Glenn Greenwald defends Ezra Levant over at Salon. Not a bad read. However, his main argument does not seem particularly convincing. He writes:
For those unable to think past the (well-deserved) animosity one has for the specific targets in question here, all one needs to do instead is imagine these proceedings directed at opinions and groups that one likes. If Muslim groups can trigger government investigations due to commentary they find offensive, so, too, can conservative Christian or right-wing Jewish groups, or conservative or neoconservative groups, or any other political faction seeking to restrict and punish speech it dislikes.
UPDATE: Law Professor David Bernstein previously noted that Canada's hate speech laws have had unintended consequences, as such laws inevitably do:
Moreover, left-wing academics are beginning to learn firsthand what it's like to have their own censorship vehicles used against them. For example, University of British Columbia Prof. Sunera Thobani, a native of Tanzania, faced a hate-crimes investigation after she launched into a vicious diatribe against American foreign policy. Thobani, a Marxist feminist and multiculturalism activist, had remarked that Americans are "bloodthirsty, vengeful and calling for blood." The Canadian hate-crimes law was created to protect minority groups from hate speech. But in this case, it was invoked to protect Americans.
Just like Bush followers who bizarrely think that the limitless presidential powers they're cheering on will only be wielded by political leaders they like, many hate speech law proponents convince themselves that such laws will only be used to punish speech they dislike. That is never how tyrannical government power works.
Well, up here in Canada, Glenn, many hate speech law proponents are not as naive as you seem to think.
Let's take the case of Sunera Thobani. In 2001, not long after the 9/11 attacks, Ms. Thobani delivered a speech (condensed version here) to the Women's Resistance Conference in Ottawa, Ontario. The speech was pretty crass, nasty stuff, and certainly ill-timed, but for our our purposes the important thing is that it (shock! horror!) triggered a hate-crimes investigation.
Now, what did that mean here?
Well, it meant that a letter from, if I am remembering this correctly, an American citizen living in Vancouver, was sent to the RCMP, an RCMP officer went public with news of the letter in his own form of protest against the relevant legislation, the complaint was investigated amid a press uproar, and the investigation was dropped because essentially there was no case. Ms. Thobani's speech was delivered sometime in late September or early October, and the whole thing wound up in late October.
And that's about it. A speech intended to be controversial became even more controversial, Thobani bitched about harassment and probably felt a few days worth of extra stress, and...nothing. Sure she had to endure the weight of the legal process, but so what? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; the fact that Thobani is politically left (and herself a minority) should not put her beyond the reach of such laws, and the fact that she briefly became the target of a frivolous employment of these laws is not an argument against them. If it were, we would not have a legal system at all!
(And, incidentally, abusing the legal system is a topic with which our Ezra Levant is arguably quite familiar)
PS. A minor mea culpa, although my general point in yesterday's first post still holds--Ezra's falsehoods re Syed Soharwardy were still on his blog and in his youtube clip--by his January 12th post he has distinguished between where Mr. Soharwardy was trained (Pakistan) and where he lectured (Saudi Arabia)
PPS. h/t to Rusty Idols. I'm glad other Progressives are at least writing about this, especially since some apparently find my views on the subject "embarrassing".
PPPS. Note that Thobani's case is quite different from the case brought against Ezra. Greenwall conflates them, so I am doing similarly in the above.
The guy at D-World has a good post on Ezra today.