Blatchford: Ezra not a torch bearer for free speech


mentalfloss
#1
Obvious news is obvious.

Christie Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech

Ezra Levant had what he describes as a “bombshell moment” at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing in 2008, when Khurrum Awan testified that he and his fellows students hadn’t had time to ask Maclean’s magazine for a rebuttal article by an author of their choice — this in stark contrast to what the students had been publicly saying for months about having demanded an article by a “mutually agreeable author”.

To Mr. Levant, who is being sued for libel by Mr. Awan, this was the moment when he knew he had the then-law student by the short and curlies.

As Mr. Levant remembered it at his trial at Ontario Superior Court in downtown Toronto, “for months they [the students] had held themselves out as moderate and reasonable … but on the stand, under oath, Khurrum Awan admitted what he had said again and again and again was not true.”

Well, I had such an aha! moment myself, on Monday, when Mr. Levant was being cross-examined by Mr. Awan’s lawyer, Brian Shiller.

Mr. Shiller was asking him about the late Jennifer Lynch, the former chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

A former chief of staff with then-Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, like Mr. Levant a lawyer by training, she died last year, months after the commission lost its power to fight hate propaganda.

Human rights commissions, especially the hate-speech provisions of the underlying legislation that allow for the prosecution of those alleged to have repeatedly disseminated hate messages based on race, ethnicity and gender, were and are a favourite target of Mr. Levant’s. That the offending section of the law, Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, was repealed last year for the federal commission, was in no small part because of his relentless campaigning.

Ms. Lynch and her staff — and their controversial entrapment-style methods — were a particular recipient of Mr. Levant’s wrath.

In his blog, where the prolific right-winger and self-styled “activist journalist” who also has a nightly show on Sun TV, writes most regularly, he called her an anti-Semite, a damned liar and asked, in a July 18, 2009 blog post, if she was “a Nazi sympathizer.”

So there was Mr. Shiller, asking him about that post, and in particular why he had written the following:

“What an odious woman.

“When she accosted me on Parliament Hill back in May, I didn’t recognize her — she is much more haggard and old than her ancient publicity picture. In other words, she surprised me. I think I shook her hand, because I had no idea who that old woman was who approached me.

“I dearly wish I had known who she was, for I would never have shaken the hand that shook the hands of so many Nazis.”

Mr. Shiller wanted to know how his comments on Ms. Lynch’s appearance “advanced the free speech debate,” to which Mr. Levant replied that he had been “genuinely shocked” by her aged face and said, “I’m a journalist. I write what I see.”

The interesting thing is that this part of the post was so gratuitously cruel; he had already, earlier in it, nicely dissected Ms. Lynch for her weak defence of her hate-speech-seeking staff.

But as his blog reveals, viciousness is his stock in trade: Mr. Levant goes for obliteration, whether he’s going after Ms. Lynch, David Suzuki, a journalism professor named John Miller or the rocker Neil Young, whom he dismissed on one recent show with the following: “Go home, old man … you debauched, useless, celebrity, know-nothing millionaire. You make me sick.”

As an aged crone myself, with a haggard face that is pretty accurately captured in any picture of me (print hacks don’t have “publicity photos”), I get letters like that blog post infrequently but regularly, and have for the decades I’ve been writing, even when I was 25.

Maybe that’s why I’m sensitive to the naked meanness of it, though it’s not the only reason. The longer I spend in this business, the more I try to adopt the physician’s motto of do no harm, or do as little harm as possible, as my own credo. I fail, of course, because unlike Mr. Levant, who says he writes “a million words a year” and makes only a handful of mistakes, I make a great many, of fact and judgment.

I say all this to set the record straight — and to judge from some of what Mr. Levant’s blogging supporters in the free-speech trenches say, the record needs to be corrected.

I’m happy that Maclean’s magazine and the great writer Mark Steyn were not found guilty at that long-ago B.C. Human Rights tribunal where Mr. Levant live-blogged.

