Author Topic: Help Protect Free Speech  (Read 11234 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Help Protect Free Speech
« on: April 01, 2006, 12:28:25 »
https://www240.ssldomain.com/westernstandard/website/index.cfm?page=donation&CFID=5888098&CFTOKEN=49734736

An islamic cleric has filed suit against the Western Standard in the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Another example of the tolerance of islam and its practioners.

Offline TheShepherd

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 13:40:11 »
It is rediculous that we can't print a few cartoons without some nut filing a suit against the newspaper, but on the other end of the spectrum, the Western Standard knew what they were getting into when they printed those cartoons.
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2006, 20:04:54 »
hope you don't mind if I wade in here with .02
the Western Standard knew what they were getting into when they printed those cartoons.

Very true.  I think the real nut is the editor who decides to print the cartoons after already knowing the reaction of muslims around the world (IMHO).  If they were printing it to make a statement, that's certainly their right, just as it's this imam's right to sue.  I don't think it's abuse of process nor radical.  This is a non violent, perfectly appropriate recourse available to him and his community.   So, the Western Standard now has to pay legal costs to defend themselves.  They could have chosen not to run the cartoons.

I'd be interested to know what specific damages he is seeking and on what grounds?   


Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2006, 20:36:05 »
I think that the rest of the media was cowardly in not running the cartoons. So are we going to avoid controversial topics for fear of being sued ?

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2006, 20:48:38 »
Should make for interesting times, if and, when the lawsuit is shot down. Of course, both side have oddles of cash, from various sources, available to them. Watch for this one to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Hopefully, most of the Liberal appointed judges are gone by then, but that's just my opinion.
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2006, 21:14:07 »
hope you don't mind if I wade in here with .02
Very true.  I think the real nut is the editor who decides to print the cartoons after already knowing the reaction of muslims around the world (IMHO).  If they were printing it to make a statement, that's certainly their right, just as it's this imam's right to sue.  I don't think it's abuse of process nor radical.  This is a non violent, perfectly appropriate recourse available to him and his community.   So, the Western Standard now has to pay legal costs to defend themselves.  They could have chosen not to run the cartoons.

I'd be interested to know what specific damages he is seeking and on what grounds?   

It's abusive and radical because he's using a process (the Human Rights thing) that has nothing to do with the case. It should have gone to civilian court, using his own money and his community's, not every taxpayers' money. That's like using the Human Rights court because your neighbor's dog took a crap on your grass. Sure, it violates your rights to having a green, unblemished grass, but it's frivolous, ridiculous and the taxpayers' money shouldn't be used for it.

As for grounds, he has none. We're allowed to publish whatever we want as long as it doesn't incite hatred or violence. I haven't seen all the cartoons, but those I did see did not incite me to go killing some Muslims. Frivolous lawsuits like this do piss me off, though.

If you want more details, there are pdf's available on the website detailing the complaint and the response.

Anyone else thinks if someone tried to complain against Muslims in a similar case, the case wouldn't even make it to the courts before being thrown out?
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Offline GAP

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2006, 21:18:27 »
Ahh...but the mindset has been established, hasn't it? Between the riots (that everybody ignored the source agitator's of) to now being reasonable and just "suing". Watch what the media does in the next few years with anything that might cause a similar reaction. We've just been stalemated.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2006, 22:30:12 »
It's abusive and radical because he's using a process (the Human Rights thing) that has nothing to do with the case. It should have gone to civilian court, using his own money and his community's, not every taxpayers' money.

If this started in a court of law, the first thing the judge would do is ask "why is this before the court now?" The proper venue of first instance is the  Human Rights hearing. The decision of the hearing could then be appealed to a court of law.

The complaint will succeed before the Human Rights tribunal. The heads of damages will be exemplary and for humiliation/hurt feelings. The total payable will not be very much. It is likely they are seeking a public apology.

Western Standard will fight to the last dollar. They will lose. This is Canada. Certain rights of expression are very limted.
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2006, 23:17:13 »
The complaint will succeed before the Human Rights tribunal. The heads of damages will be exemplary and for humiliation/hurt feelings. The total payable will not be very much. It is likely they are seeking a public apology.

I suggest everyone read the Western Standard's reply to the complaint. As is pointed out, the complaint was dismissed by the police as frivolous. Also, a lot of what the Muslim guy is bitching about has nothing to do with the Western Standard, so basically he's trying to get someone (in this case, a business) punished for what someone else did.

Also, in this case, the process itself is the punishment (as was pointed out by the WS) because even if the case is dismissed, the defendant has to pay all legal fees and they are NOT reimbursed if the case is declared to be frivolous, while the plaintiff doesn't pay anything. It's abuse of taxpayers' money, plain and simple.

