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85 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Orwell, you were right.
Skill-testing question: what do you get when you blend an Alice-in-Wonderland fantasy with a Simpsons'' farce and an Orwellian dystopia. Why, the story of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, of course. You didn''t know? Don''t feel too badly; for many years, none of us knew. The HRCs, established as institutions with the admirable tasks of attacking bigotry and...
Published on March 29 2009 by Gerry Wood

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Canada's very own nut.
Dissapointed in the amount of 4 and 5 stars for this book, but not surprised that the only people that would read it are like thinkers. Probably suscribers of the SUN newspaper.
If you are of the 'far right' then this book is for you.
Written by Ezra Levant, our very own version of Ann Coulter....with pants.
Published 9 months ago by Dogman


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85 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Orwell, you were right., March 29 2009
By 
Gerry Wood (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
Skill-testing question: what do you get when you blend an Alice-in-Wonderland fantasy with a Simpsons'' farce and an Orwellian dystopia. Why, the story of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, of course. You didn''t know? Don''t feel too badly; for many years, none of us knew. The HRCs, established as institutions with the admirable tasks of attacking bigotry and discrimination, and of protecting the rights of the weak against the powerful, have themselves been hijacked for devious and scurrilous purposes by third-rate intellects and whacky activists. They are now instruments of language and thought control, weird social engineering and total disrespect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law. They make up rules of procedure on the fly and invent new "rights" in order to justify their agenda-driven decisions. All this happened under the radar screen, while Canada slept. It's all true. You can look it up.

Everything was going swimmingly until the Alberta HRC made the mistake of taking on the wrong person. They tried to railroad Ezra Levant. Levant is a Calgary-based political commentator/activist/polemicist. Being Jewish, he may have an inkling as to the real meaning of "discrimination" and "bigotry". A few years ago he was the editor of a small magazine that published the so-called 'Danish cartoons' mocking Muslim extremism. His was a news magazine; the cartoons were huge news so it seemed appropriate to him to do what he did. Foolish man. As a result, he was dragged before the local HRC and put through the wringer for nearly three years. However, Mr Levant is not a man to go quietly. He is pugnacious; his style is in-your-face, never-back-down, never-go-quietly, feisty. Not my idea of a drinking buddy, but just right for the circumstances. He fought back aggressively against his accusers and launched a vigorous campaign to eradicate this HRC cancer before it destroys our liberal democracy. Hit and hurt by a flying Levant, the HRCs have now gone on the defensive. It's all true. You can look it up.

SHAKEDOWN is Mr Levant's story, both his own experience in "court" and his subsequent campaign; it is laced with numerous real-life HRC stories. Read about the woman who had the 'right' not to wash her hands even though she was a restaurant worker; the six foot transsexual athlete who had the 'right' to provide counselling in a rape crisis centre (and of the rape victims who were obliged to comply); the Christian pastor who is prohibited from expressing his opinions even though they are sincere and consistent with his religion. These are a just a few of the truly bizarre stories that help make this book compelling. It is well written; 'Mr Levant is an accomplished wordsmith. Read it; you will laugh and cry at the same time. It's all true. You can look it up.

Read about the marketing campaigns designed to increase business: Alberta's is hilarious, but Ontario's is, quite frankly, sinister.

Mr Levant skips rather lightly over the gradual degradation of the HRCs and his story would be even more fascinating if he had explored this aspect in more depth. Starting with noble ideals, how did we evolve into dystopian tragicomedy? How did this happen? The fact that HRCs were political dumping grounds for embarrassing whackos to whom politicians owed favours is obviously a major part of the explanation; for years they operated off the radar screen so nobody noticed that they were behaving like, well, whackos. A chronology of this evolution with an examination of the mentality of the culprits would be highly entertaining. Perhaps that is the basis for another book.

Mr Levant''s crusade is ongoing. Chronologically, SHAKEDOWN takes us to the state of play around the end of 2008. So far, Mr Levant is winning; it is to be hoped that this book will have wide circulation, more Canadians will be aware of the travesty, the campaign will attract wider publicity and the politicians will eventually put an end to the nonsense.

It''s all there in SHAKEDOWN. The story is so bizarre you may not believe it. But it's all true, and on the public record. You can look it up. But be quick. At least one HRC has made a concerted effort to hold a secret hearing, even trying to ban the defendant!

Shame on us that it happened. More shame on us that it continues, even after Mr Levant has lifted up the rock to show us what's underneath.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain scary! Makes Canada look like a 3rd world banana republic, April 4 2009
This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
I only thought a country like Iran, Cuba or Saudi Arabia prosecuted people for expressing their opinions. I was wrong. It's scary to think that in a 1st rate country like Canada, a great country, such courts exist. These government sanctioned courts/tribunals make it hard to express your own thoughts and Mr. Levant has embarked on a crusade to expose these Stalinist kangaroo courts and defeat them in the real court of public opinion. I think he has been successful. This is an extremely well done book. Greatly researched, written by a very passionate man who cares deeply about his country and has done so to protect it from these HR courts. Buy this book and let others read it too. Every single Canadian of all stripes must know what's going on and how their tax money is spent. I, for one, am glad that brave men like Mr. Levant have the guts to go through such fights. For their bravery, Canada will be a much better place and a safer place to live. 5/5
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Levant's warning for Canadians, April 14 2009
By 
This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
Every totalitarian society has gone down the route that the Canadian Human Rights Commissions are taking us - unqualified political appointees or individuals with a special agenda who judge people according to their whims and political ideology. These "judges" follow no rule of law, precedent or evidence, are accountable to no-one, and impose arbitrary punishments including... incredibly, comically, tragically... orders to apologize and bans on speaking publicly on specific topics. No real judge can order this on even the most heinous criminal, but these kangaroo judges can impose such penalties on you if you have offended someone and they complain.

