I'll be on the radio with Michael Graham at 2pm Eastern today, and with Hugh Hugh Hewitt at 6pm Eastern. Details in our "On The Air" box at right. And Michael and I will be among the cast of thousands descending on Nashua, NH for the Northeast Republicans Leadership Conference starting tomorrow. I'll be speaking on Saturday, and hope to see you there.
~The defamation trial of my friend Ezra Levant in Toronto has now adjourned until closing arguments on April 7th. Ezra has returned to the telly after a week-and-a-half in the dock, and resumed his Sun News show with this characteristically pungent summary of the case:
You'll forgive a mirthless titter from me at his complaints about the $30,000 pre-trial lawyer's bill. As I noted the other day, my guys in the Michael E Mann suit burned through half-a-million and were anxious to negotiate billing rates for 2015 - which, presumably, they foresaw as still part of the "pre-trial" phase. Thirty grand with DC lawyers is barely a down payment on a preliminary phone call. What I wouldn't give for Canadian rates.
As I've said, Ezra's performance in the witness box last Friday was inspirational, and his point-by-point slugfest against Brian Shiller, a potentially lethal barrister who's behind a handful of suits against Levant, was courtroom drama of the kind you don't often see. But, after all the theatrics, what's the likely outcome? Blazing Cat Fur:
I expect a win for Awan, not because his side was argued better or his case was stronger but simply because the law is an Ass.
I don't think Madam Justice Matheson is an ass at all, and would be delighted to find her seconded to the DC Superior Court. But I hope she knows the difference between her own courtroom and the we-don't-need-no-steenkin-rules totalitarian craphole of the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal. On the first day of Ezra's trial last week, Brian Shiller complained that the defendant had sneeringly referred to the three judges in Vancouver as a "troika", a Soviet term. I think, in fact, I was the first to use that coinage, and I did so for a reason. Shiller never bothered to ask why there were three judges in BC. There aren't usually in English law. There aren't usually even in "human rights" tribunals. But neither Heather MacNaughton nor any other member of the BC "Human Rights" Tribunal was willing to bear sole responsibility for an already discredited political prosecution. So they agreed to seek safety in numbers and have three judges. Just like that! In other words, they made it up as they went along.
So, in effect, did Khurrum Awan, who in that Vancouver courtroom wore multiple hats, as witness, co-counsel and plaintiff. He did so because, like Heather MacNaughton, he understood that the precise definitions of real law are far more mutable under the squalid "human rights" regime. He represented himself as the "complainant" in British Columbia multiple times. So did his lawyer:
Add to that a recently discovered obscure posting (not discussed in court) on the Canadian Islamic Congress' own website. It is a letter signed by Faisal Joseph, the antisemtic organization's counsel who represented them in the complaint against Macleans before the British Columbia Human Rights Commission and who was a witness in the current Levant trial. Awan has insisted in court he was not the complainant, but only a witness in that hearing, and yet in the letter, which is an offer to settle, Awan is indeed listed as one of the complainants.
Awan is now arguing that in British Columbia he wasn't a plaintiff, he just played one on TV - and radio, and in newspapers, and at press conferences, for months and months on end.
As to not being aware that the organization he served as "youth president" was a sewer of anti-Semitism headed by a notorious Jew-hater, as Ezra put it during his cross-examination by Shiller, that's as persuasive as saying you joined the Ku Klux Klan only because you like the uniforms.
I hope Blazing Cat Fur is wrong, but I wonder how many people feel as Christie Blatchford does in her final dispatch:
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 Levant live-blogged.
I'm glad 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, Steyn and 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.
That's very Canadian: Can't we all just get along? And, because it's so Canadian, for years many people turned a blind eye to who Mohammed Elmasry really was and to the abuses of the "human rights" enforcers. The great strength of Common Law, and the reason it has enabled more people to live in liberty than any other legal system in history, is that the "minority group" it prioritizes is the individual, equal before the law. Canada's "human rights" regime perverts that and accords you more or fewer rights according to which identity-group boxes you check, creating a system in which plaintiff and defendant are unequal before the law. Christie knows this very well from her splendid coverage of the Caledonia fiasco, and her own reception at Elmasry's University of Waterloo. It's not "kind" to compromise with such a system; all it does is make you an accomplice of injustice - and, indeed, evil.
~By the way, if you're keeping score, I've just filed an Amended Answer to Michael E Mann's Amended Complaint, countersuing him for $30 million. As I said, I wish I were in Madam Justice Matheson's courtroom, but, when in Rome, do as the Romans and all that...