Friday, April 15, 2005

Liberating Canada?

The idea that Canada needs liberating, much less by the United States, is laughable. But the Wall Street Journal declared this week that U.S. bloggers had done exactly that. Then again, the Wall Street Journal is one of America's most blatant propaganda organs, its association with the facts tenuous at best.

Because I don't have a link, I'll excerpt from the article first:
Bloggers Liberate Canada

Canada's ruling Liberal Party has held power for 54 of the last 70 years, but it is now besieged by Internet bloggers. U.S. blogs have violated a court ban on the reporting of court testimony on "Adscam," a scandal in which some $80 million in public money was siphoned off to Liberal Party operatives. The Liberals are plummeting in the polls, and since they hold only a minority of seats in Parliament, it looks like the party could lose a vote of confidence and be forced into early elections in June.

Canada's free-speech laws are more restrictive than those in the U.S. and permit publication bans of evidence or motions introduced in a trial in an effort to avoid tainting the jury pool. Last month, Justice John Gomery, who was appointed to oversee an inquiry into Adscam, imposed a publication ban on the testimony of three witnesses who gave details about how advertising agencies were hired by the previous Liberal government to fight secession attempts by the province of Quebec. Much of the money was squandered and a large part of it wound up lining the pockets of party apparatchiks.

But American bloggers, led by Ed Morrissey at his Captain's Quarters blog, got a hold of some of the testimony and posted it on their sites. A Canadian web site, NealeNews, linked to Mr. Morrissey's blog and soon all of Canada was talking about what newspaper and television reporters could only hint at. One Canadian blogger who linked to the testimony in violation of the court ban said he did so because he does not want his children growing up in a country "where public testimony can be known by government officials and by the media, but by no one else." Indeed, Canadian voters faced the ridiculous prospect of going to the polls in June without having access to the Gomery court testimony that would be the basis for their having an election in the first place.

Justice Gomery finally cried uncle and lifted most of the unenforceable ban last week because he belatedly recognized "it is in the public interest that this evidence with few exceptions be made available to the public." Score one for the blogging community, which has just proven that when it comes to the Internet, there truly are no borders.
What a load. Let's run through this obvious propaganda...

Bloggers Liberate Canada

Canada's ruling Liberal Party has held power for 54 of the last 70 years,
or 12 of the last 21 years, but that doesn't sound as punchy.

but it is now besieged by Internet bloggers.
Hardly. It is mostly beseiged by the Canadian media, which is hankering for another election.

U.S. blogs have violated a court ban on the reporting of court testimony on "Adscam," a scandal in which some $80 million in public money was siphoned off to Liberal Party operatives.
A very dubious number. The amounts are probably much less. The Conservative Party of Canada list about $5.8 million. And that the money "was siphoned off" has yet to be proven; the enquiry has not yet released its findings.

The Liberals are plummeting in the polls,
Their support has fallen seven percent. They are now (within the margin of error) tied with the Conservatives.

and since they hold only a minority of seats in Parliament, it looks like the party could lose a vote of confidence and be forced into early elections in June.
By definition, a minority government could lose a vote of confidence. But will they? It would require the Conservatives reneging on a pledge they had made. And 87 percent of Canadians, in the same poll, do not want an election right now.
Canada's free-speech laws are more restrictive than those in the U.S.
Canada's free-speech laws are different from those in the U.S. but arguably not more restrictive. After all, the United States is the country that brought us McCarthyism, prime time morality, gag laws, the Patriot Act, bans on photographing coffins, and more. Americans have a lot of audacity calling Canadian laws more restrictive.

The statement also implies that there are no gag orders in the United States. But, of course, that's a crock. It could happen just as easily south of the border.

and permit publication bans of evidence or motions introduced in a trial in an effort to avoid tainting the jury pool.
which was exactly the case here, as one of the Gomery witnesses was standing trial. This - and not the impact on elections - was the reason for the publication ban.

Last month, Justice John Gomery, who was appointed to oversee an inquiry into Adscam, imposed a publication ban on the testimony of three witnesses who gave details about how advertising agencies were hired by the previous Liberal government to fight secession attempts by the province of Quebec.
As mentioned, the ban was enacted specifically to shield the criminal trial, and only applied to a few witnesses. Meanwhile, the public was still permitted to attend and the enquiry continued to be recorded and broadcast to the media. A far cry from the secret trials held by the American government.

Much of the money was squandered and a large part of it wound up lining the pockets of party apparatchiks.

Not proven. Indeed, it has not even been shown that much of the money was squandered (as Chretien pointed out, the campaign's objective - keep Quebec in Canada - was ultimately successful). At any rate, we should wait until the end of the enquiry before making accusations like that.

But American bloggers, led by Ed Morrissey at his Captain's Quarters blog, got a hold of some of the testimony and posted it on their sites.
Which wasn't very hard to do. The hearings remained open to the public. This shows only that conservatives on both sides of the border work together, which we knew. Oh, and that Canadian conservatives are willing to break the law to score some cheap political points.

A Canadian web site, NealeNews, linked to Mr. Morrissey's blog and soon all of Canada was talking about what newspaper and television reporters could only hint at.
Speculation. This implies that there was an increase in interest caused by the Morrissey post. It's probably not true. Canadian press had already reported that the testimony, which would be released shortly, was explosive.It certainly wasn't unexpected and didn't change interest or attitudes toward the hearing.

One Canadian blogger who linked to the testimony in violation of the court ban said he did so because he does not want his children growing up in a country "where public testimony can be known by government officials and by the media, but by no one else."
The blogger may have said this, but the only way we know is from the article in the Christian Science Monitor (uncredited by the WSJ) where the quote first appeared, an article by Erstwhile Canadian columnist Rondi Adamson, the same Rondi Anderson who argued that American values should be exported and that "peaceniks" should grow up. Oh, and that Roman Polanski should be forgiven. A charter member of the conservative fan club.

Indeed, Canadian voters faced the ridiculous prospect of going to the polls in June without having access to the Gomery court testimony that would be the basis for their having an election in the first place.
This statement can be true only if the terms set by Gomery for the publication ban are completely ignored. There is no chance that the ban would have continued through the election (assuming there was an election).
Justice Gomery finally cried uncle and lifted most of the unenforceable ban last week because he belatedly recognized "it is in the public interest that this evidence with few exceptions be made available to the public."
This is not why the ban was lifted. It was lifted because the criminal trial which was being protected had been postponed. No criminal trial, no reason for the ban.

Score one for the blogging community, which has just proven that when it comes to the Internet, there truly are no borders.
Hardly. Any credit due to the blogging community in this instance is greatly exaggerated. With any luck, a few conservatives will face a penalty for breaking the law (but, honestly, it's not likely). What has happened in the hearing has happened without influence from the blogging community - which, I might add, in a proceeding of this sort, is how it should be.

But more pernicious, and more damaging, is the perpetuation to American readers of the state of affairs in Canada. Our country is being portrayed once again as less free than the United States, which is manifestly not true. Our conservatives are portrayed as having more influence than they actually do.

You know, it's bad enough that the Wall Street Journal spreads its lies and propaganda. But I will thank the editors of that rag to keep their greasy paws out of Canadian politics; we have enough problems with media manipulation of our own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will be moderated. Sorry, but it's not a nice world out there.