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Is publishing Danish cartoons in Canada a "crime"?


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I really hope that Ezra is successful in defending his right to publish the cartoons...I have always said I think he was right to do it. I just have difficulty understanding 1) Why he is surprised at the predicament he is in regarding the decision to publish; 2) Why he is choosing to ridicule the complainant's levels of literacy and penmanship; and 3) Why he thinks that the best way to be treated fairly in the process is to mock it to its very core?
It matters little whether the speaker, Levant, wins or loses; my view is that the infringement of rights arises from even being forced to defend the publication of the cartoons.
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The whole point of creating quasi-judicial tribunals is to remove such issues from the normal courts. Without the human rts. tribunal in this case, Ezra would simply be defending against a potentially frivolous Superior Court Statement of Claim...it wouldn't change much at all really.
Except for such minor details as applicability of common law, burden of proof.
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due process...

All things that the more of them you have, the longer the process takes and the more $$$$$$ it costs. If the fundamental complaint here is that good people like Ezra shouldn't have to be out of pocket for frivolous complaints, then forcing him to face such a complaint in a full-blown superior court setting as opposed to the intentionally stripped-down (comparatively speaking) quasi-judicial tribunal setting would have the unintended result of increased financial cost.

It's not a perfect system, but tribunals are a trade-off that for the most part work very well in my opinion.

FTA

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It's not a perfect system, but tribunals are a trade-off that for the most part work very well in my opinion.
First problem with that, and I know I sound like a broken record, is that forcing anyone to defend "opinion" speech, even if they are successful in their defense, means to me that their rights were violated.

Second, as far as "stipped down tribunals" go, I represent a major beverage botttling company in a small claims suit. The Plaintiff came to Court, and was allowed to present her case not knowing the date of the purchase (the date was crucial since it was within days of the statute of limitations and knowledge of weather conditions was crucial), having undated summaries of medical bills, etc. I briefed this matter yesterday, after a mid-January trial, and the decision is up in the air. The Plaintiff has filed about 15 similar baseless suits elsewhere.

These frivilous suits, while below the news radar, pose a real cost to our society.

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All things that the more of them you have, the longer the process takes and the more $$$$$$ it costs. If the fundamental complaint here is that good people like Ezra shouldn't have to be out of pocket for frivolous complaints, then forcing him to face such a complaint in a full-blown superior court setting as opposed to the intentionally stripped-down (comparatively speaking) quasi-judicial tribunal setting would have the unintended result of increased financial cost.

It's not a perfect system, but tribunals are a trade-off that for the most part work very well in my opinion.

FTA

They cost the complainant nothing, and for the most part, appear to have a reverse onus. The complainant doesn't need to know anything about the system or rules, while the defendant pretty much has to hire a lawyer - which means right from the start he's being punished and abused even though he hasn't done anything. He has to use his valuable time (the complainant usually has nothing better to do anyway) in consultation and discussion, and in attendance on the kangaroo court involved. And because these HRC panels are staffed by wackos, for the most part, who will interpret the rules however they choose, and who are naturally predisposed to find against him, he's never sure what the outcome will be, regardless of guilt. Even if he wins his lawyer will suck every possible dollar out of him he can get away with, and if he loses, well, the lawyer still takes his money. Either way he loses, it's just a matter of how much.

So if you want to punish someone you simply file one of these baseless claims. Win or lose he still loses, and you get the satisfaction of punishing someone for doing something you don't approve of.

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A Human Rts. Tribunal is a governmental agency...to the extent that Ezra feels it is infringing on his Charter Right to freedom of expression, he can argue that and prevent it from taking any steps against him for publishing the cartoons...that's not legal arrogance, that's me saying that he can rely on the "system" to protect his situation.

But of course, he can't rely on the system for the system is corrupt, and predisposed to find against him. And with the cost of lawyers even if he wins he loses. That's the reason why even allowing people to charge on frivolous complaints is tantamount to infringement on basic freedoms.

The baseless generalized slights against lawyers will get you nowhere in this thread...Levant is one too! I can tell you that the vast majority of lawyers have never come close to being in any way involved in writing legislation.

My generalized slights against lawyers are far from baseless. The system they've built is chaotic, deliberately avoids common sense, has no particular mandate for justice, and benefits only them. It certainly doesn't benefit society.

Well, under that logic, it's Ezra's system too...being that he is a "card carrying member" and all. And...next time you have cause to rely on it, strangely you'll be happy that the "system" is there and not just chaos.

