liberties Association to intervene in the Lemire constitutional Challenge of Internet censorship.

[Click on above to enlarge picture]

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Three robust columns on liberty by consistent champions of freedom of expression: George Jonas, Alan Shanoff and Salim Mansur.

Free Speech Roundup.



Mr. Bumble's gun registry

George Jonas, National Post.  Published: Saturday, March 06, 2010

The minute anyone talks or writes about free speech, some twit is sure to pop up and say that there's no absolute freedom of speech. They usually can't resist adding that no one is free to shout "Fire!" in a crowded movie theatre.

They're quite right. The only thing wrong with those who keep insisting there are no absolutes is they do it to restrict some particulars that irk them.

Everyone knows free speech isn't "absolute." If it were, it would be legal to defame people, counsel murder, or impersonate a police officer. No one disputes that being free to use hand gestures doesn't entitle anyone to signal a truck to back over a toddler. Our freedom to gesticulate isn't "absolute." It's enough, though, to give censors the finger.

Now that I got this off my chest, let me turn to a different topic. Well -- maybe not entirely different. It is another facet of the complex syndrome that prompted Charles Dickens to have Mr. Bumble call the law an "ass."

Read the rest at:



Saluting our embattled freedom to read

Freedom to read, including freedom of expression and freedom to read what we choose, is a fundamental right of all Canadians that's constantly under attack.

Schools are at the mercy of parents who not only want to choose what their children may read, but also what other children may read.

Libraries are at the mercy of censors who believe they have the right to decide what others should read. The list of books that have been banned, challenged or placed under restriction by schools and libraries could fill this column, from To Kill a Mockingbird to A Clockwork Orange.

While the Supreme Court of Canada has broadened defamation defences, publishers still face huge burdens with the cost of litigation.

The cost of defending a defamation action can easily exceed the profits in publishing most books. Libel chill and self-censorship remain common due to complexities and uncertainties of the law and the high cost of litigation.

Human rights bodies stubbornly refuse to recognize freedom of expression as worthy of protection.

And strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits, are inconsistent with free expression. Quebec has anti-SLAPP law, and Ontario's NDP has introduced a private member's bill trying to remedy the problem.

Trying to uphold freedom to read is like playing Whac-A-Mole. So I give a mighty thanks to the organizers of Freedom to Read Week for their efforts.

For more information go to

Protect free speech, even if offensive

How does a liberal society deal with a case such as that of Salman Hossain, who posted vile, incendiary messages in public against Jews and others he detests and wishes harm?

It keeps this individual under surveillance and indicts him under the country’s Criminal Code — in Canada it would be section 319 — if he is found to contravene it.

But a liberal society that takes freedom of speech for its anchor will not censor, or indict, this individual on the ground his speech is offensive to some or all people.

Resist temptation

This temptation should be resisted at all times and freedom of speech should be defended unconditionally, especially when some abuse this freedom by deliberately riling others through malicious speech.

The argument that free speech must also be responsible speech is just another approach for censoring free speech or indicting an unpleasant individual. Any limit placed on free speech other than what the Criminal Code provides for tarnishes the fundamental characteristic of that liberal society.

It is only in a liberal society that an individual as a minority of one can mock, ridicule and vilify the majority, and his right to do so is protected on the transparently simple — yet revolutionary — calculus that if the majority is not constrained from abridging the right of any one person to speak freely it might do the same of many.




Thanks very much to Mark Steyn’s who posted these three columns in the following post:

Pretzels on the bench




MARK STEYN - Saturday, 06 March 2010

I've been under the weather in recent weeks, and, at such times, am prone to get a little disheartened by the long campaign to restore free speech to Canada. This is a fairly typical weekend: There are at least three robust columns on liberty by consistent champions of freedom of expression - George Jonas, Alan Shanoff and Salim Mansur.

Read Mark Steyn’s article at:






Friday, March 5, 2010

BC Civil Liberties Association files at the Federal Court of Canada to oppose Internet censorship from the misnamed Canadian "Human Rights" Commission

BCCLA Intervene in the Marc Lemire Free Speech case

 On February 25, 2010, Canada's largest Civil Liberties Association has filed at the Federal Court of Canada to intervene in the Marc Lemire Constitutional Challenge to the internet censorship of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission and Section 13 of the "Human Rights" Act.

