Aw nuts, we won

In the matter of Elmasry and Habib v. Roger’s [sic] Publishing and MacQueen (No. 4), heard before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal this past June:

More comment to follow once I’ve read the thing, but be clear on this: it is no victory to be told by a shadowy government agency that you will be permitted to publish. This ruling only preserves the tribunal from utterly discrediting itself, and as such keeps alive the possibility that some other complainant can drag Maclean’s or any other media organization through yet another travesty half-a-continent away, at great expense of time and money. It also prevents Maclean’s from appealing the tribunal’s decision to an actual court, wherein it might have had the relevant section of the B.C. human rights laws thrown out on constitutional grounds. (Or does it? Can you appeal when you win?)

So the real fight, that of returning our human rights laws to their original purpose, and permanently clipping the wings of the human rights commissioners, will have to be won in the political arena. Until that day…

NOTE: The foregoing represents the views of the writer only, and should not be mistaken for those of Rogers or Maclean’s, their management, employees, lawyers, shareholders, window-cleaners or bonded couriers.

NOTER: The Tribunal does not appear to have put the decision up on its website as of 2:45 PM Eastern time. I’m assured it’s coming soon. UPDATE: It’s up.




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Aw nuts, we won

  1. all’s well that ends well.

    Still, I would like to see MacLeans use this as a learning opportunity, and exercise better journalistic judgment in the future. Anyone can make a few ethnic jokes and stir up jingoist sentiment, and I think it’s important that MacLeans rise above the impulse to publish writers like Steyn. Let’s see the editorial board roll up its sleeves and show Canada what it can really do!

  2. Does this mean that Steyn will still be a regular contributor to Macleans Andrew? I sure hope so…

  3. As a window cleaner, I’m for transparency.

  4. I always was of the opinion that, although nothing was criminally wrong, it was a poor journalistic move to make an inflamatory column by someone who many frequently find offensive the cover story and picture.
    I have no problem with the printing of it, but perhaps we should be honest: if it had simply been a Steyn column buried in the back pages of Macleans, nobody woul dhave cared, and could have save all involved time and money.

  5. Another Friday decision buried in the mists of an election.
    Anyway, glad your lawyers fees were well spent.

    So what does this say about Barbara Hall and her verdict without a trial?

  6. A serious question: would macleans consider appealing on the grounds that the reasoning for the decision (i.e. article didn’t meet hate lit threshold) is unsatisfactory?

  7. Maybe you could sue Elmasry and Habib for costs? Maybe you could bring them before the rights tribunal for having the state come down on you for the simple act of exercising your freedom of expression? Maybe a government duly constituted from the will of the electorate would have the guts to restore a basic human freedom in this country?

    OK, I know, I know, that last one was too much of a stretch.

  8. Sorry to hear about the win.
    You’re too big a fish, the HRC is afraid you’ll rip the net and bend the handle.
    I hope your lawyers sue Elmo for costs and the HRC for being corrupt.

  9. “So the real fight, that of returning our human rights laws to their original purpose, and permanently clipping the wings of the human rights commissioners, will have to be won in the political arena. Until that day…”

    This whole episode has served to undermine my confidence in the basic right of free speech in this nation. Unfortunately, I can’t envision our political leaders having the fortitude to take on the human rights commissions.

    I know it’s somewhat unrelated, but I find it shares much in common with the disgusting suppression of basic rights represented by the use of Security Certificates.

    Both are fundamental challenges to the freedoms of Canadians, yet neither seems to ignite much concern or outrage from us.

    To our shame.

  10. Not a victory. The battle won’t be over until the HRC’s are prevented from threatening citizens free speech rights ever again.

  11. Nuts. But to be epected. Like all fascist bullies, Canada’s HRCs are more concerned with self preservation than anything. Until our spineless politicians take these Thought Police out of bussiness for good, this is not an honourable country.

    For the record, Mark Steyn is a national treasure and “The Future Belongs To Islam” is a masterpiece of Opinion journalism.

  12. “I think it’s important that MacLeans rise above the impulse to publish writers like Steyn.”

    Perhaps there should be a law. Oh yeah, that’s what this case was all about. MacLeans readers are still able to read controversial columnists like Steyn.

  13. Too right this is not a victory. The Conservatives think it’s wise to behave like Libs so they aren’t going to do anything about Sec. 13 and now Macleans, one of the few defendants that has enough cash to fight this in proper courts, has been let off.