If I'm ever caught up in the system I rather doubt I'll be happy that some lawyer is willing to guide me through the arcane rules and state my case while sucking tens of thousands of dollars out of my bank account.

"Congratulations! The courts found you completely innocent of any wrongdoing! Now give me your house. Oh, and your car, and anything you've got in your bank account. Now get out there into the streets, you homeless person, and be grateful that we lawyers and our system have protected you."

Edited by Argus
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jbg - I think your example about the baseless lawsuits you are defending kind of proves my point. If there was a quasi-judicial tribunal that dealt with your vexatious plaintiff's problem, she'd be filing her complaints there. Since there isn't one, she's filing them in court. The existence or lack of the tribunal is not what creates frivolous proceedings (if there was no court system, she'd be throwing rocks through your client's business windows and they'd still have to deal with her frivolity).

Argus - if you don't want to pay for a lawyer...don't. Countless numbers of citizens run their own legal matters every day. Hiring a lawyer is a choice, sorry, but it is. The people who lose their house paying for their lawyer must really think he or she is good...otherwise they would choose someone less expensive, or do it themselves.

And I'm speaking from actual experience, not just soap-boxing. Every month when I attend hearings in the Court of Appeal, there are at least as many people there representing themselves as there are with counsel. And, yes, the people without lawyers win sometimes too.

In fact, on January 29, one of Alberta's senior appellate prosecutors was remarking to me at how a self-represented inmate with little education had filed written materials in support of his appeal which were so well-done and accurate beyond anything that the Crown had that they conceded his appeal.

And when I say your complaints are baseless, it's not that I don't know that some lawyers behave in the way that you describe...billing the file for every penny regardless of outcome.

The problem I have is that you are never speaking about an instance that happened...just rhetoric. For example, I haven't appeared in an Alberta Human Rts hearing before, so I chose not to comment on the fairness of the particular tribunal...you suggest all the staff are "whackos". Do you know a mentally ill person who works there and unfairly screws parties over on purpose? I think not...more rhetoric.

And nobody ever goes to bat for the number of lawyers out there who do piles of pro bono work and on other files take fractions of the rate they need to charge to be profitable because they are trying to do the right thing.

Last month, I spent 2 hours speaking with and appearing in court for a guy who stopped me in the hallway of the courthouse becuase I was wearing a suit and looked like a lawyer. He had a child custody trial that day...I don't do child custody matters...but he had driven 6 hours to be there and didn't have a lawyer and didn't know what to do. I appeared as amicus curae or "friend to the court" and assisted him in dealing with his matter. I suspect he kept his house that day, and his car, and whatever cash he had in his wallet...because I took nothing.

In December, I settled a file and took $5,000.00 less than the retainer agreement permitted me to take...becuase in my view that meant my fee was more fair in relation to the actual amount of work I had performed for the client. Yes, you read that right...on December 31, 2007 I shorted myself five thousand dollars to make sure my client got proper value for my services. Client still has house, car, pennies in pocket etc. etc. and paid $5,000.00 less than what he originally agreed he would pay.

So forgive me if I don't just accept your view that every interaction that any citizen has with any legal matter is one of financial ruin and injustice.

FTA

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In my further defence of myself (and other lawyers like me) here is a client testimonial that fits well with the topic since this was a client who really ought not to have been charged in the first place:

FTA's client testimonials

“I was surprised, as I suppose anyone would be, to learn that I would be charged with any offence...I have been in the automotive industry for the past twelve years and I consider myself to be someone who operates in integrity...I made a number of calls to locate someone who could assist me and Michael Bates was strongly recommended to me from a different law office in Calgary as he has experience with the Fair Trade Act.

We began in April, 2006 and I was told it could take time but Mr. Bates assured me that it was not unusual to go through a period of motions and a positive conclusion was very possible...Mr. Bates remained confident and in July of 2006, the charges were dropped.

I think Mr. Bates has a good reputation with his opponents...His influence convinced the Crown Prosecutor to drop the issue and I think he even convinced the party fuelling the problem to reconsider as well...

In the end, the fee for services rendered were worth every dollar spent. Mr. Bates was more than fair and is worth taking the time out of a busy day to generate this letter."

