12.22.2016 05:39 PM

Awan v. Levant

My exceedingly-small role in this case, which has been going on for years: when I saw these young people being brutalized in print by Messrs. Whyte, Wells et al. – being repeatedly called “sock puppets” and worse – I got in touch with them.  I told them to forget about the human rights actions, and to get a real lawyer – my friend, Brian Shiller. They did. They sued, and they won.

And now, they have won again, this time at the Court of Appeal.

Worth reading. And congratulations to Khurrum and Brian and Angela. Big, big win.

Truth still matters.


  1. MisterCanoeHead says:

    I think it’s the wrong link

  2. ABB says:

    Interesting the judges cited the impact of defamatory word in some of the headlines, being without any surrounding context and the impressions made without reading the text in the article. That’s a major cautionary note for all bloggers.

  3. bluegreenblogger says:

    Thanks for re-posting the judgement. It was worth reading, Damages, plus aggravated damages, but no punitive damages 🙁 But still, so many years have to pass for a snake to meet some justice.

    • ABB says:


      It is important to emphasize that punitive damages should only be awarded where the combined award of general and aggravated damages would be insufficient to achieve the goal of punishment and deterrence:  Hill, at para. 196.  In this case, where the defendant is an individual and not a member of the major media, I find that the combined award above is sufficient to achieve these goals.  I am therefore not awarding punitive damages.

  4. Bill Templeman says:

    And here is Levant’s appeal for more funds. This time he has cooked his own goose, feathers, gooseshit and all. Let him eat his own feast. Good on you for posting this judgement. Justice and the truth both matter.


    “You and I have fought hard together for Canadian values and against radical Islam.

    We have fought for the separation of mosque and state, and to protect Canada from creeping sharia law, and from unvetted Syrian migrants.

    But I’m writing to you tonight, as a Canadian, because now I need you to help save my freedom.

    Over the years, you and I have fought hard together for freedom of religion and freedom of speech for Christians. Whether it’s Trinity Western University, or Toronto’s street pastor David Lynn, or pro-life clubs on campus, we’ve been there for Christians who needed an ally.

    But I’m writing to you tonight, as a Jew and a Canadian, because I need you to help save my freedom.

    Because Today Ontario’s Court of Appeal ruled against me and sided with Khurrum Awan, the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress who sued me more than seven years ago.

    You’ve supported me so generously in the past — I wanted you to be the first to know, and to hear it directly from me.

    You can read the full court ruling here.

    I’m worried that this ruling sets a precedent, and it is now legally dangerous to call out an anti-Semite as anti-Semitic. Let me explain.

    As you know, Awan was the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. And one of the reasons I lost was that the trial judge ruled that calling Awan an anti-Semite was defamatory.

    But here’s why I had said it: Awan used to be the youth president of an anti-Semitic group — the Canadian Islamic Congress, which was led by a notorious anti-Semite, named Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry went on TV to declare that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. You can see that video clip here:


    And yet the trial judge ruled that it was defamatory for me to call their former youth president anti-Semitic. Because Awan denied he was an anti-Semite in court, and said he never knew about his organization’s infamous misconduct. Awan said he wasn’t anti-Semitic, and the judge ruled I did not prove it was factually true.

    Even though Awan himself testified at trial that he agreed it’s reasonable for people to call certain statements by the Islamic Congress anti-Semitic.

    That trial was in 2014. So I appealed — it cost me more than $30,000 dollars. And today, the Ontario Court of Appeal came out with their ruling.

    The three judge panel — led by a Jewish judge, Kathryn Feldman — upheld the trial decision against me, and the $80,000 judgement, plus the $70,000 cost penalty, plus $15,000 more for the appeal. So $165,000 dollars — all for a Muslim activist who never told the court that he lost a single penny because of my comments.

    Now, maybe you think that’s fine — it’s just me, I’m a big mouth. I dish it out, so I should take it.

    But let me read to you a passage in the Court of Appeal’s ruling. And put yourself in the shoes of, say, a Jewish student on campus, being faced with anti-Semites like Mohamed Elmasry every day.

    The Court of Appeal actually said the trial judge got something wrong — they agreed with me that calling the Islamic Congress anti-Semitic was an expression of my opinion; I didn’t have to prove it as some sort of scientific fact like the trial judge said.

    But then the Court of Appeal wrote that Awan “pled malice. Based on the record, the trial judge concluded that the appellant transferred his animosity toward Dr. Elmasry to the respondent.”

    As in, because I had hard feelings and animosity towards Mohamed Elmasry, that’s what the trial judge called malice. And she said I directed those feelings to Awan, so my defence of fair comment was thrown out.

    So let me put that in plain English. If you campaign against anti-Semitism, and if you have hard feelings and animosity towards anti-Semites like Mohamed Elmasry — the Court of Appeal says those hard feelings and animosity take away your right to make a fair comment if they are directed at others associated with them.

