Julian Porter, QC and Canadian lawyer extraordinaire, made the following summation for the defense at the Mark Steyn Show Trial:
Porter: There is an element of balancing of Charter values that is required. You are obliged to weighthe Charter values of freedom of expression when evaluating serious journalism, “the most essential of all daily spiritual foods.”
“Here it is clear that this work does not deserve such a smear as hate speech.”
“What madness would prevail if we could not argue as journalists that what Khadafy said was germane or significant.” (What he said was: “There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe — without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”)
The complainants say that Steyn’s use of the word “obligatory” was sarcastic. I don’t know that at all. “Call this hate speech? What on earth have we come to?” Beware.
“When we are reduced to having an expert on Bollywood, mulling and sifting through the work, prospecting for prejudice, this surely cries out to society, ‘this is ridiculous.’”
These last five days have been about Meaclean’s vital detailed opinion. “This is what journalism does for liberty.” It’s part of “the essential trade of journalism — argument, fierece argument, dissent, contrariness — the very ‘tocsin of liberty.’” He’s quoting JFK there, and, well, imitating his accent.
Against the argument that you cannot cry fire in a crowded theatre: “Oh yes you can — you must, if in your considered view there is a fire. In that case there is a duty to cry fire.” And he’s done.
Now the free speech blogosphere is praising Porter’s summation, and rightly so.
Rightly so because, well, frankly, it sounds almost exactly like stuff I’ve been writing at this blog, for more or less free, since the start of this year.
I could have easily flown to BC and given the same summation, complete with obligatory “fire in a crowded theater” trope, plus added jokes, for far less than Porter’s reported
$800/hour. (I’m now hearing it is WAY more than that.)
Hell, I’d thow in a karaoke rendition of the song of your choice, for free.
Really, guys: at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal — if and when that one goes ahead – think about hiring me to parachute in and sum everything up with a flourish. I’m cheaper than Porter and have a nicer rack, too.
Actually, Porter’s “beware”s have been ringing bells in my head since Friday afternoon. Suddenly — I’ve got it!
And now, all we can do is wait for the tribunal’s decision…