Will FAIR revise its "Islamophobia's Dirty Dozen" list to drop Mark Steyn, now that Canada's Thought Police have acquitted him of "flagrant Islamophobia"? (Background on the case here.) But this is no victory for free speech: the laws under which he was tried still remain, and he was acquitted solely due to the public pressure that has been brought to bear on the Thought Police by this case. Steyn comments:
Mark Hemingway is right to say that free speech in Canada "does not exist in any meaningful way". As the British Columbia "Human Rights" Tribunal's rambling and incoherent decision makes plain, Maclean's and I were acquitted of "flagrant Islamophobia" for essentially political reasons - because neither the court nor its travesty of a "human rights" code could withstand the heat of a guilty verdict. Jay Currie puts it well:The way I read this decision is that it imposes a two part test: a) are your words offensive and hurtful? b) are you a major media organization with deep pockets represented by serious lawyers. If “a” and not “b” you are a hate monger; if “a” and “b” you are engaged in political debate.
[...] I sympathize with the Canadian Islamic Congress, whose mouthpiece feels that, if the British Columbia pseudo-judges had applied the logic of previous decisions, we'd have been found guilty. He's right: Under the ludicrous British Columbia "Human Rights" Code, we are guilty. Which is why the Canadian Islamic Congress should appeal, and why I offered on the radio an hour ago to chip in a thousand bucks towards their costs.
Kathy Shaidle, the valiant Canadian warrior for free speech (oh, that there were ten thousand of her) has a round-up here, and she and Pete Vere comment on the verdict:
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 (www.TyrannyOfNice.com)
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?"