Great editorial over at The Catholic Register about Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Barbara Hall's drive-by verdict of "Islamophobia" regarding Mark Steyn's book excerpt from his international bestselling book America Alone that ran in Maclean's Magazine and became the subject of human rights complaints. Read the whole thing.
This is a shocking statement for a supposedly disinterested public adjudicator to make on a contested issue. Even though there has been no hearing, no opportunity for in-depth examination and argument that would expose the offending article to the kind of scrutiny it would need to truly determine whether it is guilty as charged, Hall decides to tell the world that Maclean’s and Steyn are at fault.
She then argues that her commission has a duty, though there is nothing in legislation to support this, to leap into the fray of public debate on such issues and pursue them.
This is a scary thought for those who cherish free speech. As anyone who has run afoul of these thought police knows, the deck is stacked heavily against the defendant. Just ask Fr. Alphonse de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight. This tiny magazine has already spent $6,000 and countless hours of work to defend itself against accusations before the Canadian Human Rights Commission that it has printed material likely to stir up hatred against homosexuals. That may not be much to big publications, but for a small monthly magazine, it is an incredible hardship. And Fr. De Valk has not even been told whether this complaint will actually make it to the hearing stage. Meanwhile, complainants can rest comfortably in the knowledge that the tribunals pick up the legal tab on their behalf.