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In Canada, Criminal Libel Charges Laid For Criticizing Police

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the buncha-hosers-you-say? dept.

Canada 383

BitterOak writes "A Calgary man is facing criminal charges of libel for criticizing police. According to the story, the RCMP have filed five charges against John Kelly for claiming on his website that Calgary police officers engaged in perjury, corruption, and obstruction of justice. What makes the story unusual is that the charges are criminal and not civil. Even in Canada, which has much less free speech protection than the United States, it is extremely rare for people to be charged criminally with libel. It is almost always matter for civil courts."

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383 comments

ohhh (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619076)

time to pack my bags and head north. ohh wait....

Re:ohhh (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619092)

That's right.

Thirst for power and oppression of dissent is engrained in the very core of humanity's political genes.

There is no escape.

Re:ohhh (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619436)

of has precedence over and in that sentence. Thirst for "power and oppression". Thirst for power and oppression-of-dissent.
Crikey, what a sloppy and ambiguous grammar you englishes have. Ni zen me zhe me lan!

This is a GOOD THING! (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619246)

The burden of proof is MUCH higher with criminal charges.

All the guy has to do is raise a reasonable doubt in the minds of ONE juror.

When he's not convicted, this will be seen by many as proof that the RCMP did in fact perjure themselves. Dumb move, cops.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (-1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619406)

Hmmmm. Are you Canadian, Tom? Not being sarcastic, really, I'm asking an honest question. It SOUNDS LIKE you are trying to apply US law to a Canadian case. Not being Canadian, I'm not sure how things work up there in a criminal case. Fact is, I'm not *real* sure about the US. I heard recently that Florida can have non-capital criminal courts with only SIX jurors. Never did check it out - it's just filed away as a curiosity that I should check out. Whether you're Canadian or not, I agree in principal - if the cops can't prove their case against the man, then they've really stepped on their dicks! Of course, they MIGHT be able to prove their case, too. From TFA, "Because the individuals allegedly targeted are Calgary police officers, the investigation was handled by the RCMP, working with a special prosecutor." So, the city cops called in the feds to handle the case. They may very well have their ducks all in a row. I didn't see a link to the website - a person MIGHT be able to judge this story a little better if he could read the allegations, and the story behind them.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (5, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619516)

Yes, I am in Kanuckistan - Poutineville, to be specific, though I'm abandoning Quebec as soon as I can. I'm patient, but I've had it.

Defamation (there's no such thing as libel in Canada, just "defamatory libel" - not the same thing) is different from the US. The truth is not an absolute defense. However, they screwed up, because the police, being public figures, are more subject to open criticism than the average citizen. This is intimidation, pure and simple.

The web site is in New York, so it's outside the Canadian courts' jurisdiction, pure and simple. The US 5th Amendment takes precedence on US soil.

So we have the problem of venue. If the defamatory statements were published in the US, and if Canada doesn't have a long-arm statute (we don't, except for child abuse and terrorism), the RCMP are SOL. Sorry boys, you don't get your man this time.

Also, sections 309 - 310 of the criminal code [justice.gc.ca] :

Public benefit

309. No person shall be deemed to publish a defamatory libel by reason only that he publishes defamatory matter that, on reasonable grounds, he believes is true, and that is relevant to any subject of public interest, the public discussion of which is for the public benefit.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 273.

Fair comment on public person or work of art

310. No person shall be deemed to publish a defamatory libel by reason only that he publishes fair comments
(a) on the public conduct of a person who takes part in public affairs; or
(b) on a published book or other literary production, or on any composition or work of art or performance publicly exhibited, or on any other communication made to the public on any subject, if the comments are confined to criticism thereof.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 274.

When truth a defence

311. No person shall be deemed to publish a defamatory libel where he proves that the publication of the defamatory matter in the manner in which it was published was for the public benefit at the time when it was published and that the matter itself was true.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 275.

Do the RCMP sometimes lie? That's been proven in court. Instead of trying to suppress publication in another country with a SLAPP criminal proceeding, maybe they should address the issues, and realize that when you're a cop, what you do is public, same as a politician.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619612)

That's what upsets me the most about this sort of thing.

Be a man, respond with, "he's right; we need to fix that."

There's honour in that. Not filing charges against him, that's just sleazy.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619582)

Name one democracy that doesn't embody the principle of proving beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619512)

Stifling free speech is never a good thing. Whether it's hate speech laws or outright criminal charges to stifle someone. This is for fail, not for good.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619596)

Did you even read the comment? I make it clear that the RCMP are SCREWED on this one. In a follow-up comment, I also point out that the web server is in New York, and Canada doesn't have a long-arm statute except for child sexual abuse and terrorism.

The "defamatory libel" (there's no such thing as libel in Canada, just "defamatory libel") wasn't committed in Canada. The publication took place in the US. Even trying to argue that it was posted from Canada fails - it isn't published (under the meaning of the law) until it is made available on the server.

They didn't dot their "I"s or cross their "T"s, and now that it's public, other sites, even sites hosted in Canada, are allowed to report the details under articles 308-310 of the criminal code.