    It is self preservation by BCHRT. They will continue to harass and destroy the common man with little cash while presenting themselves as being entirely reasonable, by pointing to this decision.

    This just reinforces my decision to not vote Con because they should have done something about this long ago but they punted instead. A Con government that doesn’t believe in free speech cannot be considered Con, as far as I am concerned.

  14. It’s on the website now.

  15. The positive effect of this is that the case raised a lot of awareness about the threat the HRCs pose to our freedoms.

    The negative effect, as has been noted, particularly by jwl, is that the HRCs have now likely realized the error of taking on opponents with the resources to mount a real defence. Unfortunately, the Commissions will now likely stick to picking on small-time individual citizens who have the odds and resources staked against them in these unjust processes.

    What we need, as Coyne notes, is someone to lose in the HRC and appeal to a real court, likely to the SC. If only we had in this country a program to which private citizens could apply for assistance when taking major human rights cases to the Supreme Court.

  16. For the record, Mark Steyn is a national treasure and “The Future Belongs To Islam” is a masterpiece of Opinion journalism.

    Opinion journalism? How odd. Most informed people consider it a review of a play Steyn didn’t even watch.

    Anyway, no one’s tearing Steyn away from The National Review; he’s got it made there. They call him “the perfesser.”

  17. Congratulations. I think.

  18. “all’s well that ends well”

    Only in Liberal Looney-toon Land.

    It’s unbelievable that some people think that opinions they disagree with should be censored.

    It’s completely unfair that Macleans had to spend so much money defending themselves, while the complainants paid NOTHING – we taxpayers were forced to fund their nonsense!

  19. I guess Sheila T’s unfamiliar with the 3 million a year Macleans gets from the Publications Assistance Program which we’re led to believe supports a news and current affairs magazine and not a platform for welfare wingnuts to peddle their latest Regnery propaganda.

    We pay and we pay and we pay and yet, there’s no journalism to be found.

  20. needs a proofer – is it not “Rogers Publishing” as opposed to the frequent reference to “Roger’s”

    was very disappointed as a search of the PDF brought no mention of the relevance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (per AC, blog of June 4th, 2008 at 12:03 pm)

  21. “So the real fight, that of returning our human rights laws to their original purpose, and permanently clipping the wings of the human rights commissioners, will have to be won in the political arena. Until that day…”

    Precisely what I’ve always been telling you about your beloved Charter of Rights. AC goes yelping to the shelter of Parliamentary supremacy! Not before time, I’d say.

    “Anyone can make a few ethnic jokes and stir up jingoist sentiment, and I think it’s important that MacLeans rise above the impulse to publish writers like Steyn.”

    Mike T: I call BS. Herewith, a direct challenge to find the ethnic jokes and jingoism in the impugned article, which is still on Macleans’ website, I believe.

  22. There is nothing like some mocking publicity south of the border to focus wonderfully what passes for the collective mind of Canada’ post modern bureaucrats and cognescenti.This is not, nevertheless, an insignificant victory for democratic liberalism.The crusade of various and sundry ethno-fascists and their allies to suppress speech and ideas in society at large, like they have on university campuses has received a set back. At least for now

  23. Could we file a “friend of the court” brief on behalf of Heather Mallick ??

  24. Speaking of journalism, are any the ones around here following the scandal of the Pentagon financing military experts to appear on US broadcast media to peddle the war?

    It’s really fascinating.

  25. [9] Pursuant to the Code, the Tribunal does not initiate complaints nor can it refuse to accept a timely complaint of discrimination that is within its jurisdiction. The Tribunal cannot investigate complaints and will not dismiss a complaint without receiving submissions from both parties, almost always on application by a respondent.

    [10] Respondents may apply to the Tribunal to dismiss a complaint, in advance of a hearing, on one of the grounds set out in s. 27 of the Code. Parties may also voluntarily participate in Tribunal-assisted settlement meetings to try to resolve the issues in a complaint before a hearing.

    [11] In this case, Maclean’s did not apply to dismiss the complaints under s. 27 in advance of the hearing. Maclean’s filed responses to the complaints, denying that the Article was likely to expose Muslims to hatred or contempt because of their religion and making three alternative arguments. Maclean’s said that the Article was “defensible as fair comment on a subject of public interest, … that statements of fact made in [it] are true, or alternatively [that the Article] was published on an occasion of public privilege, qualified or otherwise, on a subject of public interest.”

  26. Uh, oh…the Steyniacs are converging. Where’s my Dramamine?

  27. Ti-Guy – should you be shoring up some Liberal blog that’s getting beaten up by meanies? Or firing insults at myblawg.com?

