May 16, 2016

Facing $80,000 fine over a JOKE, comedian Mike Ward gets the last laugh

Lauren SouthernArchive

Mike Ward is under fire yet again. But this time, the story may have a happy ending.

Ward, a comedian famous for having been targeted by the Quebec Human Rights Commission for once daring to tell a joke, was set to perform at the Le Gala les Olivier comedy awards on May 15.

He was to act in a brief sketch mocking “political correctness and censorship”, but inadvertently found himself being censored.

Ward and his writing partner were told that their original sketch, which was intended to ridicule “overzealous political correctness”, couldn’t be aired, owing to an insurance issue: The company insuring the event’s broadcast refused to provide coverage against litigation unless Ward’s sketch was softened.

After Ward and his partner toned down “the content of his sketch” seven times in a failed attempt to comply with the insurer (including removing material critical of the Quebec Human Rights Commission), they finally decided to boycott the gala altogether.

It kills me to say this, but given Canada’s legal system, the event broadcaster may have made the right decision.

Canadians have an unfortunate tendency to quash free speech by drowning offenders in litigation. A comedy routine that makes fun of an organization with “Human Rights” in its name? You ought to be ready for a lawsuit or two.

People targeted by the Canadian PC police have little recourse but to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal aid and pray they end up with a judge who will creatively interpret Canada’s draconian speech statutes to permit their speech.

Canadians have been fined, fired, and even jailed for their right to exercise free speech. Unlike the United States, Canadian law includes overreaching provisions against “hate speech”, a category of expression that spans the gamut from minor insults to violent threats.

Mike Ward wouldn't be subject to prosecution if he was living in a country with a reasonably-placed division between free and prohibited speech.

No amount of legal precedent will change the fact that censoring speech is wrong, of course. But we live in a backwards country. Ward is well-known as an enemy of the regressive left for telling a joke that someone found offensive. For his apparent indiscretion, Ward faces a fine of $80,000. And now he’s not even allowed to make fun of the legal proceedings against him, lest he be sued.

Ward has perpetually been aggrieved by the perpetually aggrieved. But, in this instance, there’s a (somewhat) happy ending.

Ward received widespread support from the general public, including trending on Twitter and receiving sympathetic coverage from news media. Ward published a YouTube video of his sketch on the day of the gala, which is on track to exceed one million views:

In addition, a group of comedians expressed their support at the Gala les Olivier by refusing to speak and by wearing masks painted with a scarlet “X” meant to represent censorship.

At the gala, Ward was declared the “best comedian” of the year, an award that was decided by a vote by members of the public (and was therefore free from the commandments of the broadcaster and its censorious legal team). Ward wasn’t there, but a group of masked comedians accepted on his behalf.

Ward’s longstanding “human rights” dispute with the Quebec Human Rights Commission will be decided in August. If the case is decided in his favour, the Commission may lose some of its bloodlust for bludgeoning people into politically correct docility. The opposite, unfortunately, could also prove true.

And regardless of the outcome of his case, Ward will still have suffered immensely. Ward has reportedly spent $93,000 in legal fees defending himself already, and he won’t be reimbursed for his fees even if he’s cleared of wrongdoing. In this case, like in so many others, the process is the punishment. But there’s still a valuable opportunity to defend speech against the regressive left -- and to set a precedent for the future of free speech in Canada.

So let’s hope things keep looking up for Mike Ward.

Because if he loses, we’ll all be in serious trouble.

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commented 2016-07-02 20:00:37 -0400
I meant of course “sing”
commented 2016-07-02 19:58:07 -0400
I was born in Quebec. I admit. That doesn’t mean I agree with all the socialist laws we have adopted here over the years.

When that boy decided to sign for the pope, he ceased to be a private citizen, and became a public one. If his parents weren’t smart enough to know that his ridiculous signing would bring public comments, then they are as much to blame as anyone else.

His signing was awful, and worthy of scorn and ridicule.
commented 2016-05-21 20:29:31 -0400
I am going to be looking up his videos on you tube.
commented 2016-05-17 18:23:10 -0400
The human rights operations are indeed hideous and it was the single issue that kept me voting CPC above all others. We got rid of the CHRT, but the provincial kangaroo courts still run wild, as does hate speech laws, and the much abused laws on defamation in the country.

If you are not connected politically or are the working poor you have very little chance of survival by one of these kangaroo courts. Lawyers love them and brag about experience working on a tribunal. Guilt is assumed, no right to advocacy is supplied, and the full costs from the complainer are covered by the government. Macleans and Mark Steyn came under scrutiny but the Human Rights Commissions backed down realizing they took on too big a size of opponent.
commented 2016-05-17 11:42:13 -0400
What would happen to a victim of one of these kangaroo courts called Human Rights Tribunals, if said victim were to show up and the first time they were allowed to speak, stood up and refused to recognize the validity of, and therefore the authority of, the so-called judge and the so-called tribunal, and then turned and walked out?
Do the tribunals have armed or other security personnel who would (try to) forcefully detain you, or would the real police come and arrest you later, at home or at work, for saying words (so-called hate speech, etc.) would you be returned to the kangaroo court in shackles, or taken by force to a real court in front of a real judge?
Would a real judge, in a real court send you to jail for speaking words and refusing to recognize the authority of those kangaroo courts?
These so-called Human Rights Tribunals and all their employees are a damn joke – but what they are doing to my country is not at all funny…It’s well past time to shut these fascist lefties and their immoral abominations down!
I want my country back…
commented 2016-05-17 10:41:29 -0400
Wow Stephen E., your post in part about the microwave is very concerning. I can tell you when working for a company that the “social justice lunchtime” microwave was disgusting lol and reeked of God only knows what. No one cleaned that thing and it would be a cold day in hell before I ever used it. Yet every day I watched as people continued to warm their coffees and put their who knows what food in it. It was a health hazard! I cannot believe (but I do) that the company you spoke of got fined because of discrimination. Completely ridiculous.
commented 2016-05-17 09:09:28 -0400
The PC Newspeak has been going on for a long time in Quebec, the CRTC and court judges have been on the hunt for the past decade on people joking or being satirical on our leftist system that favors the eternal poor and vilify the evil rich and conservatives, that is why they called, Radio-Trash the radio being proposed in Quebec city, an area where the conservatives fares well , Fillion, Dupont, Arthur and Bouchard to name a few are constantly scrutinized and they must do their shows with a delay and an expensive insurance that protect them from, being prosecuted, of course on the opposite if you bash Steven Harper or any conservatives or right wing persona you are fine and free to go at it. welcome to Kebekistan .
commented 2016-05-17 04:50:56 -0400
Its so simple. Add “Quebec” and “Human Rights Commission” together and this is the BS you get.