They f*cked themselves but good. If this guy has guts (and he seems to) he'll stand his ground.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619656)

I don't know about Canada, but in the US, defending yourself eats up so much time and money that even when you win, you lose.

Re:This is a GOOD THING! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619742)

While judges don't like it, it's very easy to defend yourself pro se in Canada. In fact, a recent study showed that it's not just becoming more common in criminal and civil courts, but also in family law, where the majority of people (60%) now represent themselves.

The Internet has changed the balance of power. People can do their research, find precedents, previous filings that they can cut-and-paste and edit, the rules of procedure, etc. Anyone with a bit of hard work and intelligence can make a good presentation - and that's all you're talking about, making a better presentation of the facts and the law than the other side.

In this case, the law is on the guy's side. Winning will be easy.

Re:ohhh (3, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619466)

To Alaska? You can see Russia from your house there.

Less protection for free speech? (2)

Ron Harwood (136613) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619084)

That's a loaded and subjective statement - care to back it up?

Re:Less protection for free speech? (5, Insightful)

TermV (49182) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619188)

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees a Canadian's right to free speech, is inherently weaker than the US constitution because it contains a notwithstanding clause that allows a province to suspend many rights for 5 year periods. Quebec's language laws wouldn't stand up to a first amendment challenge in the US but it is allowed to violate the charter of rights and Freedoms in Canada because they used the notwithstanding clause.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (2, Informative)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619230)

BS.. It is allowed to stand because the people of Quebec wish it. You can compare paper or compare reality. In the US, in the same situation we would just find a way to change the law to suit. So staying there is some kind of static difference really isn't accurate. I think the language laws are a massive affront to freedom, but then I don't live in Quebec, for damn good reason!

Re:Less protection for free speech? (5, Informative)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619342)

I think the GP is right actually. The problematic part of Quebec law is the requirement that French be predominant on all business signs. I can't see that surviving in the US.

Note that the restriction is not on what you can say, it's on the language of business signage. Practically speaking I'm not sure if that means Canada has less free speech that the States.

Given that this was one of only two uses ever of the notwithstanding clause, I don't consider it to be a weakness in the constitution. Think of it more as a shortcut constitutional amendment. Note that notwithstanding overrides expire after five years in order to give voters a chance to express their opinion via a general election it before they are renewed.

The US constitution has...how many amendments? The Canadian Constitution has none, and two uses of the notwithstanding clause. I wouldn't say one is stronger or weaker than the other.

Finally, as clear as the 1st amendment appears to be, we all know you can't say anything you want whenever you want wherever you want. There are limits. The Canadian constitution is explicit about that so when you read them side by side the Canadian text appears wishy-washy, but in effect they are equivalent.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619498)

I can't see that surviving in the US.

IANAL, but there's a lot less protection for business/commercial speech than for political. And regulations on signs in general have been upheld.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619710)

>>>There are limits.

Very few. The Supreme Court of the US has even ruled that death threats are protected speech, unless the issuer of the threat is carrying a gun or knife. But simply walking up to someone (say a KKK guy) and saying, "I hate racist mother fuckers and I'm going to kill you" is protected speech if said person is unarmed. Those rulings were issued in the 60s and 70s.

Also what's wrong with amendments? We amend and revise our other laws - see no reason why the Supreme Law should be any different. In fact we should use the amendment process more often, rather than have the government arbitrarily grab for power it was never granted in the first place. Example: telling individual citizens how much corn they are allowed to grow - I see that nowhere in the Constitution and yet the government does it.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619440)

They are a affront to your freedom but not mine.
Like he parent said, the majority in Quebec are in agreement with these laws.
Without these laws we would lose our language, people don't seem to remember,but only a few years ago, all big stores inside and outdoor signs where in English.
The majority of patrons were francophone but the owner were anglophone.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619500)

They are a affront to your freedom but not mine.
Like he parent said, the majority in Quebec are in agreement with these laws.
Without these laws we would lose our language

Yet in the US the French-speaking population in Lousiana do not require special language and cultural protections despite being surrounded by an overwhelming English-speaking population in most of the country.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (4, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619534)

Apparently, when the Cajuns left Nova Scotia they left the pussies in Quebec.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (0, Troll)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619630)

Quebec men prefer pussies, you like cocks?

By the way the Cajuns did not leave, they were deported by the English.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619608)

And only old people still speak French in Louisiana.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619614)

Is that why changed the stop signs too?
Next time you get a chance to go to France, checkout their stop signs. They say STOP on them.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619686)

They say Stop in the City of Westmount in Quebec too.

They were changed because all the French speaking driver refused to stop at the "Stop" signs arguing they could not understand the meaning of the word. This was causing general mayhem on the streets and a lot of nasty accidents, something had to be done.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619756)

>>>Without these laws we would lose our language

So? There have been millions of human languages... only about 1% of them have survived to the modern day. In fact the world would be better served if everyone spoke just a few. Look at the benefits gained when Roman Latin replaced the native european languages (circa 100 to 900 AD) - you could travel anywhere from Africa to Rome to Portugal to Britannia, and communicate to everyone with ease.

