Tag Archives: free speech
February 7, 2015

Raif Badawi: Our Right to Free Speech must not be taken lightly


Here in North America we take our Right to Freedom of Speech for granted. We criticize our government with abandon and gusto, confident we are safe from retaliation; that there is no price to be paid for speaking our mind. We forget the rest of the world doesn’t take so kindly to criticism.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, criticizing the government comes at a very high cost. In Saudi Arabia it is a crime to speak about things the government disapproves.

Blogger Raif Badawi learned that lesson the hard way. Convicted of crimes against the state, specifically for operating a blog and discussion forum that ridiculed Saudi Arabia’s religious police, Badawi was arrested in 2012 and put on trial.

His conviction was automatic and never in question.

His penalty? One thousand lashes with a bamboo cane and ten years in prison. No, that’s not a misprint. Ten thousand lashes with a bamboo cane, to be delivered 50 per week for 20 consecutive weeks.

I cannot imagine being flogged with a cane 50 times, let alone 50 times a week for the next 20 weeks in a row. Just kill me and get it over with!

Just after Friday prayers on 9 January, Raif Badawi was led by Saudi officials out of a bus and into the middle of the square in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah. A large crowd had gathered to see the flogging.

Raif stood in the middle of the crowd, handcuffed and shackled by his ankles, his face uncovered. A security officer approached Raif and began caning him across the back and legs, until he had been beaten 50 times. A witness told us it took just five minutes to cane Raif 50 times; the lashes were constant and quick.

I can only commend Raif Badawi for his incredible courage. He took his first 50 canings silently, determined not to give his abusers the satisfaction of hearing him cry out in pain.

I can only pray that in similar circumstances I would have that same courage.

‘Raif raised his head towards the sky, closing his eyes and arching his back. He was silent, but you could tell from his face and his body that he was in real pain.’

The public outcry around the world at the brutality of the sentence actually forced the Saudi administration to backpedal, even if only temporarily, from implementing the rest of the sentence.

Doctors examined Badawi after the first flogging of 50 lashes and determined he has not healed enough to take a second 50 lashes even after two weeks of postponed canings; that to flog him again before his would are healed would threaten his life.

While nobody in Canada will be caned repeatedly for speaking their mind that does not mean we are without our faults. The now-repealed Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act was used to silence individuals, often with crushing monetary penalties even though the Act was supposedly “remedial” in nature, not punitive.

Marc Lemire’s 10-year fight to preserve his right to freedom of speech, for example, caused Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act to be repealed. Lemire’s refusal to cave in to censorship eventually forced the government to strike Section 13 from the books. The irony of that decision is that even though Lemire beat the censors at their own game he may still lose his rights under that repealed section of law.

Found guilty for publishing a document he did not write and didn’t even know existed on his website until he faced prosecution, Lemire faces a lifetime ban on his freedom of speech should he lose his last court appeal.

Arthur Topham faces prison time for daring to speak his mind on his own website, RadicalPress.com as he faces criminal charges under Canada’s hate crimes legislation contained in Section 318 – 320 of the criminal code.

From the November 6, 2012 National Post story on the charges against Arthur Topham:

Mr. Topham is a miner and is listed as secretary of the Cariboo Mining Association. He also publishes Radical Press, a website that posts materials with conspiracy theory themes such as the “Biological Jew” and the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.”

[Editor’s Note: Both books are widely available on the internet free of charge and at such purveyors of hate as Amazon.com and Archive.org.]

The Biological Jew depicts Jews as parasites that suck the blood from their “host” societies while the Protocols is a fraudulent book that purports to describe a conspiracy for worldwide Jewish domination.

In May, Harry Abrams, a B’nai Brith volunteer in Victoria, B.C., and Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman both complained to police about the website. Mr. Warman’s complaint said both the Biological Jew and the Protocols were banned from import into Canada as hate propaganda.

“When you’ve got that kind of just rabid attack against the Jewish community I think it’s incumbent on people to stand up in society,” said Mr. Warman, who regularly files complaints about racist websites.

While Mr. Topham does face the prospect of jail time for speaking his mind he will not be flogged mercilessly with a cane by agents of the state.

