The Magazine

Speech Impediment

Big Brother is actually a Canadian bureaucrat.

Jun 29, 2009, Vol. 14, No. 39 • By MICHAEL TAUBE
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It soon became clear these human rights commissions had nothing to do with human rights but were the first-line defense of the left-wing agenda against the rights and freedoms of opposing doctrines. Levant's case became a cause célèbre: Conservatives, liberals, and more than a few socialists strongly supported his right to free speech, whether they agreed with him or not, and Alan Borovoy, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, noted that "during the years when my colleagues and I were laboring to create such commissions, we never imagined that they might ultimately be used against
freedom of speech."

The silent Canadian media, print and electronic, suddenly seized the opportunity to blast away at the concept of "human rights commissions," McGovern resigned from the case, and Soharwardy dropped his complaint.

Levant's particular ordeal with the Alberta HRC also helped change the direction of another high profile case against Mark Steyn. The Ontario HRC was going to hear a complaint by the Canadian Islamic Congress against Maclean's for reprinting portions of Steyn's book, America Alone. The matter was ultimately dropped--but not before the commission issued a pugnacious statement that groups should always be able "to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions."

Shakedown might well shock your senses; it certainly will make you shudder about Canada's lackadaisical support for free speech. Mark Steyn, who has written Shakedown's introduction, calls Levant "a true Canadian hero." I'll take it one step further: He's a true hero for all people, and societies, who love freedom.

Michael Taube is a columnist for the