A single language promoted the sharing of ideas and unity. It's not like that today, due to devolution of Latin into a polyglut of languages. A Roman can no longer communicate with a Portuguese citizen or British citizen or German citizen as easily as he could 1500 years ago.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (3, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619434)

Ok, what about television and radio broadcast standards? In Canada, I can watch uncut movies on public air broadcast channels that contain violence and nudity. In the US, your broadcasts are under a required broadcast delay and censored when deemed inappropriate. Who in this case has more freedom of speech? Do you think ABC would ever get away with broadcasting nudity on a Friday night?

And the US constitution does not protect anyone from libel statements. There are limits to acceptable free speech in both countries.

The article summary just reeks of ignorance and bigotry.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619510)

Regulation of broadcast depends on the fact that it uses the public frequencies. Print publications enjoy much stronger protection.

And the US constitution does not protect anyone from libel statements.

Technically true, but the burden of proof in libel cases in the US is frankly astronomical, especially if the victim is a public figure. I don't know if Canadian law is closer to the US or the UK on this.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619778)

>>>In Canada, I can watch uncut movies on public air broadcast channels that contain violence and nudity. In the US, your broadcasts are under a required broadcast delay and censored when deemed inappropriate. Who in this case has more freedom of speech?
>>>

Yeah that is bullshit (and unconstitutional). The argument dating to the 1920s was that children needed to be protected from curse words on the radio and tv. I guess everyone forgets that children eventually grow-up, and then they don't want to be censored by the Nanny Government. - Fortunately 70% of americans are now hooked to Cable TV, which has no government censorship.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619216)

Let's see

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which one has built in exceptions.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619464)

Which country as the free speech zones? The text look stronger in the US constitution, but in real everyday life it think Canadian citizens have more freedom.

 

Re:Less protection for free speech? (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619298)

From the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Tne First Amendment doesn't have the qualifer, therefore it is slightly stronger.

Note that this is in theory. It is not necessarily true in practice, for either nation.

Re:Less protection for free speech? (1)

munky99999 (781012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619620)

Well the provincial abilities to shut down freedom of speech aside. There are a couple limitations to freedom of speech similar to both countries. Such as libel and slander. The big difference that makes Canada's weaker is that we dont protect public hate speech. While this ends westboro baptists... how long until hate speech against the government is banned? How long until the subjectivity of it...

Wlecome to Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619086)

Leave your non pro Canada opinions at the door.

Now cue the responses from the already brainwashed.
(PS no I am not in the US)

Let me be the frist to sya (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619088)

Fcuk teh poliec!

Re:Let me be the frist to sya (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619196)

As a dyslexic, I completely agree!

Re:Let me be the frist to sya (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619288)

I ma dlyslec...something or other yuo...clod!

Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (3, Insightful)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619106)

Even in Canada, which has much less free speech protection than the United States ...

Really? Because in canada there is a tonne of laws protecting free speech - so long as you're not engaging in hate speech. In fact, the laws are almost exactly the same as in the USA in regards to freedom of speech (with hate speech being a key difference).

I think what the article means to say is that "In canada, they're not litigation happy, and the courts have made it very difficult to get a multimillion dollar settlement for pouring hot coffee on your lap and claiming that it was the fault of the coffee shop for not telling you that coffee is hot... (and other such nonsense cases ... like awarding a family damages over the autism-caused-by-vaccines debacle which has been debunked by real scientists over and over...)".

Yes, in Canada you can't walk around holding a pistol and suing everyone who looks at you funny. You also can't start a chapter of the KKK, start publishing material that has no value and offends a large audience. Oh, and queer-bashing? Also illegal. Why? Because you couldn't say or do the same things to someone that wasn't queer, and not get arrested/charged. That doesn't mean canada has lax free speech laws. That means Canada has a better system of protecting the rights of its citizens.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619180)

That doesn't mean canada has lax free speech laws. That means Canada has a better system of protecting the rights of its citizens.

Actually, I would say that it means both.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619190)

Are there any exclusions for factualness?
Or in Canada can I not say that all members of the westboro baptist church are evil scumbags since I'd be promoting hate of a religious group?

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619248)

The truth is an absolute defense in libel and slander cases.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619336)

Truth is a defense in civil suits for defamation (libel and slander) in the United States. It is not so in Canadian criminal cases. It is only mitigating (reduces maximum sentence from five years to two years).

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619444)

Bullshit.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619266)

You can say to your friends, but you could get into trouble if you broadcast it, published it, or if you gathered an audience to tell them it.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619290)

...you could get into trouble if you broadcast it, published it, or if you gathered an audience to tell them it

And how is this different than in the states? Howard stern, fined by the FCC (that's a federal commission, thus ... government). And in the USA, you can be sued for saying just about anything, and then you've got to go to court, get a lawyer (or have a law degree yourself), ignore your job / responsibilities while in court, just to prove that you *didn't* do anything wrong.

