Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

December Ontario HRT Cases

Anyone who has ever tried to sift through the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal cases at CanLII will know what I'm talking about when I say it is a headache. You have case decisions mixed in with responses to requests to expediate, add respondents, etc, etc, etc, and it takes a lot of time to wade through it to find the stuff you actually want. So I have sifted through the cases for December to find the documents that someone interested in the OHRT might actually be interested in reading.

One thing that strikes you is that in many (not all) of these cases the person bringing charges is not what you would consider a model employee (or client, etc) who was innocently and unfairly subject to discrimination. In many cases the employee charging the company with discrimination was a bad worker, obviously argumentative and difficult, insubordinate, lying, or an opportunist desperately trying to keep their job. It's nutty reading.

And yes this is some, I'm not saying it is all.

Epileptic woman
asked not to bring service dog to buffet in restaurant. Tribunal found in favour and issued $500 fine.

Woman with one child in subsidized housing claimed discrimination on the basis of family size because her request to receive an expedited upgrade to a larger dwelling was refused. Tribunal dismissed case.

Injured worker, who was in a trial period with his employer, dismissed. Tribunal awards $9,760 and other remedies (training for management staff, etc)

Student complains that makeup school did not include makeup suitable for darker skin tones in makeup kits and that she was expelled when she complained about this. Tribunal dismissed case.

Woman claimed that she was refused admission to law school because she was Russian. Based on her poor academic record the Tribunal dismissed the case.

Woman claimed she was dismissed because of a chemical sensitivity. Respondent alleges that she was dismissed because they were moving the work overseas. Tribunal dismissed the case.

Candidate for President of a Committee claimed that she was not given the position because of gender discrimination. Respondent claims that election process was restarted because of serious allegations of improper notification for voters. Tribunal dismisses case.

Injured employee had a dispute over payment with employer and was dismissed, according to the respondent, for threatening his employer and the company. Tribunal dismissed case.

Construction worker alleges protracted workplace harassment based on gender. Tribunal dismisses case.

Worker alleges improper response to disability and improper payment. Tribunal dismisses case.

Male Real Estate agent uses vulgarity with a female client (who also used a vulgarity). Tribunal finds him guilty of gender discrimination and fines him $300

Applicant defies Tribunal orders (publication ban) and case is dismissed.

Case to determine if applicant was denied church membership in retaliation for bringing a HR charge against church.

Prisoner alleges sexual discrimination because the provincial director did not exercise her discretion to allow applicant to remain in a youth facility when she turned 20.

Applicant fired while on leave for heart surgery. Tribunal orders over $37,000 in compensation.

Worker claims that she was subject to discriminatory comments and actions on the part of the managers at her workplace. Tribunal dismisses case.

Applicant, on return from maternity leave, requests alteration in job from full-time to part-time but insists that she has the right to require job description, hours, and pay in the new position to meet her specifications. Tribunal dismisses case.

Applicant was fired as a result of criminal record. Alleges this was discrimination. Tribunal dismisses case.

Insurance broker, on medical leave, was fired in an office restructure and was not rehired for a different position. Alleges that this was discrimination. Tribunal dismisses case.

Mush Alerts

I was browsing the Conservative Forum and ended up on their Mush Alert quote page. A striking tribute to the honesty of people who are occasionally willing to say what they usually pretend isn't true. Some of the good ones are below with my commentary. More are available here.

Education and Social Engineering:

We really don't know how to raise children. If we want to talk about equality of opportunity for children, then the fact that children are raised in families means there's no equality. ... In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.
Mary Jo Bane - Former Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services of the Clinton administration

Because all children must become doctors. No I don't know what is wrong with your car.

[Government social engineering in northern Canada] gives us a chance to build the kind of society we want, without repeating the mistakes of the past. Jean Chr├ętien - Liberal prime minister of Canada
Number one reason we don't want the Liberals to get into power ever again. They're so "successful" (or sadistic).

We can build a collective civic space large enough for all our separate identities, that we can be E Pluribus Unum -- Out of One, Many. Al Gore - VP of the U.S.
Because we all have the right to define our own universe (Even illiterates). The central tenant of an Inconvenient Truth.

All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero... Lenin - Premier of the USSR
How do you say "I told you so" in Russian?

Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching? C.F. Potter - American educator and humanist
Why we homeschool.

... education should aim not so much at acquisition of knowledge... there is less need to know the content of information. ... [Capitalism] lays the foundations of rivalry and aggression and encourages exaggerated consumption, making man a slave of ambition and status symbols. ... [Lifelong learning promotes] equality of end result, and not merely of opportunity... and fosters equality in terms of opinions, aspirations, motivations, and so on. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization
" fosters equality in terms of opinions, aspirations, motivations" now I really, really, really have the creeps. I've got to have equal aspirations to the dead-beat in the back row? (Cookie cutter here we come, marching on marching on, every thought and every deed, approved by the authorities)

The secret of the superiority of state over private education lies in the fact that in the former the teacher is responsible to society... The result desired by the state is a wholly different one from that desired by parents, guardians, and pupils. Lester Frank Ward - Sociologist
Glad to know you're selling a product no one wants, perhaps people will eventually stop buying. I hope, I hope.

Freedom:

[Description of homosexuals as 'abnormal' is] of a critical and discriminatory (although not abusively discriminatory) nature. ... In Canada we respect freedom of speech but we do not worship it. Canadian Broadcast Standards Council
Descriptions of conservatives as vampire-ish (not the good Twilight kind), child-disemboweling, abnormally certifiable, fill-in-the-blank-with-words-my-Mother-says-ladies-don't-use, is however probably responsible reporting.

I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president. Hillary Clinton - Former First Lady of the U.S.A.
You gotta love that We. Too bad for her it never became an I (in which case it would be an I not a We you understand)

You know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say. Bill Clinton - President
You know, I might almost go for this, if "We" were to apply it to "Ourselves" first before "We" tried to dictate to anyone else.

We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans... Bill Clinton - President
One fixation I wasn't aware that "We" were overly fixated on.

The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society that is coming, where everyone would be interdependent. John D. Dewey signator of The Humanist Manifesto (1933) and "the father of progressive education"
Someone didn't predict the rise of the internet.

Morality:

The idea of good and evil is a myth created by the politicians, the priests, and all those who have an interest to keep it at their mercy. Brock Chisolm - First Director-General of the World Health Organization
But abstinence only sex-ed is wrong, wrong, double-fascist-wrong.

I am not ideologically opposed to anything unless it doesn't work. Brian Mulroney - Prime Minister of Canada
The defining quote of politics today.

[Environmental activism] We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. Stephen Schneider - Former Department Director and Head of Advanced Study Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder,
And we were surprised by Climategate?

Just for Laughs:

I'm not interested in patronage because I'm a Liberal. Jean Chr├ętien - Liberal prime minister of Canada
One word - gag.

As a woman, I fear that the gradual Americanization of our society might mean that I could not get on a subway alone. Adrienne Clarkson - Governor-General of Canada
Because....

That's not a lie, it's a terminological inexactitude. Alexander Haig - General
Which is why we want universal education so no one will know what that means and they will just accept our statements by faith.

Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have. Richard Salant - President of CBS News
I should get a million dollar contract to analyze why the media is failing, turn in this quote, and then retire in the Bahamas.

Gun Control:

We must be able to arrest people before they commit crimes. By registering guns and knowing who has them we can do that ... If they have guns they are pretty likely to commit a crime. Mary Ann Carlson - Vermont Senator
Jury, I would like to convict this man for first degree murder which he would have shortly committed. Evidence in support... (drum-roll)... this rifle registration. Yes that's it. Yes Your Honour I am feeling quite well. No Your Honour I do not know why security is presently approaching me.

This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!
Ten points for anyone who identifies this quote. Alright I'll tell. It was a Toronto Star reporter. No, I lied, it was Adolf Hitler. Really it was. I'll prove it.

Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal. Janet Reno - Attorney-General of the United States
Because we expect a revolution soon..... ours. (Cue evil laugh)

Gender:

[Advocating hiring policies that favour women] Ninety-nine times out of 100 it's going to happen the other way around so a little bit of redress doesn't hurt. Adrienne Clarkson - Governor-General of Canada
Which really explains a whole lot about... things.

Women fail to understand how much men hate them. Germaine Greer - The Female Eunuch
Except of course for Germaine Greer.

Women should be supported regardless of proof. Anita Hill - Former assistant to Justice Clarence Thomas
Anita Hill tried to murder me. I'm a woman. Now Anita are you going to support me or not?

Canada:

There can be no question of my addressing a message to Canada to celebrate its centennial. We can have good relations. We must have excellent relations with French Canada. But we are not obliged to offer congratulations for the creation of a state based on our past defeat and on the integration of part of the French people into a British system. Charles de Gaulle - French Prime Minister on Canada's Centennial
I'll be watching the mail for the U.N. resolution demanding the return of Canada to France. After all based on their attitude towards Israel....

I will not leave Ottawa until the country and the government are irreversibly bilingual. Pierre Elliot Trudeau - prime minister of Canada
The goal for future generations? Make a liar out of Trudeau.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Assorted Anglicans and Episcopalians...

Expounding the wonders of their theology to the world. I love the Book of Common Prayer, but there's not much to love in a lot of modern Anglican/Episcopalian clerics. To prove my point (Beautiful and not to be missed commentary by MCJ, follow the links for more):

Progressive Christianity believes the Christmas stories are fictitious accounts designed to introduce the radical nature of the adult Jesus....

Progressive Christianity doesn’t overlook Jesus’ life and rush to his death. Rather it sees the radical hospitality he offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick, and says: ‘this is the essence of God’. His death was a consequence of the offensive nature of that hospitality and his resurrection a symbolic vindication.

....Some of us have two questions. Why would the Romans care about some really nice guy in a really obscure portion of the Empire? I’m not that versed in Roman history but I don’t think the Romans executed people simply because they hung out with low-lifes...... And Now... Idiots

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

Could Mary and Joseph even get into Bethlehem today? Their donkey would undoubtedly be stopped, examined for explosives, and probably turned away because of its subversive cargo. Today Mary would likely give birth in another cave beyond the city and outside the wall, once again forbidden home and the shelter of family. Yet that very wall is an enduring reminder of human fear and the frantic quest for safety, not unlike Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter.

For pure, unadulterated stupidity coupled with mind-blowing offensiveness, I can’t remember ever reading anything better. Frank Griswold needed entire sermons to be as idiotic and insulting as that one, single paragraph.

Kate? If Mary and Joseph, who were both Jews last time I checked, approached Bethlehem today, who would be the ones stopping them? Who would examine their donkey for explosives? Who would end up turning them away and forbidding them “home and the shelter of family?”

You guessed it. Close to the Edge

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

“27. Professing salvation in Christ is not a matter of competing with other religious traditions with the imperative of converting one another. Each tradition brings its own understanding of the goal of human life to the interreligious conversation. Christians bring their particular profession of confidence in God’s intentions as they are seen in and through the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

..... because we Christians have a lot to learn from people who flatly deny what we say we believe.

That, Leo, my man, is what is known as dynamiting your own argument. Blowed Up Real Good

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

She told the audience that she wants “to follow the Jesus who descended into hell, the one who turned hell upside down looking for Judas. I want to follow the Jesus who went to the graveyard and invited Lazarus back into life … who was willing to be taught by a foreign woman that he was supposed to give her good news, too. And I want to follow the Jesus who hung out with the wrong people, and challenged ‘the right people’ to re-examine their categories,” she said.

First off, it’s nice to know that the Presiding Bishop believes in Hell, if, in fact, she does. Since this thing was in Dallas, she could have been tailoring her message for her audience......

She described Jesus’ ministry of “restoration at the personal and community level … about healing the soul and the soul of nations. It is a sacrament of God as trinity, God as relationship, God as community in God’s own self. It is also a mark of God’s yearning for more relationship … of the divinely abundant and more life-giving sort. That’s what I understand what grace is all about — it is the creative energy of God that makes more of itself.”

What are you looking at me for? I don’t have the slightest idea what’s she’s talking about and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t either.....

And what’s a Schori personal appearance these days without a shout-out to Gaia?

Other challenges include discovery of “the green savior,” she said, referring to honoring the environment, as well as rejecting violence against all creation..... Improv
Have fun and do read the entire posts at MCJ. They are nice Anglicans (I think they are Anglicans anyway).


The Street of the Dead Fetuses

by William Gairdner

...All at once you step on something soft. You feel it with your foot. Even through your shoe you have the sense of something unusual, something marked by a special `give.' It is a foreignness upon the pavement. Instinct pulls your foot away in an awkward little movement. You look down and see...a tiny naked body, its arms and legs flung apart, its head thrown back, its mouth agape, its face serious. A bird, you think, fallen from its nest. But there is no nest here on 73rd Street, no bird so big. It is rubber, then. A model, a...joke. Yes, that's it, a joke. And you bend to see. Because you must. And it is no joke. Such a gray softness can be but one thing. It is a baby, and dead. You cover your mouth, your eyes. You are fixed. Horror has found its chink and crawled in, and you will never be the same as you were...

Defining a Jew

Something only a gentile can do.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/charlesmoore/6840557/Our-human-rights-culture-has-now-become-a-tyranny.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6817243/Jewish-school-racially-discriminated.html

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why We Still Need Heroes

For the few people in the world who don't already know, someone tried to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day.

Further information can be found at these MSM links

It was a major intelligence failure


How it happened and who he was

Security did NOT work

Stiffer security in place

Miss the obvious so make everyone's life a nightmare


Canadian security

Then our dear friends in the blog world

Blazing Cat Fur with links about the bombing plus a bonus debate about whether Bernie Farber is a liar and if saying so is actionable.

Small Dead Animals and her team of amateur psychologists
diagnosis a case of "Peri-Millionaire Banker's Son Stress Disorder" and notes that Allahu Akbar is "The New "Cry For Help""

I'm not sure whether to say Steyn is part of the media or a blogger but anyway he is cynical about the anti-terrorism quality of scholarships and suggests that "with failures like this"

Wintery Knight
calls attention to the fact that even the terrorist's father turned him in.

Deborah Gyapong has a couple noting amongst other things the ironic double meaning of "religious ceremony" and that "western nihilistic gangsta "culture"" combined with Islamic jihad is a frightening and deadly synthesis.

Scaramouche points out that, Marxian theories to the contrary, poverty does not seem to be a driving force in jihad attempts.

In possibly related news. CHRT will investigate whether an airline racial profiled when they denied someone the human right of flying. I wonder if our Christmas bomber could have used that excuse if he was grounded.

One has to feel sorry for people in security. Everyone hates you for invading their privacy, delays, searches, stupid questions, making them turn on their laptops and cameras, etc. etc. etc. Then something happens and suddenly the way-too-careful security weren't careful enough and now just look what happened.

The bottom line is that short of an air marshal on every plane, plus no luggage for anyone, plus full body searches for everyone, you won't be able rule out any possibility of a successful bomb attempt and even then I'm not sure.

Mark Steyn points out that:
The arithmetic is very simple: Can we regulate for all faster than they can adapt for some? And remember, whatever new rules they pass about not using the bathroom in the last three hours of the flight, when you're sitting in seat 7B and the guy in 7C starts doing something goofy, the Federal Government won't be up there with you.
The short answer is that it is probably impossible to regulate faster than the ever creative criminal mind can think up ways to evade the system. We have technology today that was sci-fi fifty years ago (actually five years ago) and we still have trouble catching ordinary criminals who are not interested in martyrdom. The criminals just upgraded as the police did.

One answer that does seem to work is vigorous self-defense and an active, free-thinking public not scared of taking personal initiative. That's what happened on Flight 93. That's what happened on Christmas Day.

