Activist sues Canadian conservative blogs

by Walter Olson on April 10, 2008

We told you it was dangerous to criticize Ottawa lawyer and “human rights” commission enthusiast Richard Warman, and we were right: he’s now sued four leading conservative bloggers in Canada and one website, Ezra Levant, Jonathan Kay/National Post, Kate McMillan/Small Dead Animals, Kathy Shaidle/Five Feet of Fury, and Free Dominion. Lawsuit target Ezra Levant has details, as does Michelle Malkin, not yet a target perhaps because she is American. [2010 update: Patterico, Ken at Popehat]

In related news, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has decided not to pursue a complaint against Maclean’s, the country’s best-known magazine, for publishing a book excerpt by well-known writer Mark Steyn. (Press release via Small Dead Animals, SteynOnline).

{ 5 comments }

1 Ken 04.10.08 at 12:04 pm

Regrettably, Warman has every reasonable expectation of prevailing, since his venue is Canada. He’s already won a libel suit against someone for calling him a censor. (Wrap your head around that one). He’s had every success with the Canadian system, which poses no serious freedom of expression impediment to him, so why wouldn’t he continue to strike out at critics?

2 Wendy in America 04.10.08 at 1:42 pm

Something should be done about this person. Isn’t there a law in Canada against nuisance law suits? I now that such a thing exists here (US) and this definitely seems to apply.

Being a very liberal person even I say this has got to be stopped it’s gotten ridiculous.

3 Anonymous Attorney 04.10.08 at 2:47 pm

Where is the MSM? They may have covered this, but not that I’ve seen. Not that big thumbsucker in the NYT Week in Review I’d expect in a sane world.

Goes to show how powerful the forces of political correctness are: even in a situation where the media’s own self-interest is at stake, someone crusading against “haters” is given a bye. George Orwell, we hardly knew ye.

4 MW 04.11.08 at 8:10 am

*haters*

Hmmm, I take it you’ve not actually bothered to review the cases that Warman has been involved in in the past. Many of the people whom he has struck out at are proudly self-proclaimed neo-nazis. And yes, I would consider a neo-nazi to be a “hater”. So would most people.

5 Mark Francis 04.19.08 at 3:06 pm

We all know that plaintiffs often huff and puff with great fiction in statements of claim. ONe should not assume that defendants do no do the same.

The most prevalent claim made by Warman is that he did not post a racist screed on the online forum Free Dominion — a Canadian version of the infamous Free Republic in the US. Warman has been accused of posting what is called the Cools post, a racist post attacking a black senator in Canada’s upper house. The defendants relied on a very poor technical analysis of the IP and browser information underlying the post, declaring that it had to be Warman. Yes, the IP does match… but the IP also matches an estimated 700,000 over people. The IP is from a group of load-sharing proxy servers that Warman’s ISP was using back in 2003, servicing some 700,000 users. The OS and browser information was cited as being the same as Warman’s, though this has also been cast into doubt, and is hardly unique in any event.

See http://bouquetsofgray.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-warman-is-probably-innocent.html

and

http://bouquetsofgray.blogspot.com/2008/04/why-warman-is-probably-innocent-part-2.html

Warman had previously testified under oath that this was not him. The defendants were well aware of his testimony. Warman sent them libel notices last February advising them of their error. They continued with the alleged defamation, some even going so far as to claim that Warman, a human rights lawyer, was not only the author of the Cools post, but that he believed in the content. Warman, and others working with the HRC, are known, and have admitted, to have engaged in online discussions under pseudonyms in order to determine the identity of posters they wished to file complaints against. They claim to have never breached s13 of the HRC in doing so.

To accuse a person of authoring and publishing a racist screed when they did not do so is clearly libelous. Even if you dislike how the HRCs operate, and Richard Warman himself, his libel suit has merit.

If this isn’t libel, what is? The defendants seem to be fighting for the absolute right to author any claim they want, however reckless.

I am an advocate for libel reform in Canada (see me interviewed by the CBC here: http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/video/crimejustice/bloggers_beware.html) , but, for the life of me, I can’t see the defendants doing well here, or that they deserve to. Nevertheless, the money for their defense has been pouring in.

There are far more worthy cases before the courts in Canada dealing with free speech than this one.

See

http://openpolitics.ca/tiki-index.php?page=about+the+Crookes+vs.+OpenPolitics+case

When Warman defendant Kate at Small Dead Animals learned of the Crookes cases, she implied that the Canadian left should be paying for it:

http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/008484.html

Free Speech… only for the those on the right?

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