The big difference I see between canadian and american law, is that in canada you have to worry (mostly) about offending the government. In the USA, you have to worry (mostly) about offending some litigation happy neighbor who has successfully sued some previous neighbor for something they were innocent of, but unable to afford a good (enough) lawyer to defend themselves.

Which should you prefer, a government system which is (mostly) uniform and consistent? Or a system which is (mostly) not-uniform, non-consistent, very arbitrary and different across the country?

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619340)

Since when are any governments uniform and consistent?

Given the choice I'll take the individuals since I can sue them and make their life hard right back and they probably don't have a large number of armed men at their beck and call.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619350)

Given the choice I'll take the individuals since I can sue them and make their life hard right back and they probably don't have a large number of armed men at their beck and call.

Good thing the government lets you sue people! And it's a good thing that private citizens can't own guns and shoot back ... and can't slander you ... and it's a good thing that every judge will take your side in every issue (the american dream).

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619456)

that isn't even a good strawman, are you even trying?

The point you ignore is that I can do the exact same right back.
Your way, as seen in TFA if I accuse government employees of things I'll get charged with criminal libel, not just civil.
In a hypothetical scenario where the police had accused him of even worse things, say raping kids and cannibalism how much chance would there be of any of them being charged with criminal libel?

I'll take the somewhat vaguely, hopefully but of course not always equal playing field of individual vs individual over that kind of system.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619224)

Even in Canada, which has much less free speech protection than the United States ...

Really?

The first item in the US bill of rights guarantees freedom of speech. What does the first item in our charter of rights do?

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

Oh, right, it effectively nullifies the rest of the charter by including vague language about "reasonable limits".

You also can't start a chapter of the KKK, start publishing material that has no value and offends a large audience.

Yeah, that's the problem. See, I don't think we should have government bureaucrats decide whether or not something "has no value". How about we let the audience decide that for themselves? If we want to prove that our ideologies are indeed superior to those of the KKK, that can only be done on a fair and equal forum of debate where the other side has a fair chance to speak. Right now, all we've proved is that the anti-racists have bigger guns.

Really? KKK worthwhile? (0, Flamebait)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619270)

How about we let the audience decide that for themselves?

If we want to prove that our ideologies are indeed superior to those of the KKK, that can only be done on a fair and equal forum of debate

How does a man on fire, tied to a cross, surrounded by people who hate him, have a fair chance to speak? By the time the current discussion is over, I'm pretty sure he never wants to see the colour white again (and will be perpetually biased against the living).

Re:Really? KKK worthwhile? (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619304)

Which has fuck all to do with free speech.

You can let the hate groups fester where nobody can see or you can leave them out in the open to be ridiculed by all.

Re:Really? KKK worthwhile? (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619348)

Yeah, that's not speech and you can't eliminate hatred by outlawing it.

Re:Really? KKK worthwhile? (0, Flamebait)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619374)

Yeah, that's not speech and you can't eliminate hatred by outlawing it.

Yeah, but you can encourage it's growth by talking/spreading it.

There are many ways to fight hate speech. In canada, we fight it by making hate speech illegal. we fight it by making it illegal to spread, we mock it with our TV programming, education system and comedians.

In the USA, dissenting voices are usually dealt with by a lynch mob (or some other draconian measure meted out by an arbitrary justice system with no remaining checks or balances). Oh, and glenn beck.

Re:Really? KKK worthwhile? (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619712)

Yeah, that's not speech and you can't eliminate hatred by outlawing it.

Yeah, but you can encourage it's growth by talking/spreading it.

Actually, you can't encourage it's anything because that's gibberish. Learn to apostrophate properly.

Saying that free speech spreads hate is like saying Lysol makes people sick. Yes, out of a large-enough population, some idiot will try to drink Lysol, but restricting its availability will make everyone sick.

There are many ways to fight hate speech. In canada, we fight it by making hate speech illegal. we fight it by making it illegal to spread, we mock it with our TV programming, education system and comedians.

If you make speech selectively illegal, it's no longer free speech, it's restricted speech. Restricting people's activities because of their ideas or origin is the very criterion used to identify a crime as a hate crime.

In the USA, dissenting voices are usually dealt with by a lynch mob (or some other draconian measure meted out by an arbitrary justice system with no remaining checks or balances). Oh, and glenn beck.

I've lived in the United States for 24 of the previous 26 years (non-continuously). I have never seen or known anyone that was “dealt with by a lynch mob,” or any “other draconian measure” in our criminal justice systems. Restricting speech because you don't want to hear someone is draconian.

As for checks and balances, that's a term referring to separation of powers doctrine (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checks_and_balances [wikipedia.org] ), which is much more fundamental to the U.S. Constitution (and the individual state constitutions) than it is to the Canadian Constitution. If you just don't like the outcomes, go ahead and say that. Just realize that if you are ever sued for or charged with defamation, and later you're lawfully admitted into the United States, collection of a debt resulting from criminal or civil defamations suits in foreign courts is illegal in the United States, a measure that unanimously passed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

As for Glenn Beck, he's our Lysol-drinking idiot and it's better that everyone keep an eye on him.

