Timothy M. Denton

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Shoan x Blais = Tragedy

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The news that Commissioner Shoan was fired by the Governor in Council for cause shocks me. As Talleyrand said to Napoleon about some judicial murder that the latter had engaged in: "worse than a crime, sire, it was a mistake". Firing Raj Shoan is no crime, but it may prove an extremely expensive mistake. Shoan has fought the Chairman, and the Chairman has won, for the time being. To fire Shoan for harassment when the very issue of harassment is under judicial review strikes me as premature.

I am not a smooth man of policy. I cannot dissimulate for long and I do very badly at hypocrisy. There is a very little amount of guff and mind-warping that I can deal with, not because I am so principled, but because I cannot stand not to be true to myself. The mental energy required to endure a psychic oppressor is greater than I can supply over a period of years. So I thank God I have managed to duck a number of personality disputes to which I was a witness, that have ended in destroying careers. I have no idea how I did it.

A tragedy is not an accident; a tragedy is the ineluctable consequence of character meeting its fate. The clash of Shoan with Blais was of this order. It has barely begun.

I am feeling badly for Raj Shoan right now and, if my predictions come true, I may have occasion to sympathize with Chairman Blais in a few years. This will not end well. As humans we can be tragically inadequate.

 

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Timothy Denton is a lawyer by training who practices principally in telecommunications and Internet policy and domain name issues, with a strong concentration on explaining what the technology is and what it means.

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Guest Monday, 19 August 2019
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