It really sickens me that we live in a society where we claim to allow freedom of speech but limit it when immigrants say they don't agree with what is being said.
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Offline Trinity

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2006, 00:28:31 »


Also, in this case, the process itself is the punishment (as was pointed out by the WS) because even if the case is dismissed, the defendant has to pay all legal fees and they are NOT reimbursed if the case is declared to be frivolous, while the plaintiff doesn't pay anything. It's abuse of taxpayers' money, plain and simple.

Theoretically... if the paper wins... they could sue the cleric for legal fee/damages incurred by a frivolous claim.
Like the cleric has any money personally (not)...
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2006, 00:56:39 »
Theoretically... if the paper wins... they could sue the cleric for legal fee/damages incurred by a frivolous claim.
Like the cleric has any money personally (not)...

From what I understand, and I might be mistaken, but because the cleric guy took it up to the Human Rights place, the paper basically has no recourse, hence the claim the process itself is the punishment. But then again, it's way above my pay grade and education level.
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Offline NL_engineer

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2006, 09:48:01 »
Western Standard will fight to the last dollar. They will lose. This is Canada. Certain rights of expression are very limted.

You are right there, I forget the case but according the SCC, a business (media included) rights under sect 2 of the charter are not greater then an individual of a protected group.


Got to love how the laws that are supposed to protect our freedoms, can be used to limit them by groups like this. I think the government should amend the Charter be for cleric can get the court to limit them.
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Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2006, 11:21:05 »
Hunt v. Southam.
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Offline William Webb Ellis

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2006, 16:22:53 »
Was an "action" started against the Jewish Free Press (I may be mistaken on the name), but it is a small Calgary paper, around 2000-5000 circulation.  I actually believe they printed them first, along with allegedly defamatory cartoons of Jews.

Mr Levant, is a crap disturber.  He has been for as long as I have been aware of him.  To be clear this is not a slag, he has always asked questions of the system.

He is also no stranger to the court system having started various lawsuits of his own, including a monster law suit that grew out of his involvement in the riding of Calgary Southwest and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party.  To quote someone I know who moves in those circles he is "radio active"
« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 16:28:36 by William Webb Ellis »
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Offline Freddy G

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2006, 19:13:55 »
Was an "action" started against the Jewish Free Press (I may be mistaken on the name), but it is a small Calgary paper, around 2000-5000 circulation.  I actually believe they printed them first, along with allegedly defamatory cartoons of Jews.

Mr Levant, is a crap disturber.  He has been for as long as I have been aware of him.  To be clear this is not a slag, he has always asked questions of the system.

He is also no stranger to the court system having started various lawsuits of his own, including a monster law suit that grew out of his involvement in the riding of Calgary Southwest and the Reform/Alliance/Conservative Party.  To quote someone I know who moves in those circles he is "radio active"

So are you saying that the Muslim guy is doing something good by abusing the justice system and using the Human Rights court to sue this paper, having to pay nothing out of his own pocket and preventing the paper from being reimbursed when the case is dismissed, just because Mr Levant "is a crap disturber"?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, uh? Oh how I love our society...
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2006, 21:18:26 »
Freedom of speech is all well and good.  Just because it is your "right" to say something doesn't make it right to say it.  My point is just that this is obviously highly offensive to a large portion of the muslim world so to run it is just inflammatory and dumb business practice which is why most Canadian newspapers chose not to run it. 


Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2006, 22:00:59 »
Most Canadian and American "MSM" outlets feel quite free to publish things which Christians find offensive (and Christians are a larger part of the population than Muslims in this part of the world).

Perhaps the real reason they won't publish has something to do with the idea that their offices might be firebombed and their staff attacked on the street (something which Christians do not seem prone to do in this day and age)? The staff of the Western Standard, although being persecuted and perhaps having their ability to publish crippled, have at least gotten off lucky this time.

We might get a long term benefit from this entire mess; the ideas that underlay "human rights tribunals" and various laws and regulations associated with this should be thoroughly discredited, and put under review.
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Offline William Webb Ellis

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2006, 23:57:50 »
So are you saying that the Muslim guy is doing something good by abusing the justice system and using the Human Rights court to sue this paper, having to pay nothing out of his own pocket and preventing the paper from being reimbursed when the case is dismissed, just because Mr Levant "is a crap disturber"?

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, uh? Oh how I love our society...

No what I am saying is he has just started a magazine, and any press is good press, perhaps he has other motives like the bottom line
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2006, 15:56:22 »
Most Canadian and American "MSM" outlets feel quite free to publish things which Christians find offensive (and Christians are a larger part of the population than Muslims in this part of the world).
For example?  I am not saying that that is not the case but as a Christian no examples jump to mind that really offended me.

Perhaps the real reason they won't publish has something to do with the idea that their offices might be firebombed and their staff attacked on the street 

Quite possible.  I like to think, however, it has more to do with Canada being a moderate and tolerant country that holds respecting others beliefs and dignity higher than exercising what is indeed our "right" to insult those beliefs.