Re:Really? KKK worthwhile? (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619542)

So someone committing a blatant crime is an example of the failure of free speech? You silly, or dumb, or both. Either way you're fucked up.

You got it (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619332)

The problem is that whenever you stop protecting the unpopular speech, and let the government decide what is and is not of "value" or "useful" or whatever, you open the gates to restricting speech for all sorts of bad reasons. It is the unpopular speech that must be protected.

As an example, look at the sham that is the Canadian Human Rights Commission. You have a lead investigator that said, on the record "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value. It's not my job to give value to an American concept." Where you don't have the right to question your accuser, hearsay is admissible with few exceptions, and truth is not always a defense. Basically, if a plaintiff can demonstrate you hurt their feelings (with rather dubious standards of evidence to do so), even if your statements were true you can get in trouble.

Really you want free speech very protected, where there are clear lines as to what can't be done and those lines are only there as needed to protect people (like you can't order someone to kill someone else and claim free speech). As it stands in Canada, the laws are used to shut down unpopular speech.

sycraft-fu hasn't figured it out yet. URnotFree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619496)

Before the pen hit the paper to secure Freedom of Speach, the paper itself was not composed from any such. You like many others fail to realize that countries aren't founded on such transient causes of Freedom: they are rogue and vagrant nations that are commandeered by a defective foe, steered by that dictator to assume him every nature to divest his dictatorship in compelling everyone to fit his form.

In the case of all the putrid legislatures that you are hammering-on, do you want someone to enter your House built on hard-work and command you to have Freedom of Speach over matters not earned to them? You can't legislate upstream, no matter how you call those "corrections" as Amendments, because all they do is swap the original text, and you fail to realize that when the "Amendments" tear at the stiches then all you have remaining is the original text CHARTER and it's dictator.

When are you going to man-up and just admit that your feined agreement like all other Slashdot participants is nothing more than an insecure Dictation of your opinions having no adhesion to the matter? This isn't a forum of sound reasoning and faithful discourse: it's a SIMULATION. You are not free: everything you say will be measured for a value in domestic currency to see if you are negative or positive to litigate against, and if you don't fall into such domesticatable value then your words are discarded as FREE dross and trash. When you are Free, it means you have no value.

The courts assume you have negative value in your words, then slowly determine your value to a reduction scheme of tests. This proves the nature of courtship has always been a simulation: the core, root, original and exclusive jurisdiction of the country has always been a series of dictators that might bind their peerage together in a stock of fascism unto their SUBJECTS. I'm sure you have many subjects yourself, even if they are fictitious.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619568)

I rarely post on /. anymore, but let me give this a shot...

It's literally impossible, for example, for working-class Black lesbians to have a fair and equal debate with bourgeois white straights; there's too much of a power imbalance. Further, not all ideas are equal. I feel completely fine, without knowing any of the nuances or details of their arguments, saying that the KKK's ideas are hateful and beyond worthless; they're dangerous.

As much as armchair libertarians like to claim it is, speech is not harmless. Someone's probably going to call Godwin's law and ignore the rest of this post, but speech is the means by which the Holocaust got under way. It wasn't just Hitler's regime randomly foisting anti-Semitism upon the masses, but mass complicity in the anti-Semitism by the common German, which was played off of by Hitler's regime. Basically, the national discourse around Jews at the time was similar to our national discourse around undocumented immigrants at the moment. Not to mention that much of this happened to other groups as well, some notable examples being the alter-abled and the Gypsies.

In other words, the Holocaust might not have happened if it weren't for hate speech.

Finally, failing to sufficiently protect marginalized groups forces us (and I use the anarchist "we," i.e., anyone who would assign themself to this statement and no one else) to address our problems on our own, by means which will almost certainly be more radical, more millitant, and more effective.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619318)

I totally agree. (That you wish you could have it like we do in the USA). BUT YOU CAN'T!
You are not even in a totally free Nation, as you still bow and pay royalties to the English Crown.
Modern day colony.
Just saying.

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (3, Informative)

swabeui (1291044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619432)

I think what the article means to say is that "In canada, they're not litigation happy, and the courts have made it very difficult to get a multimillion dollar settlement for pouring hot coffee on your lap and claiming that it was the fault of the coffee shop for not telling you that coffee is hot... (and other such nonsense cases ... like awarding a family damages over the autism-caused-by-vaccines debacle which has been debunked by real scientists over and over...)".

I love how everyone uses that case as their poster-child for all things wrong in American courts. I guess everyone is susceptible to media bias as one point or another. Here's the actual facts of the case: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm [lectlaw.com]

Re:Canada is more protective of rights than USA. (2, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619574)

Because you couldn't say or do the same things to someone that wasn't queer, and not get arrested/charged.

Wait, what? I'm with you on the assault bit, but you're not allowed to walk around with a sign saying "NERDS ARE EVIL SINNERS" or "NERDS WANT TO MAKE YOUR CHILDREN PASTY, BASEMENT-DWELLING SLOBS"?