  28. “Herewith, a direct challenge to find the ethnic jokes and jingoism in the impugned article, which is still on Macleans’ website, I believe.”

    Try the appendix to the Decision.

  29. Next step…. fundamental changes to where the HRCs have jurisdiction, and in how panel members are selected.

    This is the most important issue of our time. Will political correctness and “goodspeak” rule, or will the West be able to keep its liberty.

    Stay tuned.

  30. At least the case brought exposure to the foolishness of the present human rights commissioners.

  31. Ti-Guy – should you be shoring up some Liberal blog that’s getting beaten up by meanies? Or firing insults at myblawg.com?

    I’m multi-tasking.

    Stop trying to violate my right of free speech, Mark Dowling.

  32. It’s good. But you huys still have a bigot problem. Earlier this year, you actually published the derogatory epithet “muzzie” on your pages!

    One doesn’t have to be in favour of government censorhip to be against bigots.

  33. Mr. Whyte, I am not your personal research assistant and have no intention of combing through the voluminous works of Steyn now or in the future. Take that as you will.

  34. what right of free speech Ti-Guy? this is a privately-run blog and I’m not an agent of government. Never mind, I’m sure Barbara Hall will find a way to non-judge it.

  35. this is a privately-run blog and I’m not an agent of government.

    And mediating a dispute after something has been published is not censorship either. But those nuances in definition don’t seem to trouble other people, so I’m similarly unburdened.

    Anyway, I’m off to say nasty things about Mark Steyn in other venues.

    ‘ta.

  36. Mike T., you have some pretty scary views. Macleans WAS engaging in responsible journalism. If more media outlets were doing so, human rights tribunals would cease to exist. Learn how to make a reasonable argument.

    Maybe Mike T. would be more at home in Putin’s Russia.

  37. I am sorry you feel that way.

  38. Read the tribunal decision very carefully – their decision to acquit Steyn appears to be based on a specific lack of sociological evidence showing the effect of the Macleans article on how Muslims are perceived by the Canadian population at large. They contrast the evidence at the Macleans hearing with the evidence heard in the Zundel trial. The BCHRT suggests that if they had such evidence, they could have arrived at a different conclusion.

  39. Any fool could have seen this decision coming. I certainly did. The bigger fool was Macleans for hiring a whole team of legal beagles to fight what was in essence the equivalent to a parking ticket. They could have spent two bucks out of their Heritage Canada stamp subsidy to mail in a crayon scrawled defense and they still would have won. And I DO hope they don’t go back to hiring bottom feeders like Steyn to write for them; it will send their circulation to the bottom of the river until their only readers are Neo Nazis.

  40. Mike T likes to accuse people of making ethnic jokes and then refuses to back up his accusation, instead telling us we should go searching for it.

    No, you made the accusation; you’re responsible for backing it up.

  41. Any fool can tell a defendant how best to defend himself. Thank heavens we live in a country where the defendant still more or less has the call to make, not the peanut gallery or anyone else.

  42. Well, it’s the un-victory Maclean’s deserved, being so stupid as to hire bigshot lawyers who made the HRC look like fools. Now there’s no chance to appeal and bring down the law. Thanks for standing up for yourselves instead of for freedom of speech.

  43. True, madeyoulook, Andrew and the rest at Old Mac have every right to play the martyr. I guess that takes big bucks.

  44. “Any fool could have seen this decision coming. I certainly did.”

    Strange that you don’t seem to have made that prediction in your blog – perhaps you did elsewhere. Can’t argue with your disbelief (16 May 08) about Amiel though – the Black Trial wall to wall coverage was part of the reason I’m no longer a subscriber.

  45. Gee, taxpayers were forced to pay for what BCL describes as “equivalent to a parking ticket.” So that’s all it cost us – oh, thank God. It’s good to know that the HRTs are so responsible with our money.

  46. So, taxpayers had to pay the complainants’ costs for this case that BCL describes as “equivalent to a parking ticket.” Good to know we got off so cheaply. Thanks so much for that information.

  47. Actually, I did. Here:

    Is Steyn a racist? Indubitably. Is what he wrote protected by Canadian Freedom of Expression laws? Contrary to some of the Doom-Sayers on the Right, who want to make Macleans, the representative of the “powerful corporate media” in question here, look like underdogs in the case, it almost certainly is.

  48. There once was a writer named Steyn
    Whose musings were close to the line
    ‘Twixt ignorance and hate
    But after some debate
    To the BCHRC, he’s just fine!

