Review of Shakedown

June 2, 2009 ( – For the most part Americans ignore Canada – not consciously, mind you. It’s just that when you live in the midst of the broiling controversies of the world’s most hyperactive hyper-power, the nation that every other nation gossips about at the water-cooler, it’s not necessary to look elsewhere for topics of conversation – and least of all demure, “nice” Canada.

And so it was a pleasant surprise when last June the New York Times covered the growing tempest in Canada over the role of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions (HRC) in enforcing so-called “human rights” law. For all of its liberal bias, as Ezra Levant pointed out on his blog, the Times “is still the standard of what is regarded as ‘all the news that’s fit to print.’   In other words, when the NYT covers it, it’s real news and it’s big news, and it’s OK for every other journalist to cover it.”

That the Times had taken a second look at an internal Canadian debate about a little known government entity, and some of the even lesser known and finer points of Canadian law, was an extraordinary testament to the success of the fledgling movement to “denormalize” the Human Rights Commissions. And while Levant may have been surprised that the issue had become a subject of international coverage on such a scale, he really had no one to thank but himself. 

Indeed, the worst thing that ever happened to the CHRCs was when a Muslim imam by the name of Syed Sohawardy decided to file a human rights complaint against a magazine published by Levant. Sohawardy claimed that he was “offended” that the now-defunct Western Standard had dared republish the so-called “Danish cartoons” that depicted the Muslim prophet Muhammad and that had been the ostensible catalyst for violent rioting by Muslims across the globe.

As Levant relates in Shakedown – his recently published book on the human rights commissions – he honestly didn’t think he’d have to spend more than five minutes dealing with what he really thought – as a reasonable, law-abiding Westerner living in what he considered a “free country” – was a mere “bureaucratic formality.” After all, the cartoons were the hot news at the time, and Canada didn’t operate according to Sharia law.

Or so he thought. “All in all,” he writes in Shakedown, “I ended up being investigated for nine hundred days by the HRC, which, according to Access to Information documents I’ve received, had no fewer than fifteen government bureaucrats working on my case.”

And that’s not counting the tens of thousands of dollars – likely even into the six figures – that Levant had to spend defending himself and his magazine. Because in the curious world of the human rights commissions, the accused has to defend himself out-of-pocket, while the accuser gets his bills footed by the government. Which means that by the time the thing actually goes before the tribunal, the accused has already lost, even if he wins – which, by the way, probably won’t happen anyway: until very recently every single “hate speech” case that had gone before the Canadian Human Rights Commission had resulted in a conviction. … Read the rest here.

I thought this was an excellent review.  The book was a fabulous read, and it will serve as a magna carta of sorts to beat back the HRCs.

Ezra Levant has shown himself to be a true patriot.  A patriot is someone who loves their country and is willing to suffer for it.  That’s why there are so few liberals who are patriots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve : *
21 ⁄ 7 =