The Corner

Slapping the Cat

Thank you for your kind donations to our legal defense fund against a nuisance suit from self-endowed Nobel laureate Michael Mann. We can always use a little more — we’re in court in D.C. later this month, and the framed copy of my online legal diploma (valid most jurisdictions except the Northern Mariana Islands and Abkhazia) from a website in Tajikistan has apparently been delayed in the Christmas mail.

But here’s the thing. South of the border, National Review is being sued for defamation for publishing a piece by me. North of the border, they’ve gone to the next stage: one of Canada’s top bloggers is being sued for defamation merely for linking to me – or, as the plaintiff puts it, to “far-right website SteynOnline“. He’s seeking half-a-million bucks in damages, which even in Canada seems a high price for an Internet link to lil’ ol’ me.

This is what you might call a bit of mopping-up after my free-speech battles in Canada. We won, and we got the law in question, Section 13, repealed last summer. But along the way we pointed out that the plaintiff on all but one of those Section 13 “hate speech” cases since the turn of the century had been the same man — a civil servant called Richard Warman, who appointed himself Canada’s Hatefinder-General and brought highly lucrative “hate” complaints against anyone who crossed him. Since the repeal of his own personal revenge law, he can’t file “hate” complaints anymore, so instead he’s filing nuisance law suits against the bloggers who exposed him.

Arnie Lemaire of the Blazing Cat Fur website is one of those bloggers, a man who breaks a lot of news the cowed politically correct ninnies at the big dailies won’t go anywhere near until he’s made them too big to ignore — like the Toronto middle-school “Mosqueteria” story, in which he exposed a Canadian public school that converts its cafeteria into a mosque every Friday and segregates its girls according to whether they’re menstruating or not.

I’ve been involved in cases like these from Copenhagen to Melbourne, and I’m mighty sick of people who find it easier to sue you into silence than argue their case on the merits. Free speech is beleaguered in Britain, Australia, Europe — and also the United States, where, to his discredit, the president recently lent credence to the notion hitherto unknown to American law that it’s possible to “slander” a bloke who died in the 7th century. So I’d like to keep Blazing Cat Fur in business. Instapundit and other American bloggers agree. He’s having a big fundraiser in Toronto on Monday. If you don’t fancy the scenic drive from Buffalo up the Queen Elizabeth Way, I hope you’ll consider helping out in other ways.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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