If someone complains about you, the government pays all expenses for your persecution, while you are on the hook for every cent of your defense, while your business or your job or your family life is destroyed on the whim of a complainant. If charges are dropped, you can't sue for damages. Hell, you won't even get an apology. The HRC just decides the day before the trial not to bother.

Here's a good one. A third party can complain on behalf of a potentially offended group. No members of said offended group need actually testify! It's happened. Several times.

And the HRCs can come in and seize computers and papers without a warrant from a real judge. The real police can't do this!

There are many other sordid details in the HRC saga that would do Stalin proud. Mr. Levant details them all.

People who have not followed Mr. Levant's struggle against the tyranny of political correctness and desire not to offend will not understand how insane and unaccountable our Human Rights Commissions are, and how this parallel quasilegal system offends every principle that a free society respects.

Please read this book, and then talk to your friends and family. Though Mr. Levant is entertaining, often Steynian, in his prose, the subject matter is no joke. Our freedom is at stake.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Every Canadian Should Read, Dec 10 2009
By 
Linda Mehus-Barber (Crescent Beach, B.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
I couldn't put this book down, and as I read, I became more and more angry. This is a book every Canadian should read! You hear bits and pieces of how the Human Rights Commission makes decisions that defy common sense, but to see the details in writing, gathered together in one book, the eyes open and righteous indignation takes hold. Anyone who cares about the freedoms we enjoy in this country will be shocked at what is happening in the name of "human rights." From the ridiculous decision in favour of a MacDonald's employee who complained because she had to wash her hands, to the outrageous actions of HRC investigators, the reader cannot help but think that it is time to dismantle the HRC. I hope every MP in Ottawa reads this book, and bravo to those who are leading the way in investigating the actions of those who are abusing the power they have. Thank you, Ezra Levant, for having the courage to fight this distructive force!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read, June 26 2011
By 
William Tell (Vancouver, British Columbia) - See all my reviews
A frightening and entertaining review of a little know collection of autocratic tribunals that contravenes every noble tenant of western civilization. George Orwell comes to life in Canada and Ezra Levant tells us how. A must read for every citizen.
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, March 26 2009
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This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
Hard to believe that these kangaroo courts actually exist in Canada. Very frightening at how much power they seem to have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important issue, March 25 2012
This review is from: Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights (Hardcover)
As a Canadian, I have to admit that I was not at all familiar with the human rights commissions in Canada until I picked up this book. In a way, Ezra Levant's book really opened my eyes to this parallel system operating outside our legal framework. The book was a quick read, and it was written well. It was emotionally charged however and of course coming from someone who has had a long reputation in Canada for his extreme right-wing leanings, I was not surprised. There is no doubt that the book is biased as I did not catch the other side of the coin, at least not directly. Certainly, Mr. Levant was fixed on venting his frustration and his anger at the human rights commissions, especially after the ordeal he went through. He had an axe to grind and he was able to do so successfully through this book.

There is no question that the HRCs are a flawed system, and I agree with Levant that some of the cases that got the green light through HRCs would never have seen the light of day in a true court system. It's true that some of these complainants did not have any standing or a real cause of action had they filed an actual lawsuit. Because it doesn't cost a penny to file papers with an HRC, I agree with Levant's argument that it is prone to abuse. Indeed, the strange characters in his book are opportunists. The HRCs represent a parallel universe that serves an escape mechanism for those who want to dodge the painstaking process of a real lawsuit. In a way, HRCs are unfair and undermine Canadian values if they can be abused by people introduced in this book.

On the other hand, it seems that he cherry picked the most ridiculous cases to prove his point. The average Canadian will not file a complaint with the HRC because he or she is required to wash hands at work. It's not everyday we run into overly sensitive imams. He paints a very pessimistic picture of humanity. There are dozens of cases filed with the HRCs and in the end, even Levant admits that certain cases are reasonable (see Chapter 9). But that defeats his argument that HRCs should be abolished altogether. I think that the HRCs are a vestige of our past when discrimination was at its peak whether based on gender, sexual orientation or race. Society has evolved since then. People should be encouraged to seek other avenues of relief rather than turning to a government bureaucracy staffed by people who do not have the knowledge and experience to adjudicate these cases. I think HRCs should be used as a last resort when all else has failed. I am not advocating that the HRCs should be eliminated but only that they should take a back seat to other systems.

Overall, I think my review of this book is favourable. The book should be required reading for both the average reader and government policy makers. I commend Mr. Levant for bringing attention to this very important issue. I think sometimes we need a crusader like him, someone who isn't afraid to speak the truth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be required reading, March 24 2010
Every Canadian should have and read this book. If you care about free speech; about your way of life; about the abuse of Human Right's processes; or about the abuse of government power and your tax dollars - read this book and be very, very concerned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A startlingly important book, Dec 31 2009
By 
What can I add that hasn't been mentioned in the reviews so far? And yet I feel the need to briefly share my experience with Mr Levant's book - simply put, this book reads like a thriller and addresses issues that are fundamentally important to all Canadians. Secret trials, censorship, and thought control - all in a work of non-fiction about modern-day Canada.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ezra is a national treasure., Nov. 29 2013
By 
B. L. Trivers "Books Worth Reading" (N.Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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Who is looking out for the freedom of thought and speech of all Canadians. Ezra is. Great to see someone stand up to the dictates of the Human Rights Commission, and who exposes their idiotic tendency to pummel us with political correctness while taking away our God given right to voice our dissent and opinions. I wish they could do away with this commission, and let Canadians display our values of consideration and politeness the way we always have, on our own.
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