  49. Sorry for the double post – first one said it was rejected.

  50. The BCHRT suggests that if they had such evidence, they could have arrived at a different conclusion.

    Obviously, no one has conducted a scientific survey of online venues which are now the public squares where these issues are discussed. The blatant anti-Muslim/anti-Arab hatred even just discussing this case managed to gin up, particularly among those who have a well-documented history of making clearly and viciously bigoted statements was plain to see.

  51. Well played! This was a no brainer. Why they even heard the case is beyond me.

  52. oops BCL – took a wrong turn on blogspot. Apologies.

  53. First comment on the thread is a guy who STILL doesn’t understand the concept of free speech and even though Macleans is innocent, feels they should still learn a lesson from this.

    The only learning opportunity to come out of this whole mess is a clear understanding that the federal and provincial governments don’t believe in free speech and they have devised a system wherein even getting close to their arbitrary line gets punished with a lengthly and expensive hearing process.

    There’s absolutely nothing to cheer about here. Steyn said himself, his career is over in Canada. Who wants to take the chance on a incurring a massive legal cost even when found innocent. Regardless of the outcome, the HRC always wins.

    So Mike, here’s a line for you to memorize, “I, for one, welcome our new overlords.”

  54. Nonsense! I accept the complaint was borderline, and although I haven’t read the determination I assume it is not earthshattering in its reasoning. I merely asked Maclean’s to, of their own accord, exercise better judgment in the future.

  55. Bravo, Maclean’s, bravo Steyn.
    Viva free speech!

    Mike T. – you are a grandiose, pompous bobo.

  56. BCL: Is Steyn a racist? Indubitably.

    Know what’s awesome? Slandering an individual’s reputations without backing it up with any evidence whatsoever.

    In reality, Steyn’s only “crime” is being a particularly fierce critic of radical Islamists – putting him in the same exclusive club of “rascists” as Tarek Fatah.

    You’re a fine human being bigcitylib. And by “fine human being” I mean pitiful, attention starved internet troll.

  57. This was predictable – even tin-eared activists like the HRT members can hear the bells tolling in the distance.

    Maclean’s should still seek a declaration from the courts that s. 7 is unconstitutional, using this and other recent cases as the factual matrix ,as lawyers say i.e. the context.

  58. Mr. Coyne:

    My last subscription renewal to your mag was predicated on the pleasure I used to get from reading Steyn’s columns. He is, in my book, the most erudite, witty, skilled and scholarly columnist in the business (and I really like the idea that he gives drooling, knuckle-dragging leftists apoplexy). For months now, I have been eagerly scanning each issue for his contribution but, he’s never there.

    Now that you’ve “won” your case, will you grow a pair and bring him back, or is he now fully engaged in more important activities?

  59. Hear, hear!

  60. You should counter sue to pay for your lawyers. Make it so their lawsuits are not free. Small victories will need to carry the day.

  61. CBC News website has this story filed under “Arts and Entertainment”. Go figure.

  62. this decision was the only decision possible because hrc stock is at an all-time low. send in the regulators! in the words of the great canadian pugilist, ezra levant, “FIRE. THEM. ALL.”

  63. The constitutional argument is still available to Macleans (or Rogers, or anybody else). It is possible to attack the constitutionality of legislation without having to break the legislation itself; otherwise, to challenge the law would require breaking it. Now whether or not Rogers’ insurers will pay for it, as they almost certainly did for this claim, is another question.

    Also, anybody else notice that the article that caused such great personal offence IS APPENDED TO THE FREAKING DECISION?

  64. Mark Stain writes cool obituaries.

    And, yes, I’m glad I feel free to say that.

    Now, who should I thank ?

  65. “And I DO hope they don’t go back to hiring bottom feeders like Steyn to write for them; it will send their circulation to the bottom of the river until their only readers are Neo Nazis.”

    his books been on the best sellers list for how many months? must be a lot of neo-nazis out there… clinging to our guns, religion, and MacLeans

  66. Good paste Wassim
    Further to John g’s question “Does this mean that Steyn will still be a regular contributor to Macleans”

    Where IS Macleans jocular freedom-fighter?
    From an item today in another Macleans blog —

    “Somewhere Mark Steyn is wetting himself:”
    http://blog.macleans.ca/2008/10/10/whats-swiss-for-insane/

  67. AP seems to think MS is running a deficit in his toilet training account. Should he call a lawyer?

  68. It would seem only fair that if wrongly accused that the accusers would have to make a public statement to admit they had not met their burden of proof, as the outcome from the “tribunal” has concluded.

