Book Review: The Tyranny of Nice – How Canada Crushes Freedom in the Name of Human Rights

By John Jalsevac

November 13, 2008 ( – If there is any fatal flaw to be found in this handy little volume jointly authored by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere it is simply this: it runs the risk of not being believed. That is, it may not be believed because most people still abide by the belief that most other people are decent and reasonable chaps, and that being a decent and reasonable chap isn’t an indictable offense.

This conviction of the commonness of decency and reason especially holds true for those who live in modern, Western democracies. For a democracy makes absolutely no sense and cannot function without its cornerstone principle: the notion that common sense is much more common than its opposite – what G.K. Chesterton termed “uncommon nonsense.” This notion is what gives any democracy the fundamental faith that the people (demos), when left to their own devices, can usually be trusted to make decent and reasonable choices.

But in any democracy there are exceptions. Usually these exceptions are found in those who would set themselves up as the ruling class: which is why the citizens of any healthy democracy have a healthy distrust of their politicians and their bureaucrats.

Indeed, in your typical democracy, most of the uncommon nonsense can be found concentrated to a disproportionate degree amongst the elite – the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the intellectuals, who are more often guided by ideology (i.e. balderdash, rubbish) than by common sense. This is why checks and balances (not to mention the political cartoon), were invented.

Canada is no different in this regards. If anything this is more true of Canada than any other democracy: for in the Great White North we have the bureaucrats of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, who, when  compared to your average Canuck, are so out to lunch that they remind one of Lig Lury, Jr. He is the fictional editor of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” whose lunch breaks became ever more extravagant and legendary in length until one day he left for lunch and never returned, but who, nevertheless, is popularly believed to be on his lunch break still.

That’s how out to lunch the CHRC bureaucrats are. But don’t take my word for it. Read The Tyranny of Nice

As the authors of this slim volume reveal, in the disconnected world of the commissions perfectly decent and reasonable chaps – model citizens like Steve Boissoin, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, Scott Brockie, Ted Kindos, Fr. Alphonse de Valk and Mark and Connie Fournier, to name but a few – can be prosecuted for no other crime than that they aren’t as liberal and loony as the employees of the CHRC. For having dared to “offend” the sensibilities of one of the protected groups (mostly homosexuals and Muslims), these individuals have had their pocketbooks emptied by legal fees well into the tens of thousands of dollars, their reputations dragged through the mud, and their nerves shot by the strain of “investigations” that span up to half a decade in length.

And all of this without any decent hope of actually winning their case. For up until recently (coincidentally, about the same time the high-profile Mark Steyn case began drawing unwelcome attention to the commissions’ closed-door machinations) the human rights tribunals had a mind-boggling 100% conviction rate for so-called “hate crimes.”

“In the upside down parallel universe that is the Canadian Human Rights bureaucracy,” write Shaidle and Vere, “truth is no defense, intent is irrelevant, one is guilty until proven innocent, and the lucky complainant’s legal costs are covered by the province’s taxpayers – while the accused is obliged to spend thousands on his own defense in the almost certain knowledge that he will lose anyway.”

That may sound like hysteria. It is unfortunate that it is the unadulterated truth, a truth that Vere and Shaidle provide plenty of hard evidence to prove.

Indeed, this humble pair has done a great service for those who are concerned about the future of democratic freedoms in Canada. They have pulled together in one short, easy-to-read, 80-page volume, a goodly portion of the lunacy of the commissions, well documented and entertainingly presented; and the end result is to leave no question that the commissions amount to a serious threat to freedom in Canada and that something must be done about it.

The question, however, as previously suggested, is whether your average reader is prepared to accept what Shaidle and Vere have to offer, no matter how straightforward the facts may seem.

Will your average Canuck swallow the fact that their human rights tribunals once decided that requiring an employee at a fast-food restaurant to wash her hands violated her human rights? That they actually wrote, "There was no evidence of: the relationship between food contamination and hand-washing"? Or that asking a patron at a bar and grill not to smoke marijuana in the doorway violated his human rights? Or that a tribunal is currently "investigating" the case of a stand-up comedian who heckled his hecklers because this may have violated their human rights?

These, of course, are merely some of the oddest cases the CHRC has agreed to hear, which in their bizarre novelty reveal just how disconnected the commissions are. But there are, of course, the much more dangerous and equally unbelievable cases: the one where a Christian pastor was fined and told to apologize to his accuser for having expressed his disagreement with homosexual "marriage" in a letter to the editor of a reputable local paper; or the one where one of Canada’s most widely read magazines had to answer for having published an excerpt from a book that was on the New York Times’ best-sellers list at the time; or the one where a Catholic magazine had to defend itself merely for having defended the Catholic Church’s teachings on the morality of homosexual behavior.

Will these things be accepted, or will the average reader merely react with suspicion, wondering if Shaidle and Vere are not making things up, or presenting only one side of the story? This is, in my opinion, a valid concern.

  The Human Rights Commissions are so far left of the majority of Canadians, that many will have a hard time swallowing the claim that a government agency is really doing what this government agency has been doing for years. It seems such an improbable story, especially when so little mention of it has been made in the mainstream media, which is perhaps the only other institution in Canada that is almost as loony as the CHRC.

Interestingly, if you had asked me these questions only a few days ago I would have said with conviction that most Canadians were not prepared to accept the thesis of The Tyranny of Nice. But things have changed since then. Last weekend, at the Conservative Party convention, well over 90% of the 2,000 delegates present voted to significantly curtail the powers of the human rights commissions to prosecute “hate speech.”

On the face of it, this isn’t a revolutionary step. The resolution is non-binding, and Conservative higher-ups have consistently shown a startling resilience against taking notice of the elephant in the living room. However, the overwhelming support from grassroots delegates for motion P-203 revealed that, despite the deafening silence of the mainstream media, and despite the total inaction from the higher-ups, everyday Canadians are starting to wise-up to the CHRC racket.

That this is so is largely thanks to out-of-the-mainstream writers and journalists such as Pete Vere and Kathy Shaidle, not to mention better-known figures such as Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, who have been anything but demure in their criticisms of the commissions.

Indeed, Mark Steyn himself penned the introduction to The Tyranny of Nice. The ten bucks the book costs is well worth it just for the introduction alone, which is guaranteed to offend the CHRC bureaucrats, and to make the rest of us who still have our humor gland intact laugh out loud.

The Tyranny of Nice is an excellent and necessary book, a first step in educating Canadians and non-Canadians alike on the threat of the human rights commissions and what can be done about them. Buy it, read it, and, most importantly of all, act on it.

As Vere and Shaidle conclude, “Canadians … must come together and abolish Canada’s human rights racket. They must do so before the damage inflicted upon our nation’s social fabric becomes irreversible. …

“To quote Levant: Fire. Them. All.”


To purchase your copy of The Tyranny of Nice, go to

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