(something which Christians do not seem prone to do in this day and age)?
I think there are some abortion doctors out there who may disagree with that.  Of course those radical Christians are not representative of all Christians.  Just as there are Muslims who do not respond with violence.  This particular imam for example.

We might get a long term benefit from this entire mess; the ideas that underlay "human rights tribunals" and various laws and regulations associated with this should be thoroughly discredited, and put under review.

I  personally don't see how this could be a long term benifit. 

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2006, 18:05:56 »
It's the interpretations of them that cause problems. Especially when done through the courts/tribunals. Look how the Supreme Court can hold a gov't by it's dangly bits over a law (like the gay marriage issue) and since the Supreme Court is not elected, and neither are the tribunals, we can have things happen all in the name of 'human right's' that ultimately affect the majority. The loudest group gets their way in our court system, no matter how big they are.

If not the courts then who should be interpreting the laws?  The fact that the courts are not elected IMO is a good thing.  They should be non-partisan.  You can start down a slippery slope when a government can interperet laws to suit political ends.  The Supreme Court should be able to hold a government by their "dangly bits" ( I like that one ) should that government be trying to do something contrary to the constitution.  But I digress.....I don't want to get off on a gay marriage tangent here.

What, exactly, has happened in the name of ' human rights' that has negatively affected the majority?

Free speech for all. What newspapers publish should not be at the discretion of the courts. This is just IMHO, since I have lost all faith in our courts/tribunals etc.

I don't think the courts are telling any newspaper what they can or cannot publish.  They are hearing a human rights complaint about something that was published.  I don't think those are the same.  That's like saying that because we have laws about libel or inciting hatred that we don't have free speech. 

 

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2006, 22:20:34 »
One or two issues back the "Rolling Stone" magazine had a rapper done up as Jesus Christ on the cover, something many Christians would find offensive if not blasphemous. I am sure many people on this board could come up with any number of examples, my top of the head example would be "Atlantic Monthly", October 2002, "The Next Christianity" by Phillip Jenkins which predicts Christian activism will be the defining crisis of the next century. (This might be excusable if it was published prior to 9/11/2001).

Human rights and human rights tribunals do not operate under the evidentery or procedural rules of a court of law, virtually everything is subjective and in most cases the process is done with the same panel acting as prosecuter, judge and jury. As the publisher of Western Standard notes, the complaint was thrown out by the police as having no basis, but the Human rights tribunal is being harnessed (with the power of taxpayer dollars) to muzzle freedom of expression. There is certainly no reason the complainant could not publish his own views on the matter, and indeed I am sure the publisher of Western Standard would have been more than happy to run the piece. The cartoons are the crux of the news story after all, and in a secular society we should be free to view them or not as WE decide, and debate and come to conclusions about these cartoons. Certainly the Western Standard should publish some of the anti Semitic material emanating from newspapers in the Arab world as a counterpoint; much of it is far more offensive and graphic than any of the "Mohamed" cartoons.

The response of the Islamic community (or at least a portion of it) is not to engage in debate but rather demand submission to their beliefs. In some parts of the world, they engage in brownshirt tactics, here they have discovered how to use "Human Rights" to suppress Freedom of Expression. Since Freedom of Expression is the key element of our political and economic strength, this is a very bad turn of events for all of us in Canada and the West.
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Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2006, 16:34:06 »
a_majoor, thanks for the example.  I didn't see it but I probably would have found it offensive.  Even as a Christian, still I just don't see it in the same light as the Muslim cartoons. If  Christians around the world voiced their objections only to have Rolling Stone and many more magazine's run it just to thumb their noses at the offended Christians and exercise their freedom of expression, then maybe I might see it in the same light.  This is not even considering the fact, as everone is painfully aware now, it is blasphemous to portray the prophet in any depiction.

I don't see any of this as a threat to our freedom of expression.  That freedom has certain restrictions on it anyway ( and rightly so ).  Nor do I see the Muslim world demanding submission to their beliefs.  They are demanding respect of their beliefs.  And if instead of re-running the cartoon, just to make a point and inflame the situation, the editor had just made a simple apology for offending, I don't think freedom of expression would have been jeopardized at all.

As far as rules of evidence and procedure for a tribunal work, I am going to have to submit to you on that one.  I don't know. 

Could he have published his own rebuttal?  You bet.  Does that mean he has no right to persue his grievance through a Human Rights Tribunal?  No.  Is he abusing the process?  Tough call.  That would depend on his motives.  Do I have sympathy for Western Standard?  No, they chose to run it fully aware of how it would be perceived by Muslim-Canadians.  Now they can stand behind what they publish if it meant so much to them in the first place.  Why am I asking question after question just to answer it myself?  I don't know.  Can I stop? I don't know........ :)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2006, 19:14:42 by x-zipperhead »

Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2006, 17:02:24 »
I think we should offer our support to the Western Standard but I ain't sending them no money.  As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't even bother trying to defend themselves.  The law is the law whether it is a HR tribunal or a court of law.  This freakoid still has to establish a case.  He can't.  So eat it and have a nice day.  It would be a fairly effective protest.  I can't imagine an Alberta tribunal giving this dude judgment and damages.  I guarantee you if they have to invent a new rule, they will find a reason to dismiss this case on the first day. 

