Friday, June 27, 2008

Old white lawyers: your civil rights pals

The Supreme Court of Canada has just strengthened and codified the defamation defence of fair comment.
This does not save mouth-breathing fascists who deliberately defame people or rely on the "research" of neo-Nazis when they pick & choose the "facts" to put in front of their winged monkeys.

Canwest Deathwatch

Another day, another all-time low. As of 1 p.m., 350,000 shares traded, all of them at a loss to the owners. Now testing $2.75.

Our timid financial media still shies away from talking about this collapse. The Globe noted in passing yesterday that Moody's recently downgraded the ratings of $1.7 billion of Canwest's commercial paper, but the reporter neglected to say what the new rating is. However, the downgrading is mentioned in a story about potential defaults.

UPDATE

At 3 p.m., it had fallen through $2.75, with nearly 500,000 shares sold.

This stock seriously looks like it could be heading off the main exchange and into the Venture Exchange. It's already been delisted in New York.

Meanwhile, Moody's expects a large number of Canadian corporate bond defaults this year.

We're not in Kansas anymore, Gus...

My sister Mary Anne in Smith's Falls, tornado victim:


As far as I know, we had a tornado last night around 5. We’ve lost our power, phone, cable and internet. The wind and lightning knocked out the power on the street behind our house, the transformer and the hydro pole, the 35 foot pine tree in our backyard and tore the meter and all the cables right off the wall. Henri had cut down the other pine tree earlier in the week (which was a coincidence) and when he did that, he moved the boat so the boat was fine but the large pine tree fell towards the street in the back and fell on the aluminum canoe and totaled it, as well as my kayak and our gazebo. We are still without power (and phone, internet, etc) and will be without for a few days unless we can find an electrician to fix our meter earlier. The electricians are all really booked and we can’t hook up to hydro until an electrician fixes our meter... When our computer is up and running, I’ll send some pictures. We’re all fine, aside from our yard, which is a total write-off. The neighbor across the street, Joe Murphy, did not lose his power and was nice enough to come over and fire up his generator between our house and the Pilon’s next door, who are in the same boat. We are very lucky to have such nice neighbors and they were all out and helping last night. I was very grateful for the generator, because I felt like I was at camp at Mulligan’s Bay [Chapleau] and naturally, Henri was in Montreal and missed the storm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More 24 Sussex pics

Megan Bourrie enjoys a gin and tonic at 24 Sussex













Kady O'Malley and Mark Steyn





Mark Steyn, Deborah Gayapong William Johnson and his tres chic wife, whose name escapes me for now, but shouldn't because she's very bright.

Steyn on my line

He's cool, he's smart, and I've always been a fan.
I really enjoyed meeting Mark Steyn at 24 Sussex tonight. A really great guy.






Quite a few people had a good laugh about this. I think the BC Human Rights Commission should send its staff to Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival to drum up some more business.
Joke indeed.

Sorry, Warren

A couple of years ago, I apologized to Warren Kinsella on this blog for something I wrote about the "Sponsorship Scandal". At the time, my wife was heading into law school, I was in grad school, and we really had neither the time nor the money to fight the long lawsuit Kinsella had initiated in response to a post I had written about him and sponsorship.
I believed the Sponsorship Scandal was a political enterprise involving Jean Chretien, his chief of staff Jean Pelletier, public works minister David Dingwall and Dingwall's very political chief of staff, Warren Kinsella. I believed the ad agencies and the bureaucrats involved at Public Works were acting on behalf of their political masters.
I even believed that after I made the apology.
Now, our little family would be quite able to fend off any lawsuits. I'm on the faculty of a great university and my wife will soon be articling as a corporate litigator at Gowlings, Canada's biggest law firm.
So what I am saying is, to coin a phrase, straight from the heart:
Now I know I was wrong. I am honestly sorry.
Coverage of the Sponsorship Scandal ruined my faith in Prime Minister Chretien, who I first met just after the 1984 leadership race and who, up to that point, I had admired. I believed he had been mean with his golf ball stunt, but, in light of today's ruling by the Federal Court, I can see how he (and I) would be enraged at being called "small town cheap" by a biased judge.
I'd like to know the real story of the sponsorship scandal -- who was behind it, where the money went, why some big ad firms got a lot of money for very little work.
Maybe Warren can tell me over that beer I owe him.

