Well, it is Sunday. First of all, a passage from Colby Cosh's recent column on the latest bit of "reasonable accommodation" hysteria in Quebec - Jean Charest's idea to retool the Quebec charter of human rights to explicitly prioritize gender equality over religious freedom:
The ideal of religious toleration is much older, and one would have thought it was much closer to the core doctrine upon which our society is founded. It's a pretty major reason there is such a place as Quebec, and why Jean Charest is serving as its political leader as opposed to, say, captain of a Louisiana shrimp boat. " Je me souviens," they say in Quebec -- but have Quebecers forgotten what it is like to be a member of a religious minority surrounded and politically dominated by an openly hostile majority?Captain of a Louisiana shrimp boat! Brilliant...
Moving on... I have to say I am, well, not terribly saddened to read about the demise of the Western Standard. Generally speaking, I am in favour of more voices in the Canadian media than fewer, but it's hard not to be slightly amused by the irony in an arch-capitalist mag dying because the laws of supply and demand did not make it profitable.
My lack of sympathy for the Western Standard really stems, however, from my real irritation with the shameful way Ezra Levant ran its Shotgun blog. (I can't say "runs", because I dropped its RSS feed in a disgust a year or so ago.) On it, he allowed all sorts of odious opinions that bordered on hate, or sometimes crossed the line right into the Land O' Hate (this post calling for a ban on Islam comes to mind), supposedly because of his high-minded ideas about free speech and the "marketplace of ideas" - the same marketplace, I note once more, that just kicked him in the ass.
To quote The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard: "I can't help somebody who thinks, or thinks he thinks, that editing a newspaper [magazine, blog, publication] is censorship.... Words don't deserve that kind of malarkey."
But then, Levant only thought, or thought he thought, that when it came to certain issues; sometimes, when something embarrassed his conservative friends, he'd quietly censor the blog. So, he wasn't a free-speech idealist really, just your garden-variety hypocrite.
The WS magazine, when I read it, was much saner, of course... Sadly, it seems the Shotgun will probably continue while the magazine - occasionally home to excellent, sometimes courageous journalism - is dead. What a lose-lose situation.