In any case, they should let the dude win.  Take a lesson from the enemy, martyr yourself, readership will probably go up and maybe it will smack a few people in the face that maybe we've lost sight of some important values.

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2006, 17:09:45 »
it will smack a few people in the face that maybe we've lost sight of some important values.


What values would those be?

Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2006, 17:32:39 »
freedom of speech.  freedom of the press.  freedom of expression.




Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2006, 17:37:45 »
What are you? Pink?  ???

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2006, 19:09:25 »
No, I am not a communist.  I value freedom of speech, expression and the press. Since I just don't see those things as being threatened, I truly didn't know which values you were refering to.  I wasn't being smug.....maybe a little dense. :blotto:
 
I find it interesting that you refer to this guy as the "enemy".  As far as I know he is a Canadian citizen ( I could stand to be corrected ). 


Offline Gues t

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2006, 19:45:23 »
Alright, I was a little loose there.  I was plastering all Imams with the same paintbrush.  That was a good catch and I repent.  This guy is not the enemy and I did not realize that my rhetoric led to such a conclusion. 

In regard to your other point, I also share your view that freedom of speech is not threatened in this situation.  I share that view because I have no doubt that this Imam's complaint is going to lead anywhere but the bottom of a waste basket.  If I am wrong, which is of course unlikely, then those freedoms not only are threatened, they have been violated, trampled, pillaged, destroyed and many other bad things.  Of course, not irrepairably, who really cares what an Alberta HR tribunal says about anything?  I imagine they'll shoot the guy at dawn for bringing a frivolous claim in any case. 

Offline x-zipperhead

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2006, 22:37:04 »
Even if he wins his case, I still don't see freedom of expression being trampled.  As a liberal democracy we value our freedoms but with those freedoms come responsibility.

Freedom of expression is not absolute.  There sometimes are some restrictions on it. This is why we have laws under the criminal code for libel, slander and inciting hate.  One example being to prevent the defamation of an individual or in this case a group.  I realize this is not a criminal case but my point is that  just because he is suing the WS for something they expressed is not necessarily an affront to our freedom of expression.  Just because someone doesn't perceive the defamation the way the complainant does, doesn't mean it is an abuse of process or frivolous. 

That's my take and I realize many may not share my view.

Offline kcdist

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2006, 23:02:53 »
To wade in here, leading up to the article in question, I was sheepishly sneaking a periodic peek at the Western Standard at the public library.

Following the article, I determined that the Western Standard was the single substantial Canadian news organization to actually have the gonads to publish the interesting details of what morphed into a major world story. I therefore became one of many (I suspect) to commence a subscription to the magazine.

I haven't been disappointed yet.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2013, 01:57:42 »
Freedom of expression takes another hit thanks to the Human Rights Star Chamber. This ruling actually threatens all of us, for example the owner of this site, newspapers, radio call in shows or any place where an opinion can be expressed may now be threatenedby anone with malicious intent. I would suggest that *we* do whatever we can to help the Fourniers and get this verdict thrown out, or your and my ability to speak will be under constant threat:

http://www.danieldickin.ca/2013/10/a-sad-day-for-canadas-free-expression.html

Quote
A sad day for Canada’s free expression rights
Published for the Prince Arthur Herald

Website owners beware: you can be found guilty of libel if your anonymous commenters post “offensive comments” that are not subsequently removed “fast enough.”

Such is the latest result of a six year battle between Richard Warman, a lawyer and former Canadian Human Rights Commission employee, and Connie and Mark Fournier, the former owners of the conservative discussion forum Free Dominion.

For the past six years the couple has been taken to court in lawsuit after lawsuit.

In 2007 Warman sued Connie and Mark Fournier and eight John Does for comments made against him on the Free Dominion forum.  These allegedly defamatory comments are named in Warman’s statement of claim, and include:

Calling Warman “the censorship champion” and an obnoxious *******
Alleging Warman “is a fanatic and so obnoxious that even his fellow fanatical colleagues at the Canadian Human Rights Commission couldn't stand him.”
Alleging Warman “wants Canada’s internet to be more like China.”
Alleging Warman is “a devious character” and a “professional complainer”
Alleging Warman is “a censor, an enemy of freedom, and an anti-free speech campaigner.”

In 2008, Warman also sued several people and newspapers for libel, including the National Post and its columnist Jonathan Kay; Ezra Levant; Kate McMillan; Kathy Shaidle; and Connie and Mark Fournier again for comments made on Free Dominion.  Warman claimed the respondents had wrongly accused him of making racist and sexist remarks.  The National Post and Kay retracted the story and apologized, and the case against the remaining respondents is still before the courts.

