83 of 91 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 Mar 29 2009 by Gerry Wood
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars racist writer should not be trusted
This is another one of anti-Aboriginal, anti-Arab, anti anything that is not Conservative Party Levent's work. His ignorance of other human groups is so deep, no one should buy his books.
Published 4 months ago by John L. Steckley
Most Helpful First | Newest First
83 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Orwell, you were right.,
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.
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain scary! Makes Canada look like a 3rd world banana republic,
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
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Levant's warning for Canadians,
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Every Canadian Should Read,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary,
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHRC bureaucracy run amok,
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1984 in 2009,
Along with telling his own horror story of being dragged through Alberta's opinion-inquisition for 3+ years, Levant documents numerous cases where radical leftist or Islamic zealots as well as opportunists looking for an easy buck, have used these "kangaroo courts" to punish law-abiding Canadian citizens for their political or religious views and corporations for their business decisions. Levant makes a convincing and water-tight argument that these unelected, unaccountable, secretive, underhanded, unscrupulous, grossly-powerful, usually untrained, and tax-payer funded bureaucratic thought police have become the vehicle of choice of radical groups or individuals looking to advance their own pet agendas and take out anyone whose thoughts or opinions might stand against them. If we don't believe in the freedom of thought, speech and conviction for people that offend us or that we disagree with, then we don't really believe in those fundamental freedoms at all.
This book is the most important book Canadians can read right now about their government. If what Levant says about the "human rights commissions" in Canada doesn't make you mad enough to demand of your provincial and federal representatives that the HRCs be abolished or, at minimum, severely reformed, you're probably one of the few freedom-hating Canadians currently milking the system for personal fame and fortune. Canadians need to stand up with Ezra Levant and demand that we let people's opinions fend for themselves in the market place of ideas rather than let a small and sordid group of social engineers with a messiah complex try to save their fellow Canadians from themselves.
Well researched, lively and engaging, I'd buy the book for the introduction by Mark Steyn alone (and don't neglect reading the appendices). You may disagree with Levant's political opinions but if you don't agree with his defense of our freedom to think and opine as we please, there may come a day in the not-to-distant future when you no longer have the freedom to disagree.
4.0 out of 5 stars Important issue,
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - a must read for all Canadians,
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book for all Canadians,
"Shakedown" has me seriously questioning what the Canadian government is doing in the name of its people. All Canadians need to read this book and then write to their Member of Parliament urging them to read the book AND start working IMMEDIATELY on reform or dissolution of all the Human Right Commissions. You can easily find out who your Member of Parliament is by cutting and pasting this link: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx?Language=E).
DEFINITELY FIVE STARS!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights by Ezra Levant (Paperback - Oct 27 2009)
CDN$ 18.99 CDN$ 13.71