B.W. - Red Deer, AB

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jbg - I think your example about the baseless lawsuits you are defending kind of proves my point. If there was a quasi-judicial tribunal that dealt with your vexatious plaintiff's problem, she'd be filing her complaints there. Since there isn't one, she's filing them in court. The existence or lack of the tribunal is not what creates frivolous proceedings (if there was no court system, she'd be throwing rocks through your client's business windows and they'd still have to deal with her frivolity).
A small claims court works much the way these "tribunals" work; informal procedures, no pretrial discovery, etc.
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All things that the more of them you have, the longer the process takes and the more $$$$$$ it costs. If the fundamental complaint here is that good people like Ezra shouldn't have to be out of pocket for frivolous complaints, then forcing him to face such a complaint in a full-blown superior court setting as opposed to the intentionally stripped-down (comparatively speaking) quasi-judicial tribunal setting would have the unintended result of increased financial cost.

It's not a perfect system, but tribunals are a trade-off that for the most part work very well in my opinion.

FTA

The proper legal system costs the complaintant money in civil cases. This case would never have been brought to court anyways. There is no law broken here.

This is the whole issue FTA that you cannot seem to grasp.

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The proper legal system costs the complaintant money in civil cases. This case would never have been brought to court anyways. There is no law broken here.

This is the whole issue FTA that you cannot seem to grasp.

What you do not grasp is that I am not making any judgment on the merits of the complaint...though I have said I think 3 or 4 times now that I think Levant was right to publish the cartoons.

You also do not grasp that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to prevent someone from filing a frivolous suit against you. You can get it dismissed, but you can't stop it before it happens.

And costs awards against an impecunious frivolous Plaintiff are rather hollow comfort no?

So, if innocent law-abiding folks can be forced to spend time and money that they can never recover to get out of a frivolous lawsuit in the Court of Queen's Bench, does that make the forum invalid?

I say no. Obviously others here may think otherwise.

FTA

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What you do not grasp is that I am not making any judgment on the merits of the complaint...though I have said I think 3 or 4 times now that I think Levant was right to publish the cartoons.

You also do not grasp that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to prevent someone from filing a frivolous suit against you. You can get it dismissed, but you can't stop it before it happens.

And costs awards against an impecunious frivolous Plaintiff are rather hollow comfort no?

So, if innocent law-abiding folks can be forced to spend time and money that they can never recover to get out of a frivolous lawsuit in the Court of Queen's Bench, does that make the forum invalid?

I say no. Obviously others here may think otherwise.

FTA

Um, you can countersue for damages and court costs....

Can you at the HRC? I don't know, but I doubt it - seeing as it's not a court of law..

The HRC's record? ALL, as in 100%, as in EVERY SINGLE complaint in regards to offensive speech brought before them has been settled in the complaintant's favour.

Will you seriously still sit there and type with a straight face and tell me that the 'process' at the HRC is the proper place for these types of complaints to go?

You cannot stop frivilous lawsuits, no. But when the complaintant's kangaroo court costs are covereed by the tax payers, it doesn't discourage them now, does it?

Also, almost 50% of all of the offensive speech cases (you know the one's with the 100% 'conviction rate') were brought to the HRC from ONE MAN. Guess who this one man's former employer is? That's right, the HRC.

Still not convinced that this 'process' is a farce?

If you are not, what WOULD convince you that these tribunals monitoring free speech ARE a farce?

What would it take?

Edited by White Doors
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So, if innocent law-abiding folks can be forced to spend time and money that they can never recover to get out of a frivolous lawsuit in the Court of Queen's Bench, does that make the forum invalid?

I say no. Obviously others here may think otherwise.

FTA, can you answer, though, if it is appropriate for a "tribunal" to shift the burden of proof to the Respondent, to dispense with right of confrontation, etc.? At least in Queens Bench the Plaintiff and/or Regina retains the burden of proof.
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So forgive me if I don't just accept your view that every interaction that any citizen has with any legal matter is one of financial ruin and injustice.

FTA

You are, of course, deliberately exaggerating my position in order to make it easier to rebut. I Have not suggested all lawyers are money hungry scum, or that every interaction with the legal system ends in monetary disaster and gross unfairness.

However, the undeniable fact is that the cost of legal representation is so grossly out of kilter with the abilities of most ordinary people to afford that even the suggestion they could be charged - even in a frivilous manner which would certainly result in acquital can force them to alter their behaviour, thus limiting their freedom. Thus the financial cost of an absurdly complex and time-consuming system can and often has been wielded like a weapon to punish people guilty of no crimes. As is the case in this matter.

As far as self representation goes, are you suggesting your training, skills and experience are of so little value that anyone can walk in off the street, study up for a few days, and be just as good? Would that not suggest the fees lawyers charge are even more grossly out of kilter with basic fairness?