And it goes on.  Of course, not once does Warman state these claims are untrue, but rather that these “serious allegations… clearly state… in plain and ordinary meaning” defame Warman’s personal reputation and professional status as a lawyer.

It’s all part of Warman’s meticulous “maximum disruption” approach, whereby he engages in lawsuits and human rights claims through the Canadian Human Rights Commission “whenever I think it will be most helpful, or even if I just feel it will be the most fun.”  Warman acknowledges he strongly believes in engaging “as many of these fronts as possible either at the same time or one after the other… It keeps them off-balance and forces them to respond to things that focus their energies on defending themselves.”

Many of Warman’s lawsuits and complaints are the textbook definition of a SLAPP lawsuit, or “strategic lawsuit against public participation.”  Warman doesn’t need to “win” the case – he just needs to abuse Canada’s court system long enough that the respondent’s legal bills pile up and their will to fight is reduced to zero.

(“Maximum disruption” is a copyrighted term and lawsuit approach - which was the subject of another lawsuit against the Fourniers – this one in 2010 for using the term “maximum disruption.”)

But back to the lawsuit which started in 2007: Warman is seeking $50,000 in general damages; $50,000 in aggravated damages; $50,000 in punitive damages; a complete public retraction; a permanent injunction against libelling Warman; court costs; and other awards or damages the court deems just.

On March 23, 2009 Warman obtained an order from Justice Kershman ordering that the Fourniers turn over the personal information of the John Does involved in the case, including email and IP addresses.

On May 3, 2010 the Ontario Superior Court reversed Kershman’s order, citing concerns that privacy and free expression would be breached by releasing such personal information without a prima facie case against the John Does.

So Warman chose to pursue the 2007 case against the Fourniers and against the “Does” but without being able to identify who the Does were.

Although the official court transcript has not yet been released, the Fourniers report they never had the chance to defend the “libelous” comments with defences such as “truth” or “fair comment.”  Were the comments made against Warman true?  Were they fair comments on matters of public policy?  The jury was never able to answer those questions.

Who exactly is Richard Warman, and why has he so relentlessly pursued this case for 6+ years against some conservative forum moderators?

In 2008 Maclean’s did a story on Warman, Righteous crusader or civil rights menace?  There they barely scratch the surface of the “lawyer and activist” who filed dozens of human rights complaints under section 13 of the Canada Human Rights Act while also working for the Human Rights Commission.

Section 13 was the provision which made it illegal to communicate via the internet “any matter… likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.”  Critics cited glaring concerns with allowing HRCs to define “hate” and “contempt.”

See also: Shakedown, by Ezra Levant, analyzing the attitudes and behaviours of HRCs

Alan Borovoy, one of the creators of the HRCs as we know them today, noted s. 13 was never intended to be an instrument “against the expression of free speech.”  Indeed, the entire HRC process was intended to be a shield against discrimination and human rights violations – not a sword to attack political adversaries.

(In June 2013 s. 13 was repealed and will take effect in June 2014.)

Warman focused mostly on white supremacists, sometimes going undercover, posting pro-Nazi comments, then filing a complaint against those who agreed with him.

Attempting to stop Nazis from organizing violent physical attacks against minorities? Good on him.

But he’s also gone after Ezra Levant, the National Post, Jonathan Kay, Kathy Shaidle, Kate McMillan, Mark Steyn, and a slew of other generally conservative reporters, columnists, and writers for far more questionable interpretations of “hate” and “contempt.”

Including Mark and Connie Fournier, and the eight John Does who have not been identified.

Warman’s win is disturbing jurisprudence for website owners, who can now be ordered to pay $42,000 in damages for what is anonymously written on online message boards.

It’s also disturbing that Mark and Connie Fournier have be held liable for comments made by anonymous people who have never been identified.  They’re anonymous, that’s the point.  If Warman was interested in pursuing the people who made the allegedly libelous comments, he could have obtained a court order to have the Fourniers reveal the commenters’ email and IP addresses.  Warman tried in 2009, but failed on grounds that he had not proven that those individuals made libelous statements.

How could the Fourniers possibly comment on the mental state of anonymous users of an internet forum?  How could the Fourniers comment on the trains of thought of anonymous internet users?  And how can website owners be punished for not removing “offensive materials” “fast enough”? (I anticipate the official court judgment will define offensive materials and fast enough.)

So take note, for if you’re a commenter on any website, your anonymity will be challenged.  And if you’re a website owner that allows comments, whether Google, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, National Post, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, or any other online forum where comments are allowed, you can be sued and be forced to pay heavy damages to your accuser, lest you remove any “offensive” comments “fast enough.”