Somehow we seem to discourage heroism even while society applauds it. A little while ago I wrote a piece titled "Where Have all the Heroes Gone: They've Gone to the Psychiatrists" about the rise of anti-heroes in our culture and the fact that heroes have no place in utopian fantasies. In it I wrote:
Utopias are like pizzas, everyone has their own variety. But one theme that runs through many of them is that this is a No-Hero Zone. You don't need many heroes where everything slips by like pistachios on a conveyor belt. No drama, no moments of crisis. The bad ones disappear, taken by mysterious giant hands from above. The good ones run their course and land with a self congratulatory little rattle in the appropriate bag.

Destiny.

Heroes track mud in on the clean floor. More often than not they attack the postman, mistaking him for a burglar.

Criminals are so much simpler to deal with.
But in a world not quite so well regulated as a pistachio conveyor belt, for all the government's attempts, do we not still need heroes? That question was just answered. The next one is, do we have the heroes we need and will we continue to have them?
We are immersed in relativism and cynicism. There is no good and evil, no right and wrong, no up or down, no standard beyond expediency and we're not even sure about that. In this claustrophobia of equality can we be expected to look up to a hero? Can we believe in anything above or beyond ourselves? Did we kill the fairy tale when we made androgyny our god?

Can you die for something that is not a good?
Is our philosophy capable of producing heroes? I think the answer is no, at least not our post-modern philosophy. The only reason we still have heroes, real heroes, is because we have a logos, the law written on our hearts and minds, that part of the human being which is the image of God, however you would like to phrase it. Humans are not as malleable as some would like to believe. And it helps that most people don't listen to philosophy professors, although now philosophy has gone mainstream and cinematic. Watching a dozen or so popular movies should prove my point.

Ghost of a Flea points out that societies for a "non-killing world", to take an example, are out to lunch because of their disregard for human nature, both the logos and original sin parts, however much we would love to see the eradication of killing. While there is evil there will be death. Where there are humans there will be evil. Any attempt to impose a system of perfect morality by force (funny how conservatives are always accused of wanting to do that when in reality liberals are the ones addicted to that idea) will fail. In the mean time the evil will not stop, the only people you might be able to stop are the good ones who want to defend themselves.
Perhaps universal lobotomies, or drugs in everyone’s drinking water might work – except then the whole society becomes a free killing field for anyone who is not so controlled.
We all have an enemy, internal and external, called original sin. Today it is jihadists, yesterday it was Irish nationalists, tomorrow it will be who knows what. Always it is the usual suspects, rapists, murderers, liars, adulterers, those who steal the last chocolate chip cookie, you get the drift.

We always need heroes because every victory over sin is a heroic battle of titanic proportions. Any reader of sentimental fiction knows what returning a lost shilling will do for an orphan boy (fame, fortune, and adoption for those not addicted to the genre), but while this may be slightly exaggerated it is patently self evident that even tiny decisions can change a life, change lives, change a nation, change the world.

We need an empowerment that can only come from an unapologetic conviction. A conviction that some things are to be resisted with every fiber of our strength and that some causes are to be advanced in the face of the most fierce tigers of opposition, despair, laughter. How can relativism provide that?

We obsess over self-esteem and then rob people of objective morality or judgement, the very things which can give a person personal assurance and confidence.

What happens when our society has leveled all of life and culture to the point that we no longer know how to discern between mob violence and Flight 93, a just war and an illegitimate one, hysterical vigilantism and self-defense, rabid hate and plain spoken truth, discrimination and common sense. Do I have to wonder any more?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Fun Blog...

written by a friend of mine. Mr. J Gills has some mind blowing stats about the prevalence of TVs in American bathrooms, uses for dead I-pods (not recommended for use as deadly weapon), and rhapsodies about the joys of winter which mirrors my thoughts beautifully.

"Winter is here!!!! Yayyeeee! HA! Not!
Honestly I don’t understand people who get so excited about winter. I watch Narnia and I think “magic spell nothin” they’re just living in Canada! Of course it feels like it’s been winter for 100 years! I feel like that all the time!...

Anyhow, winter is here. That means for the next six months the world will be white. The snow will accumulate until it takes a ladder in order to reach the top of the snow banks on either side of your driveway and my lack of faith in “Mother Nature” will be justified. There is nothing motherly about winter. Not even “tough love” motherly. Unless by tough love you mean “hey, let’s have a gorgeous summer and trick all these explorers into thinking they can live here year round!” then bam! Look who has got scurvy and frostbite now! See? No mother is that cruel.
Check it out.

News IQ Quiz

I don't follow American politics very closely but I will get the major news one way or another. This is an American news quiz by Pew Research. I got 10 out of 12, just one short of Small Dead Animal's score which has to count for quite a bit. Please put your scores in the comments.

http://pewresearch.org/politicalquiz/quiz/index.php

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

In the interests of full disclosure, I don't celebrate Christmas being spiritiual heir to those "joy-killers and cranky protestant types" thank you Binks (although I don't advocate banning Christmas, for the record).

That being said, to all those that do celebrate Christmas I would like to wish a very Merry Christmas and thank you for wishing me the same.

There. I've got in my politically incorrect quota for the day. All liberals can fight it out in the comment section or better yet keep quiet. Let's let everyone have their fun.

Better yet you can link off to Free Canuckistan (and maybe buy him a Christmas present on Amazon) whom I forgive for his vile slanders against the Westminster divines and co. It is the season after all.

Sweet Gingerbread Man

As sung by Mark Steyn and Jessica Martin.

Top reviews from the Marprelate, we've been playing it all day around here. My parents like it, my brother likes it, my 10 year old sister likes it, I like it... Good all round stuff.

Follow the links to hear it and buy the complete album.

Via Blazing Catfur

One of my all time favorite jokes

The One About the CBC Reporter.

From SoCon or Bust

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good, Bad, and Ugly...

of the decade.

Amazing how quickly new things can become indispensable.

P.S. Is "green" really only this decade? Interesting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The International Consensus that We are Public Enemy #1

Looks like this.

Mugabe talks about hypocrisy

China talks about lack of transparency.

Chavez talks about dictatorship.

And they weren't talking about themselves.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/16/the-climate-change-conference-from-hell.aspx

Greenpeace Christmas Cards...

for Stephen Harper where you can add a personal message. Vistas of opportunity begin to open before me.

https://secure.greenpeace.ca/presents/gift_info.php?gift_id=7

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Roundup: Shriveling Weeds and Catching Horses

Sometimes I think it would be fun to play an elaborate hoax on the media just to point out how credulous they are, but I have too much concern for the free speech bloggosphere's credibility to undermine it that way. However, some people have no such concern for their credibility. Then again, after climategate, what hath credibility to do with climate change?

Israeli politicians can face arrest warrants in Britain. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Canada considering legislation that would also allow this?

Would you go to jail for your children? For the right to teach them according to your beliefs? Would you be willing to lose custody of your children rather than compromise?

By the way in a related case in a different country, what on earth does this mean? "Under these plans, even faith schools will have to cover areas such as same sex relationships and contraception. However, governing bodies will still be able to ensure classes reflect the religious ethos of the school." Why do I have this nasty feeling that saying same sex relationships are an abominable perversion might not constitute an acceptable religious ethos?

Class oppression, suppression of initiative, marginalization of women, and all in Thomas the Tank Engine which, for the record, should be (censored? banned?) because of the hateful conservative ideology it indoctrinates small children with. For the record, Barbie shows do not marginalize boys and teaching under-5s that Mommy and Daddy know best so don't try some cute little innovation like eating mashed potatoes with the toilet plunger is horrific. Nazis, Nazis, Double Nazis. P.S. Can I have her job? P.P.S. MCJ, no we are not proud, so please don't rub it in.

If you can excuse me mentioning the Twilight word again... 20 Unfortunate Lessons Girls Learn from Twilight, I agree except for points 11 and 17. I always ask my brothers to do anything mechanical or technical and I don't think you should read most popular novel series. At least not if they include teenage vampire romance. I find year old newspapers much more enlightening.

The Voice of the Martyrs details persecution of Christians in Canada. At the hands of the HRC. See sidebar.