    That they had indeed tarnished reputations (both the writer and the news magazine) should garner, in a fair and just society, require them to formerly appologise.

    Further, to stop these types of accusations from occurring again the HRC “tribunal” should tighten their regulations/rules and stop expending resources on alleged misdeeds such as contained in this sham!

  69. “I merely asked Maclean’s to, of their own accord, exercise better judgment in the future.”

    In other words, please censor yourself from now on (or you could be forking over more legal fees). As I said, Steyn’s career in Canada is pretty much over because who wants to risk the litigation costs. So the complainant wins even though he lost. Plus now he gets to bitch about it. Can’t get much more of a win than that if you’re a hypersensetive grievance-monger. Doubleplusgood all around.

    I’ll bet you actually have said “I believe in free speech, but….”

    It’s either free or it’s not. Not partially free, or free with some caveat (and don’t even start with the libel/slander red herring). Voltaire must be spinning in his grave

  70. Rational people believe in reasonable limits on free speech. At the edges there may be some legitimate disagreement about what limits are reasonable, but free speech absolutism is vapid.

  71. This is the saddest thing I will say about our ongoing elections:

    when wondering if this issue could be brought up during our current Canadian elections I would have to answer: no.

  72. “What’s Swiss for insane?”

    – comments closed —

    THAT is classy!

  73. Freedom of speech means the freedom to say things about race that might be offensive to some.

    As long as one isn’t actively trying to INCITE *VIOLENCE* then its all-clear as far as I’m concerned.

    Let dissenting opinions and more sensible voices speak out (without government censorship) against the folks that don’t “get it”. Let the sensible will of the masses prevail. Magazine readers will vote with their dollars.

    If you start making restrictions, and you slip to some very dangerous territory.

    I always thought that Ezra Levant made a solid point when he published works like “Pisschrist” to demonstrate how selective and thought-police-like the HRC is. Offending Christians is A-OK. Offending Muslims is not. What a double standard! Who got to make those rules. Where are they published? Nowhere. The HRC is a star chamber.

    Perhaps the HRC should take on the following racists: Russell Peters (almost all his material), Dave Chapelle when he visits Canada next (bits: the racial drafts!? race’s have their own favourite instruments!?).

    Their humour offends many, but that’s also a good deal why so many people find it funny. It unites their fans, and doesn’t tear them apart – just look at their diverse audiences. They aren’t inciting any violence. But they certainly are being “racist”, by definition, and certainly offend some members of the races they target.

    The HRC already set a precedent of attacking comedians by going after Guy Earle.

    I can’t believe the commenters that say “Mark Steyn is racist and so the HRC was right” believe they are doing good, or leading Canada on a positive path. This is disgusting.

  74. “At the edges there may be some legitimate disagreement about what limits are reasonable…”

    For libel/slander we have lawsuits. For threats or inciting others to violence, we have the criminal code.

    In any free socity, I fail to see how any other state-imposed limits on free speech can be in any way “reasonable.”

  75. “Hate laws”, as applied to speech (I don’t think this case comes close), treat the population like idiots.

    Zundel wants to publish that the Holocaust never happened? Let him. Let his ideas be heard, weighed, and judged in the court of public opinion. Trust me, we actually fuel a lot of those fringe racial supremacists by outlawing their writings.

    If someone’s words contribute to crimes being committed (where they ought to have known better), then he or she can be charged as an accomplice or inciter of such acts.

    Free speech should be absolute. I’ve yet to see a case where limits did much good. (Even libel cases, for that matter, come too late to do much good, and don’t really convince folks unless the “wronged” party has publically explained why the initial words were malicious and did harm.)

  76. his books been on the best sellers list for how many months?

    So what? Check out what other books make bestsellers lists. It’s tragic.

    What fascinates me is the general biliousness of Steyniacs. There’s something revealing in that.

  77. I meant this case doesn’t come close to the typical definition of hate laws adopted and excercised in most countries, with the exception of Germany where they are perhaps the most strict.

  78. Actually limited and censored free speech would be vapid (lacking liveliness, animation, or interest. lacking taste, zest, or flavor.)

  79. ““At the edges there may be some legitimate disagreement about what limits are reasonable…”

    That statement is what gets us hauled up onto that slipperly slope. One little push and it’s all downhill from there.

    Freedom of speech really comes down to an insecurity problem on the part of the supposedly insulted.

