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Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights

Author: Ezra Levant
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart • 2009 • 240 pages

“On January 11, 2008, I was summoned to a 90-minute government interrogation,” writes Ezra Levant. “My crime? As the publisher of Western Standard magazine, I had reprinted the Danish cartoons of Mohammed to illustrate a news story. I was charged with the offence of ‘discrimination,’ and made to appear before Alberta’s ‘human rights commission’ for questioning. As crazy as it sounds, I became the only person in the world to face legal sanction for printing those cartoons.”

As a result of this highly publicized event, Ezra Levant began investigating other instances in which innocent people have had their freedoms compromised by bureaucrats presuming to protect Canadians’ human rights. Now, in “Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights,” Levant reveals his findings — showing how, every day, more and more Canadians are trapped in these Alice in Wonderland proceedings, where bizarre new human rights are made up on the spot — and where regular legal procedures don’t apply.

In Shakedown, Ezra Levant reveals:

  • How, as real discrimination has waned, Canadian human rights commissions (HRCs) have shifted into the field of what George Orwell called “thoughtcrime”
  • How these commissions now routinely monitor political opinions, fine people for expressing politically incorrect viewpoints, and even ban people — permanently –from saying certain things
  • Kangaroo courts: how HRCs have no formal rules of procedure, allowing every upset person with a teary story, no matter how absurd the complaint, to get his or her self-esteem boosted by a sympathetic audience
  • How hearsay evidence, barred from true legal proceedings, flies thick and fast at human-rights hearings, allowing second-hand gossip to be treated as fact
  • How Canada’s HRC officials possess powers that even real police forces don’t have — such as entering and inspecting your home or workplace without a warrant
  • Trial transcripts reveal: how, in their bid to entrap alleged hate-mongers, the staff of the Canadian HRC anti-hate squad actually have become one of Canada’s largest sources of hate speech
  • The “grievance industry”: how empire-building government bureaucrats actively seek out complains — even absurd ones that have nothing to do with human rights — to keep a caseload churning
  • Why one tribunal ruled that an employee at a McDonald’s restaurant in Vancouver did not have to wash her hands at work
  • The human rights complaint filed by a Calgary hair stylist against the women at a salon school who called him a “loser”
  • Stranger than fiction: how an emotionally unstable transvestite fought for — and won — the right to counsel female rape victims, despite the anguished pleas of those same traumatized victims
  • How, since Levant began his investigations, his opponents within the human rights industry have tried to smear him as an opponent of human rights

Shocking, sobering and scrupulously documented, Shakedown is a powerful plea to Canadians to reclaim their basic liberties — and an urgent warning to America about how vulnerable our First Amendment rights are to political manipulation.

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