Arrested for Praying While Jewish?

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Back

From the National Center for Family Integrated Church's "Sufficiency of Scripture" Conference and the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum

Pictures and Details to follow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Speechless

Identifying a statue donor violates a city's Human Rights Policy....

If the donor is pro-life.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/archive/2009/12/09/city-seeks-to-remove-plaque-on-nativity-scene-identifying-anti-abortion-group.aspx

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Event Blogging

Today was a very full day for people who are interested in freedom of speech and Canada's conservative movement.

In the day time the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies presented the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium and in the evening the MacDonald-Cartier Society presented The Conservative Movement at the Crossroads dinner/debate at the Parliamentary Pub. Both had a great line up of speakers and some highly interesting and engaging topics.

The event blogs can be found below. First is the evening event, then the daytime event.

Enjoy!

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Canada's Conservative Heritage

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

John Robson
Radio commentator and Ottawa Citizen columnist

We have an obstacle in our way in that some say conservatives are not part of Canada.

Canada's tradition is overwhelmingly conservative. Blackstone lived in a land where liberty is the cornerstone of their constitution. Canada's conservative tradition goes way back, right to the magna carta.

A society who forgets it's history is like a person with amnesia.

The story of Alfred and the cakes. Almost no one knows it today but before anyone would know it. Alfred was fighting the Danes. Things go badly so he runs and hides, disguised to a peasant. He comes to a cottage and begs shelter. The housewife, not knowing who he is, lets him in and then sets him to watching her cakes while she goes out. He ends up burning them and then apologizes. Afterwards he goes on to great success.

This was how Americans and Canadians understood leadership. That it was about humility.

Canute was a King who his councillors said could stoop the tide. So he tried to stop the tide but couldn't and then told his councillors not to flatter him. This is also about leadership.

After the Norman's conquered England, the barons rebelled against bad king John and make him sign the Magna Carta. This was an affirmation that King John did not have the right to do what he did.

When Americans rebelled about no taxation without representation it was an old right got out of Edward Longshanks who believed it was ancient law.

Our Canadian conservative tradition goes back to the mists of time. Canadians are free people.

There are a whole range of procedural safeguards that are considered an affirmation of the way things have always been and should always be.

We must have representatives of the whole English nation from Lords to Burgesses in Parliament.

Parliament has the power over money, and the House of Commons has most power in money bills because the common people pay the taxes. This is a very early affirmation of the veto which the common people have.

Henry VIII tried to get a law passed that his word was law. He almost got it but Parliament had a tricky bit in the law which took the powers back.

The British Civil War is a classic example of English moderation which is now the fabled Canadian moderation. People putting their lives on the lines to safeguard their liberties.

The people who said Canada is free and freedom is its nationality were looking back at this history as our history.

Our liberties come from the mists of time and has been under attack many times but it has been defended.

Revitalizing our legislature and other Conservative ideas are not foreign American ideas, they are part of our culture, part of our history.

We are one chapter of a long and exciting story. Canada's conservative tradition goes back at least as far as Alfred the Great rallying his men at Egbert's stone against the Danes.

All the things that we hold dear about due process are liberties we have held for seven, eight or more centuries. 

There is nothing unCanadian about a devotion to liberty when it is under attack. That doesn't mean there aren't problems today but it means we can tackle them in the spirit of Alfred.

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Where Canada's Conservatives have Been, are Now, and Should Go.

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

Gerry Nicholls
Former Senior Executive with the National Citizens Coalition and publisher of LibertasPost.ca

Where Canada's conservatives have been, are now, and should go.

When he started working for the NCC in the (70s?) they didn't have much money and were only a small group but there were thousands of people across Canada who supported them. They came from across the conservative political spectrum. They knew there was right and wrong; and Trudeau, communism, and big government was wrong.

They were part of a much larger conservative movement and they had their heroes like Thatcher and Reagan who inspired them, that they shouldn't compromise but stand on their grounds. They had some victories, Mike Harris, Stephen Harper, even the Liberals keeping a balanced budget. They like to think that the NCC had a role in that.

They also played a role in propelling Harper to his position. He was the President of the NCC and was a true blue, small c, conservatives who believed that we needed true conservatives and that we shouldn't act like liberals. However it hasn't worked out like that, in fact he has governed like a liberal.

This has divided the conservatives into 3 groups. The Harperites who support Harper in everything and think whatever he does is good. Power is more important than principle. You may not criticize Harper.

Then there are the Hoperites who hope that with a majority Harper will turn around and show his true conservative culture. They are motivated by hope and fear of the liberals. They don't want to rock the boat.

Then there are the Helplicites. They are disillusioned and cynical about it all. They think there is now no hope. If Harper couldn't stay conservatives then no one can. They think he has sold out and will never change. They have given up.

25 years ago they were united and it was about principle. Today we are cautious, divided, and it is about partisanship.

For your average person what Harper does is what conservatives believe, big spending, big government.

This is bad for conservatives, Conservatives, and the country.

We need to press the reset button on the movement. Stop worrying so much about partisanship and focus on winning the war of ideas. Win converts among people, especially young people. Convince people that we are right.

There are organizations out there, many of them. He would encourage people to support such organizations.

How do we convince people of all theses ideas? Don't have enough time but it is all in his book.

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Building a Small-c conservative Movement

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

Joseph C. Ben-Ami
President of the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies

Building a small-c conservative movement

What unites us, what divides us, and how can we overcome divisions.

He is glad we are talking about the conservative movement not the Conservative party. Political parties exist for only two reasons, is to get elected and stay elected. They have a policy they want to implement sure, but it is second to popularity and getting elected. We do need to take a sympathetic view towards the parties because they are working against that.

Flexibility and so forth are important qualities for any party in Canada. Whatever the good they do it does make them bad if they become the bastion of conservative ideals. An independent movement can lay out ideas even if they are not pragmatically possible for a political party.

Conservatism is not a set of doctrines but it is a way of examining first principles. This lack of unified doctrine has led to some very silly ideas about conservatives even within themselves.

One of the sillies ideas is that socons and fiscal cons are different and even incompatible. This leads to people clinging to terms like Progressive Conservative, when they mean that they are fiscal and not social conservatives.

Fiscal and socons are still not working together well. Same-sex marriage and deficits are two issues that fiscal and socons have focused on. These seem to be unconnected. The discerning observer will notice, however, that these have a common ground in the belief that the government is too big, expensive, and overreaching.

All of these issues are the footprint of the Leviathan failing schools, shortage of doctors, etc.

Our common goal should be to reduce the size of government and reduce it's power.

Socons will argue that liberty and freedom are cultural and we must retain that culture and social order if we want freedom. They think that government has a really proactive role in this.

Thoughtful socons think that this is the role of the family and church, not state. The state just has to respect the other institutions. They believe that the state is not working badly, but is doing too much. We must defend the church and family from the state.

Socons must understand fiscal issues and the connection between high taxes and high spending.

He directed his criticism at socons because he is a socon but he is also an equal opportunity critic.

Fiscals should realize that the erosion of family is not just a socon issue, declining birthrates have an economic impact on healthcare and the workforce which affects fiscal issues. The economic issues related to breakdown of the family should worry fiscals.

Family is the first level of government. They train children in hard work, thrift, fiscal responsibility, etc. Where else will they learn this?

Child poverty is a real fiscal problem, but you cannot deal with child poverty without dealing with family breakdown which is the main issue.

Just as socons have an interest in fiscal issues, so fiscals have an interest in social issues.

There is much room for diversity with the conservative movement and party, but there is a great degree of unity if we look past the surface.

Small government, low taxes, and personal responsibility are important for all conservatives.

We need to end our internal struggles and work to control the Leviathan.

Event Blogging The conservative movement at a crossroads: Governing in a Multi-Stakeholder World


Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

Don Lenihan Ph.D.
- Vice President, Engagement - Public Policy Forum

Governing in a Multi-stakeholder world, are conservatives ready, willing, and able?

We need to ask ourselves the question, what is it like to actually govern?