    That’s why the issue is so touchy. People who are insecure about who they are (either as an individual or as a group) feel left more unstable in the wake of criticism. In order to bring that point across, the “explainer” is seen as someone insensitive (insulting) yet again…..So where to break that cycle?

    I would say that the best way to break that cycle is to put emphasis on letting people be who they are by letting them look deeper within.

  80. Mark Steyn is as guilty as Keegstra, Zundel, Sentena-Reis, Ross-Taylor, Malcolm Ross, Doug Collins, and everyone else convicted in the last 40 years under thes tribunals. The only difference is the target of Steyn’s “hate”.

    Steyn “hated” Muslims. If Steyn “hated” Jews, and offended Jews in the same matter that Steyn offended Muslims, he’d be homeless, jobless, under a gag order, and facing a 5 year jail term. Like Phd Terry Tremaine, who lost his job for the crime of offending Jews.

    There is no difference between Terry Tremaine and Mark Steyn, except who they “hated”.

  81. ErnstG,

    on what ground do you find claims for labeling Steyn to “hate” muslims?

  82. So what? Check out what other books make bestsellers lists. It’s tragic.

    http://www.embassymag.ca/html/index.php?display=story&full_path=/2008/october/1/bestsellers/

    Oh yes, I can see that. This year saw Steyn’s book take it’s proper place amongst other vile hate literature like Chertien’s “My Years as PM” and Al Gore’s “Assault on Reason.”

    What a disgusting breed we Canadians are. Surely, we need more hate laws to protect us from ourselves.

  83. These human rights tribunals are all the more terrible since, once established, they’re so politically difficult to do away with, or alter at all. No government wants to abolish a “human rights tribunal” regardless of the fact it serves to arbitrarily trample on our fundamental rights.

    Step 1. to reversing this disaster is renaming the boards. I suggest “political censorship committees” as in “The British Columbia Political Censorship Committee…”

  84. Works for me. Vive le fascisme libéral!

  85. Francein Verhoeven writes:

    >>>ErnstG,

    on what ground do you find claims for labeling Steyn to “hate” muslims?<<<

    On the same grounds that Doug Collins was “hating Jews”.

    Steyn, and McLean’s magazine, are 100% guilty of the same crime as Doug Collins and North Shore News. The only difference is who they were “hating”.

    “Hate” a Jew, go to jail. 100% of the time. “Hate” a Muslim, first acquittal in HRT history.

  86. Would I advise an absolute right to free speech in Europe? No. Pluralism and tolerance aren’t deeply enough ingrained and there are relatively fresh historical precedents against. The rest of the world is a total non-starter…

    But I think Canadian society – like the United States – is suitably strong, tolerant, peaceful, and sensible that an absolute right to free speech is both workable and desirable. We’re well past the tipping point where letting people say whatever they want can only strengthen our tolerant instincts. We should be proud of that.

  87. ErnstG,

    I am not asking about any other cases for comparison.

    I am asking on what grounds does the Steyn example refer to “hating Muslims”

  88. Francien Verhoeven, perhaps you do not understand. Steyn was not guilty. Neither was Doug Collins, or Zundel, or Malcolm Ross, or Bill Noble, or Sentena Reis, or David Ahenekew, or Ross Taylor, or Terry Tremaine, or Brad Love, or numerous other individuals.

    But the difference is that all of these people were convicted, some jailed, not for their words, but instead for their target. Steyn wrote about Muslims. The others wrote about Jews.

    If Steyn is innocent, so are all the others. If the others are guilty, so is Steyn.

  89. No, Mark Steyn isn’t a racist. He just plays one on TV.

  90. “Any fool could have seen this decision coming. I certainly did….. (a)nd I DO hope they don’t go back to hiring bottom feeders like Steyn to write for them; it will send their circulation to the bottom of the river until their only readers are Neo Nazis.”

    Awesome Bigcitylib. You really think if Maclean’s hadn’t raised such a stink over this, that they would have won? The BC HRT only issued this verdict because they felt uncomfortable with public pressure, as someone else stated above, they prefer going after smaller, easier targets, much like a bully.

    I mean, there’s other people, like for example that Reverend Boisson in Alberta, who got fined by the HRT for writing a biblical-based attack on homosexuality in the paper. And he got convicted.

    As for Steyn’s “bottom feeding”, as you call it, I’ve always found his willingness to tackle liberal sacred cows refreshing. The article stating “Before the white man came? War.” was particularly great.