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You are, of course, deliberately exaggerating my position in order to make it easier to rebut. I Have not suggested all lawyers are money hungry scum, or that every interaction with the legal system ends in monetary disaster and gross unfairness.

However, the undeniable fact is that the cost of legal representation is so grossly out of kilter with the abilities of most ordinary people to afford that even the suggestion they could be charged - even in a frivilous manner which would certainly result in acquital can force them to alter their behaviour, thus limiting their freedom. Thus the financial cost of an absurdly complex and time-consuming system can and often has been wielded like a weapon to punish people guilty of no crimes. As is the case in this matter.

As far as self representation goes, are you suggesting your training, skills and experience are of so little value that anyone can walk in off the street, study up for a few days, and be just as good? Would that not suggest the fees lawyers charge are even more grossly out of kilter with basic fairness?

Deliberately exaggerating? I'm the one doing that? Here's what you actually said:

My generalized slights against lawyers are far from baseless. The system they've built is chaotic, deliberately avoids common sense, has no particular mandate for justice, and benefits only them. It certainly doesn't benefit society.

If I'm ever caught up in the system I rather doubt I'll be happy that some lawyer is willing to guide me through the arcane rules and state my case while sucking tens of thousands of dollars out of my bank account.

"Congratulations! The courts found you completely innocent of any wrongdoing! Now give me your house. Oh, and your car, and anything you've got in your bank account. Now get out there into the streets, you homeless person, and be grateful that we lawyers and our system have protected you."

Clearly what you were doing was using facts of a particular case to criticize what happened in the circumstances as opposed to spewing generalized rhetoric.

I sincerely apologize for deliberately exaggerating your position. :blink:

My point about self-representation is quite the opposite of what you suggest. The fact is I feel my services are completely worth the fees I charge and I don't think the average citizen can do as good a job as I can. I have 8 years of university (including 3 years of law school) and 5 years of practice under my belt and I'm actually pretty good at what I do. I also think I charge very fairly compared to other lawyers who might try to empty their clients' bank accounts.

But, if any potential client doesn't see it that way and thinks he's getting screwed by paying me what I quote him then he is completely free to pay nothing and do it on his own.

I just had a client this week come to our office and retain us to do 2 hours of research to make sure that the prep-work he had done for himself was thorough. He is comfortable speaking in public and doesn't want to pay us to argue the hearing for him...just the expertise as far as the legal research goes. He will pay around $500.00.

On the other side, I recently had a client agree to pay me $200.00 per hour travel time between Calgary and Medicine Hat so I could be his lawyer for an appeal down there. He didn't trust the local lawyers and I have a particular focus on appellate work. If it looks alot like market economics of supply and demand it's because that's what it is.

If you get an impaired charge as an example, there are lawyers who will run your trial for $1,500.00...lawyers who will charge between $3,000.00 and $5,000.00 and lawyers who won't leave the office for under $25,000.00. Each has varying levels of experience and skill, and no different than buying a car or seeing a dentist...you shop, you compare, and you choose.

If you choose the guy who takes your house and everything else you've got and loses, that's your bad choice...not the fault of lawyers and the justice system.

Now, to bring all of the above back to the plight of Ezra Levant...I watched his self-promotional embarrassment of an attendance with the AHRC investigator on You Tube...you should too.

I especially like the part where he calls the woman with the pen and paper a "thug" and begs her to not dismiss the frivolous complaint against him so that the other thugs at the AHRC can hopefully "convict" him at a panel hearing so that he can take his matter to court.

Yeah, this is the test-case to prove how poor unwilling parties can be dragged through expensive legal proceedings by frivolous complaints.

The guy is literally begging for it!

FTA

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Danish papers reprint Muhammad cartoon

Feb 13, 2008 08:01 AM

JAN M. OLSEN

The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Denmark's leading newspapers Wednesday reprinted a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered rioting in Muslim countries two years ago.

The newspapers said they republished the cartoon to show their firm commitment to freedom of speech...

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/303187

-----------------------------------------------

It's an Afghanistan goat, so it can't stay here, or else it'll choke on the sweet air of freedom.

---Eric Cartman: South Park

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Deliberately exaggerating? I'm the one doing that?

Yes.

My point about self-representation is quite the opposite of what you suggest. The fact is I feel my services are completely worth the fees I charge

The fees you charge are an access cost to the legal system (we won't call it a justice system). I don't care if you think your fees are "fair" in comparison to other lawyers. I'm not speaking about "your" fees anyway. And I don't care if you feel your fees are "fair" because you can do so much better a job representing a person in the legal system than that person can himself. You are entirely missing the point. Deliberately, I suspect.

