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My New Hero: A Publisher Stands Tall

One of the most frightening aspects of modern life is the slowly-evolving agreement among left and right that our constitutionally-enshrined protections for free speech ought to be dismantled in the event that someone might be offended.

So it's a joy and more to watch Canadian publisher Ezra Levant defend himself against a hearing officer from the Alberta Human Rights Commission who is investigating his Western Standard magazine for republishing those controversial 2006 Danish cartoons lampooning Mohammad. In Canada, as in the United States, human rights commissions appear to have strange powers to investigate and label people. These commissions latch on to hate crimes legislation that seeks to get inside citizens' heads, punishing them not just for what they've done--existing criminal law adequately covers that--but for their reasons for doing so.

So when Levant struck back at the hearing officer and put the video of the confrontation up on the web, he struck a blow for all who believe that government's role is to protect us from criminal action, not from the thoughts of others, no matter how ugly they may be.

Check this out:

By Marc Fisher |  January 16, 2008; 7:22 AM ET
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Comments

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Kudos on your support of Mr. Levant.

Care to comment of the Post being too cowardly to publish the Danish cartoons?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/10/AR2006021001504.html

Posted by: AlvinT | January 16, 2008 9:07 AM

I love that he's drinking Canada Dry.

Posted by: OD | January 16, 2008 9:46 AM

I would have thought that, up there, they would just call it "Dry."

Posted by: Lindemann | January 16, 2008 9:57 AM

Awesome. Wonderful. Eloquent. Where are the US publishers ready to say the same not only to the "speech police" behind hate crimes laws but also to the government officials who are eagerly eroding our civil liberties on every front.

Posted by: Meridian | January 16, 2008 10:15 AM

What's really interesting about this is that Canadian's don't have a constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 16, 2008 10:40 AM

Well, I suppose you can quibble about the limitations, but their constitution certainly does mention freedom of the press:


Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN CANADA.
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fundamental Freedoms

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.

http://www.efc.ca/pages/law/charter/charter.text.html

Posted by: Bob S. | January 16, 2008 10:59 AM

I'm proud to be from the same continent as Ezra Levant. I, too, hope for an end to "hate crime" laws, which are not even intended to be applied in a fair or reasonable manner.

Posted by: William | January 16, 2008 11:09 AM

He's my hero. Too bad I can't say the same about Donald Graham. Graham should call up Levant and ask where he (Graham)can buy a spine.

Oh, and I'd be willing to bet money that the very same imams who brought complaints against Levant are publishing materials and preaching sermons that are full of hate toward Jews, Crusaders, etc.

They play the PC game very well. They spread hatred and discrimination and demand that you accept it in the name of tolerance, and then in the next breath demand that the government, in the name of tolerance, silence their critics.

Posted by: Claudius | January 16, 2008 11:57 AM

In any society you have those rights you are willing and able to defend. Canadians were not willing to defend their right to bear arms. Now they are unable to defend their right to free speech.

Posted by: Woodbridge VA | January 16, 2008 1:51 PM

Rights are like a bed of flowers. You need to constantly water it, feed it, and remove the weeds (i.e. fight the illiberal lefto-fascists and post-colonials).

Posted by: Kazemi | January 16, 2008 10:59 PM

If only that Americans were willing to stand up for our freedoms (not just the press) in the same fashion, and with such eloquence when confronted by tyranny, this country would again be a beacon of hope, prosperity and freedom to the world.

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