I’m glad Mr. Levant, then at the now-defunct Western Standard, had the stones to republish the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

I’m glad the hate-speech provisions — under which Maclean’s, Mr. Steyn and Mr. Levant himself in Alberta were so egregiously prosecuted — were repealed.

I believe in free speech. I believe in that great old definition, most often attributed to Voltaire, of it: I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I don’t want anyone censored. I just wish it could all be done with a little more kindness.

The trial resumes April 7 for closing arguments.

Christie Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech
 
Colpy
Conservative
#2
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Obvious news is obvious.

Christie Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech

Ezra Levant had what he describes as a “bombshell moment” at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing in 2008, when Khurrum Awan testified that he and his fellows students hadn’t had time to ask Maclean’s magazine for a rebuttal article by an author of their choice — this in stark contrast to what the students had been publicly saying for months about having demanded an article by a “mutually agreeable author”.

To Mr. Levant, who is being sued for libel by Mr. Awan, this was the moment when he knew he had the then-law student by the short and curlies.

As Mr. Levant remembered it at his trial at Ontario Superior Court in downtown Toronto, “for months they [the students] had held themselves out as moderate and reasonable … but on the stand, under oath, Khurrum Awan admitted what he had said again and again and again was not true.”

Well, I had such an aha! moment myself, on Monday, when Mr. Levant was being cross-examined by Mr. Awan’s lawyer, Brian Shiller.

Mr. Shiller was asking him about the late Jennifer Lynch, the former chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

A former chief of staff with then-Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark, like Mr. Levant a lawyer by training, she died last year, months after the commission lost its power to fight hate propaganda.

Human rights commissions, especially the hate-speech provisions of the underlying legislation that allow for the prosecution of those alleged to have repeatedly disseminated hate messages based on race, ethnicity and gender, were and are a favourite target of Mr. Levant’s. That the offending section of the law, Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, was repealed last year for the federal commission, was in no small part because of his relentless campaigning.

Ms. Lynch and her staff — and their controversial entrapment-style methods — were a particular recipient of Mr. Levant’s wrath.

In his blog, where the prolific right-winger and self-styled “activist journalist” who also has a nightly show on Sun TV, writes most regularly, he called her an anti-Semite, a damned liar and asked, in a July 18, 2009 blog post, if she was “a Nazi sympathizer.”

So there was Mr. Shiller, asking him about that post, and in particular why he had written the following:

“What an odious woman.

“When she accosted me on Parliament Hill back in May, I didn’t recognize her — she is much more haggard and old than her ancient publicity picture. In other words, she surprised me. I think I shook her hand, because I had no idea who that old woman was who approached me.

“I dearly wish I had known who she was, for I would never have shaken the hand that shook the hands of so many Nazis.”

Mr. Shiller wanted to know how his comments on Ms. Lynch’s appearance “advanced the free speech debate,” to which Mr. Levant replied that he had been “genuinely shocked” by her aged face and said, “I’m a journalist. I write what I see.”

The interesting thing is that this part of the post was so gratuitously cruel; he had already, earlier in it, nicely dissected Ms. Lynch for her weak defence of her hate-speech-seeking staff.

But as his blog reveals, viciousness is his stock in trade: Mr. Levant goes for obliteration, whether he’s going after Ms. Lynch, David Suzuki, a journalism professor named John Miller or the rocker Neil Young, whom he dismissed on one recent show with the following: “Go home, old man … you debauched, useless, celebrity, know-nothing millionaire. You make me sick.”

As an aged crone myself, with a haggard face that is pretty accurately captured in any picture of me (print hacks don’t have “publicity photos”), I get letters like that blog post infrequently but regularly, and have for the decades I’ve been writing, even when I was 25.

Maybe that’s why I’m sensitive to the naked meanness of it, though it’s not the only reason. The longer I spend in this business, the more I try to adopt the physician’s motto of do no harm, or do as little harm as possible, as my own credo. I fail, of course, because unlike Mr. Levant, who says he writes “a million words a year” and makes only a handful of mistakes, I make a great many, of fact and judgment.