Tell you what. I'm going to set up a new system, and anyone is free to represent themselves. However, all documents and laws will be written in, and all hearings conducted in Aequian, an ancient dialect from the Alban hills in central Italy. As I and my fellow Aequian speakers will only charge a thousand dollars an hour to represent you and draw up forms and documents. We regard this as perfectly fair as we can represent you far better than you can yourself. But hey, go ahead and represent yourself. You'll see that our services are worth the money we charge.

and I don't think the average citizen can do as good a job as I can. I have 8 years of university (including 3 years of law school) and 5 years of practice under my belt and I'm actually pretty good at what I do. I also think I charge very fairly compared to other lawyers who might try to empty their clients' bank accounts.

Yes, I'm sure you're quite learned in the system you and your fellow lawyers have built, a system constructed to force people to use your services at whatever price you choose to offer them at. A reasonable system, however, a system of justice, would not require highly trained, highly paid specialists to allow ordinary people to have access.

If you choose the guy who takes your house and everything else you've got and loses, that's your bad choice...not the fault of lawyers and the justice system.

Right, because the system is set up to allow you to compare prices and easily access and understand the expertise and ability of different lawyers. It's obvious that the lawyer who charges $500 is just as good as the one who charges $10,000, so why pay more? How important could winning or losing your case be, anyway? And after all, it's not like there are any lousy lawyers out there who will lose a winnable case.

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I don't understand electronic fuel injection...f--king mechanics.

I can't comprehend circuitry diagrams...f--king electricians.

I don't read blueprints...f--king architects.

I can't do advanced calculus...f--cking engineers.

etc.

Anyway, back yet again to the topic (if we can possibly satiate the need to bash lawyers) looks like poor ranting Ezra may lose his soapbox:

Globe and Mail - Why Complaint Withdrawn

It's kind of hard to paint this guy as a radical muslim extremist when he pulls his complaint due to having come to appreciate the debate over the true mandate of Human Rts. Tribunals and acknowledging the Canadian democratic right to free speech.

For his part, Levant is desperately clinging to whatever media coverage he can by threatening to sue for "abuse of process"...wait a minute, who was it that posted a routine interview on You Tube and made as much of a media circus as possible? Calling the public servant a "thug"? begging for the proceeding to not be dismissed? And now he's going to sue for the thousands of dollars he HAD to spend dealing with this complaint?

I know which one of the two of these characters I'm more scared of right now...

FTA

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Snip ......

It's kind of hard to paint this guy as a radical muslim extremist when he pulls his complaint due to having come to appreciate the debate over the true mandate of Human Rts. Tribunals and acknowledging the Canadian democratic right to free speech.

End Snip

FTA

I figure he is just backing out - his reasons are not truthful.

He was likely amazed at the backlash - and the fact that someone would not back down - unusual for canukleheads who always want to be thought of as kind people with an open mind.

Now, who is going to pony up the cash to re-imburse Ezra?

THAT is the real issue. He gets pulled in front of this left wing kangaroo court - and he has to pay.

Like him or not - Ezra was abused by our system.

Win, lose or draw - the lawyers win - as is usual.

It might be any one of us tomorrow.

I believe that this racially backed, religiously backed charge laid against Ezra by this so called religious leader should be paid for - paid by the person laying the charges.

Never happen - all in the name of tolerance.

Borg

Edited by Borg
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No publishing pictures of the prophet is not a crime, in fact does anyone know where to buy toilet paper depicting the prophet. I would like large quanities. I think I could turn a good dollar selling it over the internet.

Let's not call Mohammed 'the Prophet' unless he is your own prophet. We are not Dhimmis, yet.

Mohammed was an illiterate merchant who married a 6 year old child, claimed was visited by angels in a cave and beheaded hundreds of people in bloody wars to establish his own power base.

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Now, who is going to pony up the cash to re-imburse Ezra?

THAT is the real issue. He gets pulled in front of this left wing kangaroo court - and he has to pay.

From what I have read, there has been a very successful fundraising effort to cover Ezra's costs. His supporters are coming through with cash donations.

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So everytime someone is hauled before these wingnuts, we can expect charitable Canadians to be responsible for paying someone's costs? That's ridiculous.

That's like saying it was ok for me to steal a 1000 dollars from you, because afterward your cousin felt bad and gave you a thousand bucks.

Edited by jefferiah
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