When the Conservatives came to power they brought several key issues with them.

Accountability
GST
Childcare money reform
Healthcare wait-time

Healthcare wait-times disappeared from the agenda because they didn't really have the power to do much about that.

Not all that long ago the world was much simpler and the government could do more. They could command the bureaucracy. It is different now.

Several quotes and statistics about how massive our world of information has grown. We get more information in a week of the New York Times than someone in the 1800s would have gotten in a lifetime.

What does all this mean?

Three things:

One: Things change very, very quickly. By the time you offer a promise it can be already too late to deliver on it.

Two: Interdependence - things are interdependent and connected in many ways today that they weren't historically.

Three: Complexity - the world is now very complex and that makes it harder to control the pieces. There aren't just simple moving parts that you can grab hold of.

If you ever end up on that floor in Parliament and the Privy Council came to talk to you they would say that the status quo has changed.

It is now so easy to get knocked off your chair because there are so many people messing around with all your stuff, things have changed.

Before, you dealt with problems by pulling in the reigns and managing better, or trying to.

However, when you do this you shoehorn highly complex issues back into the government silo to create a strategy. At the end you might have a wonderful document but everyone will still be going in their own direction and no one listens to you.

By doing this you perpetuate the idea that the government can just deliver solutions. There is a culture of dependency today because people just think the government should deal with every issue.

We need to tell stakeholders that we cannot do this without them. Government cannot do everything.

We need to realize that just trying to pull in the reigns is a defeatist strategy. The only other strategy is collaboration.

We need to recognize that the world is too complex for government to handle on their own. They need help from others to achieve programs.

Good policy used to be good ideas, but now everyone has their own ideas. So it is now one part good ideas one part process. We need to bring people together and pool their ideas.

What does this mean for conservatism? We need to learn how to work together more effectively.

Solutions must be ongoing and so must participation.

Government must realize it has a new role to play. It regulates, gives money, and provides programs. It must be a facilitator. They must send the message that it don't have all the answers.

They are the leaders, the conveners, but there must be helpers.

This is not just a chance to tell government what to do. If you want to play you have to pay. You have to become involved and put in your fair share of effort.

We must rediscover the role of community and responsibility in society.

My view is that the future belongs to the government who redefines how we govern.

(Bloggers Note: I had to leave this event a little early so I missed the final Q and A session. Very sorry about that.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: Welcome

At the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium the room is filling up quite well, very well for 9 o'clock on a weekday. The issue of free speech is certainly one that resonates with a lot of people, many of whom have traveled considerable distances to be here.

Joseph Ben Ami, President of Canadian Centre for Policy Studies, gives the welcome.

This conference, and indeed this issue, brings together people from different political backgrounds and perspectives. From journalists to professors, people with a judicial focus to people with an academic focus, Liberals and Conservatives.

This difference in perspective gives us a far more interesting view of the situation and shows that this is truly a non-partisan cause.

The objective for today is not to rehash what we all know, but to go into greater detail about these issues and to present practical things that we can do.

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: Not by Accident


Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Richard Bastien is an Associate Fellow with the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. He studied public finance at the University of Montreal and at Harvard University. He spent most of his career working as an economist in the Canadian Ministry of Finance, specializing in international finance

Liberalism is the dominant ideology today, the zeitgeist of our time. It affects all of our institutions from governments to churches.

Their creed is I am my own god, Contrary to Greek philosophers they believe that there is no objective good and evil. To them, we are compelled to treat all human desires and preferences as equal.

They claim that moral knowledge is impossible but through the back door they bring in their own set of moral values. There is nothing beyond ourselves, no meaning or order beyond what man imposes himself.

Liberalism says we must be tolerant of everything, but they impose their own standards in the same breath.

Liberalism must be neutral but this claim to moral neutrality betrays their fatal flaw. You cannot be committed to liberalism without being committed to an objective standard such as tolerance or peace, which is not a neutral.

Neutrality is not difficult, it is impossible.

There is a moral law recognized in every man.

This moral law came from the Jewish people, to the Greeks before Christianity even began.

This moral law is not an expression of any religion but it is expressive of an unchanging universal order.

Liberals are not neutral. They are ushering in their own agenda, secularism. Secularism means that there is no transcendence, There are no limits on human freedom except those that we put on it. Freedom and dignity are merely defences we have placed to safeguard are interests. Religion is immature.

Liberalism ultimately destroys all freedoms.

Under it's banner family, state, church, relationships, sexuality, etc are revalued.

Liberalism must destroy the old order to bring in the new one. It is a spirit of destruction.

In their view the heart of liberty is one's own right to define the nature of the universe.

Our culture is redefining human rights at every turn. For example we give people a right to an abortion which violates the child's right to life.

They are imposing their morality on all society, just as they accuse conservatives of doing.

Moral decisions before left to society are now made by technocrats and "experts'.

It is not objectionable that they have a moral agenda, what is objectionable is that they claim not to.

Liberalism negates both nature and culture.

Liberalism holds to the view espoused by Nietzsche that the whole Christian moral framework is against life. It is the one great curse, one great travesty, one great principle of revenge. We must be saved by the transvaluation of all values.

Today we have nihilism dressed in glittering garbs, it is a century of alluring nihilism.

Political correctness says that western society has been a history of white, male, heterosexual, Christian bigotry that excluded and victimized others. Therefore past social stigmas must be abolished.and preference must given to victims, as part of trying to destroy our traditional culture.

The Quebec religious course that is now taught in all schools, even private religious ones, attempts to show that all religions are equally correct because they are equally subjectives

Liberalism must understand where it came from. It is the political wing of modernism.

Modernism denies transcendence. In their worldview all is logic, propositions, things that are testable and science. Thus religion is irrational

Modernism in saying that only logic is valid, is arguing in circles and is thus irrational at it's core.

It says man is the measure of all things. That there can be no real certitude. Our senses and our brain are everything. We are pragmatic, ideas are believed if they work.

Liberalism is practical atheism. It says that religion is irration. However this is an irrational stand because you cannot prove a universal absolute.

There are two questions; Who is God? and Does God Exist?

"Who God Is?" is a question of faith.

"Does God Exist?" is philosophy and a matter of reason.

Why is there something rather than nothing? If we say there is no answer to that we must say their is no such thing as reason and meaning, a self defeating position.

Liberalism must get religion out of the public square because they have their own faith, priesthood, and dogma.

We must be clear about ideology more than we need to focus on reclaiming institutions. We are in the midst of a religious war between Christianity and Liberalsim

The Enlightenment concept of reason is more limited than the Greek or medieval view. It says only scientific reason is reason.

Modern and post-modern reason exclude God because he cannot be scientifically tested. The only thing worth studying is that which can be measured.

Modern man understands himself less well because he is obsessed with himself. Man is incomprehensible to himself without God.

We cannot solve the problem because we are the problem. We are a mystery to ourselves.

Science says we will solve that mystery, but the reality is that man is much more than anything science can measure.

Liberalism can only say morals are from fellow feeling. They come from the idea that your suffering is just as important than mine.

This leaves out the problem of evil. Why is their evil? 


There are three possible answers:

Ignorance. This Socratic idea has been discredited because smart and educated people do evil. Moral law is also written on the heart of man.

Faulty social engineering. This Enlightenment idea is faulty because it is used by people to impose their will on others and the results are actually inhumane in the end.

Original sin, the Christian idea.

Liberalism cannot deal with evil because it is not a scientific thing. Because of this they seldom condemn evil regimes or differentiate between religions because they see all gods as figments of the imagination.

Liberalism cannot see intelligible things as they are. They explain Islamist attacks as crimes which are a result as victimhood. They cannot see them as an act of war.

In the Judeo-Christian philosophy the line between good and evil is not drawn between nations or parties, but through each human heart.

Liberalism says we should act in public as if there is no God. History would say opposite. Our freedoms were brought in my Judeo-Christians. In fact, Liberals should act as if God exists. Their liberties flow from a religion.