Blame the Internet

My Canwest stock death watch continues.
At an all-time low of $3.01. Will it fall through the $3.00 barrier today?
Will the banks call?



UPDATE: By 11:20 this morning the stock fell through $3 and was trading in the $2.90s. Nearly 200,000 shares of Canwest traded by noon, all of them at a loss to the sellers. That's quite the little vote of non-confidence.

UPDATE: At 3:30 p.m. more than 700,000 shares had been ditched in capitulation trading, with the stock going for $2.90, down about 6% on the day. Everyone who sold those shares lost money. If you don't think Lenny and Davie and Gail are following these numbers, dream on.

I seem to be the only person writing about the collapse of a company that has near-monopoly status in the newspaper business in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, Ottawa and Montreal, owns a national newspaper and a TV network. The company has bank debts of $2.8 billion and another $1 billion in other liabilities such as pensions.

Scroll down for my various posts on why Canwest's rather decent media assets have lost so much value. Basically, the company, from the boardroom to the newrooms, is managed by retards. Sure, there are many bright people working for Canwest. You can tell who they are: they're the ones who look sad and hunted.


TOTAL DAMAGE: 800,000 shares of Canwest traded today. All of them were sold through all-time lows, meaning each one was an investment loss. Every one of those shares was sold by someone who had given up on Canwest and believed it would go nowhere but down.

Meanwhile, I heard more stories today of Canwest content cuts and vile treatment of employees. It's time for the Asper heirs to realize they and their stooges are in way over their heads and sell the company. Definitely, the sum is worth more than the parts, but this is looking like a situation like Air Canada, where the stock will go so low that the banks will foreclose and the company will be reorganized, leaving the shareholders with worthless paper.

(A month ago, I was so blown away by the collapse of this stock that I almost bought some at $3.40. Almost. Now, um, I think I'll pass.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Save Ed the Sock!

The revolution starts now! Don't let Robbers get away with screwing with yet another Canadian cultural icon. Ed the Sock is more Canadian than the Hockey Night in Canada theme. He is the very essence of Toronto. He's also insanely popular, pulling big numbers in the "where's the can, I don't feel too good" portion of the late Friday night time slot.
Yes, Ed the Sock is not PC, at least in a correct kind of way. Nor do most women "get" him. Obviously, the Robbers brain trust, who can barely make money despite the fact Ted has schmoozed his way to massive communications monopolies, doesn't get Ed either.
So what will they replace him with?
Um, something cheap, I bet.
Something frightfully dull.
Something like all the crap on the other stations.
Why did Robbers buy CityTV?

Monday, June 23, 2008

God's Hippy Dippy Weatherman

Now that the narrator of Tommy the Tank Engine is gone, the quality of stand-up in Heaven has improved markedly.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Today's dishonesty*

Late into the game, Harroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star arrives at the debate on using HRCs to discipline the press armed with a load of misconception, irrelevenat tangents, faulty logic, deceptive stats and distortion.
And he waited until Steyn was on hiatus.









*standing head swiped from Norman's Spectator

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm ready for the recession

Monday night, Marion and I went out for dinner in Toronto's Chinatown. With the US government deficit and the price of oil in mind, I ordered a pigeon as an appetiser. Not much on the bird and all dark meat. Still, slow-roasted and skinless, it was quite edible if not slightly dry. Half a dozen of the buggers would make a meal.
The bird came chopped up, with its head. That's probably the best part, but I left it for the waiter.
Now I see the country's biggest pigeon farm is a pyramid scheme and has gone mams up. This racket was charging other farmers $500 for a breeding pair. Seems to me that on most farms finding breeding pairs of pigeons should not be too hard.
Anyone want to breed chinchillas? Nice, clean, happy little animals that will thrive in your basement...

