The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 April 2006

MP Andre Arthur, Canadian Parliament, Canada, Freedom Of Speech


Over 1998 Talk Show, Canadian MP's Heavy Price

With the world's recent focus on Chinese freedom of speech suppression, in more subtle and rarely-publicized ways, it also afflicts supposedly "free" countries.

Need a nearby example? Look no further than Canada, where for apparently insulting Arab and Haitian cab drivers, former radio talk show host and current independent Quebec MP Andre Arthur has been slapped with a huge fine.

Though the once-popular host's station, CKVL, no longer exists, its former parent company Metromedia CMR will share responsibility with Arthur for shelling out C$220,000 plus court costs to the cab drivers who filed suit.

Yes, in Canada, group defamation can cost the "perp" plenty of loonies.

Think vegetarians are disgusting? Saying so in public can bring unpleasant legal action from organizations acting on behalf of our non-meat eating friends across the country.

What a way to curtail freedom of expression! Perhaps the Chinese government should be taking notes.

While some of Arthur's comments are clearly racist in nature, should Arabs, Haitians or anyone else really have the right to sue for damages? Other than hurt feelings, how has anyone been harmed?

Canadians seem so accustomed to this type of silly excuse for litigation that these questions rarely appear to be addressed.

Excerpted from the Canadian Press story:

Mr. Justice Jean Guilbault of Quebec Superior Court said remarks Mr. Arthur made in November of 1998 when he was working for now-defunct radio station CKVL were racist and defamatory.

Mr. Arthur and Metromedia CMR, which owned CKVL at the time, will have to pay more than $300,000 including interest and costs after a taxi association launched legal proceedings on behalf of 1,100 Arab and Haitian drivers.

The host said the Montreal taxi drivers speak only creole and Arabic, in a city that is French and English.

He also said all the garbage on the street ends up in taxis driven by Arabs and Haitians, making the vehicles dirty and foul smelling.

Here's where Canada enters a legalistic Twilight Zone:

The Superior Court originally rejected a request from Fares Bou Malhab, president of the Quebec Association of Professional Taxi Drivers, for permission to launch a class-action lawsuit. The judge ruled defamation is, by definition, a personal attack.

But the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned that ruling.

One problem: Arthur never defamed any particular Arab or Haitian cab driver. Rather than making false statements of fact against any individual ("Jean-Claude bribed local officials to obtain a permit"), he gave personal opinions about the entire lot, based on past interactions.

As a result, any fine imposed seems especially unjust, yet quite typical in Canada's legal system.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to damage new Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Angry In The Great White North reports the Canadian media seem to be resorting to possible dirty tricks. Read the story here.

Update: sentence structure these kooks don't like. Why this doesn't bother them?

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Some images: Canadian Press, others: unknown


  • Quebec: The Canada of Canada.

    By Blogger Fatmouse, at 25 April, 2006 14:41  

  • So how do you feel about David Irving?

    By Blogger arseface, at 25 April, 2006 20:08  

  • Good on ya. Going after Canada really points out a severe inferiority complex obscured by a fine example of projection.

    Watch out for tuques and back bacon hordes teeming across the northern borders.

    By Blogger WHT, at 26 April, 2006 00:46  

  • It doesn't bother them, they're making fun of you.

    By Blogger salvage, at 26 April, 2006 07:40  

  • It doesn't bother them, they're making fun of you.

    *ahem* Correction: "It bother doesn't them..." Sheesh, it get right!!

    By Blogger elendil, at 26 April, 2006 22:46  

  • you're a sad person my friend, sad, sad person...
    what are you gonna pick on next, the fact that we can actually eat whatever we want...oh my, what a crime!

    By Blogger Dusk, at 02 May, 2006 21:02  

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