Freedom can only be freedom to do something. It must be in service of some higher good. That good can only come from our Judeo-Christian tradition.

Q1 Question about the practical application of this division. He is an atheist who, despite his beliefs, believes in moral absolutes. Wouldn't what you say alienate some in the free speech cause? He objects to the liberal monopoly in the war of ideas.

A1 We are witnessing a monopoly. You say you are a secular atheist but believe in religious freedoms. However there is a logic to philosophical atheism and liberalism that does not allow for freedoms in the long run. You might believe in freedom because of your Judeo-Christian capital, but there are some things in the long run you cannot tolerate. How can you not tolerate abortion? But that is killing a human being. In the historical record we have had two experiences with atheist societies. Nazis and communist. Look at their record.

Q2 He is a physicist but interested in this topic because they are interested in the theory of everything, the unified field theory. There is a radical confusion between the words “every thing” (all things) and “everything” (which includes God, morals). I endorse what the other questioner had to say although he is a Christian. He likes to say that it is important for the people whom he dialogues with that he is Catholic, so there is an authentic dialogue. You seem to reference a competition between atheism and Christian. He sees the competition as being between Judeo-Christianity and scientific materialism. We should keep dialogue open for everyone who wants to use reason.

A2 Agree

Q3 You believe that people are able to be good without God. Is there room within social conservatism for charity and generosity for righteous pagans?

A3 Of course, was there anything he said that would bring that into doubt? Of course dialogue is within the Judeo-Christian heritage. Lack of dialogue is a problem with Liberalism.

Q4 With the World Youth Alliance they support human rights and are into practical agreements between people with different ideologies.

A4 Can there be dialogue between different religions and ideas? Yes. All philosophy has metaphysics. There must be a dialogue. That is what we are pleading for, but it is being denied by liberalism.

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: Conformity in the Name of Diversity

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Panal with John Robson and Peter Stockland

Dr. Robson is a columnist with the Ottawa Citizen, a broadcaster with News Talk Radio 580 CFRA in Ottawa, an Invited Professor at the University of Ottawa and a policy analyst with Breakout Educational Network.

Mr. Stockland is Executive Director, Centre for Cultural Renewal. Formerly, Stockland was a Vice President of Readers’ Digest Magazines Canada Ltd., editor-in-chief of The Gazette in Montreal, editorial page editor of the Calgary Herald and has worked as a journalist throughout Canada during his 30-year career in the media.

Conformity in the name of Diversity:

Dr Robson starts:

There is a concern that our rights are being eroded at the same time that we are obsessed with human rights. While we have the Canadian Charter, we are reading Shakedown.

Ezra Levant says that the HRC were a beautiful idea that failed. My job is to take issue with this statement.

It was impossible for them to succeed because they were founded on a faulty idea of how you secure rights.

In the West we have had, throughout our history, a good idea of what rights are.

The Charter did three things it should not have done. These issues need to be looked at separately because often we tangle them up.

One: It tried to establish popular sovereignty as opposed to Parliamentary sovereignty. They were dealing with the question, can you have rights in the long terms without a constitution starting We the People? However the end result was that neither ended up being sovereign.

Two: We got rights from above in a glowing and abstract way. It sounds better than lots of fiddly little details but ultimately is not a good idea.

Three: It promised more than there was and things that could not be given. It promised human satisfaction, self esteem, and things that may not even be possible this side of the grave, and are certainly not given by the government.

When he was young he didn't like the notwithstanding clause but as he got older he understood. Albert Venn Dicey in Law of the Constitution wrote about that with us freedom of the person is not a special privilege but the outcome of the ordinarily law of the land enforced by the Courts. This sounds weaker than the American style of we the people. However, the English have a long history of being very free.

What Venn Dicey says about rights is that they do not float down in a sweet smelling cloud but rise from specific laws that have specific remedies to prevent people from doing specific wrongs.

The proclamation in a constitution or charter of the right to personal freedom or indeed of any other right gives of itself but slight security that the right has more than a nominal existence. Students who wish to know how far the right to freedom of the person is in reality part of the law of the constitution must consider both what is the meaning of the right and, a matter of even more consequence, what are the legal means by which it's exercise is secured. (Rough quote from Dicey)

We can gather here not because of the constitution but because we have specific laws and remedies if someone tries to prevent us.

When we have procedural protections freedom wells up from below.

What the law needs to do in order to secure personal liberty is the same in popular and parliamentary sovereignty.

English law does not grant freedom for political meetings, or even concerts, but it provides individual rights for the people that might attend such meetings.

There is an infamous American ruling that at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence. Some would say that we cannot, existence has been defined by the Almighty and we can either bow to it or break ourselves upon it. Others would agree with this ruling and still believe in freedom of speech.

We cannot enforce this in law. We cannot enforce in law everyone's idea of their own reality.

The American first amendment is a bunch of don'ts and nots. Congress shall not do so and so, or make this kind of law.

The Magna Carta says there are specific acts the state cannot do and specific remedies if they violate that.

The Charter says we have the right to freedom from unreasonable search or seizure but unlike the American has no specific don'ts or remedies.

The Charter says government is committed to promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians. How can you sue with this? Who can you charge if the government fails? You could word it in such a way such that it would be enforceable. Such as Government shall respect contracts. Etc. but not like this.

People say that the Soviet Constitution gave rights and yet look what happened. However the Soviet Constitution said that the safety of the revolution is of the highest importance. Therefore they could do whatever they wanted.

The Charter gave us metaphysical madness, botched popular sovereignty, and makes promises it can't deliver on.

People make the argument of necessity, but necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. Is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves as William Pitt said.

We have been deprived of our procedural rights.

Peter Stockland speaks next:

He wants to give a practical case study.

In Montreal a pro-life conference was disrupted by a bunch of pro-choice activists who tried to prevent it from proceeding. He chose this example because the whole thing is available on youtube in 19 parts.

At the beginning of the conference someone gets up to introduce the speaker. Before she even finishes four people start banging on the table and shouting slogans. Over time the number of protesters grows to twenty.

After a time the police arrived but order was not restored. Eventually in a Kafkaesque moment, the pro-life club had their membership suspended because someone complained about it. The victims were further victimized.

At the time the protesters got up and started singing nursery rhymes. They tried to trivialize the conference.

It was chilling to think that these were all post-charter kids. They grew up in a Canada where government enforces the primacy of the subjective, HR Commissions, the Charter, etc.

This shows how attitudes have shifted from the classical attitude of rights.

We should do an analysis of different event disruptions. If you did such an analysis of disruptions across the country I think you would find reoccurring words that would give you the key to the mindset behind such actions.

This shift in attitudes takes the form of a series of mantras. The primary one is that code must triumph civilized behaviour. The codes, the law, themselves are the remedy. The codes permit them to disrupt these meetings. The mantra is that “This is Not a Debate”. Organizers of the pro-life conference offered to to host a debate but pro-choicers didn't bring someone forward. When protesters were reminded of this they said that it was not a debate. They were not there to debate. It was like they owned the conference.

This is not a continuation of the political correctness debates of the 90s. That was mostly about prissiness, what you can say. This is about I don't want to hear what you have to say and I don't have to go away from where you are saying it.

At one point we see a girl handing out the McGill equity code. She is standing in front of a person trying to speak. She is saying I have a right to be here and disrupt you because I have the code in my hand.

Equity is no longer each to his own in a fair way, it is existential and cannot be violated.

Someone said that the conference was in violation of the Charter, McGill equity policy, and “Me”. The Me is the most important. The codes don't exist to police the interaction between views. They are there to protect ME from harassment even when she had to seek out the harassment.

A fellow says we have a right to a hate speech free campus. It is about me. I am protected from hate speech, which is speech I hate. If I hate it it must spread hate and thus must be hate speech.

These are not babies, they are in their 20s.

What is importnat in that definition of hate speech is that they assume they own the space. Hate speech has no place on OUR campus. It is not YOUR campus too. I am denying you the right to exist here, not just to speak. It establishes a proprietary relationship.