I say all this to set the record straight — and to judge from some of what Mr. Levant’s blogging supporters in the free-speech trenches say, the record needs to be corrected.

I’m happy that Maclean’s magazine and the great writer Mark Steyn were not found guilty at that long-ago B.C. Human Rights tribunal where Mr. Levant live-blogged.

I’m glad Mr. Levant, then at the now-defunct Western Standard, had the stones to republish the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

I’m glad the hate-speech provisions — under which Maclean’s, Mr. Steyn and Mr. Levant himself in Alberta were so egregiously prosecuted — were repealed.

I believe in free speech. I believe in that great old definition, most often attributed to Voltaire, of it: I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. I don’t want anyone censored. I just wish it could all be done with a little more kindness.

The trial resumes April 7 for closing arguments.

Christie Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech

Actually, that is not AT ALL what Blatchford said.......might I suggest a course in Reading Comprehension for Beginners??

Thank God for Ezra Levant, and guys like this:

httpwwwyoutubecomwatchv5Z38qqSZZEc

Last edited by Locutus; Mar 24th, 2014 at 11:43 AM..Reason: https
 
mentalfloss
#3
Ummm. Blatchford wrote the article??
 
BornRuff
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

Actually, that is not AT ALL what Blatchford said.......might I suggest a course in Reading Comprehension for Beginners??

Thank God for Ezra Levant, and guys like this:

This is a pretty strange statement considering that he just quoted an article written by Blatchford.

What exactly do you mean?
 
Locutus
#5
Blatchford: Ezra not a torch bearer for free speech



Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech


Difference much?

In other words kids, not only is Ezra already a torch bearer for free speech; she laments that he would be much better too, if only he wouldn't be such a dick about it and hurt people's 'feelings'.


So the implication from the OP that he isn't even one, but perhaps could become one is misleading and wrong.

As you were.


 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
+1
#6  Top Rated Post
And yet Ezra would stifle Arthur Topham's right to free speech. Ezra is just as selective about who gets to say what they want as some members of this board.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by CliffyView Post

And yet Ezra would stifle Arthur Topham's right to free speech. Ezra is just as selective about who gets to say what they want as some members of this board.


Yeah... Ezra should have just allowed himself to be victimized and impoverished instead of standing up.

What a jerk, eh?
 
mentalfloss
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by LocutusView Post

Blatchford: Ezra not a torch bearer for free speech



Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech


Difference much?

In other words kids, not only is Ezra already a torch bearer for free speech; she laments that he would be much better too, if only he wouldn't be such a dick about it and hurt people's 'feelings'.


So the implication from the OP that he isn't even one, but perhaps could become one is misleading and wrong.

As you were.



Oh I should have changed the title to not literally a torchbearer.

You know, for all the people in here who were so grossly misled.
 
Locutus
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Oh I should have changed the title to not literally a torchbearer.

You know, for all the people in here who were so grossly misled.


It's just a bruise. You'll do better next time I'm sure.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by BornRuffView Post

This is a pretty strange statement considering that he just quoted an article written by Blatchford.

What exactly do you mean?

Quote: Originally Posted by LocutusView Post

Blatchford: Ezra not a torch bearer for free speech



Blatchford: If only Ezra Levant was a little bit kinder he’d be a much better torchbearer for free speech


Difference much?

In other words kids, not only is Ezra already a torch bearer for free speech; she laments that he would be much better too, if only he wouldn't be such a dick about it and hurt people's 'feelings'.


So the implication from the OP that he isn't even one, but perhaps could become one is misleading and wrong.

As you were.


Exactly.

Thank you.
 
Locutus
#11
It's what I do. *humble bow*

You're welcome.
 
mentalfloss
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by LocutusView Post

It's just a bruise. You'll do better next time I'm sure.

 

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