Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Shiller's Flub

In closing arguments in the Levant defamation trial yesterday, Brian Shiller, plaintiff Khurrum Awan's attorney, argued that the Canadian Islamic Congress (Awan was once its' youth rep) was a fine, upstanding organization. As proof he noted that then-Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty sent the outfit a letter attesting to that "fact." At which point the pro-Ezra faction in the courtroom, knowing that a high five from that eff-up McGhastly is hardly something to be proud of, burst out into laughter.


Richard of Eye On a Crazy Planet points out that it doesn't take much to acquire such a letter; really, all that's needed is a pulse and a request:
As someone who has worked in Communications Branches for the Ontario civil service, let me tell you how that works. Organizations submit requests for letters from the Premier and some assistant will prepare the congratulatory letters, then put them in a pile for the Premier to sign. He almost never even looks at the letters, just signing one after another. These things are done as outreach (or vote-whoring, depending on how you look at it). But they are hardly the ringing endorsement that Mr. Shiller suggested, and I'd go so far as to suggest that if someone in McGuinty's office had bothered to do some due diligence on the CIC, that letter would probably never have gone out.
Poor Mr. Shiller. Had he really wanted to show that the CIC was well-respected, he should have told the court that it is responsible for Canada having an annual official Islamic History Month. And it wasn't Dalton McGuinty who signed off on that one--no siree! It was the feds--the Stephen Harper Conservative feds.

Had Shiller brought forth that fact in court, the likely reaction would have been gasps, not laughs.

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