Click on part 8 of the Youtube if you cannot watch all 19. This is when a policeman shows up.

It illustrates the relationship that this Post-Charter generation has to authority. Authority is to be argued with, cajoled. One protestors asks a policeman do you want the media to see you dragging students out of the classroom? Police says yes, if I have to.

They ignore the policeman because code trumps law.

These codes exist to enforce the social orthodoxies of the post-charter world. The young people are not rebels, they are safeguarding their orthodoxy.

Freedom of speech is about the ability to call the orthodoxy into the public square, challenge it and make it defend itself.

This freedom of speech is seen as just something to be silenced.

Q1 Protestors from Greenpeace have taken over Parliament costing perhaps thousands, at another event the immigration minister was invited by a church group and experienced the same thing. Isn't this the same thing as happened when we were young in the 60s? Perhaps it is our chickens coming home to roost.

A1 No, this is the opposite. There was at that time at least an attempt at intellectual engagement, but not now. There is also the issue that what was dangerous in opposition is more so in power.

Q2 The authorities in McGill were at a loss how to deal with this. What can they do?

A2 Those protesters were very lucky that pro-lifers are very civil. They can't do that everywhere. In his hometown if people did that at a union meeting they wouldn't walk home. 
We must take back intellectual space that has been taken from us. Most people don't like disorder. We need to bring back civil discourse.

Q3 Once there was a concept of a “big law” that came from beyond the statutes. We have abandoned that. The British system is based on common law, unwritten, the court is discovering the rules of truly just behaviour, God's law. Also, disruptions of private meetings are one thing but public government meetings are different. When government people impose agendas they are in breach of the public trust and disruptions are completely in order.

A3 Acting in that way to start civil disobedience (government meeting) is quite different from actions to impose obedience. If we are engaged in civil disobedience then we accept the punishment. These young people don't see it that way.
(Somewhat dissenting view) Unless we see the system as completely illegitimate, disrupting the process of law is very serious and should be discouraged.

Q4 What seems to be growing up is social Darwinism.

A4 No question about it.

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: Suppressing Dissent

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Gerry Nicholls is former VP National Citizens Coalition (NCC) and Editor of Libertas Post. As a senior executive with the NCC, Canada’s largest organization for the defence of economic and political freedoms, he was the chief creative force behind the organization’s communication campaigns.

Freedom of speech is very important.

His legal theory is never get in trouble with the law. He is a very law abiding citizen

On Nov 28, 2001 RCMP officer came to his office to charge the NCC with a crime. They said that they had violated the election gag law. This is a bad and dangerous law which free speechers should oppose.

This law puts limits on how much money citizens or organizations can spend on political advertising during elections. It gives politicians a monopoly on election debates. We were always opposed to it because if we don't have free speech in elections we don't have free elections.

The NCC has gone to court multiple times and succeeded in getting it declared unconstitutional. Stephen Harper was the President of NCC and was so opposed to this law that he personally brought a challenge to the government about the matter.

TheNCC wanted to win this debate in the court of public opinion as well as in the courts so they ran a series of ads in Oct 2000, to coincide with their court dates. By coincidence, there was a federal election at the same time. This posed a dilemma.

The law is very vague. Any ad that takes a stand supporting or opposing a political party or candidate or taking a stand on an issue that is connected to a party falls under this legislation. The NCC decided that this wasn't an issue that was connected to a party. They even took it to a Constitutional lawyer who gave it the green light.

As it happened, a Liberal saw the ad and turned it in to Elections Canada. However it took them over a year to lay charges against the NCC. He suggests that this might have been to embarrass Harper on the eve of running for leadership of the Canadian Alliance (Harper had called the head of Elections Canada a jackass during their election gag law debates). He might be called paranoid to even bring up the question because Elections Canada is a government department, it is impartial and doesn't hold grudges.

However, another story. During one election campaign the wheat board ran an ad on an election issue against the Conservatives, This was declared okay. Suggests that there might be bias because Elections Canada used a strict definition of the law for the wheat board and a loose standard for the NCC ad.

When you have a law that is vaguely worded it gives the government licence to go after people they just don't happen to like.

People claim that HRC have no due process. Even when there is due process this stuff is not a walk in the park. Elections Canada used every trick in the book to drag it out. The NCC lawyer said he had never seen anything like it. In the end it cost about $100,000.

There was also a psychological effect. Another time when they were threatened they decided to pull the questionable ad instead of fighting because they didn't want to go through that again.

It creates a chill. People will self-censor and not run any political ads during an election because they don't know if it will break law.

Now courts have said that the gag law is constitutional.

To end on a positive note:

The internet is outside the jurisdiction of Election Canada so encourage people to run ads there.

We now have allies on the left because the Conservatives are in power and Liberals don't like censorship when the shoe is on the other foot.

Our third reason for optimist is the PM who is very much opposed to election gag laws. It is disappointing that he hasn't done anything about it. He has had a minority but he will probably have a majority soon so we need to encourage him.

Q1 Would you consider in the lead up to the next election encouraging newspapers to run ads as editorials?

A1 Yes that would be legal although newspapers can't give free advertising to get around election gag order. If it was an op-ed it would be legal.

Q2 If there is no gag law how would you deal with big money using sophisticated manipulation to influence people?
A2 He rejects the premise that a lot of money can influence people. People are intelligent enough to see the issues. Campaigns can outspend their opponents and still lose.

Q3 There are many things that Elections Canada has done to cripple democracy.

A3 Yes, we have had many run-ins with Elections Canada. They play hardball and they play for keeps.

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: Rethinking the Lessons of the Holocaust

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Joseph C Ben-Ami is President and CEO, Canadian Centre for Policy Studies. Ben-Ami’s resume includes serving as Executive Director of the Institute for Canadian Values, Director of Government Relations and Diplomatic Affairs for B'nai Brith, and serving as a policy aide to Stephen Harper.

He has the most controversial and sensitive topic, Rethinking the Lessons of the Holocaust.

He thought very long and hard about this, and then long and hard again. There are some still living who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and he does not want to hurt them in any way. He is also worried that his words could be twisted and used by holocaust deniers.

He has not really experienced any personal anti-semitism until the last few weeks when he had to have some contact with holocaust deniers.

Max Yalden has a prestigious resume. He wrote a column in the national Post about the HRC saying that after two disastrous world wars and the horrors of the holocaust we are surely obliged to judge rather differently the issue of unfettered free speech.

He seemed to be saying that the Nazis were allowed to come to power and cause the holocaust because they were allowed to unfettered liberty to propagate their anti-semitism.

There is no evidence to support that.

To be sure there were those who supported the Nazis because of their anti-semitism, which was a plank in their platform. However they never won a majority of seats in any free election.

It must be noted that there were other tyrannies that arose in Europe at the same time that were not about anti-semitism. Mussolini's Fascism and Communist Russia are two examples. Although they had some anti-semitism that was not a major theme and some of them had leading figures in those movements that were Jews. The Italians also resisted the German anti-Jewish policies.

If so many other dictatorships were in power at the same time, could the Nazis have come to power without their racism? It is reasonable to suggest yes.

The question how did they come to power has no simple answer. They capitalized on several issues. One thing that helped, though, was the way they tried to suppress all of their opposition.

Malevolent dictatorships in general do not win over the population, they suppress dissent. The successful dictatorships don't use force to legislate uniformity but remove awareness that there is another option.

The lack of organized, coherent, opposing opinion helped to bring Germany to War (In WW1?)

What happened in Nazi Germany is not what happens when hate is tolerated, but when it is empowered. They did not invent the apparatus they used to suppress civil liberties, they used what the Weimar Regime already had in place. The Weimar Republic tried to break up meetings, banned political groups, and shut down newspapers in the name of protecting democracy.

As a matter of fact, one of Hitler's jobs was to spy on the national socialist parties, it was while doing that that he became influenced to join them.

Canada and others who fought Germany, except Russia, were strong supporters of liberties including freedom of speech. It is true they suspended some during the war years, but not nearly to the level of the dictatorships. There is no evidence that even these limits helped the war effort, but may have hindered such good things as protests of the Japanese internment.

