Author Topic: Help Protect Free Speech  (Read 11537 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Help Protect Free Speech
« on: April 01, 2006, 12:28:25 »
https://www240.ssldomain.com/westernstandard/website/index.cfm?page=donation&CFID=5888098&CFTOKEN=49734736

An islamic cleric has filed suit against the Western Standard in the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Another example of the tolerance of islam and its practioners.

Offline TheShepherd

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 13:40:11 »
It is rediculous that we can't print a few cartoons without some nut filing a suit against the newspaper, but on the other end of the spectrum, the Western Standard knew what they were getting into when they printed those cartoons.
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 20:04:54 »
hope you don't mind if I wade in here with .02
the Western Standard knew what they were getting into when they printed those cartoons.

Very true.  I think the real nut is the editor who decides to print the cartoons after already knowing the reaction of muslims around the world (IMHO).  If they were printing it to make a statement, that's certainly their right, just as it's this imam's right to sue.  I don't think it's abuse of process nor radical.  This is a non violent, perfectly appropriate recourse available to him and his community.   So, the Western Standard now has to pay legal costs to defend themselves.  They could have chosen not to run the cartoons.

I'd be interested to know what specific damages he is seeking and on what grounds?   


Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 20:36:05 »
I think that the rest of the media was cowardly in not running the cartoons. So are we going to avoid controversial topics for fear of being sued ?

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 20:48:38 »
Should make for interesting times, if and, when the lawsuit is shot down. Of course, both side have oddles of cash, from various sources, available to them. Watch for this one to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Hopefully, most of the Liberal appointed judges are gone by then, but that's just my opinion.
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 21:14:07 »
hope you don't mind if I wade in here with .02
Very true.  I think the real nut is the editor who decides to print the cartoons after already knowing the reaction of muslims around the world (IMHO).  If they were printing it to make a statement, that's certainly their right, just as it's this imam's right to sue.  I don't think it's abuse of process nor radical.  This is a non violent, perfectly appropriate recourse available to him and his community.   So, the Western Standard now has to pay legal costs to defend themselves.  They could have chosen not to run the cartoons.

I'd be interested to know what specific damages he is seeking and on what grounds?   

It's abusive and radical because he's using a process (the Human Rights thing) that has nothing to do with the case. It should have gone to civilian court, using his own money and his community's, not every taxpayers' money. That's like using the Human Rights court because your neighbor's dog took a crap on your grass. Sure, it violates your rights to having a green, unblemished grass, but it's frivolous, ridiculous and the taxpayers' money shouldn't be used for it.

As for grounds, he has none. We're allowed to publish whatever we want as long as it doesn't incite hatred or violence. I haven't seen all the cartoons, but those I did see did not incite me to go killing some Muslims. Frivolous lawsuits like this do piss me off, though.

If you want more details, there are pdf's available on the website detailing the complaint and the response.

Anyone else thinks if someone tried to complain against Muslims in a similar case, the case wouldn't even make it to the courts before being thrown out?
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Offline GAP

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2006, 21:18:27 »
Ahh...but the mindset has been established, hasn't it? Between the riots (that everybody ignored the source agitator's of) to now being reasonable and just "suing". Watch what the media does in the next few years with anything that might cause a similar reaction. We've just been stalemated.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2006, 22:30:12 »
It's abusive and radical because he's using a process (the Human Rights thing) that has nothing to do with the case. It should have gone to civilian court, using his own money and his community's, not every taxpayers' money.

If this started in a court of law, the first thing the judge would do is ask "why is this before the court now?" The proper venue of first instance is the  Human Rights hearing. The decision of the hearing could then be appealed to a court of law.

The complaint will succeed before the Human Rights tribunal. The heads of damages will be exemplary and for humiliation/hurt feelings. The total payable will not be very much. It is likely they are seeking a public apology.

Western Standard will fight to the last dollar. They will lose. This is Canada. Certain rights of expression are very limted.
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2006, 23:17:13 »
The complaint will succeed before the Human Rights tribunal. The heads of damages will be exemplary and for humiliation/hurt feelings. The total payable will not be very much. It is likely they are seeking a public apology.

I suggest everyone read the Western Standard's reply to the complaint. As is pointed out, the complaint was dismissed by the police as frivolous. Also, a lot of what the Muslim guy is bitching about has nothing to do with the Western Standard, so basically he's trying to get someone (in this case, a business) punished for what someone else did.

Also, in this case, the process itself is the punishment (as was pointed out by the WS) because even if the case is dismissed, the defendant has to pay all legal fees and they are NOT reimbursed if the case is declared to be frivolous, while the plaintiff doesn't pay anything. It's abuse of taxpayers' money, plain and simple.

It really sickens me that we live in a society where we claim to allow freedom of speech but limit it when immigrants say they don't agree with what is being said.
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Offline Trinity

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2006, 00:28:31 »


Also, in this case, the process itself is the punishment (as was pointed out by the WS) because even if the case is dismissed, the defendant has to pay all legal fees and they are NOT reimbursed if the case is declared to be frivolous, while the plaintiff doesn't pay anything. It's abuse of taxpayers' money, plain and simple.