    Face it, Big City Lib, so-called hate speech codes only serve to promote one group over another, and they serve to codify the superiority of various “victim” groups in law. With this ruling, as the people above have said, people who say bad things about Jews get convicted. People who say bad things about Muslims don’t (especially if Ezra Levant doesn’t get convicted). So, the government has implicitly conveyed greater “victim” status on Jews than Muslims. Is that fair? No?

    Then how about abolishing this whole process altogether?

    Oh, and everyone who doesn’t agree with your Ultra-PC-vegan-no-fur-arms-are-for-hugging view of the world is a Neo-Nazi, eh? It’s people like you who tempt me into voting Harper.

  91. ErnstG,

    Believe me, I do understand all of that!

    But I am trying to catch another point:

    I am asking you to define for me what it was that Steyn had said that was/is considered to be ‘hating Muslims’.

  92. “Speaking of journalism, are any the ones around here following the scandal of the Pentagon financing military experts to appear on US broadcast media to peddle the war?”

    I am curious, what exactly does the above quote have to do with Mark Steyn and this case. You may as well have mentioned the price of tea in China. It is just as relevant.
    Also Ti-Guy your defense of those who would censor Steyn is far more revealing than the supposed “biliousness” of so-called “Steyniacs”. It is spineless people like that have enabled these tribunals to last as long as they have. Furthermore, defending someone’s free speech rights when they come under attack does not making you an unquestioning disciple of his teachings.

    Also I am curious, how exactly is what Mark Steyn wrote hate. Is it hate to point out that the most intolerant countries on the face of the earth are majority-Muslim countries? Is it hate to point out that there are no majority-Islamic countries that are real democracies, unless you consider Indonesia a liberal democracy. Is it hate to point out that Islam does not have what one would usually consider a tolerance of other religions? It is not hate to point out the facts surrounding Islam.

  93. Maybe Elmasry and his friends would be more lucky if they would expand their “victim group”. They should go after books promoting atheism, and try to convince a human rights commission that atheism exposes every believer in this country to hatred and contempt, and should be banned.

  94. Excellent point Annie L.

    I expect that Mark has a beaut of an article sitting in the hands of Macleans. I predict record sales for the next issue.

  95. Don’t take this lying down. McLean’s should sue for damages or appeal(if even possible) Don’t let it go.

    Horny Toad

  96. I had my fingers crossed for a guilty verdict, so that this nonsense could have been given a decent burial in the SC. No judge or tribunal likes to get appealed, and this one was true to form, slipping the verdict in on a Friday when everyone was biting fingernails over other matters, in the hope it would be lost without trace.

    As to Steyn’s piece, it really was not up to decent standard. Yours, that is. However, I would defend his right to write it and your right to publish it, although free speech is not unconditional.

    All in all, an anti-climactic Friday.

  97. Peter O’Donnell observes that this complaint should have been tossed on the first day of hearing. Actually, I think it should have been dismissed before that. And I think the panel agrees with me.
    At paras. 8-12 of the decision, they make some interesting observations, which, in the interest of brevity, I will summarize:
    1. Since changes to the Code in 2003, all complaints that involve more than conjecture or speculation are set down for hearing;
    2. The HRT doesn’t initiate or investigate complaints and won’t dismiss a complaint without hearing from both parties, usually following an application by the respondent
    3. Respondents can apply to dismiss a complaint before hearing on grounds set out in s. 27, which grounds include that there is no reasonable prospect that the complaint will succeed; and
    4. For some reason, Macleans made no such application. Instead, they filed a defence that sounds a lot like a defence in defamation action, citing fair comments, truth and qualified privilege

    I can’t imagine that Julian Porter and Roger McConchie, Macleans counsel and deans of the defamation bar, find procedures at the HRT so confusing that they have to fall back on their old libel pleadings. But maybe that was the problem. Or maybe Macleans instructed them to run this thing, even it if could be dismissed.
    Care to comment Andrew?

  98. Why are the bilious Steyniacs insisting on talking to me?

    Those people give me hives…

  99. Islam is more than a religion. It is also a political ideology. Should we pretend that, say, liberals who harshly criticize conservatives are responsible for potential employment discrimination against members of that party? We should stop pretending that political Islam can be used as a club to attack political opponents.

    In other words, we should talk more, and not less, about this ideology, and allow ourselves to have a conversation about it without immediately attracting the vicious attacks that questioning that sacred cow always seems to inspire.