The Fourniers are now faced with a difficult choice: appeal the decision, costing even more money and dragging this 6+ year case even farther into the unknown future, or shut down their website, and with it, any remaining belief that Canadians enjoy “free speech.”
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2013, 23:38:39 »
Mark Steyn is at it again, or more appropriatly, thin skinned people are running around trying to silence Mark Steyn (rather than engaging with even better speech, although Styne has a pretty brilliant way with words). Once again, attacks on freedom of expression are attacks on us all.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/10/16/mark-steyn-sticks-and-stones/

Quote
Mark Steyn: Sticks and stones

Mark Steyn, National Post | 16/10/13 | Last Updated: 16/10/13 8:46 AM ET
More from National Post

Five years ago, I and my fellow rightwing blowhard Ezra Levant were in the midst of a spirited campaign to rid Canada of its disgusting censorship laws and restore a centuries-old tradition of free speech to a land that, in the name of “human rights,” had surrendered it too easily. The Canadian Islamic Congress had brought simultaneous complaints before the federal, Ontario and British Columbia “human rights” regimes against Maclean’s magazine for publishing an excerpt from my book. Despite the advantages of triple jeopardy, they struck out all three times, and at the federal level their suit so damaged the reputation of “Section 13” (the national censorship law with a 100% conviction rate) that last year Parliament finally repealed it.

But the urge to litigate disagreement is never far from the surface in contemporary discourse. So both Ezra Levant and I find ourselves back in court yet again. In my case, I’m currently being sued in the District of Columbia by Dr. Michael Mann, the eminent global warm-monger, for mocking (in America’s National Review) his increasingly discredited climate-change “hockey stick.” So Dr. Mann has sued for what his complaint to the court called “defamation of a Nobel prize recipient.” (For those who are not fully conversant with the idea, the "Hockey Stick" graph purports to show global climate for the last 1000 years. Oddly enough, during that time period the "Hockey Stick" fails to show the Medeival Warm Period or the Little Ice Age, but does show a dramatic upturn in temperature during the 20th century. The various algorithms used to derive the "Hockey Stick" graph have not, to my knowledge, been released for impartial scrutiny and review by other scientists either.)

In fact, Dr. Mann is not a “Nobel prize recipient.” But, as Donna LaFramboise recently pointed out in these pages, he has spent many years passing himself off as one. The nearest he got to a Nobel was as one of several thousand contributors to one of various reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in 2007 shared a Nobel Peace Prize. So Dr. Mann is a Nobel laureate in the same sense that my mother is: She’s Belgian, and Belgium is in the European Union, and the European Union was collectively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. My mum does not claim to be a Nobel prize winner, but Dr. Mann did, on an industrial scale, including in his publicist’s bio, his book jackets and his website — until, in the wake of his false complaint, the Nobel Institute in Oslo declared that he was not a Nobel laureate at all. In that sense, Dr. Mann is, indeed, a fraud. It is a fascinating legal question whether a man guilty of serial misrepresentation can, in fact, be defamed. But it’s not that fascinating, and certainly not worth the court’s time and seven-figure legal bills.

Other than that, it’s a pretty basic free speech case. Dr. Mann, whatever his other gifts, is an inveterate name-caller. Consider his recent Guardian column defending his “hockey stick” from the bad case of brewer’s droop it’s acquired over the last 15 years of non-warming: Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish professor named (unlike Mann) by Foreign Policy as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers,” is dismissed as “career fossil fuel industry apologist Bjorn Lomborg”; Judith Curry, a member of the National Research Council’s climate research committee, winner of awards from the American Meteorological Society, and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences, is billed by Dr. Mann as “serial climate disinformer Judith Curry”; and anyone else who has the impertinence to disagree with him is lumped under the catch-all category of “climate change deniers.”

As masters of devastating put-downs go, Dr. Mann isn’t exactly Oscar Wilde. Nevertheless, plonking and leaden and witless as his insults are, he has a perfect right to make them. Unfortunately, he’s one of those pathologically insecure types who feels he should be able to dish it out but that he shouldn’t have to take it. So he is suing because he didn’t like being described by Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as, metaphorically, “the Jerry Sandusky of climate change” (a line I quoted). Jerry Sandusky is the Penn State football coach currently serving 30-60 years in the slammer for sexual abuse of children. In court, our notably unimpressive judge Natalia Combs-Greene declared, even before we got anywhere near the trial, that she was with Dr. Mann: “The court agrees with the arguments advanced by Plaintiffs. To place Plaintiff’s name in the same sentence with Sandusky (a convicted pedophile) is clearly outrageous.”

So what? It’s equally outrageous to call anyone who disagrees with you a “denier,” a slur with a very particular pedigree, and one which would be distressing to any critic of Mann with family who died in the Holocaust. And in the case of Dr. Mann, he was in fact (which is what courts used to concern themselves with) a colleague of the pedophile Sandusky at Penn State University for six years. So it’s not in the least bit “outrageous” to put Mann and Sandusky in the same sentence, even if only when compiling the Penn State faculty list, or drawing up guest invitations for its now indicted president’s Christmas cocktail party. If Dr. Mann doesn’t like being linked to Penn State’s scandals, he should get a new job.

