In my SteynPost on Michael Mann's Clime Syndicate and the latest beneficiary of their offers you can't refuse, I mentioned my previous legal battles with Canada's "human rights" regime over Section 13. Brian Storseth's private member's bill took an eternity to crawl through Parliament all the way through to Royal Assent, but it got there in the end and Section 13 formally bit the dust just last month. By then, I wasn't in the mood for celebrating, but I'm glad to see someone's been popping the champagne corks at this belated but significant victory.
In 2008, when Ezra Levant and Maclean's and I found ourselves caught in the cross-hairs of Canada's "human rights" commissions, we had the great good fortune to be ensnared at the same time as Marc Lemire. Mr Lemire was involved in various fringe websites that had attracted the commissars' attention, and, when it did, they assumed he'd cave as quietly as all the other penniless no-name hate-peddlers that Hatefinder-General Richard Warman had tracked down and dragged into court as his personal revenue stream. Instead, Lemire pushed back hard, and became, from their point of view, the defendant from hell.
And so it was that, just as I was getting up to speed on the "human rights" racket, Marc Lemire was the CHRC's big case of the day. I fancied tootling along to Ottawa and swinging by the Canadian "Human Rights" Tribunal to see his trial in progress - just to get a head's up on what Ken Whyte and I would be in for at the Maclean's showdown. But to my astonishment Judge Hadjis had agreed to the CHRC's demand that the Lemire trial be held in secret on "security grounds":
I couldn't quite believe this when I chanced to happen upon the "judge's" rationale, and I suggested en passant that we should get Maclean's estimable QC Julian Porter to file a whatchamacallit, a brief or motion or whatever, referencing precedents and other jurisprudential-type stuff, and put a rocket up these totalitarian buggers by treating their dank outhouse of pseudo-justice as a real courtroom subject to real law.
Julian wrote a terrific motion, referencing Viscount Haldane, and Ambard vs Attorney General for Trinidad and Tobago, and I don't think Judge Hadjis, a hack jurist for a court with a 100 per cent conviction rate on Section 13 cases, knew what hit him: He'd never expected to have to defend his tribunal's appalling conduct within the norms of justice. And, unable to do so, he granted Julian's motion and gave up his grubby little secret trial in favor of an open hearing, at which yours truly, my Maclean's colleagues and a roomful of Ottawa bloggers filled the benches.
Opening up the Lemire trial was, I think, the turning point in the campaign against Section 13. As I testified the following year to the House of Commons in Ottawa:
Until Maclean's magazine and I intervened last year, the Section 13 trial of Marc Lemire was due to be held in secret—secret trials, not in Beijing or Tehran, but here in Ottawa. It is not the job of either Maclean's magazine or me to demand that in this country trials cannot be held in secret. That is the job of you and your colleagues and this Parliament.
Reluctant as they were, they eventually did it. To mark the repeal of Section 13, Marc Lemire has been running a grand retrospective cum grave-dancing beano on Canada's censorship regime, and in the latest installment he looks at my own case. One aspect in particular doesn't get enough attention:
As mentioned in previous articles, back in 2006, the CHRC was desperate for complaints. They had invested all this money; they had a special "anti-hate" team, special "anti-hate" committee, special lawyers, a special Compliance Manual for "hate cases", policy advisors, etc; but no one was complaining to them.
They had everything a lavish anti-"hate" regime needs ...except haters. So they decided to go out and drum up business. Three months before my Maclean's cover story "The future belongs to Islam", Harvey Goldberg, Section 13 "senior policy advisor", traveled to Toronto to meet with a delegation of Muslims to encourage them to file more complaints. As he reported back to CHRC censorship honcho Ian Fine:
A couple representatives of the Muslim community expressed concern that the threshold for hate was too high and that much of what they perceived as anti-Islamic comments in the media and elsewhere would not be included in the current definition of hate...
They also questioned whether the Commission would accept complaints dealing with anti-Muslim sentiments. I assured them that the Commission was fully committed to fulfilling its mandate under section 13.
Overall I think this round of meetings was successful in the continuing process of networking with key stakeholders and of furthering the Commission initiatives in the areas of disability and hate on the Internet.
That's how these guys talk, by the way: "Key stakeholders" is the preferred euphemism for professional grievance-mongers who keep make-work bureaucracies like the CHRC in business.
Still, it's interesting to see it laid out as Mr Lemire does. In essence, three months before my "hate crime" was published, the CHRC went to Toronto to drum up suits from aggrieved Muslims. Despite the misgivings they expressed, they went along for the ride. What they didn't expect was that Maclean's and I would push back so hard that, in the end, the CHRC folded - thereby kinda sorta proving the Muslims' point. As Lemire notes, their investigator thought it should go to trial, but, for political reasons, the CHRC concluded it couldn't stand the heat. (In British Columbia, they felt the same, but, under their rules, they couldn't wiggle out of the trial.)
The collusion between the CHRC and the Muslim community retrospectively confirms my view that, if we hadn't gone nuclear, we'd have been just another scalp on the long roll call of Section 13's 100 per cent conviction rate: That was the plan all along, and it was prevented only because Ezra and I went bananas and made the CHRC and its secret trials the real issue.
But it was a closer run thing than most people think, and the CHRC is itching to get back in the game.
Marc Lemire's report is well worth reading in full.
~The book that came out of my "human rights" battles - Lights Out - is now helping fund my latest battle, against Michael Mann and his global warm-mongers. It's available in personally autographed hardback edition from the Steyn store, or in non-autographed instant-gratification eBook edition from Amazon et al.