Does that mean Canada has no issues when it comes to Freedom of Speech?


Instead of defending our Right to Free Speech all levels of government seem insistent that dissenting voices must be silenced, and at almost any cost.

We must not offend Muslims, Jews, First Nations or practically anyone except white Christian males. On that particular group of faithful it’s “open season” with no end of that particular hypocrisy in sight.

Yes, we still have a very long way to go if our Right to Freedom of Speech is to actually mean something.

Eventually we will strike down the “hate speech” section of the Criminal Code as well, leaving ideas, both good and bad, to the court of public opinion which is precisely where they belong.

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October 4, 2014

BC Attorney General Suzanne Anton is too Cowardly to Answer for Arthur Topham Prosecution


I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Bureaucrats are, generally speaking, a cowardly bunch, but the response given to Joseph Hickey, Executive Director of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) is truly pathetic even by that low standard.

Joseph Hickey’s letter was written directly to the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Attorney General of British Columbia.

While addressed specifically to her, it seems Ms. Anton is a little to busy to respond to a letter of inquiry from the head of a civil liberties group. She ordered some unnamed government minion to respond on her behalf instead.

The cowardly bureaucrat answering Mr. Hickey’s questions, or more accurately evading them, refused to put his or her name on the letter.

I suppose they were terrified someone like me might get a hold of their non-responsive letter and their name and mock them mercilessly for their evasions and non-answers.

They would be correct.

I would do that.

I would take great pleasure in it, to be precise. For the moment I must take what pleasure I can in mocking the nameless bureaucrat…

But I digress…

As I’ve written repeatedly in regards to Arthur Topham’s case, the Criminal Code of Canada makes it very clear that a prosecution under Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” laws, including Section 319, CANNOT happen unless the Attorney General of the province personally signs off on the case.

It’s written right into the Criminal Code.

Section 318 (3)

No proceeding for an offence under this section shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

The unnamed bureaucratic minion starts the response off by completely ignoring Section 318 (3) of the Criminal Code, which is the primary subject of Joseph Hickley’s letter.

Your letter of September 24, 2014, addressed to the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, has been forwarded to the Criminal Justice Branch for a response. The Criminal Justice Branch is responsible for the conduct and supervision of criminal prosecutions in British Columbia.

This is complete and utter hogwash.

While the Criminal Justice Branch may be responsible for “the conduct and supervision of criminal prosecutions” in most cases, that authority resides specifically and ONLY with the BC’s Attorney General in the Arthur Topham criminal prosecution.

Quoting the OCLA’s most recent letter:

Criminal Code (at s. 2) expressly defines “Attorney General” as meaning “the Attorney General or Solicitor General of the province in which those proceedings are taken and includes his or her lawful deputy”.

The proceedings against Mr. Topham (R v Topham) are taken in BC.

Thus, to use the colloquial expression, the buck stops at your office, Madame Attorney General.

After claiming Attorney General Anton is not responsible for Topham’s prosecution the cowardly bureaucrat then drones on about presumption of innocence, something the Crown prosecutor in Arthur Topham’s case has repeatedly tried to quash.

From the day Arthur Topham was arrested until today, the Crown Prosecutor has tried to strip Arthur Topham of his Right to Freedom of Speech.

Arthur Topham cannot even name the two men who initiated the criminal code complaint against him, serial human rights complainant Richard Warman and his buddy Harry Abrams, British Columbia representative of B’nai B’rith Canada.

Should Arthur Topham write those names publicly he is in contempt of court.

How absurd is that?

After further droning about how Attorney General Suzanne Anton isn’t actually responsible for the Topham case the unnamed bureaucrat then attempts to blame Peter MacKay, Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, despite the fact MacKay is not the person who must personally approve a criminal charge under Section 319; Suzanne Anton is.

If you can stomach it the cowardly unsigned response to Hickey’s original letter is available for download here at the link below. This PDF file also includes Joseph Hickey’s second letter clarifying Minister Anton’s responsibilities, including a repeated demand she rescind her approval of the prosecution of Arthur Topham.



