Friday, February 29, 2008

Human Rights Commissions: A Reader Wants To Know

Frequent commenter Allan was apparently perturbed that I devoted space to last weekend's Mats Sundin trade deadline saga:

"Mats Sundin to Stay a Leaf" yeah a really important topic.

You have been strangely silent about your darling friends on the kangaroo courts.

I wonder why.

You're right Allan, Mats Sundin doesn't matter.

Ezra is where the real action is.

And speaking of Ezra...

Mr. Levant is now embroiled in yet another controversy that may find its way to the courts.

This time, it is with Richard Warman, a Canadian human rights advocate and lawyer, who is threatening litigation over certain blog articles by Mr. Levant that are alleged to be defamatory.

On February 24, 2008, Mr. Levant posted a PDF of correspondence received from Mr. Warman's lawyer, Brian Shiller, alleging libel against Mr. Levant and demanding "complete retractions" by Mr. Levant of certain, specified postings that are excerpted in the letter.

Beyond that, I've said much on free speech and Canada's human rights commissions already.

Readers know where I stand.

And particularly given the bang-up job Big City Lib has been doing with this topic, I'm note sure I have much to currently add.

BCL, by the way, has been on fire this week.


Dave at the Galloping Beaver has been discussing a real censorship issue, now playing courtesy of the Stephen Harper government.

Mr. Harper has introduced changes to the Income Tax Act that would allow the government retroactively "to pull financial aid for any film or television show that it deems offensive or not in the public's best interest – even if government agencies have invested in them."

The Harper government plans to use the Income Tax system as a weapon to stifle anything they don't like - after it's made. It's a weapon and it is censorship. Once this bill passes no producer of Canadian film or television will know if they have the advantage of the Income Tax Act. The Canadian Revenue Agency won't be able to determine, based on a set of strict guidelines either. So a producer will never know, until after the government views the finished product, if a Canadian production meets the Harper government's unpublished standards.

In short: If you don't toe our line, we have the power to cause you personal financial damage.

Scott Tribe has pointed us to a Facebook Group, Keep your censoring hands off of Canadian film and TV! No to Bill C-10!, which is a grass-rooots effort to oppose this legislation, initiated by Professor David Kahane of the University of Alberta's political science department.

Also see Critics slam plan to limit funds for 'offensive' films from CTV News.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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