Motion Record of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association

Notice of Motion (2 Pages)

Affidavit of David Eby - Documenting the BCCLA's history on intervening in Freedom oriented cases (8 pages)

Written Representations - Lays out the BCCLA's position on Section 13 censorship and why it is unconstitutional legislation (16 pages)

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have made some very good submissions to the Federal Court of Canada on why the power to censor the internet should - and MUST - be removed from the ambit of the fanatical Canadian "Human Rights" Commission.
The BCCLA submits that:
  • Freedom of expression is a fundamental democratic right. The BCCLA's mandate is to preserve, defend, maintain and extend civil liberties and human rights across Canada
  • Section 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act infringe s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights And Freedoms and that the infringements cannot be justified under s. 1 of the Charter
  • The context has changed since the Taylor decision in 1990 (which found s. 13 constitutional). The main change is the law is now punitive and penal in nature. And that sec. 13 has been expended to the Internet
  • The digital era changes everything, and sec. 13 should not restrict expression on the internet.
  • The Internet is par excellence a democratic "marketplace of ideas", which provides its own self-corrective solution to problems of inaccurate, offensive and hurtful content.
  • The potential for "psychological injury" to members of society (which formed the basis for the Taylor decision) is lessened by user control over content, and provides individuals with a high degree of control over viewing of information
  • Severing S. 54 (fines) from the Human Rights Act, does not make s. 13 constitutional. (As the CHRC claims). It does not address 1) strict liability and the absence of defences. 2) the extension of the hate speech provision to the internet.






















Background to Lemire case:
In 2003, serial plaintiff Richard Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against Marc Lemire for postings on the Freedomsite message board.  None of the posting complained about were written or approved by Marc Lemire, but because he was the webmaster of the message board, the CHRC is trying to hold him liable.

In 2005, Lemire challenged the constitutionality of Section 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act as an egregious censorship provision severely limiting freedom of speech and thought. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is Canada's shameful internet censorship provision.

Section 13 makes it an offence to "likely" "expose" privileged groups to "hatred and/or contempt." There are NO defences under Section 13!  Even truth and intent are considered irrelevant to a finding of discrimination.

The law was enacted in 1977 in order to silence a man named John Ross Taylor for messages he recorded onto his telephone answering machine.  In the intervening 32 years, not a single person who has been hauled up on Section 13 charges has ever been acquitted - a 100% conviction rate.

Mainstream media outlets, from Victoria to Halifax, have demanded a repeal of Section 13 and denounced the human rights industry. Editorials commonly refer to the Tribunal as a "kangaroo court," and highlight how 'human rights' commissions  "threaten our liberty."

The case against Lemire dragged on for 5 years before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and before the Federal Court of Canada, where the CHRC was forced to admit they spy on Canadian and American websites.

Since Marc Lemire and his courageous lawyer Barbara Kulaszka went to work, the entire landscape of Section 13 censorship has changed.

On Sept 2, 2009, the Human Rights Tribunal fully acquitted Marc Lemire, and refused to apply Section 13 due to its unconstitutional provisions.  The case has been appealed by the CHRC human rights fanatics.

Warman Allegation
JRBooksonline Website
Stormfront Posting
Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by Craig Harrison
Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by persons other than Mr. Lemire or Mr. Harrison
Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by Mr. Lemire

The “Controversial Columnists” section of the Freedomsite website
The Doug Collins Column
“Ottawa is Dangerous” Article
AIDS Secrets column

The Lemire Tribunal ruled that:  

[290] Thus, following the reasoning of Justice Dickson, at 933,one can no longer say that the absence of intent in s. 13(1) “raises no problem of minimal impairment” and “does not impinge so deleteriously upon the s. 2(b) freedom of expression so as to make intolerable” the provision’s existence in a free and democratic society. On this basis, I find that the Oakes minimum impairment test has not been satisfied, and that s. 13(1) goes beyond what can be defended as a reasonable limit on free expression under s. 1 of the Charter.
c) Conclusions with respect to the claim of infringement on the freedom of expression
[295] For all the above reasons, I find that s. 13(1) infringes on Mr. Lemire’s freedom of expression guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Charter, and that this infringement is not demonstrably justified under s. 1 of the Charter.

 [279] This question, however, is not what is relevant to the present discussion. The point is that, when assessed against the characteristics of the penalty provisions enumerated in these decisions, it is evident that s. 13(1) has become more penal in nature (irrespective of whether s. 11 Charter rights are necessarily triggered). The provision can no longer be considered exclusively remedial, preventative and conciliatory in nature, which was at the core of the Court’s finding in Taylor that s. 13(1)’s limitation of freedom of expression is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, and thereby “saved” under s. 1 of the Charter.  

I have determined that Mr. Lemire contravened s. 13 of the Act in only one of the instances alleged by Mr. Warman, namely the AIDS Secrets article. However, I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter. Since a formal declaration of invalidity is not a remedy available to the Tribunal (see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. V. Ontario (Labour Relations Board), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5), I will simply refuse to apply these provisions for the purposes of the complaint against Mr. Lemire and I will not issue any remedial order against him (see Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin, 2003 SCC 54 at paras. 26-7).
See full decision [here]

On January 25, 2010, using tax-payers money, the Canadian Human Rights Commission challenged the Lemire decision, which found that the thought control legislation of the Canadian Human Rights Act was unconstitutional and a violation of the Charter guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and thought.

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