Update: new video clips will be added here as soon as they are available. One more was added on Saturday night, and two more Sunday morning, bringing the total to six. **ONE MORE, MONDAY MORNING** **CLOSING ARGUMENT ADDED MONDAY NIGHT** **ADDITIONAL CLIP ADDED FRIDAY, TOTAL NOW AT NINE**
As promised yesterday, Ezra Levant (against the wishes of the bureaucrats) has posted to YouTube video of his hearing before the Alberta Human Rights Commission on Friday, January 11, 2008. The commissioner, Shirlene McGovern, clearly believes that what she is doing is right and just, and simply can’t understand why Ezra is protesting so. As Levant says in his own blog entry, this is Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil” in a nutshell.
All of these clips are well worth a watch, for a rare (if not completely unique) look inside a Human Rights Commission hearing. For those who understand that freedoms of speech, expression, and the press cannot be compromised in a free, democratic society, Levant’s eloquence and passion will inspire you.
First, it’s Ezra’s opening statement. Note Ms. McGovern’s constant eye-rolling:
Next, it’s Ezra’s blistering response to McGovern’s question, “What was your intent in publishing the cartoons.”
Then, see Ezra destroy McGovern’s contention that Muslims are exposed to hatred and violence in a Post-9/11 world:
Next, it’s indignant Ezra at his best. Just wait for this line: “She’s a thug, you’re a thug, your whole company’s a thug.”:
Here, Ezra accepts appropriate limits to free speech (fraud, defamation, incitement to murder, etc.), but explains that there is no appropriate limit to political speech. “Unlimited political speech is the antidote to political violence.” And near the end, he utters this quote of impassioned brilliance: “I’ll rot in hell before I use my mouth to say that fascist’s words with you as an instrument to compel me to do so.” Then, he lays down his line in the sand: “Canada’s Human Rights Commissions have, if you can believe it, issued lifetime bans on people uttering comments. I simply won’t comply.”
And this nugget shows McGovern giving him a dismissive “you’re entitled to your opinions”, with Ezra replying with a rhetorical flourish:
This next clip exhibits the absolute arbitrariness of the standards used by the Alberta Human Rights Commission when determining if a complaint has merit. Ms. McGovern says the standard of whether something is discriminatory or not is very high; when Ezra cites the low bar used by the AHRC in a decision written recently by McGovern’s colleague, Lori Andreachuk, she simply says, “well, that was her decision; when it goes to panel, anything can happen.”
And here is Ezra’s closing statement, in which he BEGS for his case to go to the full tribunal, BEGS to be heard in front of the “most fascistic” commissioner, and BEGS to be convicted, so he can take his case to the real courts:
One more – here’s Ezra demonstrating his theory that Soharwardy’s complaint stems more from his frustration at having his “clock cleaned” in a CBC Radio debate the morning of the cartoons publication, than it did from any offense taken about said cartoons themselves:
Amazing work, Ezra!