the good, the bad, the (ugh) ugly

(the good)

Shut down yesterday afternoon to help my sister get back online. Her modem crapped out and Bell (don’t remind me) sent her a replacement. Long phone call with a nice woman who, I believe, was in India. With her help, the sister is back online. Managed to get to Laval for a bike part.  Whoo-hoo!

(the bad)

Things are piling up. I wake to (pause…) clear skies and good weather?! So much rain and/or cold for much of late June and all of July.  I crave a bike ride whenever there’s a nice day. And THIS is the first sunny day in nearly a week and the only one expected for the rest of this one.  Here are my options: waste time sitting at my keyboard, or do much-needed yard work then get ready to hit the road while the sun is out. Must make coffee first (stumbles toward coffee grinder – not Starbucks brand).

(the ugly)

Still, at least I should turn on computer and download email. What’s this?? My very own brand of “Scenty” (a fave paranoid of a reader) shows up in my Inbox. Three messages in a row. One threatening legal action. My feelings go like this: surprise, consternation, anger, rage… followed quickly by mirth. (The guy can’t write. He must have good editors cleaning up his stuff.)

Here are some excerpts from his brand of intelligent discourse. Let’s begin with the threat:

First the legal issues: On  July 3, 2009, you wrote these statements on your blog: “Then again, if the National Post didn’t exist anymore, where would people like Joe Quesnel, Peter Foster, or Jonathan Kay be able to spout their outdated racist crap? Macleans?”

You will remove the offending portions that refer to my writings as “racists”(sic) or I will pursue legal action against you, as this is a false allegation. I have never said anything “Racist” (sic) against indigenous people. I will require a response from you. You cannot hide in blogosphere and make irresponsible claims about other people.

Then this one, from Quesnel’s next missive:

I would actually like to engage you in a respectful discussion, but this is how you speak, so if I am being engaged from the gutter, I will respond likewise.

And to wrap...

Lastly, you are upset about a comment a CBC reporter made referring to the AFN national chief as “national king of the Indians.” I NEVER said that! Stop confusing me for someone else. I would not say something like that. Please stop misrepresenting my views or the intentions of the Frontier Centre.

Obvious questions pop:

  • Who’s hiding?
  • Why not go the Human Rights Commission route?
  • Does he realize how ridiculous he comes off; him a free speecher/ libertarian and all?
  • Doesn’t he realize I’ve made him my butt (in so many ways) to show how ridiculous I consider his opinions and those of his assimilationist crowd?
  • Is his work at the office as poor as his work here?

Hang on, Joe. I have chores first. Then I’ll give your legal threat and rants all the consideration they deserve – if that.



Filed under Canada, Indigenous peoples, journalism

10 responses to “the good, the bad, the (ugh) ugly

  1. Joseph Quesnel


    My references to “hiding” have to do with you creating a one-sided monologue about my writings and ideas on this blog without granting me so much as the opportunity to realize you’ve made the accusations and perhaps even an opportunity to defend myself. You criticize my views on the AFN leadership race without providing your readers the benefit of my original arguments. You just start attacking with no context.
    About the issue of human rights comissions: I am not a believer in these institutions. They are about as representative and democratic as the AFN currently is. I am, however, a firm believer in libel and slander laws, meaning you are responsible for what you write about someone else. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your facts, as the saying goes. You call my writings racist. I believe I have never written anything that even remotely implies that indigenous people are worthy of anything but the highest regard. I don’t believe you should be able to make this claim lightly.
    Liberal and slander laws are entirely consistent with a “libertarian” framework (you also assumed that I identified completely with this outlook) as spreading lies or misinformation is one limit to the right to free speech. You obviously can say whatever you want, but you bear responsibility for the consequences of what you say.
    On my writing, I plead frustration as the leading cause of some of my mistakes. This is obviously besides all the points I’ve raised above.
    You can mock me all you want, but do not think you have a right to not be responded to. Also, if you make false statements about my writings to your readers (that they are ‘racist’), expect me to use the full tools at my disposal.
    We may disagree strongly on these issues, Shmohawk, but that does not mean you have to inconsiderate, dismissive or uncivil. I reiterate my call to you for a civil discourse about these issues.

  2. shmohawk

    What part of “Hang on, Joe. I have chores first. Then I’ll give your legal threat and rants all the consideration they deserve – if that.” don’t you understand.

    You contacted me offline as well. I won’t repeat here because that would be uncool. I will summarize: “Things were said. Words exchanged. Why can’t we be friends?”

    You slapped a very public legal threat on me. Remove it in a very public way. Otherwise, shut up and wait for my response. Now piss off.

  3. Joseph Quesnel

    This statement was made before I sent the offline remark.
    I hereby remove the very public legal threat on you by making this very public statement and politely request you remove the R word in relation to my work. Then everyone can move on.
    Is there a function to remove old postings? I could not find it. If there is, I could remove the old messages.

  4. Dear Mr. Quesnel:

    As a long-standing fan of the Shmohawk’s commentary in this other and other media, and as a fellow blogger who has had to dedicate WAY too much of his life to reading and understanding the laws that address libel, slander and similar malfeasance in Canada, may I respectfully suggest to you that our genial host has not said a single word that even approaches the shadow of the shade of the ghost of the hint of anything that any Canadian court would consider remotely actionable?

    Based on my reading of your prior work, sir, may I further suggest that you are an asshole?

    Now, should you consider that observation slanderous or otherwise actionable, you may contact me at, and I will have my lawyers contact your lawyers. And should my asshole take exception at being compared to you, I shall ensure that it has the same option.

  5. shmohawk

    I’m finally back in the chair. I have some time to waste on this today – I hope!. I’ll get back to you, monsieur balbulican. Merci.

  6. shmohawk

    Let’s all be patient. I’m referring this matter to some experts on libel and issues such as fair comment, use of humour and/or satire in political commentary, journalism, censorship, prior restraint, etc. When I get some advice and guidance, I’ll forward. Or they may post here directly. No response yet though. So let’s just hold your water. After all, nobody reads this anyway.

  7. shmohawk

    Also, I may not have supplied the link to the comment in question here:

  8. HF Sweetgrass


  9. Joseph Quesnel


    I am not in the least bit interested in continuing this matter. I am not interested in your comments about me as well, as I have too much work to do.
    Shmohawk has requested that I remove the threat, which I have done in a public way. I politely asked him to re-consider some posts. That will be between him and I to figure out.
    As someone with over eight years experience in print journalism, I am well-versed in libel issues. I am quite familiar with what is actionable and what is not. I am also not interested in engaging with you in any discussions about libel.
    I consider this matter closed.

  10. shmohawk

    I’ve revised the last sentence in a previous post, entitled “you decide,” to replace one word in order to remove any confusion as to intent. A more complete explanation may be found there (see the link here).

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