MEANWHILE...

Some people have free food coming right up to the door.

I must say that bear is downright unpleasant. I haved eaten bear sausages and would never do it again.
Moose is great. Much better than beef.
Horse is also pretty tasty. I'd definitely go for that again.
Bison is better than beef or moose.
Emu is rather beef-like and I don't think it's worth the money.
Caribou is better than deer, but I am not really a big venison fan.
Muskrat is nice when its slow-cooked in a crock pot, but the chef must know how to properly prepare it. Beaver is much better than muskrat and is best cooked in stews. Both are very dark meat and a bit stringy.
Snakes and alligators are fairly boring. Both taste somewhat like chicken.
Shark is best deep-fried. A lot more people than you think, especially folks who bought fish and chips in England more than 30 years ago, have eaten shark. Grilled shark tastes somewhat like pork. Shark fin soup is overpriced and the rest of the shark is usually tossed back in the sea.
Whale and seal blubber is pretty much tasteless and has the consistency of a bike tire.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rearranging the deck chairs, etc...

Read this over and ask yourself: "When was the last time I went to sympatico.ca?"

Wanna make some porn?

If you think the government is dabbling in censorship by refusing to give money to risque film makers, don't despair. Put your faith in old white guys. We'll never let you down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blame the Internet...

About a month ago, when Canwest went below $4 a share, I wondered how the bankers felt. Then I stuck my tongue in my cheek and wondered when it would break through the $3.50 barrier on its way down. Really, I thought, this stock must be at the bottom at $4. After all, it used to be a serious stock, worth over $10 a year ago and upwards of $20 three years ago. The company owns just about every major newspaper outside of Toronto and a whack of small and mid-sized city TV stations, plus some interesting foreign properties and some magazines. Old Roy Thomson would have looked at this company and broken into full mouth foam.
Well, today was the day.
Yes, newspapers are having troubles, but this is more than just new media jitters. This company is getting a vote of no-confidence from Bay Street. There have been value investors buying Canwest all the way down, but there have also been capitulation trades when funds and stockholders have unloaded hundreds of thousands of shares as the stock hit 52-week lows. Obviously, they believed this company would not turn around in the near or mid-term and sold for what they could get.
This stock is trading at 2/3 book value. That's almost unheard of.
OK. Here's my free advice.
Split the TV network from the newspapers.
Sell the newspapers.
Keep the TV network.
Keep the Asper brothers away from whatever company runs the papers.
They have no fucking clue about how to run a newspaper. Hence $3.50.
Make sure the company that buys the papers runs them as free-standing enterprises.
Beg CP to take you back.
Focus the papers on local news by hiring good reporters and getting them out on the street breaking stories. I've been in Canwest newspapers and all the reporters are working the phone. That's not how you get great stories. Spend much more on sports analysis, especially those sports that are on Pro-Line.
Kill the national Canwest news and feature-sharing system. It makes the chain look cheap, the copy is substandard, and the convergence structure really hasn't worked. David Akin, though a good reporter, does not convergence make.
Ditch most of the national political news.
Ditch the lifestyle news.
Lose the celebrity news.
Lose "soft" features.
Drop anything that can be found for free on the net.
Keep career and real estate sections. Focus on stories in these sections that tell people how to invest. Ditch the stuff that doesn't make that cut.
Strip the web pages down. They don't make any money.
There you go.
If you're looking for someone to work in the new newspaper company, don't call me. Hire Derek Finkle.