Another example of its stupidity is when an owner of a small company put up a sign by the break room microwave asking people to clean up after themselves and to try not to bring in food with a strong smell for warming in that microwave. This was done after a majority of employees complained about messes and food that reeked when heated. Sounds reasonable. A Chinese immigrant employee complained that she was discriminated against because of the sign.

The QHRC sided with her and heavily fined the company. It decided to make the story very public and what I last heard was that the company (about ten employees) was debating whether to fight the fine at great expense or simply pay and be done with it. The microwave is no longer there.

Another example is Muslim students at the University du Montréal demanding two prayer rooms on campus. The school advertises itself as secular. So off the students went to the QHRC, which decided that the school had to, essentially at the public purse, convert two classrooms into prayer rooms, one on either side of the campus. Now the real kicker is that there is a mosque right across the street from one of the school’s entrances, about a 50 metre walk.

The interesting thing about the QHRC is that it decides which cases/causes to take on. There is no mandatory need for action. Those who’s claim goes forward have it paid by the public, but there is no funding for fighting a charge, so most simply settle.

A group of Muslims booked a sugar shack. Other patrons in another part of the establishment were eating meals with ham. The Muslims demanded that no pork be served anywhere on the property. Owner said no: your section is pork free. Well, they went off to the QHRC.

Meanwhile, the free and unencumbered use of the English language does not exist. Children are forced into French only schools. If English signs have French and English of equal size a company can be fined. English bookstores must has its signs, external and internal, first in French and English is allowed if half the size. Even where allowed, English text is simply not on signs to either avoid controversy or to disrespect the English. So much for respecting human rights.

(BTW, Quebec decided in 1977 that English speakers are now Anglophones, ethnic communities who speak English are Allophones, but when described in English or French the French community is always referred to as Francophone.)

Some parts of cities such, as Montreal, will have stores and shops with signs strictly in Arabic, and nothing is said. Thirty years ago a headstone firm had a 70+ year old sign in Hebrew stating its trade. Pounced on by the language police (yes, they do exist). Laws in Quebec can be very selectively applied.

The L’Office du la Langue Français – aka language police – actually entertained a complaint about a parrot in a pet store that spoke English. Another instance is when the language police inspected (yes, they do spot inspections and are armed with rulers no less) an Italian restaurant and threatened to fine the establishment for using the term “pasta” to describe pasta on its menus. They told the owners what word was acceptable; so obscure that the French couldn’t figure that it was pasta. Both cases were dropped when the stories made it to the international press and Quebec was throughly embarrassed. Of course, the new complaint of the OLF was that the English were trying to embarrass Quebec and give it a black eye. Yea. Right. It does very well on its own.

So rights are selective in Quebec, and the QHRC cherry picks. As I’ve written before, I’m getting out of racist Quebec. I just wonder why I have waited so long.

But the biggest joke in Canada is that it built a Museum of Human Rights yet little to nothing is said about how badly the English in Quebec are treated.
commented 2016-05-17 02:22:33 -0400
Hate speech laws don’t apply to imams because that would be ‘racist’. Besides, Islam is the official adopted religion of the liberal party.
commented 2016-05-16 20:03:56 -0400
Thanks Tony. Excellent comment.
commented 2016-05-16 18:44:49 -0400
I think its safe to say that at this point in Canadas history we have allowed unfettered immigration to ruin this country. True grassroots Canadians seem to be few and far between. We are a watered down people and have lost our identity. We seem determined to walk off a cliff without any resistance whatsoever.

Canada is not a democracy anymore – certainly not after voting – when a political party is put in power with a majority government. The government then does as it pleases – just look at dumb ass Trudeau. Is this the way any true leader would behave. This jackass obviously doesn’t give a damn about Canada. He is the one hell bent on turning us into an impoverished fascist country PBUH.
commented 2016-05-16 17:27:17 -0400
So there exists a law in Canada against hate speech? Why then is our idiot government not exercising its authority and enforcing this law?
When Muslim imams are preaching hatred in their mosques or anywhere for that matter, whether it be preaching violence against Jews, Christians, Americans, Brits, Europeans and everyone else for that matter they should be charged under the current law and if found guilty sent back to Islamic countries (even if they were born in this country).
If our federal government won’t exercise their authority then, the provincial governments should force the Feds to do so.
If the laws are not enforced for this group, then it sets a precedent for ignoring all other Canadian laws and when this happens, we will be faced with anarchy!