Theoretically... if the paper wins... they could sue the cleric for legal fee/damages incurred by a frivolous claim.
Like the cleric has any money personally (not)...
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2006, 00:56:39 »
Theoretically... if the paper wins... they could sue the cleric for legal fee/damages incurred by a frivolous claim.
Like the cleric has any money personally (not)...

From what I understand, and I might be mistaken, but because the cleric guy took it up to the Human Rights place, the paper basically has no recourse, hence the claim the process itself is the punishment. But then again, it's way above my pay grade and education level.
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Offline NL_engineer

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2006, 09:48:01 »
Western Standard will fight to the last dollar. They will lose. This is Canada. Certain rights of expression are very limted.

You are right there, I forget the case but according the SCC, a business (media included) rights under sect 2 of the charter are not greater then an individual of a protected group.


Got to love how the laws that are supposed to protect our freedoms, can be used to limit them by groups like this. I think the government should amend the Charter be for cleric can get the court to limit them.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2006, 11:21:05 »
Hunt v. Southam.
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Offline William Webb Ellis

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2006, 16:22:53 »
Was an "action" started against the Jewish Free Press (I may be mistaken on the name), but it is a small Calgary paper, around 2000-5000 circulation.  I actually believe they printed them first, along with allegedly defamatory cartoons of Jews.

Mr Levant, is a crap disturber.  He has been for as long as I have been aware of him.  To be clear this is not a slag, he has always asked questions of the system.

He is also no stranger to the court system having started various lawsuits of his own, including a monster law suit that grew out of his involvement in the riding of Calgary Southwest and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party.  To quote someone I know who moves in those circles he is "radio active"
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 16:28:36 by William Webb Ellis »
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2006, 19:13:55 »
Was an "action" started against the Jewish Free Press (I may be mistaken on the name), but it is a small Calgary paper, around 2000-5000 circulation.  I actually believe they printed them first, along with allegedly defamatory cartoons of Jews.

Mr Levant, is a crap disturber.  He has been for as long as I have been aware of him.  To be clear this is not a slag, he has always asked questions of the system.

He is also no stranger to the court system having started various lawsuits of his own, including a monster law suit that grew out of his involvement in the riding of Calgary Southwest and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party.  To quote someone I know who moves in those circles he is "radio active"

So are you saying that the Muslim guy is doing something good by abusing the justice system and using the Human Rights court to sue this paper, having to pay nothing out of his own pocket and preventing the paper from being reimbursed when the case is dismissed, just because Mr Levant "is a crap disturber"?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, uh? Oh how I love our society...
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2006, 21:18:26 »
Freedom of speech is all well and good.  Just because it is your "right" to say something doesn't make it right to say it.  My point is just that this is obviously highly offensive to a large portion of the muslim world so to run it is just inflammatory and dumb business practice which is why most Canadian newspapers chose not to run it. 


Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2006, 22:00:59 »
Most Canadian and American "MSM" outlets feel quite free to publish things which Christians find offensive (and Christians are a larger part of the population than Muslims in this part of the world).

Perhaps the real reason they won't publish has something to do with the idea that their offices might be firebombed and their staff attacked on the street (something which Christians do not seem prone to do in this day and age)? The staff of the Western Standard, although being persecuted and perhaps having their ability to publish crippled, have at least gotten off lucky this time.

We might get a long term benefit from this entire mess; the ideas that underlay "human rights tribunals" and various laws and regulations associated with this should be thoroughly discredited, and put under review.
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Offline William Webb Ellis

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2006, 23:57:50 »
So are you saying that the Muslim guy is doing something good by abusing the justice system and using the Human Rights court to sue this paper, having to pay nothing out of his own pocket and preventing the paper from being reimbursed when the case is dismissed, just because Mr Levant "is a crap disturber"?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, uh? Oh how I love our society...

No what I am saying is he has just started a magazine, and any press is good press, perhaps he has other motives like the bottom line
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2006, 15:56:22 »
Most Canadian and American "MSM" outlets feel quite free to publish things which Christians find offensive (and Christians are a larger part of the population than Muslims in this part of the world).
For example?  I am not saying that that is not the case but as a Christian no examples jump to mind that really offended me.

Perhaps the real reason they won't publish has something to do with the idea that their offices might be firebombed and their staff attacked on the street 

Quite possible.  I like to think, however, it has more to do with Canada being a moderate and tolerant country that holds respecting others beliefs and dignity higher than exercising what is indeed our "right" to insult those beliefs.

(something which Christians do not seem prone to do in this day and age)?
I think there are some abortion doctors out there who may disagree with that.  Of course those radical Christians are not representative of all Christians.  Just as there are Muslims who do not respond with violence.  This particular imam for example.

We might get a long term benefit from this entire mess; the ideas that underlay "human rights tribunals" and various laws and regulations associated with this should be thoroughly discredited, and put under review.

I  personally don't see how this could be a long term benifit. 

