Arch Liberal Feminist no fan outrageous decisions made by human rights commissions across the country

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 Posted on Ezra Levant’s website who has been in hounded by the HRC since publishing the Danish Cartoons years ago, and recent author of Shakedown which details the corruption inside the HRC’s of the land. 

Catherine Ford: “liberals… need to read Shakedown”
By Ezra Levant on April 19, 2009 3:42 AM

Catherine Ford, the retired editor and columnist at the Calgary Herald, has reviewed Shakedown in that paper. Ford made a career out of zigging where Calgary zagged — she is a self-described “liberal feminist” in Canada’s most conservative city.

Her review is a mix of flattering praise and political criticism. But given how polar opposite we are philosophically, I’m blown away by how positive her review is.

Just for fun, I did a historical search to see what Ford had written over the years about Alberta’s human rights commission. She’s had mixed things to say about them — she obviously saw their political champions as her fellow travellers, but she was also aware of their abusive tendencies.

Here’s a column she wrote way back in 1992, when the HRC found that a young male driver had the “human right” to pay as little car insurance as a young female driver, actuarial risk statistics be damned. She called the HRC a “horse’s ass”, which sounds about right.

Here’s a more troubling column she wrote in May of 1997, where she approved of using HRCs to rough up people who had an anti-semitic view of history:

Personally, I’m all for harassing the revisionists through whatever tribunals are available, thus exposing them to contempt and showing children that such ignorance is rightfully dealt with through public scorn.

But Ford got that wrong in a big way: it’s not the government’s job to harass people through abusive legal processes, even if they are ignorant, and that’s a terrible lesson in bullying and censorship to teach children. I agree that public scorn is a powerful tool to be used against bigots, but that’s the job of private citizens and newspaper pundits, not the state with its prosecutors, fines and gag orders.

I was pleased to see Ford change her tune later that same year, in this column, where she wrote:

…the continuing efforts to censor the tired rantings of Holocaust deniers such as Ernst Zundel [are] so pointless, so wearying, so expensive.

…The proper counterattack is not whining to human rights commissions, but a rigorous program of education for anyone exposed to this garbage, especially children.

That’s a pretty big about-face in seven months — from touting the HRCs’ harassment to calling HRCs an improper approach suitable only for whiners. I’m always leery of her solution: political “education” campaigns by the government. That’s usually just another word for propaganda, but at least kids can ignore their indoctrinators, and their parents can correct them too. It’s far less tyrannical than an abusive HRC with its force of law.

Here’s Ford’s review of Shakedown. Looking over it again right now, I have to say I’m amazed how flattering she is. If I can’t get an arch-lefty like Ford to be truly mad at me, something’s out of synch!

Ezra Levant is a smart man. Ezra Levant has good ideas.

Ezra Levant is a lawyer. Why this triad of competence doesn’t come together in a pivotal book that could be instrumental in addressing the glaring problems of Canadian human rights commissions and tribunals and in changing them is simple: Ezra Levant is also a polemicist.

To the liberal reader, he’s not interested in changing Canada for the better, despite his many convincing arguments, but in expressing his particular skewed version of the country and the institutions charged with hearing the aggrieved.

Levant rants. He doesn’t listen. He wants people on his side, not necessarily on the side of what’s best for everyone, including those Canadians who aren’t big or small-C conservatives.

…Shakedown lays [it] all out — the outrageous decisions made by human rights commissions across the country, the two-facedness of liberals, feminists, gay rights activists, at which Levant takes many gratuitous swipes. Levant, as all good polemicists do, cherry-picks the facts and couches his arguments in language and imagery designed to enrage social conservatives who see such advances as the rights of women and minorities not to be treated as second-class men as an assault on their rightful position at the top of the food chain. In the doing, he also infuriates liberals. That sort of prunes one’s reading audience.

…Shakedown has a solid and compelling foundation–what good is free speech and freedom of the press if any malcontent can cite “hurt feelings” and bring the parties responsible in front of a quasi-judicial, politically appointed panel of amateur judges? Worse, to do so at no cost, not even if the complaint is judged frivolous or without merit? At the very least, anyone wasting taxpayers’ time and money on idiotic complaints should be charged with costs, as is usually the case in real court cases. The spectre of having to pay for your own lawyer to deal with your hissy-fit keeps our courts relatively free of nonsense.

Canadians who want their country to be fair and open to all — liberals to a fault, I guess — need to read Shakedown. They could have been persuaded to do so if the author had chosen to put less of his own ideology into the mix and more of his considerable talents and experience into a book designed to encourage change.

He ends the book with a look at possible reforms. And had fair-minded Canadians encountered more of that earlier in the book, Levant’s cause might be adopted by all of us. He outlines the two schools of thought: the “pruners” and the “weeders,” allying himself with the latter.

…The whole point of trying to convince Canadians of all political leanings to read this book is contained in one of the author’s final statements: “…Canadians now bend over backward to demonstrate our respect for others–both officially, through affirmative action and multiculturalism policies, and unofficially, in the way thirty-three million of us treat our friends, neighbours and co-workers.”

And even a liberal feminist can get onside and applaud that.

 To get Ezra’s book go HERE

To get to his excellent website go HERE