Newmarket, Ontario

I've been past it and gone around it many times since my grandfather passed away back in 1992. Actually, I had rarely gone into the place since 1981.
Poor old Newmarket.
Once a bastion of solid Ontario, it was a town of about 8,000 when I was a kid. My grandparents lived about three blocks from Main Street and had ten acres of bush across the street. There was one small plaza on Yonge Street.
I saw Pierre Trudeau here in the summer of 1968, speaking to a big crowd at Fairy Lake. That was back in the day when politicians actually made speeches in front of real citizens instead of "party faithful" and TV cameras.
My mom's family was about as solid York County as you could get. Her grandparents lived down the street. When my great-grandfather died, mom's aunt and uncle, who had played for the Montreal Marroons, the Canadiens, the Bruins and the Red Wings, moved in to look after my great-grandma.
Now they are all gone. The nearest relative to Newmarket is my mom's sister, who lives about 20 miles away, in Caledon.
My cousin John will be laid to rest here this morning. He fought liver disease for at least two decades. He waited seven years for a transplant that never came. Unfortunately, the type of disease he had precluded his brother and I from giving him a lobe and saving his life.
My aunt, who is in her early seventies, commuted day after day from Caledon to Oakville. She desperately hoped she would not bury her oldest boy.
But that's what we will do today. One more family member in the Gilman plot, buried in a town that has been overwhelmed by Toronto and turned into an ugly mass of suburban houses and strip malls.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great piece

Neil MacDonald has written a great piece, coming down against Human Rights Commissions regulating the press.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Johnny

My cousin John passed away last night after a very tough fight with Hep C. John was an amazing man. He was smart, in a very street-sharp way. He was so tough that Merrill Lynch sent him into Russia after the Soviet Union fell apart.
John probably took after our great-grandfather, one of the community leaders in Newmarket in the early 20th century.
John was the first of us to get a bike, the first to smoke pot, the first to make a lot of money. He was a ferocious stock broker who was brought into the business by my uncle, a partner on one of the very few private firms left on Bay Street.
My grandparents adored John, as did his own parents. He kept the rest of us in his generation in awe. John didn't live a long time but her certainly lived.





BICKERTON, John Michael – After a long battle, John found peace on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital. He was with us for 53 years. John leaves behind his devoted wife, Paula Pereira, the love of his life who stayed with him to the end. He is survived by his loving parents, Dawn and Ralph Varney of Caledon and Albert Bickerton of Toronto, his sons Matthew and John Michael, and his step-daughter Samantha. John will also be sadly missed by his sister Deborah and brother-in-law Alex of Columbus, Ohio; brother Alan and sister-in-law Donna of Toronto, and David and Grant Varney of Toronto. Throughout his short but full life, John entertained us with his quick wit, his intelligence, and stories of his adventures on the Trading Floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. Even in his illness, he closely monitored global financial markets. He was an avid sports fan who also loved music, animals, flowers and the world as it was 40 years ago. Known for his generosity, he received great joy in giving gifts to others. We ask that those who cared for John please honour his memory with a gift to Oakville Trafalgar Hospital so they may purchase beds. Many thanks to all the doctors and nurses who did their utmost to make John comfortable during his last days. Friends may call at the Roadhouse & Rose Funeral Home, 157 Main St. S, Newmarket on Monday, June 16th at 9:00. Funeral will be at 11:00, followed by interment at Newmarket Cemetery. On-line condolences may be made at www.roadhouseandrose.com

Just how fucked up is the UN?

This fucked up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today in sleaze

While everyone was watching the Native drama, look who was sneaking out the back door.
Break out the subpoenas and make the bastard testify under oath this time. Where does this little creep get off defying Parliament?

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Kindler, Gentler Canada

An online poll on the Toronto Star's web page drew this result:


Should foreign workers be denied permanent residence in Canada if they are sick?

Yes

1981 61%

No

969 30%

Not sure

274 8%


The poll was on the same page as a weeper about a sick nanny who is being deported to the Philippines.
Somehow, I don't think it's the poll result that the Star expected.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

D-Day Plus One

It's hard to believe that in my parents' generation sane, civilized people were dropping one-tonne bombs on each other's cities. We've come such a long way. A united Europe with free trade, open borders and a common currency. The end of both the Nazi and Communist threats to western democracy. The dismantling of the European and Japanese empires. Instant communication, almost free of charge, to all parts of the developed world.
The new era started the day the Germans backed away from the Moscow suburbs at Christmas, 1941. It got its juice on June 6, 1944.