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2006, 18:05:56 »
It's the interpretations of them that cause problems. Especially when done through the courts/tribunals. Look how the Supreme Court can hold a gov't by it's dangly bits over a law (like the gay marriage issue) and since the Supreme Court is not elected, and neither are the tribunals, we can have things happen all in the name of 'human right's' that ultimately affect the majority. The loudest group gets their way in our court system, no matter how big they are.

If not the courts then who should be interpreting the laws?  The fact that the courts are not elected IMO is a good thing.  They should be non-partisan.  You can start down a slippery slope when a government can interperet laws to suit political ends.  The Supreme Court should be able to hold a government by their "dangly bits" ( I like that one ) should that government be trying to do something contrary to the constitution.  But I digress.....I don't want to get off on a gay marriage tangent here.

What, exactly, has happened in the name of ' human rights' that has negatively affected the majority?

Free speech for all. What newspapers publish should not be at the discretion of the courts. This is just IMHO, since I have lost all faith in our courts/tribunals etc.

I don't think the courts are telling any newspaper what they can or cannot publish.  They are hearing a human rights complaint about something that was published.  I don't think those are the same.  That's like saying that because we have laws about libel or inciting hatred that we don't have free speech. 

 

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2006, 22:20:34 »
One or two issues back the "Rolling Stone" magazine had a rapper done up as Jesus Christ on the cover, something many Christians would find offensive if not blasphemous. I am sure many people on this board could come up with any number of examples, my top of the head example would be "Atlantic Monthly", October 2002, "The Next Christianity" by Phillip Jenkins which predicts Christian activism will be the defining crisis of the next century. (This might be excusable if it was published prior to 9/11/2001).

Human rights and human rights tribunals do not operate under the evidentery or procedural rules of a court of law, virtually everything is subjective and in most cases the process is done with the same panel acting as prosecuter, judge and jury. As the publisher of Western Standard notes, the complaint was thrown out by the police as having no basis, but the Human rights tribunal is being harnessed (with the power of taxpayer dollars) to muzzle freedom of expression. There is certainly no reason the complainant could not publish his own views on the matter, and indeed I am sure the publisher of Western Standard would have been more than happy to run the piece. The cartoons are the crux of the news story after all, and in a secular society we should be free to view them or not as WE decide, and debate and come to conclusions about these cartoons. Certainly the Western Standard should publish some of the anti Semitic material emanating from newspapers in the Arab world as a counterpoint; much of it is far more offensive and graphic than any of the "Mohamed" cartoons.

The response of the Islamic community (or at least a portion of it) is not to engage in debate but rather demand submission to their beliefs. In some parts of the world, they engage in brownshirt tactics, here they have discovered how to use "Human Rights" to suppress Freedom of Expression. Since Freedom of Expression is the key element of our political and economic strength, this is a very bad turn of events for all of us in Canada and the West.
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2006, 16:34:06 »
a_majoor, thanks for the example.  I didn't see it but I probably would have found it offensive.  Even as a Christian, still I just don't see it in the same light as the Muslim cartoons. If  Christians around the world voiced their objections only to have Rolling Stone and many more magazine's run it just to thumb their noses at the offended Christians and exercise their freedom of expression, then maybe I might see it in the same light.  This is not even considering the fact, as everone is painfully aware now, it is blasphemous to portray the prophet in any depiction.

I don't see any of this as a threat to our freedom of expression.  That freedom has certain restrictions on it anyway ( and rightly so ).  Nor do I see the Muslim world demanding submission to their beliefs.  They are demanding respect of their beliefs.  And if instead of re-running the cartoon, just to make a point and inflame the situation, the editor had just made a simple apology for offending, I don't think freedom of expression would have been jeopardized at all.

As far as rules of evidence and procedure for a tribunal work, I am going to have to submit to you on that one.  I don't know. 

Could he have published his own rebuttal?  You bet.  Does that mean he has no right to persue his grievance through a Human Rights Tribunal?  No.  Is he abusing the process?  Tough call.  That would depend on his motives.  Do I have sympathy for Western Standard?  No, they chose to run it fully aware of how it would be perceived by Muslim-Canadians.  Now they can stand behind what they publish if it meant so much to them in the first place.  Why am I asking question after question just to answer it myself?  I don't know.  Can I stop? I don't know........ :)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 19:14:42 by x-zipperhead »

Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2006, 17:02:24 »
I think we should offer our support to the Western Standard but I ain't sending them no money.  As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't even bother trying to defend themselves.  The law is the law whether it is a HR tribunal or a court of law.  This freakoid still has to establish a case.  He can't.  So eat it and have a nice day.  It would be a fairly effective protest.  I can't imagine an Alberta tribunal giving this dude judgment and damages.  I guarantee you if they have to invent a new rule, they will find a reason to dismiss this case on the first day. 

In any case, they should let the dude win.  Take a lesson from the enemy, martyr yourself, readership will probably go up and maybe it will smack a few people in the face that maybe we've lost sight of some important values.

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2006, 17:09:45 »
it will smack a few people in the face that maybe we've lost sight of some important values.


What values would those be?

Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2006, 17:32:39 »
freedom of speech.  freedom of the press.  freedom of expression.