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TOP 500 REVIEWERon May 11, 2009
Ezra Levant has sounded the alarm on the most serious and potentially disastrous issue in Canadian politics today - the regression and repression of the basic and natural freedom to think and say what we jolly-well please. Ezra blows the whistle on the Canadian thought police, arguing the federal and provincial/territorial "human rights" commissions have grossly overstepped their well-intentioned original purpose.

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.
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on July 6, 2009
In Shakedown, Ezra Levant exposes the misdeeds of so-called Human Rights Commissions across Canada. Part of the book is devoted to procedure: how HRCs don't follow the usual safeguards found in real courts and trample on their targets' rights. More importantly, Levant describes the fundamentally illegitimate role that HRCs play and their corrosive effect on society. The focus is on censorship, but various other examples are discussed as well.

The main strength of the book is its firm grounding in clear and consistent principles. Far from being the author's personal vendetta or political screed, Shakedown argues against the HRCs by showing how they violate the Canadian constitution and the Charter of rights and freedoms, in letter and spirit. This rare combination of intellectual honesty, moral clarity, and fact-based research makes for a compelling case.

Stylistically, the text is clear, concise and very accessible to us non-lawyers: there are no judicial technicalities in here. Also, some of the wackier cases discussed add entertainment value. The exposition builds up to an exciting conclusion in the last chapter (really, I thought it was riveting).

All in all, Shakedown is an excellent, thought-provoking book that cannot leave its readers indifferent. It is highly recommended to anyone who values freedom and genuine human rights.


Dans son livre Shakedown, Ezra Levant dénonce les méfaits des soi-disantes Commissions des Droits de la Personne au Canada. Une partie de l'ouvrage montre comment les CDP ne suivent pas les procédures normales du système judiciaire et bafouent les droits des accusés. La majeure partie est cependant consacrée au rôle fondamentalement illégitime des CDP et leur effet néfaste sur la société. Le thème de la censure est examiné en détail, mais d'autres exemples sont aussi inclus.

Le livre est remarquable par son fondement sur des principes clairs et cohérents. Loin d'être un règlement de comptes personnel ou un pamphlet politique de la part de l'auteur, Shakedown critique les CDP en montrant comment elles enfreignent la constitution canadienne et la charte des droits et libertés. Cette combinaison rare d'honnêteté intellectuelle, de clarté morale et de recherche minutieuse produisent une thèse des plus convaincantes.

En termes de style, le texte est clair, concis et très accessible pour nous qui ne sommes pas avocats: il n'y a pas de jargon légal ou de détails techniques. Par ailleurs, les exemples de dossiers les plus loufoques rendent la lecture amusante. La conclusion de l'ouvrage est particulièrement captivante.

En somme, Shakedown est un excellent livre qui fait réfléchir et ne peut pas laisser indifférent. Vivement recommandé pour tous ceux qui chérissent la liberté et les véritables droits humains.
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on December 10, 2009
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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on March 29, 2009
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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on April 23, 2009
A great overview of the real world Orwellian tactics used by today's government to silence opposing (or non-politically correct) views. While the book tends to repeat points over and over again, it is well worth the read.

These HRC's really need to be abolished. Write your MP today and demand this be done!
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on June 7, 2009
Absolutely one of the best books I have read. Profound, disturbing and humourous all at once. It should be mandatory reading in our high-school curriculum.
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on April 14, 2009
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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on November 16, 2014
I arrived in Canada in 2006 from Brazil. One of the things I was told when I got here was that I could be sued for anything in Canada. Many immigrants live in fear because they do not want to have problems with the law here. It always puzzled me that associations, organizations, schools, libraries, individuals could indeed get sued because they upset the feelings of someone. I watched the news trying to make sense of it all. The first news story of this sort I read about was of the lesbian couple who sued a comedian in a B.C. bar. I thought, "People can't even tell a joke around here." I was very concerned because I'm not a politically correct person. I love controversial topics. I love expressing my opinions and read about people's contrary opinions. But I felt trapped here, not knowing what to do, how to behave. Until I started following Ezra Levant on Sun News and read this book "Showdown." Now I understand that there is indeed a Thought Police called Human Rights Commission. To my understanding, what they do should be considered illegal. They abuse power, they censor people, they punish anyone who does not conform to their blurry norms. I watched Ezra Levant's hearing on youtube about the piece he published on Mohammed's cartoons. It reminded me of the dictatorship period we had in Brazil, a time when people were punished or killed for listening to the wrong songs, for reading the wrong poems. These Commissions are creepy. They undermine our freedoms.
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on April 4, 2009
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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on November 17, 2009
A great book from a Canadian hero. All Canadians should thank Mr. Levant for his tireless work (and personal expense) in exposing this corrupt and useless bunch of bullies at the Human Rights Commission.
The book is well written and a huge eye opener. My wish is that Canadians support Ezra Levant in his fight to put this Commission to sleep forever. It's nothing more than a cruel joke and an affront to freedom of speech in this country..Buy this book
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