After a weeklong hearing in June and months of deliberation, a human rights court announced Friday that a venerable Canadian newsweekly will not be sanctioned for publishing a piece by Mark Steyn that at least one Muslim lobby group had failed to enjoy:
Maclean's magazine has won a human rights complaint filed against it over an article that the Canadian Islamic Congress claimed incited hatred against Muslims.
In a ruling released yesterday, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal rejected the complaint that the 2006 article violated Canada's anti-hate laws.
The article is an excerpt of America Alone, which considers the impact that growing Muslim populations may have on the West. The victory was the third for Maclean's this year. Previous Islamic Congress complaints in Ontario and at the federal level had already been dismissed.
Yet Steyn was not in a celebrating mood, as he believes that a lesser-known author would have been convicted, like many times before: "Life was chugging along just fine, chastising non-entities nobody had ever heard about," he said. "Once they got the glare of publicity from the Maclean's case, the kangaroos decided to jump for the exit." He may have a point, given that the equally high-profile suit against Ezra Levant was tossed out by an Alberta panel in August.
Steyn's disillusion was shared by Maclean's columnist Andrew Coyne. In a blog post that begins, "Aw nuts, we won," he notes:
It is no victory to be told by a shadowy government agency that you will be permitted to publish. This ruling … 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?)
Writing at Pajamas Media, Kathy Shaidle nicely captures the insanity:
I wouldn't put it past the Canadian Islamic Congress to scold the B.C. tribunal for issuing its judgment on Friday, the Muslim holy day — and adding that to their list of grievances, in their virtually inevitable appeal.
And if they do appeal, the freedom of Canadians will once again be victimized by their 1970s-era leaders, who, in the words of Shaidle, set up these courts to "silence citizens who declined to embrace the new vision of Canada being foisted upon them by then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau: multicultural, pacifist, and militantly tolerant."
With the Human Rights Commissions having endured multiple blows, now is the time for Canadians to be militantly intolerant of quasi-judicial bodies designed to abridge their rights.