Today a government agency told comedian Mike Ward that he had told an illegal joke and had to pay $42,000. Can you believe I just said that sentence, like it’s normal?
The court case took four years. It was about a sketch on Quebec TV, back in 2012.
Background: A boy named “Little Jeremy,” a kid with a disability, went to sing for the pope. Mike Ward joked that he was rooting for poor Little Jeremy, but then the boy didn’t actually die. See, the mainstream media had turned this kid into a living saint, perhaps on the expectation that he was going to pass away — and he didn’t.
And of course, comedians poke fun at these very things: inconsistencies, pretentiousness, fake piety, virtue signalling.
Little Jeremy and his mother sued, though. But not in a real court. In a "human rights" commission.
Then a judge said — get this — that Ward’s jokes violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Suing comedians is becoming a thing. Remember that other Canadian comedian, Guy Earle? And in Germany, a comedian read a gross poem about Turkey’s president Erdogan. Erdogan demanded that Angela Merkel prosecute the comedian — and she agreed. It's going to trial.
I don’t know enough about Mike Ward to say if I like his comedy or not. But that’s irrelevant.
He has the right to tell his jokes and we have the right to choose to hear them.
NEXT: Canadian author Raheel Raza was one of the participants in the groundbreaking documentary film "Honor Diaries." She joins me today to talk about the horrific honour killing of a young social media star and feminist in Pakistan.
Raza reminds us that, unfortunately, this woman (who was killed by her brother) was one of hundreds of similar murders that take place in that country every year, and around the world. She explains what has to happen now to bring these honour killings to an end.
THEN: Columnist Lorne Gunter and I talk about Justin Trudeau's lack of support for Canada's energy sector.
FINALLY: Your letters to me!