You should be troubled by the willingness with which some young people are willing to engage in the activities that helped to bring the Nazis to power. He is not calling these people Nazis by any means, but these tactics that try to suppress all alternatives to the officially accepted view can be used by malevolent dictatorships.

Only small groups of people are ever actively engaged in arguing, most people just rely on getting information from those who are arguing.

These laws have the best of intentions. However the reality of politics is that you are never in power forever. Laws that you brought in for good reasons can be used against you by people who are malignant and can suppress your rights. While we are not on the verge of that in Canada, some people are starting to try to do that.

The only guarantee of our liberties, the only answer to bad ideas, is good ideas. We cannot bring in laws that could someday be used against us, to stop us from bringing forward good ideas.

I can say today that Ernst Zundel is a buffoon. What happens if I can't say that anymore?

Remember that the Weimar republic was a democracy.

Q1 This is what happens when governments deny opponents the opportunity to speak. You say that this is what happens not when hate is tolerated but when it is in power. I would suggest that this is also the case when peace is in power. Germany was building up a massive army and Chamberlain suppressed pro-war dissent. So it is not a matter of who or what is in power but whether free speech is suppressed.

A1 That is a very good point. To clarify, the empowerment of hate was addressing the suggestion that allowing hate will cause holocausts. By the way you can't stamp out hate. It is impossible. My point is that the Nazis did not come to power because they were anti-semites but because they used successful strategies. Then when they came to power they had the ability to rule tyrannically. We need to prevent governments from having illegitimate censorship powers because even democratic governments can be arbitrary. We should also be concerned about central control of education which is another topic.

Q2 Why is it easier for young people to be drawn into a we are democratic so you can't speak headspace. Thanks the young people who are here.

Q3 Challenges the idea that anti-semitism was incidental to the rise of the Nazis. It was central to Hitler. Hatred of Jews is an undercurrent that defines all despotic governments

A3 We can find some middle ground. Yes anti-semitism was central to the Nazis. It is an open question, would need to look at it, that it is involved in many dictatorships, perhaps it is a good indicator of where things are going. All he is saying is that if we could go back in time and remove anti-semitism from the Nazi party they would probably still have come to power and launched a brutal war. To say that without anti-semitism in the Nazi party none of these bad things would have happened is naive. This is about limiting power. Governments can't have the power to suppress dissent.

Q4 Sophie Scholl (some remarks about her being beheaded for saying something about social darwinism.)

Event Blogging the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium: True North Strong and Free: Why Canada’s founders thought freedom mattered

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk and consult the official audio record if you want to verify or quote anything.

Dr. Brian Lee Crowley – Past President and Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and author of Canadian bestseller Fearful Symmetry: the fall and rise of Canada’s founding values.

It is often said that in Canada we are lucky, lucky to be peaceful, to have our natural resources, and to be able to attract so many newcomers. However people make their luck and we are lucky because we have been endowed by our ancestors with a set of beliefs in freedom, rights, dignity of work, and the centrality of the family. It is our responsibility to make sure this luck doesn't run out.

Our founders had high hopes for Canada. We have preformed feats in arms and building that are far out of proportion to our small population. Living in the shadow of America we sometimes forget that we have no reason to be ashamed. Our forbearers believed in us because of our set of beliefs and who we were, and who we expected newcomers to become.

The Confederation debates were about what type of government could best secure liberty. The contemporary view is that the founders were dull, uneducated men who were just making a deal and could not have given a thoughtful defence of the Parliamentary form of government. They are seen as just stuck to the status quo, uninterested in any enlightenment ideas about social contracts and so forth.

However this is not accurate. They were not simple minded, but thoughtful men who were centrally concerned with rights and freedoms. They were informed about enlightenment ideas and social contracts. They were interested in what we would today call civil liberties, as opposed to the positive rights that are so popular today.

When they talked about rights they were talking about free speech, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of religion.

The debate was a debate of means. When we study this we find thoughtful, intelligent men who we have every reason to be proud of.

The Constitution Fathers were familiar with American documents including secessionist papers, the Federalist Papers, the New Zealand constitution, European constituions, British history, and Canadian history.

One said that there can be no strong government without life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that all government comes from the consent of the government. This is the foundation of British government.

Not a few of the Founding Fathers thought that the British tradition better secured liberty than the American. Others admired America.

They believed that their chiefest care was to protect the individual, to protect the rights of the minority against the minority. That British liberty was better than American equality.

Central to the debate was that we all have the obligation to exercise our rights and responsibilities. If we deprive people of that, with social assistance for example, it is to make people less than human.

What made Canada different from America was that there was a stronger work ethic and less dependence on the public system.

It was thought that Canada would be a beacon to the world and that the 20th century should be filled by Canada because of our commitment to liberty.

Canada is free, and freedom is our nationality. That is much more stirring than our modern refrain that Canada is free, free medicare.

Man must be free to seek his own improvement and control his own destiny, good or bad.

An activist government has a corrosive effect on people's character. People have to deal with their own problems.

We are in the danger of over government. It is doing great harm to us.

We are moving nearer to socialism, nearer and nearer in the mist to the edge of the abyss. This was said when government was spending 11% of GDP. In 1993 it was spending over 50%.

A Mayor of Ottawa said that recipients of welfare should develop independence.

Those who opposed Mother's Support said it should be left to the local institutions who could know the character of those they were helping and help them to get off charity as soon as possible.

They opposed Roosevelt's New Deal and American style interventionism as socialism bordering on communism.

In 1938 a report was made that deplored the fact that Canada has fallen behind in supporting people. This report was shelved.

Following the New Deal we were probably the most laissez-faire country going.

After a brief flirtation with the welfare state in the Marsh report, Mackenzie King reverted to the laissez-faire state.

The Liberals depended on free enterprise and the free market to bring the economy and country back after the war (WW2)

Between the 30s and 60s more money was spent by America on social welfare than by Canada.

Any non-essential interference by the government was repugnant to the Liberal party (laughter in room) (In the 40s-50s?)

After 1957 election the Liberal roots of liberty were strong although there were conflicts within the party.

They believed that social welfare was hurting the liberty and dignity of people.

We are persuaded that State paternalism is the enemy of all progress. (1940-50)

In the Maritimes they argued that free trade was the best option to help their situation, welfare the least.

Medicare is not the same as a welfare state. Tommy Douglas said they were not interested in paying able bodied people who wouldn't work. They supported those too old or handicapped to work. Those who were able bodied were given workfare. Money for work.

The view of Canadians as more left-wing, more welfare statish, kinder, gentler, than Americans is new and is only sustained by consigning our founders to a dusty trunk. Our welfare programs are American imports.

We rapidly caught up and passed the States though. We began to associate the values of our first century with foreign values. Values that have nothing to do with us.

It is our responsibility to bring back self reliance, liberty, small government, and personal responsibility. We must challenge the smelly little orthodoxies of the day and document the failures and cruelties of the big, bossy, Nanny state.

If Canada has enjoyed a long run of good luck it is because of the values that we got from our fore bearers. If we go back to them we will continue making our own luck.

Q1 A movement is healthy when it can engage in self criticism. When taking a triumphalist view of Victorian Canada, how about how indigenous peoples are and were treated?

A1 Excellent question. That comes up in the States as well with slavery and indigenous peoples. There is a difference between the values we subscribe to and what we actually do. When we fall short we understand that we are falling short. It takes centuries to bring our actions into line with our ideals. Shortcomings in action do not negate the values of ideals.

Q2 Mentioned Federalist papers and American constitutions. What is his view on the difference in influence between the British and American systems on Canada?

A2 Not sure can go this % America this % British, we drew from both for our inspiration. Our founders also drew a link between the British and Americans, they did not see them as incompatible.

Q3 What is the division of powers in matters of taxation between the Provincial and Federal governments? Someone is bringing a constitutional challenge to the HST because the Federal government is overreaching itself.

A3 Ottawa is not limited on the powers of taxation, only provinces are.