Monday, January 21, 2008

Ezra: I'm not doing hand shakes today

Ezra Levant has written an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail (It's the most viewed item currently on their Web site) detailing his appearance before a Canadian Human Rights investigator and his encounter with Human Rights officer Sheila McGovern. He reveals this little detail.

When she walked in, she seemed happy. With a smile, she reached out her hand to shake mine. I refused — to me, nothing could have been more incongruous. Would I warmly greet a police officer who arrested me as a suspect in a crime? Then why should I do so for a thought crime? This was not normal; I would not normalize it with the pleasantries of polite society.

This was not a high-school debating tournament where Human Rights Officer McGovern and I were equals, enjoying a shared interest in politics and publishing. I was there because I was compelled to be there by the government, and if I answered Officer McGovern's political questions unsatisfactorily, the government could fine me thousands of dollars and order me to publicly apologize for holding the wrong views.

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