You don't have a right not to be offended, IMO. As soon as you set up a group of people that have the ability to tell you to shut up because your speech has "no value", you're just institutionalizing one set of prejudices - a set that might not be stable over time. (Always assume your worst political enemies will gain control of whatever policy you enact.)

I'm OK with this (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619108)

As long as it actually WAS libel.

There are enough people out there who distrust the police, we don't need unfounded accusations reducing police support further.

On the other hand, if the statements were factual, the cops and prosecutors involved need to be lined up against a wall and shot.

Re:I'm OK with this (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619128)

If he is innocent and things work there like the US, the charges will be dropped and the police involved will get a suspension with pay while things are being "investigated". The cops will then go back to active duty after the investigations and the whistle blower will be continually harassed because protect each other even when the other is a criminal or eve murderer - I mean accidental shooting victim.

Re:I'm OK with this (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619184)

It's not just the US/Canada that uses this "system".

Re:I'm OK with this (2, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619162)

Don't worry, no matter how fake or factual his claims will be found officially to be baseless.

Re:I'm OK with this (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619220)

Yeah, this isn't merely critique, as in "they are doing a bad job at such-and-such activity". It's claims of fact.

Obviously the guy should have just filed a report and been done with it. Oh, wait...

Re:I'm OK with this (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619588)

There's an old proverb: "you don't tug on Superman's cape".

Re:I'm OK with this (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619698)

Stuff like this [usma1994.com] , or this [reason.com] , or any of a thousand other examples, are why people don't trust the police. They're not trustworthy, they don't care to help you, and their dedication is only to each other. You are a subject, and they are the ones with power. Disagree, and they'll jail you, shoot you, or frame you. This just proves the point.

Police and prosecutors say baseless crap all the time. Remember Richard Jewell [wikipedia.org] ? The FBI can "leak" information to the media to destroy people's lives with impunity - the best that guy got, despite complete innocence, was the AG saying "I regret the leak." Well, gee, thanks.

the cops and prosecutors involved need to be lined up against a wall and shot.

Yeah, somehow that never seems to happen. All Mike Nifong [wikipedia.org] got was being disbarred, and spending one night in jail for contempt of court, on charges that he trumped up and that would have, if successful, put three men in jail for a long, long time. And those are the ones with lots of money to defend themselves. As far as I'm concerned, that level of dishonesty should lead to putting him in jail for the full length of the sentence he was trying to get.

Making it criminal helps the police (4, Insightful)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619112)

It meant that they could raid his house and get a copy of everything that he had, possibly then loosing some of it for him. If it was a civil action then they would not have been able to do this. What is dreadful is that the ''other side'' (ie the police in this case) get an immediate advantage. This is abuse of power.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (4, Insightful)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619258)

The investigation that pressed the criminal charges was conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, not the local Calgary Police Service. The Royal's are the Canuck equivalent to the American FBI, and are a national police force.

There is a lot of infighting between the various Law Enforcement Agencies in Canada over jurisdictional rights, etc, and to the best of my knowledge, they don't really go out of each others way to help each other out that much.

This is very evident at family functions. I have a couple of cousins (cousins to each other as well) one is local CPS, and the other is RC. They get into pissing matches with each other all the time over who has the more important role in Canadian Civilization, and I am usually the one who gets to moderate their arguments, generally by telling them both to STFU, and handing them a beer.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619300)

This is very evident at family functions. I have a couple of cousins (cousins to each other as well) one is local CPS, and the other is RC. They get into pissing matches with each other all the time over who has the more important role in Canadian Civilization, and I am usually the one who gets to moderate their arguments, generally by telling them both to STFU, and handing them a beer.

I have never had that experience with my friends who are in different areas of policing. Perhaps it's a family thing? ... on second though, maybe it's an alberta thing. (Yes, the rest of the country hates alberta as much as alberta hates the rest of the country ... and everyone hates quebec. It's our main unifying doctrine).

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619368)

It very well could be a family thing, but I don't think so. The infighting between the two of them didn't start until Shane (CPS) got onto the police force. They were fine before then. I really don't know, like I said, I just tell them to shut up and have a beer, and things get instantly peaceful.

It's also not an "alberta thing", because Rick (The RC) isn't even in Alberta (Barrie Ontario), and the family reunion where the last argument was took place in Winnipeg, which is where they are both originally from.

For the record, Albertans (at least this one) don't hate the rest of the country (not even Quebec!), we're just a tad arrogant, and don't really care what every one else thinks.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619380)

For the record, Albertans (at least this one) don't hate the rest of the country (not even Quebec!), we're just a tad arrogant, and don't really care what every one else thinks.

LMAO... wish I could moderate.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619392)

funny thing is, I can. 4 points left =)

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619396)

Not with that account :P (Now that you've participated).

Maybe the rest of the country thinks alberta hates them... so we're all just oversensitive.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (1)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619474)

Maybe the rest of the country thinks alberta hates them... so we're all just oversensitive.

