Free Speech, Free PR, Free Conrad Black!

The story about the kid in Saskatoon that got suspended for talking about marijuana in school should send shivers down every person's spine. Read the story, then read it again: he TALKED about marijuana being as bad, or better, than alcohol, something that Supreme Court of Canada agrees with. He didn't sell it, he didn't offer any to anyone at school and he didn't use it. He TALKED about it and he was suspended.

I'm the last person to advocate for marijuana use (I prefer to mainline Golden Triangle heroin) but I am a person to advocate free speech. This kid was expressing his opinion and was suspend from school for it. It's easy to trot out the slippery slope argument, so I'll go ahead and do it here. This sets a dangerous precedent, of being able to suspend kids from school that express an unpopular opinion.

The school, in its defense, has tried to conflate what he said with something he didn't do: "The principal was just indicating that we don't want to promote drug use within our school and certainly school rules are such that if there were any drugs brought into the school, the police could be involved," said the director of education.

Yes. Well. Right. Except that, he didn't bring drugs into the school. He talked about marijuana. Presumably if a student at this school had a sick relative who was using marijuana for medical purposes and talked about it, that kid would get suspended as well. Does this extend to re-enacting Cheech and Chong skits as well?

Another good quote: Mr. Rempel contends the school board had a duty to enforce certain codes of conduct. "Public schools are not public places like shopping malls where students can gather and talk about any issue that they wish," he said. "We have teachers and principals who have expectations for student conduct in a safe and orderly climate."

Schools are not places where students can talk about any issue that they wish? They're not? So, kids can only talk about issues that teachers approve of. Hmm, interesting. So, if you had a wing nut history teacher who argued that the moon landing was a hoax, that the Holocaust never happened and Pol Pot was misunderstood, you wouldn't be able to dispute him.

And people from the Prairies wonder why people from the civilized provinces think that they are bunch of ignorant hicks.


oes anybody else find the story about the Calgary barmaid and Prince Harry a little too manufactured? She was already a quasi-minor-celebrity and now she has latched onto this to ride the fame train straight into faded-celeb obscurity. You can chart out the rest of her 'career' -- few more media mentions, than a Playboy shoot, find some cause to stand behind ('all the children of the world need safe and environmentally-friendly breast implants'), perhaps some lame-duck reality show appearance, then into the file of 'Whatever Happened To...'

I've always thought that the brothers of Prince Charles (Andy and Eddie) had it sweet -- all the luxury of being a royal, but none of the big pressure of having to be King. Prince Harry is living up to that ideal by being a total idiot. The best way to solve this is to slip out the backdoor of the Commonwealth when the current Queen abdicates or dies and have a popularly-elected president that would replace the Queen and the Governor General. (And let's face it, the Queen's got another 25 years left in her -- there will be scratch marks on the throne when they try to pry her body off of it). Sure, we will have to change our money, but we get to elect Wayne Gretzky for President and not have the royal family bothering us anymore.


Mr. Steyn has done a very good job of covering the Conrad Black trial which is moving into its final phases. There was a lot of hype in the Canadian media when this started, because, let's face it, Lord Black is rich prick. He's a smart, business-savvy rich prick that injected some much needed energy into the Canadian newspaper world (see The National Post) and it was with a certain ghoulish delight that his opponents in the media world tracked his fall.

It's a complicated case, mainly because there isn't much of one. Sure, he used company money to throw a birthday party for his wife, and yeah, OK, he used company money to take a trip to Bora Bora. For that he should do jail time? Add in the fact that the non-competes were non-taxable in Canada (and not in the US) that all the parties involved signed off on the deal, and that shareholders made more money under Lord Black's group than under the current owners of Hollinger, and this case comes up to nothing. Have him pay back the company money he used for personal purposes, throw in a fine and some finger wagging, and let's be done with this.

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