27 June 2008

Free speech wins: SCC backs Mair in defamation case

In British Columbia, they have real talk radio hosts.

They used to have Rafe Mair but he's been replaced by others who have the trademark ability to really lay it on the line and tell you exactly what they think.

None of this Crap Talk  in the afternoons for British Columbians. Mair is a former cabinet minister who actually recalls what he did while in politics

And Mair surely wouldn't have been entertaining a plum government job offer on the sly from the guy who went on to become premier, all the while staying on the air through a provincial election and for a long while after. Isn't there some CRTC regulation against that kind of conflict of interest?

Nope.

Mair speaks truth to power, as he sees it.

One such episode landed him in court in 1999 facing a defamation charge from someone who wanted to keep books out of public libraries which depicted gay couples favourably.  Mair tossed around words like Hitler, the Klan and skinheads.

Mair won the first case, lost the appeal but today walked away from the Supreme Court of Canada with a unanimous verdict in his favour. The decision is also a victory for free speech, since the justices established more clear rules about what constitutes fair comment.

No one should be afraid to voice their opinion.  No one should consider the threat of a defamation suit - the bullying tactics of the weak and cowardly - as reason to reconsider speaking frankly about any issue which is of public concern.

By the way, someone should ask John Hickey and Danny Williams what happened to the law suit against Roger Grimes over words which Danny Williams uttered but Roger Grimes didn't.

And as a last note, it is painfully obvious that since the provincial government stopped organizing callers for talk radio shows, the audience for two of the three daily shows has dwindled.  So bad is it that two of the shows are now taking a summer hiatus.  Crap Talk with Bill Rowe took its crap off the air today.

A couple of months of the Top 50 elevator music hits should be enough to restore the sanity of anyone who wound up listening to the former ambassador to Hy's blather on.

It should be time, as well, for the crowd who program NewCap to see if they could cut a deal with Mair to host a show in this province from the Wet Coast. 

Imagine Rafe and Danny locking horns in the afternoon over a plan to pay women public cash to crank out children in order to save The Race.

Geez, now there's something you could actually charge admission to hear.

-srbp-

3 comments:

Eric said...

No one should be afraid to voice their opinion. No one should consider the threat of a defamation suit - the bullying tactics of the weak and cowardly - as reason to reconsider speaking frankly about any issue which is of public concern.

Well said!

Sheena said...

I'm still amazed the courts upheld the media's right to drop Hitler bombs. My experience has always been that you never compare someone to Hitler unless they they attempt genocide.

Edward G. Hollett said...

I suppose, Sheena, the courts draw a distinction on their role in the whole discussion between playing editor and setting the rules for what editors can say.

I agree with you. Hitler and Nazi comparisons are usually inappropriate in virtually all discussions.

They've been overused to the point of cliche, sad to say. Still, whether or not to use the comparison is an editorial decision.