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Friday, October 10, 2008

Intellectual freedom in Canada: Mark Steyn, MacLean's acquitted

From Mark's blog:

Steyn Today
Friday, 10 October 2008
CANADA vs FREE SPEECHFREE AT LAST! (pending appeal)Their Marsupial Majesties at the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal have dismissed El-Mo's complaint against Maclean's and voted unanimously to acquit the hatemongers:

[(full monster ruling here)]

The panel has concluded that the complaints are not justified because the complainants have not established that the Article is likely to expose them to hatred or contempt on the basis of their religion. Therefore, pursuant to s. 37(1) the complaints are dismissed.

We'll post the full ruling as soon as we can (the piece of wet string holding together New Hampshire's Third World Internet service fell down down during the night so we have a few technical problems). I'll be discussing the verdict later today after 6.30pm Mountain Time with Rob Breakenridge on 770 CHQR Calgary.

Here's the National Post story.

This is good news, but it is NOT a solution. Canadian journalists and publishers must not be dragged through kangaroo courts - in which civil liberties mean nothing - just because someone is offended by something they wrote.

Essentially all that happened was that they woke up and blinked when they realized that they were no longer trampling mere "little people." They may need to back off for a bit, plan their attack strategy better. That is as much of a victory for civil rights as Canada can manage at this time.

The view from O'Leary:
For what it is worth, Mark Steyn said little more or different re Islamic extremists than Phillip Longman has said about Christian fundamentalists and Mormons. (They have more kids, so their influence will grow ... ) See also Shoot Borovoy's Monster Now.

Will it? That is a contestable - and contested - argument, to be sure. For one thing, it has always been true that religious people had more kids. If that changed the political landscape, North America would long ago have evolved into a theocracy, but it hasn't.

The useful discussion would be why it hasn't, not wasting a lot of time, money and grief on tribunals and commissions trying to police thought.

Here's Deborah Gyapong of the Parliamentary Press Gallery

The good news is that more Canadians are waking up.

Here's way more Steyn Maclean's trial feedback than your betters want you to know, courtesy FreeMarkSteyn.

Update EST 3:09 PM: Here's the press release from the publishers of The Tyranny of Nice:


MARK STEYN NOT GUILTY OF "FLAGRANT ISLAMOPHOBIA," SAYS TRIBUNAL AUTHORS OF NEW BOOK ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONS CALL VERDICT THE EXCEPTION WITHIN A SYSTEM STACKED AGAINST THE ACCUSED

TORONTO (October 10, 2008) -- Today, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal handed down a not-guilty verdict in the case of Maclean's magazine and its columnist Mark Steyn. The case, prompted by charges of "flagrant Islamophobia" made against Steyn and Maclean's by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), focused critical attention on Canada's controversial Human Rights Commissions.

Today, the Tribunal ruled that Mark Steyn and Maclean's did not violate the human rights of the complainants merely by reporting facts and accurately quoting sources.

The Steyn trial, along with other lesser known but equally troubling cases, are chronicled in the new book The Tyranny of Nice: How Canada crushes freedom in the name of human rights, written by Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere. Authors Kathy Shaidle and Pete Vere commented today on the verdict in the Steyn & Maclean's case:

"Unfortunately, this decision is only a partial victory for Mark Steyn, Maclean's magazine and every other writer and publisher in Canada. This Kafkaesque trial cost taxpayers dearly, while many Canadians struggle to make ends meet.

"More importantly, it cost Canada its international reputation as a free, just and tolerant country. While Steyn and Maclean's won, most defendants are found guilty; the HRCs boast of a nearly 100% rate of conviction. We can only hope that this case and all the others chronicled in our book will help make the continued existence of Canada's out of control, draconian Human Rights Commissions an issue in the coming federal election.

"If elected Prime Minister, what will Stephen Harper, Stephane Dion, Jack Layton or Elizabeth May do to rein in the powers of human rights commissions and protect freedom of speech and freedom of the press?"

CONTACT:

Kathy Shaidle (co-author): kshaidle@rogers.com

Pete Vere (co-author): petevere@msn.com


Further comments:

Pundita says: When the Maclean's hearing began in B.C. I observed something to the effect that what happened in the hearing room would help decide the course of Western civilization. The remark must have seemed laughable to people who were unfamiliar with the issues. If they've read The Tyranny of Nice I doubt they're laughing now: [...]"

Also: Want Nice? Move to Canada and give up on human dignity, okay? Free speech and intellectual freedom: Some thoughts Oops, a political party has actually noticed the problem. Political science profs nervous about coming here.

Note also further reports from Further reports from Reuters, the CBC, The National Post, The Vancouver Sun and CTV, plus comment from Andrew Coyne, Mark Hemingway, Michelle Malkin, The Weekly Standard, the Canadian Arab Federation, Hot Air, Jay Currie, Stage Left, Deborah Gyapong, The Western Standard, the Hyacinth Girl, Scaramouche, and Kathy Shaidle & Pete Vere, with more at Free Mark Steyn! And there's never been a better day to pick up a copy of The Tyranny Of Nice.

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