Cheers & Jeers

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Cheers: to a little bit of courtroom common sense. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last week that a Nova Scotia teen can seek Internet records identifying the people responsible for setting up a fake Facebook page that bullied and demeaned her, without having to reveal her name in open court. The court said that there is a legitimate expectation that the public exposure could cause further harm to the girl and prevent other cyberbullying victims from coming forward. Several media agencies had been fighting to make the girl’s name known, arguing that when a story involves real, identifiable people, the issues involved hit home harder. They also argued that keeping the girl’s name confidential would erode public accountability in the courts. True, to a point. But really, why add even more injury to insult?

Jeers: to handling a problem like Ezra Levant. You can react to his hateful nonsense, but that only encourages him. You can ignore him, but that just gives him free rein to spew his bile. Last month, on his Sun News Network show, Levant went on a rant that goes way beyond acceptable. Gypsies, he said, are a “culture synonymous with swindlers. The phrase gypsy and cheater have been so interchangeable historically that the word has entered the English language as a verb: he gypped me.” He said gypsies have come to Canada “to gyp us again and rob us blind as they have done in Europe for centuries.” In the National Post last week, former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie M. Farber responded by saying if the word “Jew” had been substituted for “gypsy” in Levant’s screed, there would have been a massive uproar. The Sun network at least had the decency to issue an apology for Levant’s tirade, even if the culprit himself won’t. For a man who lobbied so hard for the right to free speech, Levant sure has a lot people wishing he’d shut the heck up.

Jeers: to losing track around the edges. When you hear about overfishing, it’s often in the most commercially lucrative and most assessed species: tuna or salmon, cod or flatfish. But a new study last week in the journal Science suggests that the most damage is being done to the species that scientists and fishermen know the least about: in other words, the more than 10,000 or so fisheries worldwide that have no formal stock assessment process. Once a stock is assessed, efforts tend to be made to fish it responsibly. In some ways, it seems like the most common of common sense; with no knowledge of the relative health of a stock, you’re essentially fishing blind. Another point the study made? The relative success of fisheries co-operatives that give fishermen the opportunity to take an active role in managing stocks.

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Recent comments

  • Keith
    October 01, 2012 - 06:56

    "For a man who lobbied so hard for the right to free speech, Levant sure has a lot [of] people wishing he'd shut the heck up." First off, this formula makes no sense: of course the person everyone wants to shut up would advocate for free speech. Secondly, an editorial page like this should argue with Levant on the facts (an easy enough job), not discuss the limits of free speech. All speech should be heard and all sick thoughts should be ridiculed mercilessly by a free press. But you opt to make him look like a victim by pondering how far his fundamental freedoms go. Stick to your job: making him a laughing stock by exposing his idiocy.