Regular readers know the deal with Fisking Sorkin. On the TV show The Newsroom, an Aaron Sorkin character comes up with this gem:
The Newsroom Script Episode 1 Quotes (showing 1-3 of 3)
that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom!
He goes on to say that more than 180 countries in the world have freedom. We’re not that special.
As CBC News reported, Mike Ward, a Montreal comedian was brought in front of a human rights tribunal to testify about a joke that he made regarding a teenager with a facial disfigurement. This ordeal has been going on for years with Ward’s recent testimony in on February 24th, 2016.
Jeremy Gabriel, the “victim” of Ward’s wise-assery, had traveled to Rome to sing for the pope in 2006.
Ward joked that he was happy for Gabriel at the time, “but now, five years later, and he’s still not dead.… Me, I defended him, like an idiot, and he won’t die.”
Ward’s fans may have been laughing, but Gabriel’s family wasn’t. Now, the comedian has to defend his right to express himself in court.
And Ward isn’t the only Canadian comic to feel the wrath of a human rights tribunal.
In 2013, Guy Earle lost a supreme court appeal over a tribunal decision to fine him $15,000 for a joke that he made at a Vancouver comedy club.
What could warrant such a steep payment to the offended? Did Earle crack wise about sodomizing a paraplegic? Did he ejaculate smack dab in the middle of a big red maple leaf? No, twas far worse. So bad in fact that my fingers hesitate to type the offending words lest I trigger myself into sprinting for the nearest safe space. Earle had the gall, the audacity, to refer to a lesbian couple as ‘dykes.’
Canada has a Human Rights Commission which helps police speech. Recently they’ve branched out to important subjects such as whether waitresses should be forced to wear short skirts.
I’m not a Canadian comedian. But when men and women are punished for speaking their minds about trivial subjects it restricts speech on important topics. The U.S. is not far behind all these other so-called free countries. We will adopt speech codes. We will have star chambers making sure no one utters offensive things. We will erase our First Amendment.
Over my dead keyboard.