If you are a British Columbia resident I urge you to write Minister Anton and personally demand she rescind her consent for Arthur Topham’s criminal prosecution. As I’ve explained above she must personally approve charges under Section 319 of the Criminal Code before they can be prosecuted.

You can reach Ms. Anton here:

Hon. Suzanne Anton
Attorney General of BC
Room 232, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4
Email: JAG.Minister@gov.bc.ca or suzanne.anton.mla@leg.bc.ca

Also, please sign the OCLA petition demanding BC Attorney General Suzanne Anton rescind her consent for Arthur Topham’s criminal prosecution under Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada.


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May 10, 2014

Are you offended by something I said?

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The problem with some folks is they can’t accept the fact an opinion exists of which they don’t approve. Freedom of speech is okay but only if you agree with their opinions.  The problem with politicians is they feel compelled to pander to the people who cannot accept another’s point of view.

Combine the two (incessant whiners and politicians) and you get nightmares like the Canadian Human Rights Act and Section 318 of the Criminal Code, both of which create special status for “special” people, leaving the rest of us mere citizens out in the cold.

Not only are we left out in the cold, we now have the full weight of government to contend with any time we say something one of the protected class of whiners doesn’t like.

Shockingly, one isn’t required to be a member of a protected class in order to file a complaint on their behalf. ‘I’m outraged for you’ appears to be the operational basis here, and a very profitable one for some.

Try saying anything outside of the mainstream politically-correct view about any of the following folks and you will quickly discover the error of believing you actually have a Right to Freedom of Speech:

“any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

As in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some pigs are truly more equal than others.

White heterosexual Christian males need not apply, however. You are NOT one of the “protected classes” of people despite having an actual religion, sexuality and race. Put another way, you’re not quite as equal as others.

Am I saying every member of these protected groups is a whiner? Of course not. I blame gutless politicians for pandering to special interest groups more than I do those lobbying on their behalf.

To live is to offend someone, somewhere along the way. Do we really need a group of bureaucratic thugs to beat us into submission simply because our view of the world is different than theirs?

Here in Canada the answer is a resounding YES!

Ask Marc Lemire, Connie Fournier or Arthur Topham. Each of these individuals suffered the crushing weight of bureaucratic excess, and often for sentiments they never even wrote.

Marc Lemire faces a lifetime free speech ban for an article posted on his website. He didn’t write the article. He didn’t even post the article himself, yet the screaming banshees at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal consider him more of a threat to the “Canadian way of life” than… well pretty much any violent criminal.

To date the Canadian people have wasted over a quarter million dollars prosecuting Marc Lemire… and for what? An article he didn’t even write that was read by perhaps 10 people worldwide?

Connie Fourier finally shuttered FreeDominion.ca after being found guilty of defamation of serial human rights complainant Richard Warman. The final straw for Ms. Fournier was the condition she be held liable for any negative comments made by anyone, at any time in the future, about Richard Warman.

That ruling’s phrasing would even allow Richard Warman, for example, to log onto FreeDominion.ca and post something negative about himself and still trigger the full weight of the law on Ms. Fournier. It’s utterly absurd for Connie Fournier to he beld accountable for the comments of another, yet that’s now the law of the land here in Canada.

Arthur Topham wrote something about someone or some group of someones that offended another someone who complained to both the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the RCMP. Arthur Topham now faces charges under both the Canadian Human Rights Act and Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Nobody will tell Topham what he wrote that was so offensive. Instead they demand he defend everything he ever wrote from six months before his arrest until… well.. whenever he might finally get his day in court. That’s right. Every word Mr. Topham writes until his trial can and will be used by Crown prosecutors to show what a heinous threat he is to both the Canadian Way of Life and The World as We Know It.

Yeah, there’s justice for you!

While I would hope our Canadian skins are thick enough to tolerate offensiveness in others… apparently we can only tolerate our own offensiveness. That our attitudes may actually offend others is completely missed in the rush to fend off some perceived slight.

Like Stephen Fry so bluntly said, if you’re offended by what I say, “…so fucking what?”

Get over yourself already.

Dismantle every so-called “human rights” tribunal and commission across Canada. If they were ever needed (I doubt it) their “best before” date expired long ago and are now simply vehicles for punishing those with whom we disagree.