Nah. I've traveled this amazing country from coast to coast, and have lived in 5 different provinces (admittedly, for as little as 6 months).

I think that the national reputation that we in Alberta have earned (smug, arrogant redneck bastards) is well deserved and has definitely been earned.

I just don't think that it reflects against us all as individuals. It definitely makes sense why we would be viewed that way from the outside though.

Re:Making it criminal helps the police (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619460)

I have never had that experience with my friends who are in different areas of policing. Perhaps it's a family thing?

To local cops, FBI stands for "Fucking Big Idiots". To the FBI, local cops are bunglers who can't tell their asshole from... hey, what's that in the ground over there? But maybe your family is just more polite than this other guy's. I never got into any fights at any family events, but I can't say I wasn't close to getting in a fight with one of my uncles on one occasion. Fucking alkies. I don't really see eye to eye on anything with my family and have been out of touch for years. I hope to keep it that way.

Is this the site? (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619142)

http://www.bownessca.com/ [bownessca.com]

The purpose of this site is to inform the residents of Bowness, the citizens of Calgary and others, as to how senior individuals within the City of Calgary placed the Bowness Community Association (the BCA) into receivership by illegal, corrupt and criminal means.
.
There has been over 5 years of corrupt and criminal acts that have been committed and they are continuing to be committed by Derek Podlubny and the present Board, ably assisted by lawyers from the law firm of Blake Cassels and Graydon.

Re:Is this the site? (4, Informative)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619160)

I was going to say it was this site - http://www.rosscarrock.info/ [rosscarrock.info] - but I see that Mr Kelly is mounting a multi-pronged attack against, well, anyone he sets his sights on that wrongs him in even the slightest way.

Re:Is this the site? (3, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619212)

Both of these sites have a distinct flavour of crackpottery, mixed with a generous dose of lunacy and tipped with wholesome nuttiness.

I think the RCMP will end up with a rather embarrassing situation of having dragged a certifiable conspiracy nut before the courts wherein he will quickly drown them in spittle and general ranting incoherence, which then will prompt more reasonable citizenry to start asking pointed questions as to why the RCMP feels threatened by an individual whose case would best be dealt with by the medical profession and if maybe there is something to his ranting...

Re:Is this the site? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619308)

The format reminds me of Time Cube, and the tone is way too close to Glenn Beck.

1. Kamala Dyrholm the Secretary, was near the door selling memberships, she stated that she had no idea how many of the people present at the meeting were members. Which raises these questions...

a) how many members do they actually have?
b) was there even a quorum to legitimize the meeting?
c) were the people voting even legally allowed to vote?
d) were the people who were voted on the board, legally elected?

Maybe Obama is a terrorist, maybe he's not, but at least they're out there asking the questions, right?

No kidding (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619662)

Also I don't know the libel standard in Canada but in the US:

1) The statements must be untrue. Truth is the ultimate libel defense. So if his statements are true (probably not, but just saying) then that is the end of that.

2) The person making the statements had to know they were untrue. While this gets a little more "he said, she said," in the case of someone who's connection to reality is a bit tenuous, this could easily be a defense. He may honestly believe what he is writing is true. In that case, it isn't libel. It is crackpottery, but not libel.

3) The statements must have been made with the intent to cause harm. Well here again, might be a problem. After all, he may well be making the statements to inform people, not to attempt to harm anyone. In that case, again not libel.

Could be very different in Canada, of course, but that's how it works in the US. Libel/slander are when someone deliberately spreads false information about you to harm you. It isn't when someone makes fun of you or the like.

So no, in the US, conspiracy nut rantings aren't libel. If they honestly believe what they are saying is true, it isn't libel.

Also personally I think speech against the government should be the very most protected of all. The government needs to accept that people can just drag them through the mud, that is the right of citizens in a free country. Pretty much anything is fair game. I mean really, if your government can be harmed by the rantings of conspiracy nuts, then you have bigger problems.

Re:Is this the site? (3, Insightful)

scream at the sky (989144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619234)

This guy has an amazing sense of entitlement, and I say this as someone who lives in the Calgary area, and has heard of him through friends who live in the Bowness/Montgomery area.

Just reading the index to the main site that you listed it is obvious that he just has an axe to grind against the entire community association, probably because he was expelled. Why was he expelled? I have no idea, as all we are able to see is his side of the story, and as we all know there are always at least 3 sides to every story. Yours, Mine, The truth, which is inevitably somewhere in between.

My side, is that he's an troll who just wants attention, and should not be fed.

Re:Is this the site? (1)

getgame (1616959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619310)

He is covering all bases: http://www.csasoccer.info/ [csasoccer.info]

f the cops! (1, Funny)

vxone (668809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619144)

there needs to be some kind of - protest about this .. like ASAP they can't get away with this sort of bullshit. criminal my ass this is not a police state

Re:f the cops! (3, Insightful)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619264)

Wow!

What grade are you in?

