THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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Plenty to Hide?

Can any Canadian reader please help?


Another video by Ezra Levant did the round of the blogs a while back. You know it; the one in which he was filmed taking an Alberta Human Rights Commission functionary apart. Now there's a new one in which he takes the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council to task for running a kangaroo court. Looking at the decision on the Council's website, and reading there how the Council is constituted, his basic points seem to be true.

Yet it's hard to believe that Canada censors private media companies while exempting the state broadcaster. It's hard to believe Canada's government is so hypocritical as to describe the Council as "voluntary" while making membership a pre-condition for a broadcasting licence. And it is extremely hard to believe that the rules of natural justice can be flouted in a Common Law jurisdiction like Canada in the way that Levant describes. Can it really be true that he can be judged without being heard? That he can be judged by his competitors and political opponents?

I don't know enough about Canada to be sure whether I can take this guy at face value. His tone is pompous, hectoring and bombastic and he sounds like - to put it mildly - a blowhard. I am not sure I like him, but he seems to be making important points. If they are true, I probably have to refine my personal stereotype of Canada as a relaxed, open, amiable free society. Can any reader help me understand please?

While I await enlightenment, I have to say - in fairness to a country that only Americans seem able to dislike - that at least Canada seems to have political diversity in its media. Nothing like Levant's Sun News segment is possible on Britain's airwaves. And nothing like his broadcast "**** your mother" to his censors is remotely imaginable. Which is - in a way - precisely why I blog.


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A follow-up on this issue for those who are interested.

in which he makes some good points about the establishment media in Canada, and how bloggers and the internet will ultimately render the obsolete.

This is why it is so important to resist parliamentary or UN oversight of our free speech.


Well that was an entertaining half hour!

I have never seen nor heard of Ezra Levant before and he is, as you say, a blowhard and a very unsuave one at that, but no doubt he has a following.

However he certainly made some very good points about the lack of right of reply or representation at any hearing to consider a complaint against a so-called violator of the "standards" or broadcasting "code of ethics". The whole tirade against the CBSC, which I am sure no ordinary Canadian even knows that it exists, is rather compelling. It certainly makes righteous indignation leap into one's breast.

But then I looked at the "punishment" required by the decision and I laughed out loud. No doubt the Sun News Network complied with the requirements as directed and no doubt any Canadian who actually bothered to listen to that statement rolled his/her eyes and thought only in Canada!

So this agency - this independent, non-governmental organization created by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) to administer standards established by its members, Canada's private broadcasters - doesn't appear to have any teeth. One can only hope that, despite being headed by an appointee made in a political payoff, there is no taxpayer support involved. Although it would not surprise me in the least if there was a government "grant" involved. Sighs.


Thanks, Cascadian. To my sure and certain knowledge I have one Canadian reader who is of the generally liberal (North American sense) persuasion. It would be great if she could contribute her view.


I will take a crack at this.

As Suboptimal Planet correctly states, most taxpayers are just too busy earning a living and paying taxes to care too much about some of the basic freedoms being eroded by an expanding bureaucracy, but every once in a while a subject is so egregious that it attracts the publics attention, and this is where Ezra Levant comes in. He is to put it mildly a blowhard, but a blowhard well founded in basic law and freedoms (especially of the press) and it is often hard to disagree with his stance. Add to this the fact that most news outlets are very much controlled by an established elite quite comfortable in submission to the bureaucracy and Ezra becomes a lightening rod seemingly for every cause related to freedom of speech.

It would take too long to describe the arcane law governing broadcasting, but essentially there is a two track method of handling complaints the "private" sector "voluntarily" submit to the CBSC while the state-owned CBC is governed by its own legislation and reports directly to the Minister in charge of the CBC (which I think is Minister for Culture). A follow-on TV broadcast probably explains this better than I have.

After listening to this you will realise that Sun Network is an extremely small outlet fighting for survival against some established and well-funded competitors who would like to kill them off early, Ezra is also correct in stating that the established channels invariably present a far more left-wing slant to the news. Additionally he and Mark Steyn have had some success against "human rights" bureaucracies by claiming that they cannot override rights of freedom of expression expressly endowed in our constitution, I beleive he will be successful again.

As an aside Ezra has more than one dog in this fight, he also wrote the excellent book "Ethical Oil" which clearly identifys the collusion between foreign oil suppliers and watermelon environmental groups operating together to try to cut-off tar-sands oil especially to Europe. This is why Ezra got so exercised by Chiquitas actions. He is also well-connected to parts of the Conservative party currently elected here.

Very much like Britain we allowed a great expansion of "feel-right" do-gooders to establish these tribunals to minimize "hurt" to citizens, that would be OK were they to limit themselves to real problems, but they seem to take great glee in involving themselves in inconsequential nonsense. If any real damage was done to the Chiquita executive I am sure he has access to high-powered legal representation, since he has not exercised that right we are obviously dealing with a malcontent who Ezra has crossed swords with who wants some payback. Stay tuned Ezra will milk this for all it is worth, this is like mannah to a TV polemicist.

Suboptimal Planet

I lived in Canada for 15 years before moving back to the UK 10 years ago. Most of that time was near Toronto, though I also worked in Ottawa and Calgary for several months.

My impression is that Canadians generally are relaxed, open, and amiable. When it comes to government, they're too relaxed for their own good. They suffer from most of the same government-related problems that we do, and they seem not to realise quite how un-free they are.

Canadians don't share the instinctive contempt for government of their cousins south of the border. They are taught to view gun control, multiculturalism, and the welfare state as badges of honour - points that distinguish them from those wild, crazy, uncaring Americans.

Nobody in Ontario seems to mind that alcohol can only be bought from government-controlled monopoly outlets (The Beer Store and the LCBO). As long as they can get their beer, they're happy.

Of course, things may have changed in the decade that I've been gone, and I can't presume to speak for all Ontarians, never mind all Canadians.

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