Abusing our fellow citizen is not a “Canadian value” simply because we disagree with what he or she says.

Or at least it shouldn’t be.


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May 6, 2014

Flashing Your Headlights to Warn of Police Ahead is NOT a Crime

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It’s a simple, common-sense ruling, and one founded in that most basic right of all, Freedom of Speech.  Just like honking your horn as you pass by people holding a sign like “Honk if you Support Our Troops” is legal, so is flashing your headlights to warn oncoming drivers of police in their path.

So says Oregon Judge Joseph Carter.

Hauling a truckload of logs to a Southern Oregon mill last fall, Chris Hill noticed a sheriff’s deputy behind him and flashed his lights to warn a UPS driver coming the other way.

The deputy pulled over Hill on U.S. Highway 140 in White City and handed him a $260 ticket for improperly using his headlights, saying another deputy had seen the flashing lights from behind the UPS truck and alerted him to stop the log truck because of the signaling.

Chris Hill, outraged at being ticketed for expressing himself, fought the ticket in court and in early April, 2014 Judge Carter dismissed the traffic citation.

Jackson County Justice Court judge dismissed the citation, finding that motorists flashing their headlights amounts to speech protected by the Oregon Constitution.

Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.

The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression,” the judge wrote.

“The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct.”

In this age of “revenue by traffic citation” it is very refreshing to see a judge uphold the rights of a mere citizen against the almighty Minions of the State.

Common sense says one should drive with low-beam headlights when there is oncoming traffic.  The law supporting that also makes sense, as it can be a danger to others when someone is blinded by oncoming high-beams.  However, common sense flies out the window when that law is used to punish a mere citizen for exercising his or her Right to Freedom of Speech simply because the mechanism of that Free Speech is flashing one’s high-beams.

Dave Fidanque, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, noted the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned a traffic law prohibiting horn honking for non-traffic purposes on similar grounds in the 1990s after a number of people got tickets for honking in support of U.S. troops during the Gulf War.

If the motive of the sheriff’s deputies was in fact not to make the roads safer, but to raise more revenue from traffic enforcement, that would be even more reason why it should be  unconstitutional,” Fidanque said. “If this is part of a pattern, then it probably would be worth us looking into it in more detail.”

Free Speech takes many forms.  It appears the minions of the almighty state don’t like we mere citizens exercising that right in as many ways as possible.  Thank God for judges like Oregon Judge Joseph Carter, who takes the concept of Free Speech seriously, just as he should.



Traffic rules applied solely for the purpose of generating revenue for the State is a heinous affront to liberty.  This affront is not unique to Oregon or even America.  It happens routinely here in Canada as well.

Recently there was an expose on Sun TV about a man who spends his free time recording police making traffic stops on a particularly stupid street in one of Ontario’s urban centers.

There is a no left turn sign at a particular intersection.  Obeying that sign means a long circuitous detour to get there.  Disobeying it means chancing an expensive ticket, and given the visibility of police down the street from that intersection it’s become a favourite spot to generate revenue for the city.

Access to Information requests prove this out.  Astonishingly, far less tickers are issued when this man videotapes police than when he does not.  Those same Access to Information requests prove that too.


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March 19, 2012

Freedom of Speech? Not if a politician is nearby!


The old saying that “Truth is stranger than fiction” rang through my head as I read the report that the United States Congress had passed a law making it illegal to protest anywhere near a politician.  Naturally President Obama signed it into law immediately since, if it should be illegal to protest near any member of the Political Class, obviously that should be the “God of Hope and Change.”

I probably should have titled this “When Politicians Become Lord and Master instead of our representatives” for that’s certainly how they act.

H.R. 347, the “Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011” as it is benignly called, passed with stunning ease in the House of Representatives, 399-3.  Can you believe that there were only 3 votes against it?

H.R. 347 makes it a crime for

“Whoever knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so; knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of government business or official functions; knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds; attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished.”

Is it just me or is this law even more absurd than Obama getting re-elected in November?  If you don’t think so, you really ought to read the text above again.