Thanks, Vez, and the other guys who were there.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Three more weeks!

My kids are counting down the days until school's out. In Toronto, many kids are eager to toss the cares of school and take a break from the rigours of learning.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

John Miller on Steyn

The white, male, affluent, settler-culture anglophone Ryerson journalism professor John Miller makes as good an argument as anyone against Mark Steyn's reporting. In fact, most of those self-same points have already appeared in the letters section of Maclean's, which are usually among the most-read pages in any magazine.
Certainly, they're mainstream arguments. They must be if Miller could find them. He pulls material from all kinds of attacks on Steyn's work from important publications all over the world, which, through the beauty of the Internet, is available to everyone. In other words, to get all academic, there is vigorous social discourse on the issues that Steyn writes on. So why ban Steyn from writing on what he feels are the dangers of Islamicism?
Miller argues Steyn's arguments have been shot down. They may or may not. I have neither the time nor the inclination to play in that park. All that's important is that all sides are being heard. Whatever Steyn's inaccuracies, they are at least mirrored by hard-core Islamicists like the liars who claim 9-11 was an inside job and by one of the complainants who says all adult Jews are legitimate targets for killers.
Here's my take. Discourse must be wide open in society. We get truth from healthy debate and criticism. Our institutions and society improve when they are probed and challenged. Ideas should be brought forward and examined with as much freedom as possible. Debate is a good thing, not a bad thing.
The most accurate assessment of the situation comes from Miller's own work:

A year ago writer Johann Hari reviewed Steyn’s book, America Alone, from which the Maclean’s excerpt was taken. Writing in The Independent newspaper on June 2, 2008, he said: “It is a piece of bigotry, based on garbled statistics and ugly prejudices. But free speech includes the right to make claims that are wrong, stupid or abhorrent – or it is no freedom at all. The way to rebut Mark Steyn is through argument. His case is weak; it will never win in an open row. Expose the facts. Rebut his figures. Laugh at his ignorance. The truth is strong; trust it.”

But if the complainants, who Miller supports, have their way, Steyn's work -- the magazine article, and, by extension, the book from which it is excerpted -- will be banned. That means the best-seller will be pulled off the shelves of book stores and removed from libraries. That is an automatic penalty imposed by Human Rights Commissions upon conviction. You can't convict someone of spreading hate, then allow them to keep doing it. The whole point of the Human Rights Commission process is to make people stop doing bad things.
As well, Steyn and the magazine would effectively be on some sort of probation, with the threat of contempt of the Human Rights Commission if they printed something that offended the complainants. Effectively, on issues dealing with issues involving Muslims, Elmarsy and al Habib, the complainants, would be Maclean's censors, a sort of two-man focus group backed by the BC Human Rights Commission.
Miller believes Steyn's ideas are not publishable in Canada. He argues that errors in Steyn's piece somehow make the article illegal. He fails to see Steyn is one voice in a huge debate. The article must be seen as part of a system of discourse in Canada that has as its constituent parts Maclean's, The Walrus, THIS Magazine, Time, Newsweek, the New Yorker, Harpers, Atlantic, Penthouse, the CBC, CTV, Global, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, dozens of daily newspapers and thousands of weeklies, the Internet, including Miller's blog... and so much more. Yet, says Miller, Steyn's work is so toxic, so evil, that it must be rooted out.
What Miller wants is the marketplace of ideas to be edited to fit into his and Mo Elmarsy's world view. Some "good" writers and articles will be allowed. Some will not.
The big dispute anytime we have had official censorship is: what are the rules and who enforces them? In wartime, rules of censorship are, in theory, tailored to make the media part of the war effort. So, if Human Rights Commissions are to act as censors -- and Miller doesn't even begin to address that concept -- then what are the rules? Who decides? Should publications submit their articles to Human Rights Commissions for some type of pre-censorship, or are journalists to be prosecuted post-facto in shopped jurisdictions under rules and "laws" that did not seem to exist at time of publication?
Are the rules for reporting the same as the rules for opinion pieces? If so, or if not, who says? Is error grounds for punishment? Who says? Let me see the rules. Or are they being made up to fit an ideological situation?
Who has these "human rights"? I'm human. I find Miller's argument offensive. Someone please send me a form.
Miller gives no reason whatever why a Human Rights Commission -- or three -- should be the gatekeeper of what's debated in this country and what isn't. In his world view, Human Rights Commissions would take the place of medieval kings deciding what can be published and what cannot. Freedom of speech would exist as long as the speakers agreed with the opinions of power, with those of the state, which creates and mandates Human Rights Commissions. Right now, the state appears to favor multiculturalism. Next week, who knows? We have not arrived at the promised land. We are not past the end of history.
The state could, by Miller's logic, just as easily mandate commissions to examine the press for other failings. Maybe the state should like to bring in wartime censorship. It has the power to. We are at war, after all, in Afghanistan, and we don't seem to be winning. Maybe we'd be doing better if the "defeatist" elements of the press were silenced.
That is the major hole in Miller's argument. And it's a fatal wound.