Re:f the cops! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619272)

It should be criminal because accusing the saints also known as police of illegal activity, abuse of power or bullying is unheard of in Canada!

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/city/story.html?id=68d7e7bd-f65c-4e7e-9964-812b43f31172 [canada.com]

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/06/28/g20-rosenfeld-police.html [www.cbc.ca]

http://www.canada.com/news/Bubbles+exchange+between+protester+police+blows+online/3291512/story.html [canada.com]

Re:f the cops! (1)

mcornelius (1007881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619372)

Really? I suggest you look at 297-317 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

Did the police act "stupidly"? (0, Troll)

chuckhriczko (1781584) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619208)

See, the funny thing is in America our president can insult the police and its all fine and dandy. Just saying.

Re:Did the police act "stupidly"? (2, Informative)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619320)

See, the funny thing is in America our president can insult the police and its all fine and dandy. Just saying.

Actually, the funny thing is that it was neither libel nor slander, in this case.

Re:Did the police act "stupidly"? (1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619402)

See, the funny thing is in America our president can insult the police and its all fine and dandy. Just saying.

Actually, the funny thing is that it was neither libel nor slander, in that case, either.

Fixed it for ya. Er, for me.

Re:Did the police act "stupidly"? (2, Informative)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619566)

See, the funny thing is in America our president can insult the police and its all fine and dandy. Just saying.

The federal government is a separate entity from the state and local governments and, in certain ways, is superior to them. For example, the FBI can override the jurisdiction of local cops, particularly if a crime happens across state lines. For those reasons, yes, the President can criticize or even insult police.

But it wasn't all fine and dandy. Obama is a politician and took a lot of heat for, basically, opening his big mouth when he shouldn't have. That's been a recurring criticism of Obama: that he talks about stuff when there's no good reason for him to, and wastes his political capital.

Fuck you all. You can't have it both ways. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619222)

Fuck you slashtards. One day you're delivering an apologia for why you want the government to be halfway up your ass (as in ObongoCare), and the next day you're shitting on the government because they won't let you videotape or badmouth the police. Do you want Totalitarianism, or don't you? Sometimes I think Slashdot is just some autistic kid in his parents' basement with a million slashdot accounts, replying to himself all day long.

YOU NAILED IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619438)

The better years of Slashdot were when Linux was young and they just migrated their webserver from a DEC Alpha. Those were the years when there was actualy any technical discussion on a matter. Now, nobody will do any Code referencing in the legislatures of men or even much to do with Linux in general. All they do is hear something partially and say whether they are "for" or "against" it because maybe it costed them money once or they had a relative in the business say something good from production floor or they have some unfathomable mental itch on why something will fail in a distant galaxt where the law matters.

That's why I simply go to 4Chan /new/ and some other Chans like 420 and 888 for all my discussion.

None realize that around 2006 is when a new species of AOL'er arrived on Slashdot, while the previous generation has turned 30 years OLD to enter their mid-life crisis stage of failing to build their life dreams of a hovercraft or collection of all their coveted $500 box-product software libraries they couldn't afford from Fry's Electronics.

This is truly a sad and sadistic year as well, seeing that Vivendi Blizzard has drugged everyone, 3D Realms has passed the torch like ID Software, and a general slew of outcomes to everyone I knew that pursued careers and activities that resulted in their short lifespan. As you can see, USA has become 4th-world in this regard, because none will allow anyone to make a living in assembling property on the mainland, so computer technology has always been something done on a distant slave culture that if-ever declared war on USA then we'ld lack the capacity to reserect any such infrastructure here because all our technology has become compartmentalized by FCC and DOE to destroy the Homebrew scene.

critical of the corepirate nazi holycost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619278)

you have the right to remain silent, &/or it's time to take cover no matter where you ?live??

http://republicbroadcasting.org/?p=10918

even more fear from far & near; anyone with a conscience, & some form of attention span left, may find this interesting;
http://beforeitsnews.com/story/178/722/By_Way_of_Deception,_Thou_Shalt_do_War.html

Retired NORAD Officer's New Book Predicts a Tentative Worldwide UFO Display on October 13, 2010

it would help with scheduling etc... if the time was supplied; like between 1-6pm, or after some more tornadoes, something.

as for unfairness, we like this reference; google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=weather+manipulation

& this one; google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=bush+cheney+wolfowitz+rumsfeld+wmd+blair+obama+weather+authors

Welcome to Calgary! (1)

drknowster (946686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619382)

I live in Calgary. the chief of police is a hard liner to the letter of the law and if stupidity was against the law there would be charges laid ,anybody that expects compassion or common sense would be greatly disappointed .The current mayor is a developer who has blocked the attempts of the charitable societies to make Calgary a more friendly place there is much more damning things to say ,my opinion. Completely normal behavior

In my day... (1)

fazil (62946) | more than 3 years ago | (#33619420)

Back in my day we ignored the crazies....

Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33619430)

Tell me do you like being ruled? Is it one of your favourite pass times to realize that you are not free? Think about it... there comes a time where you need to defend your rights to be free.

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