There are 7-billion people on this planet, which the environmental crowd thinks is way too high. But, until they do as a U.S. weatherman and Dutch artist recently did and start having vasectomies and tying their tubes to reduce their carbon footprint, all seven billion are entitled to insult Dr. Mann, just as Mann is entitled to insult me and Judith Curry and anyone else who has the temerity not to prostrate themselves before him. It is remarkable that an American jurist is too obtuse to grasp this, and to presume that her court has the right to adjudicate who can and can’t be “placed in the same sentence.”

Meanwhile, my old comrade Ezra Levant is back in court, at the behest of Khurrum Awan, a plaintiff in the Maclean’s suits. These days, Mr. Awan is a solicitor at the impeccably respectable Regina law firm of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman, and has been named by CBC Saskatchewan as one of its “Future 40,” which is not an accolade ever likely to befall Levant or me. But he’s suing Ezra for calling him a “liar” half-a-decade ago. Awan was the key witness in the Maclean’s trial at the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal. On cross-examination, Julian Porter, QC, did indeed reveal that Awan had been guilty of telling an untruth about one of the central facts of the case. This was reported by dear old Ezra under the headline “Khurrum Awan the Liar.” Reasonable people can disagree whether it might have been more sensitively rendered as “Khurrum Awan the Untruth Teller” or “Khurrum Awan the Dissembler”; Colby Cosh in this newspaper opted for “inventing details.” But, in a technical sense, Mr Awan said something that was not so and was exposed in court for so doing, and in a free society Ezra ought to be well within his rights to characterize such a person as he pleases.

What else? Awan complains that Levant called him an anti-Semite. Big deal. Awan called Levant a racist. He’s called me and my book racist, Islamophobic, virulent and hateful. Likewise: big deal. One could argue that Ezra was more responsible than anybody else for getting Rahim Jafer, a Ugandan-born Muslim elected to Parliament, which isn’t the usual thing your average Ku Klux Klan Kleagle spends his time doing. One might also argue that Mr. Awan spent many years as a member of an organization headed by Mohammed Elmasry, a man who declared to Michael Coren on Canadian television that every Israeli over the age of 18 was a legitimate target for terrorism — which, to put it at its mildest, indicates a certain breezy insouciance toward Jew-haters.

But it shouldn’t be necessary to do this, and certainly not in a court of law: These days, calling someone totally racist is totally gay. These are the playground insults of the diversity sandbox. I hasten to add, before he reaches for m’learned friends, that I’m not implying Mr. Awan is a practicing homosexual: In 2005, he testified to the House of Commons against same sex marriage. For all I know, some gay guys would call him “homophobic.” Again, big deal. As the comedienne Sarah Silverman likes to say, “I mean ‘gay’ like ‘retarded.’ ” I hasten to add, before he amends his complaint, that I’m not implying Mr. Awan is mentally ill. And yes, Sarah Silverman is a sinister Jewess, but the point is that suing over the back-and-forth of public discourse turns the entire citizenry into an enfeebled child: To litigate every offense is to give a not especially distinguished judiciary the power to micro-regulate social relations.

In his own complaint to the court, Khurrum Awan says that as a result of Ezra’s characterization of him he has been “shunned by his friends.” Oh, dear. He’s the loneliest man in Saskatchewan’s “Future 40.” But who’s to say his friends aren’t shunning him for his attack on free speech? Or his public stand against gay marriage? Or maybe he’s a lousy dancer, and a dull conversationalist. I feel rather as I did when David Gest, in his petition for divorce from Liza Minnelli, claimed Liza had beaten him up: There isn’t enough money on the planet that could make me confess to being beaten up by Liza Minnelli, and there certainly isn’t enough money in an Ontario court judgment to complain that Ezra Levant turned me into a social loser.

But this poignant complaint inadvertently makes a useful point: In free societies, the appropriate restraint is social; if you go around shrieking insults hither and yon, your friends may indeed decide to shun you — and that is as it should be. But it is ridiculous for what in Canada is an already sclerotic court system to adjudicate the rougher asides of vigorous debate on matters of public policy, whether climate change or speech censorship. If you’re going to be a partisan warrior in the public arena you need, as the Toronto blogger Kathy Shaidle likes to put it, “insensitivity training.” Miss Shaidle also argues that the matter of honour was better handled before the libel laws replaced dueling. When a fake Nobel laureate and a frontman for a terrorism-sympathizer are suing for their “reputation,” I’m inclined to agree. If Dr. Mann’s up for it, how about hockey sticks at dawn?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Lightguns

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #32 on: October 17, 2013, 07:22:30 »
Is Section 13 is repealed, can't the Fournier's simply appeal until June 2014 when the law no longer applies?  What will Warman do once Section 13 is gone?
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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2013, 10:50:53 »
He's not pursuing action under Sect 13, rather under the libel law. The verdict essentially states that website owners are responsible for what 3rd parties say.
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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2013, 19:21:24 »
He's not pursuing action under Sect 13, rather under the libel law. The verdict essentially states that website owners are responsible for what 3rd parties say.