The Canadian Association of Journalists and the BC Civil Liberties Uniom have taken the same stand in their submission to the Human Rights Commission. Here's their brief.




UPDATE

Seems Miller does not even believe in free expression for his own students. He banned second-year and fourth-year print journalism students from writing for the independent college paper. They were not happy.

(Here's an online description of that controversy, for whatever it's worth. I still enjoyed Miller's book on the decline of Canadian papers. I just wonder if his dtestation of Conrad Black has spilled over into disdain for one of Black's proteges. )

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kangaroo Kort Kwote of the Day

"I don’t live in Quebec because their taxes are too high.”

The BC Human Rights Commission is turning into a parade of academics, most of whome seem to be leaving the room wishing they had never agreed to testify on behalf of the aggrieved sockpuppets. Still, I'll take Big City Lib's $5 bet that they won't convict. Judging by the decisions on Maclean's lawyers' submissions, they can't wait to slap Steyn and Maclean's. In fact, they've probably already written the decision and will wait a respectable amount of time before printing it off.

Now, I will double the bet and say that, in the end, the Supreme Court of Canada will toss the whole thing. That is, of course, after Maclean's spends more than a million bucks in legal fees.

Don't expect Harper or the provincial premiers to do the right thing and amend the Human Rights laws to prevent further circuses. It would require a level of bravery that hasn't been seen in these parts in many years.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Steyn in the dock

In the most dramatic trial since Charles I had the worst seat in the house in Westminster Hall back in 1649, Mark Steyn and Maclean's are being (sort-of) tried before a sort-of court, BC's Human Rights Commission.
This is wrong.
This is not the place to settle reader complaints about the press. If Steyn's book broke hate crimes laws, he should be charged. If he libelled anyone, let them sue. This court is no more a court than the one that snuffed King Charles. It's a political operation conducted by non-judges.
And, like Charles, I'd argue it has no jurisdiction. I suppose that argument will do me as much good as it did Chuck.
The mainstream media isn't exactly live-blogging the hearing. You can read Ezra Levant's live blog here. Here's a mouldy CBC story. If you don't know what this is about, read the story first. If you do know, skip to the comments. They're pretty good.

UPDATE: EZRA HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Andrew Coyne will be carrying the live-blogging ball. He's done a good job over the past couple of days but I wish I could link to a live-blogger who is not employed by a party in the case or facing their own Human Rights Commission hearing.