There is this pesky little RIGHT that we in Canada share with our American brothers and sisters… it’s called Freedom of Speech. It would appear that this right has just been extinguished in America anywhere that a politician might be present.

What recourse is there when your employees dictate that you cannot protest their ridiculous and stupid actions?  In the United States the answer to that question is “None” or they will have you tossed in prison.

Want to protest ObamaCare?  Best not do it in front of “King Obama” himself.  You’ll be tossed in jail faster than you can say “Stupid Dictator.”

Want to protest the latest draconian anti-gun laws passed in Chicago?  Best not do it in front of the Mayor.  You’ll be tossed in prison faster than you can say “Rahm Emanuel.”


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June 24, 2011

Guy Earle appeals BC Human Rights Tribunal discrimination decision


On April 20th, 2011 Guy Earl was found guilty of “hurting the feelings” of lesbian Lorna Pardy, who had the audacity to claim she suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result.  Pardy obviously has some pretty big balls, making such an absurd claim.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal showed just how ridiculous and out of touch with the real world they are when they made this ruling.

Thankfully Guy Earle has decided to appeal this asinine decision.  I applaud him and his decision.

He’s filed his appeal with the BC Supreme Court, alleging the Tribunal’s moronic decision violated his Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression, as does its Human Rights Code.

Amen Brother!

As I wrote when the BC Human Rights Tribunal’s moronic decision was released,

Believe it or not people… gay, straight, or whatever… and contrary to the moronic ruling in Pardy v Earle (April 20, 2011 Decision — 107 pages), “being offended” is not a violation of your Human Rights.

I read through the entire United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and guess what… it’s not there.


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June 23, 2011

A Historic Day for Freedom of Speech: Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders was cleared of charges of inciting hatred today in what I can only call a historic decision.  Had Wilders been found guilty, freedom of speech would have been dealt a lethal blow, and one it would likely not recover from, at least in The Netherlands.

Dutch Judge Marcel van Oosten ruled that Wilders’ speeches, writing and movie Fitna did not incite anyone to hatred, even though van Oosten called some of those comments “gross and denigrating.”

More importantly, of course, was the ruling that said Wilders’ public expression of his opinions were:

“acceptable within the context of public debate.”

Needless to say, Wilders was ecstatic with the decision.

“It’s not only an acquittal for me, but a victory for freedom of expression in the Netherlands.”

“Now the good news is that it’s also legal to be critical about Islam, to speak publicly in a critical way about Islam and this is something that we need because the Islamisation of our societies is a major problem and a threat to our freedom and I’m allowed to say so.”


Naturally, the foes of Free Speech were “deeply disappointed” with the decision, and like all good anti-freedom groups, were considering taking their case to another venue, perhaps the European Court of Human Rights or even the United Nations.


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June 18, 2011

Phyllis Morris despises Free Speech, sues everyone she can think of for $6 million!

Freedom of Speech is one of the foundational principles of Canada. It is essential that individuals are able to freely speak their minds without being afraid of some dumb-ass politician filing a $6 million lawsuit against them.

Phyllis Morris is [allegedly] one of those dumb-ass politicians. Former politician, to be exact. She was the mayor of the Town of Aurora, Ontario, until voters tossed her out of office in the 2010 municipal election.

I guess they thought she wasn’t much of a mayor.

Morris was very upset with the posts of some anonymous bloggers on a local website during the runup to the 2010 municipal election. The comments were critical of her actions as Aurora’s mayor.

That’s absolutely fair game for public comment, during an election or not. Get over it.

A mayor is a public official, and her decisions (both good and bad) are always open to debate by the citizens who pay her salary. Morris’s deep-seated need to stifle any negative commentary about her ability to perform her duties as mayor clearly makes her unfit for the job, in my opinion. For that reason alone I applaud the good citizens of Aurora for tossing her from office.

Since the actual writers of the comments that offended her were anonymous, she sued the next people in line; people she claims were moderators of the comments for this particular blog, Richard Johnson, Bill Hogg, and Elizabeth Bishenden.

That’s not the most ridiculous part of the her lawsuit either. She’s actually named the creators of the WordPress blogging software as defendants to this lawsuit too.

No, I’m not making this up!


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