    So if you see a vicious anti-Semite like Mohamed Elmasry on TV, justifying the murder of Israelis, and if you feel ill-will towards him, and you call him an anti-Semite or something like it because of that feeling, get ready to pay him $165,000 dollars, because the courts could say you’re malicious — towards him, or if you feel that way about people associated with him.
    But bizarrely, if you’re someone who sees a video like that, and you aren’t upset by him, and don’t have hard feelings towards him, then the courts may let you call him an anti-Semite because they’ll say it’s a fair comment.

    That’s the new precedent.

    If you have hard feelings towards a bigot you have less legal right to say so than someone who has no problem with a bigot.

    So people who are fine with anti-Semitism can speak out about it — but they probably won’t speak out, will they?

    I’ll never shut up, of course. But what about a young kid on campus? The Court of Appeal has a simple message for them: keep quiet about anti-Semites — especially about the worst of them. Or face a huge lawsuit.

    Obviously we’ve got to keep fighting this. I’m going to apply for leave to appeal this to the Supreme Court of Canada. That’s not automatic — we have to apply for the right to appeal there. My lawyer says that will cost approximately $10,000 dollars. We have to continue.

    We just can’t let this precedent stand.

    Imagine not being able to use the word anti-Semitic to describe activists with anti-Semitic groups.

    If you share my belief that we cannot let this ruling stand, please help me cover the costs of applying to the Supreme Court by clicking here.

    I promise I’ll keep fighting.

    Yours truly,

    Ezra Levant

    P.S. Maybe you think I should throw in the towel. But I just can’t. How can this precedent be allowed to stand? Please click here to help contribute to my appeal to the Supreme Court……”

    • Ron says:

      Sorry Levant, I don’t support professional hecklers.

    • Scotian says:

      I just love how he distorts and deceives for his marks, errr…I mean readers/supporters, why he was seen as acting in malice. It was a fair bit more than just what he claims, as shown in the actual court judgment/record WK so kindly links to in the body of his post here. Levant has always been a rhetorical bomb-thrower, well there is a price for that in this country, we do not have absolute free speech to start with, and even in the USA there are lines one needs to be careful of, and here Levant may well have pushed it in even that more permissive context than ours. This is a bed he has made for himself and he is going to be forced to lie in it, I simply cannot see any reason for the SCC to pick this case up, although one can never predict such with certainty beforehand of course, this does seem fairly straightforward going by the ruling the appeals court just made.

      Ezra likes to play the professional victim whenever anything says or does gets him into hot water of some form, especially legal trouble. It is always the vast forces arrayed against him and his innocent yet pure and powerful message never his own actions and misdeeds and bad judgments that is to blame/responsible. This is more of that tired spiel from the same tired hymnbook Levant has been singing from oh these long, long, loooong years now. Back in the days of the Western Standard he could be occasionally informative and you could find some interesting discussions at that site and its threads from time to time. Even since though Levant has degenerated into something much uglier and uglier in my view.

      Ezra Levant is a man who one hopes has seen his heyday and it is now well past with the loss of Harper, and will continue to move farther and farther into irrelevancy. One hopes, but never assumes such of course.

      • Bill Templeman says:

        I give Ezra full points for chutzpah & entrepreneurship. Lest we forget, he used to be an unemployed former Sun Media columnist in need of a new gig. He created The Rebel and now it employs 25 people. Bully for him. But he gets a big fat zero for failing to accept the consequences of his own actions. “Don’t do the crime unless you’re willing to do the time” as the incarcerated say. If David Suzuki ever bad-mouthed an oil executive to the point that the exec launched a libel suit, and Suzuki turned to his donors for support in paying his legal costs, Ezra Levant would be having an apoplectic fit and screaming hypocrisy, and rightly so. Part of being a professional in the adult world is taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Isn’t that what we strive to teach our kids? Even if I supported his politics (I do not), I would have trouble writing him cheques that did nothing to advance the causes I support and had everything to do with extracting his sorry ass from some very hot water. Ezra Levant may be on the cusp of learning a very expensive political lesson: “When you’re winning, everyone loves you; when you are screwing up, you suffer alone.” Levant has been merciless in his attacks on others. Now his neck is on the block. Swing that axe, Mr. Executioner. “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword”

        • Diamond Jim says:

          Sorry, but that is a ridiculous comparison. Suzuki is an extremely wealthy man and owner of multiple properties including an $8 million dollar Vancouver mansion.

          I detest what Levant does, but there is no indication that he is a particularly well-off individual.

          Smearing Muslims would seem to be very popular with his supporters – I don’t think it is unreasonable, of him to ask them to fund the costs associated with his libelous mouth.

          Again, not remotely an endorsement of what comes out of the man’s pie hole!

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