UPDATE:

I don't know why I'm surprised that the Canadian media doesn't give a shit about this story. People outside journalism would expect people in the "profession" to circle the wagons and protect the press from being subjected to yet another censorship system. After all, if lawyers in Pakistan were prepared to be beaten and jailed for their defence of English Common Law rights, wouldn't Canadian journalists at least lift a finger to publicize an assault on their rights? No one's expecting them to get whalloped or even to pass the hat.
Then I give my head a shake. I remember what I've learned about Canadian journalists from my own research for my PhD thesis on wartime press censorship. The press in Canada begged to be censored. They pleaded with the government to send censors into the newsroom so they wouldn't have to think. They just wanted to publish and make money. All they wanted was protection -- that the other guy would not get any scoops. They didn't care about informing the public.
As for Canadian war correspondents, here's what Charles Lynch had to say about them:
“It’s humiliating to look back at we wrote during the war,” Lynch told author Philip Knightley in the 1970s. “It was crap – and I don’t exclude the Ernie Pyles or the Alan Mooreheads. We were a propaganda arm of our governments. At the start the censors enforced that, but by the end we were our own censors. We were cheerleaders. I suppose there wasn’t an alternative at that time. It was total war. But for God’s sake, let’s not glorify our role. It wasn’t good journalism. It wasn’t journalism at all.”
Most of them aren't any better now.
I went through every scrap of correspondence of the World War II domestic press censors. You know who the biggest rats were, the people who complained that some newspaper or other had published something detrimental to the war effort, of value to the enemy, or prejudicial to recruiting?
Wanna guess?
First hint: wasn't the army, navy or air force.
And the government had no problem finding willing, even eager, journalists to work as press censors.
In fact, the chief English censor, Wilf Eggleston, was disgusted by the Canadian media's roll-over for the censors and their lack of enthusiasm for anything resembling conscientious domestic front reporting during the war. He had been president of the Press Gallery before the war but in 1945 he quit journalism and founded the Carleton University J-school.
I don't think that's solved the problem.
So the big media in Canada are prepared to have a hideous precdent take shape. Anyone who feels the slightest bit aggrieved or is just plain spiteful will be able to write a short complaint to any provincial or federal Human Rights Commission, whether they live in the jurisdiction or not, and have their complaint adjudicated by people who have no legal training. The press will face the costs of a libel suit any time they write anything that upsets anyone.
The "offensive" writings won't have to be offensive enough to constitute hate crime under the Criminal Code, nor will they have to identify and defame a person so specifically that they constitute libel. (You can't libel an unincorporated group of people, even if you call them murderers and war criminals, as Bomber Command veterans found out).
Thank God Maclean's is fighting this. They need to take this all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, and, judging by the presence of Julian Porter at the Vancouver hearing, that's exactly what they seem intent on doing.
This issue is not about Mark Steyn or even the reptilian Ezra Levant(who faces whis own Human Rights Commission hearing). It's about what you and I will be able to read and write. It's as basic as that.

Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Provice does a great job of explaining this dangerous farce here.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Shredding history

Norman Webster, former editor of the Globe and Mail, explains why we'll never know the truth about the crooked 1995 Quebec Referendum.

From our "education is wasted on the young" file

Here's a story of a life wasted, of a guy who turned left when he should have turned right. From tedious student radical protesting "the man" from the safety of the grad podium (thereby not really putting his degree in danger), to tiresome student politician, to "fertilizer truck driver" (bullshit salesman?) to postal union honcho to high school teacher, with annoying folk singer and sanctimonious political protester thrown in, this guy's lived the '60s stereotype.
The only person who makes any sense is the fellow Innis grad who scraped and scrounged her way through university, went on to become the president of the University of Manitoba, and obviously pegs our boy as a spoiled fool.
We don't see too many of that ilk anymore. Students today work hard for their degrees. In real terms, in all of the provinces except Quebec, they pay higher tuition than the boomers and most of my students hold part-time jobs schlepping in bars or working in stores. They work harder than the boomers did and value their education far more.
If Stone had torn up his degree in front of my students, they would have hooted him out of the room. And the sad fact is that a degree in 1968 really was a ticket to a good job. These days, it's a door-opener. It's part, but not all, of what's needed to get into today's tough economy. Boomers like Stone count the days until they retire. So does the Class of '10.