I wouldn't be surprised if the case ended up in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. 
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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2013, 09:58:55 »
I wouldn't be surprised if the case ended up in front of the Supreme Court of Canada.

It absolutely needs to go to the highest court in the land, but the Fourniers aren't sure whether they can muster the strength or resources to make it that far.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2013, 21:37:57 »
It absolutely needs to go to the highest court in the land, but the Fourniers aren't sure whether they can muster the strength or resources to make it that far.

Which is the purpose of Human Rights Tribunals, SLAPP lawsuits etc., to wear down the free speechers until they are no longer able to go on, and to threaten the rest of us with financial ruin so we abandon our free speech rights.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2014, 20:17:58 »
Another blow against Canadian freedoms. If you cannot help the forniers with a financial donation (they are fighting four SLAPP suits against them) then at least write your MP and MPP to express your support for them and dismay that YOUR legal freedoms are being attacked and eliminated:

Quote
Free Dominion has been CLOSED by Richard Warman
Hi, FD Friends!

Once again I'm emailing you with a Free Dominion legal update because you have helped us in the past, and/or you are on our list of friends who are interested in keeping up with our cases. (Please let me know if you no longer want to get these status reports.)
It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that Free Dominion is closed.
 
Richard Warman was able to obtain a court-ordered injunction that would put us in prison if words that were found to be defamatory were posted on our website.

We are considered to have published a post if it appears on Free Dominion, even if we did not make the post ourselves and it was done without our knowledge or approval...even if we take it down.

Obviously, given the propensity of our opponents for using anonymous identities for all kinds of skullduggery, we would be foolish to give them the opportunity to post something that would get us charged with contempt of court and thrown into prison!

That is why we had to close Free Dominion to the public.

We are going to fight this decision because it is effectively a lifelong ban from us ever operating a website where the public can comment.  It is also very dangerous case law for other Canadians who allow comments on their own sites.

Since we are also still fighting four other cases, we've started an indiegogo fundraiser for our legal fund.  Now we don't have Free Dominion as a means to spread the word, so we would appreciate it greatly if you would send out the link to the fundraiser to your networks.  There is a video there where we explain the situation.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/anonymous-troll-could-send-us-to-jail/x/787225

Please note that the fundraiser is in US funds, so take that into account if you donate.

If you feel more inclined, you can also help out using an Interac Email Money Transfer to connie@freedominion.ca.

And our mailing address is:

Connie Fournier
2000 Unity Rd
Elginburg, ON  K0H 1M0

Thank you to all of you who have been so faithful with your prayers, your support and your donations over the past 7 years. 

We will not give up.  We will keep on fighting as long as we can continue to put one foot in front of the other. 

Our online freedom of speech is too important to relinquish to the courts.

Fondest Regards,
 
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Help Protect Free Speech
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2017, 13:38:00 »
CBC.ca link

The thread is a bit old, but the topic of free speech keeps returning.

Quote
'It's about making people think': Trademark ruling on The Slants motivates Canadians
Free speech often involves protecting the speech of people you find disagreeable, says The Slants founder

By Jessica Wong, CBC News  Posted: Jun 24, 2017 10:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jun 24, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Asian-American band The Slants triumphed this week when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a law banning offensive trademarks. The ruling, hailed as a landmark victory for freedom of expression, has inspired Canadian free-speech proponents and Canadian bands who've faced similar treatment north of the border.

For the members of Portland-based The Slants, their name transforms a derisive, racist term into a badge of pride, according to Simon Tam, founder of the dance-rock troupe.

Nevertheless, the name sparked an eight-year-long legal battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, after the group's request to trademark the name was denied on the grounds that the term disparaged Asians.

Canadian Hank Bielanski has had a similar experience with his Oshawa, Ont.–based heavy metal band God Helmet.

Bielanski filed to trademark God Helmet with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office after the band first formed in 2012. But the application was rejected by an examiner as an obscenity, with no further explanation.

The thought that God Helmet would be considered offensive "never crossed my mind," Bielanski told CBC News on Friday.

The name, he said, was inspired by the experimental device — developed at Laurentian University in Bielandski's hometown of Sudbury — that uses electromagnetic fields to stimulate the brain to purportedly induce a spiritual experience in the wearer.

more at Link

I agree with the message in this discussion. Today, people are being shouted down, muted or muzzled if their opinions are contrary to louder elements of society. I have observed this more often through social media, but MSM and education institutes are falling victim to the trend as well.
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