  100. “….Just being exposed to hateful opinions doesn’t turns ordinary people to turn into hatemongers…”

  101. The Canadian Islamic Congress is member of the Muslim World League headquartered in Mecca.(link below, the CIC is listed under Waterloo). The League has hundreds of members (mosques, cultural centers, etc.) in Canada (everywhere except Nunavut). The mission of the League is to spread Sharia and salafism around the world.

    Suppose that during the Cold War, Moscow was funding hundreds of “cultural centers” around the world tasked with spreading the communist ideology. As a Canadian, I would have been a LOT more worried about this threat than about the prospect that fellow Canadians of Russian extraction could face employment discrimination if writers and journalists were discussing this political danger.

    http://www.mwlcanada.org/home/pon.htm

  102. Congrats I suppose. The ruling implies that while you not have committed hate speech in the BCHRC’s view, they still reserve the right to decide what counts as hate speech in the future.
    As for you commentators worried about Steyn, or his lack of articles in Macleans recently, he has taken most of the summer off, and has only started writing articles again the past couple of weeks. I am sure we will see him again soon.

  103. Paul Secam thinks the use of ‘muzzie’ is an indication of being a bigot. I assume the same applies to the us of ‘yanks’, ‘limeys’, ‘frogs’, ‘krauts’, ‘micks’ etc

  104. I know a few devout christians who find words like “kufar”, “infidels”, “miscreants”, deeply offensive and abhorrent.

  105. “Muzzie”, like “K*ke” or “n**r”, is an offensive term that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a mainstream newsmagazine. I would hope that editors here will excercise their judgement and not print derogatory epithets in their pages in the future.

    (Steyn, as Kinsella has documented, has a history of using terms like “muzzie” or “chink” in a derogatory fashion. To me, that’s casual bigotry. You mileage may vary.)

    Annie — I agree with you. Use of those terms in a derogatory fashion is gratuitously offensive.

  106. comment by Ben Hicks on Friday, October 10, 2008 at 7:59 pm:

    ‘At the edges there may be some legitimate disagreement about what limits are reasonable…’

    “For libel/slander we have lawsuits. For threats or inciting others to violence, we have the criminal code.

    “In any free society, I fail to see how any other state-imposed limits on free speech can be in any way ‘reasonable.’”

    ****************************

    Nail on head. Any attempt to portray the Maclean’s/Steyn issue in any other way is specious.

    However childish we may act at times, in 2008 humanity has grown up enough to recognize what kind of speech is wrong and what isn’t. There’s a reason why “common sense” earned itself a place in the human lexicon. We don’t need to be told what to say or how to say it. The court of public opinion is the final arbiter.

    Ben Hicks’ remedy applies to all those who tread over the line of defamation or incitement to violence. Otherwise, stop trying to parent me.

    And as far as Mark Steyn’s use of “muzzie” and “chink” — if you read the context, and his use of satire, you’ll discover he MEANT to imply the use of these terms is counterproductive.

    And as far as Steyn’s “America Alone” — every single assertion is backed up by sources (whether true or not needs to be debated on the merits) — which is a lot more than I’m seeing here.

  107. Having won their own ‘fight’ I hope MacLean’s won’t give up leading the ‘charge’ to rid the country of such unaccountable authority groups.

  108. Why should an unaccountable agency like Macleans lead the charge to destroy accountable institutions of democracy?

    Seems bizarre.

    I think Macleans should lead the charge to be news and current media that informs people, as the fallout from journalistic malpractice is plain for everyone to see.

  109. Ti-Guy,
    When HR commissions arrogate themselves the power to control the press, they lose the right to be called “institutions of democracy”. They become the Inquisition and undermine democracy.

    CIC c. Maclean’s is about freedom of the press. It is certainly the duty of the press to defend that freedom against the Inquisition. I hope Maclean’s will lead the fight until full and final triumph.

  110. Somewhere up there sums things up perfectly:

    “Not a victory. The battle won’t be over until the HRC’s are prevented from threatening citizens free speech rights ever again.”

    Ditto. We can never let hooligans staple our mouths shut or put the squeeze on us financially as they will, ever.

  111. íå ìîãó ïîäïèñàòüñÿ íà ðàññûëêó ïî÷åìó òî, âåðíåå ïîäïèñü âðîäå åñòü è âðîäå äàæå ñîîáùåíèÿ ïðèõîäÿò, íî îíè ïóñòûå, èñïîëüçóþ safari, ïîäñêàæèòå ïîæàëóéñòà êàê èñïðàâèòü?

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