Amusing (Sort of) Developments In the Right Not To Be Offended In Canada

We've blogged about Ezra Levant many times before. He's the Canadian lawyer and writer who has been a target of both the Human Rights Commissions in Canada (based on his publication of the Muhammad cartoons) and of the HRC's roving Inquisitor Richard Warman (based largely on his relentless campaign to expose Warman as a censorious, totalitarian git).

A couple of new developments:

1. That (relatively small, I suspect) segment of Canadian Muslim society that seeks to censor and punish offensive speech is trying a new tactic on Levant to prevent publication of Mohammad cartoons: they are claiming a trademark on the image of Muhammad. Any image of Mohammed (pbuh), so far as I can determine. You've got to give them points for creativity. (By the way, a similar argument has been used unsuccessfully by the United States government in support of flag burning laws; the government argued that the United States owned the flag and therefore could forbid its desecration).

2. The second development? Well, you might remember the strange story of Giacomo Vigna, who threatened to sue Levant after Levant made fun of Vigna for a risible incident in which Vigna told an Human Rights Tribunal proceeding that he was unable to go forward with that day's star-chamberish exercise in censorship because he was not emotionally able:

don’t feel very well. I feel dizzy, I feel anxiety, and I am not in a serene state of mind to proceed with this file today.

I have a lot of things worrying me right now and I don’t want to elaborate, but my colleague said, Mr. Fine, there are some certain incidents that have occurred which I don’t feel at liberty to elaborate right now, which have had an impact on my ability to proceed in a professional way on this file, at least for today, because I wouldn’t be rendering the Commission a just service by proceeding in this condition.

I would give my left nut to have seen Vigna say this in court in front of four or five of the federal judges I've appeared before. The response would have warmed my heart until the stars went out.

Anyway, looks as if Vigna is going to carry through with suing Levant for crassly publishing transcripts suggesting that Vigna, in addition to being a censorious thug, is a whiny girl's blouse. Except rather than just arranging to have Levant served through his attorney, or by some other rational and professional method typically used by lawyers, Vigna has sent an antenna-wearing process server to harass Levant's parents, with whom Levant has not lived since 1990. Classy!

I really hope that this critique doesn't impede Vigna's serenity. Mr. Vigna, perhaps some herbal tea, and some soothing music? I hear that works wonders.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Mike S. says

    UPDATE: In a decision released on November 18, 2010, Justice R. Smith of the Ontario Superior Court of “Justice” has ruled in favour of Giacomo “Serenity Now” Vigna in the latter’s defamation suit against author, journalist, blogger and free expression advocate, Ezra Levant. Vigna, who is undoubtedly dizzy with joy, was awarded $25,000 for his hurt feelings, plus full costs. For those with strong stomachs and a high disgust threshold, a complete copy of the decision can be found here:

    Not that further proof is needed, this case illustrates just how stone-cold dead freedom of expression is in the People’s Republic of Canada. The situation in this country is so bad that most people of limited financial means dare not say or write anything that anyone might find even remotely offensive. Internet blogging is a very high risk activity (thanks to crybaby lawfare specialists like Vigna, Warren Kinsella and the infamous censor, Richard Warman). In Canada it’s now no longer a matter of protecting freedom of expression, it’s a matter of restoring it.

    This case would have been laughed out of court in the United States, where there is true freedom of expression. Canada’s pathetically weak constitutional protections for free speech, combined with its draconian defamation laws and the general public indifference to free expression, make these types of decisions not only possible, but routine. Please, America, conquer this country and save us!

    As a final comment, I find it utterly laughable that anyone could lower the already low reputation of so strange an individual as Giacomo “Serenity Now” Vigna. If Vigna is a national and international laughingstock, it is entirely the result of his bizarre behaviour at the Lemire “human rights” show trial, and not because of any comments made by Ezra Levant (whose major crime was to publicly point them out and ridicule Vigna). Vigna may not be so serene once the Supreme Court of Canada gets around to ruling on this travesty of a decision (probably ten years from now), but even then, if past experience is anything to go by, I don’t hold out much hope. In the meantime, Giacomo, repeat after me: Serenity now! Serenity now!

  2. Charles says

    I don't know if I have the fortitude to read a decision that includes, without irony, the phrase "published on his internet website blog" in paragraph 1.