and who should show up but Mark Steyn, fresh off the plane from France.
Since journalists and their families were invited, there was a petting zoo out front on the lawn at 24 Sussex Drive, with ponies, goats, calves, a donkey and so on. Mark said he wondered if the zoo was like those fish ponds in sushi parlors where you get to choose your meal.
It was a great party set up with kids in mind: hamburgers, fries, milkshakes, onion rings, fresh donuts, cotton candy to eat, face-painting and a clown.
Anyway, Kady O'Malley came up with her slim red BlackBerry in hand and told us the Canadian Human Rights Commission had dropped its complaint against Maclean's for the excerpt from Mark's book America Alone. Mark said he was disappointed, and joked that maybe he should appeal the decision.
Maclean's editor Ken Whyte was there, too, and said, yes, it is indeed true. And, no, the commission did not issue a Barbara Hall-ish drive by verdict. So I guess the Canadian Human Rights Commission has gained a little political savvy and wants to survive a little longer. But the handwriting is on the wall.
Maclean's put out a news release in response to the decision, saying:
Though gratified by the decision, Maclean's continues to assert that no
human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the
mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial
decisions of the nation's media. And we continue to have grave concerns about
a system of complaint and adjudication that allows a media outlet to be
pursued in multiple jurisdictions on the same complaint, brought by the same
complainants, subjecting it to costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars, to
say nothing of the inconvenience. We enthusiastically support those
parliamentarians who are calling for legislative review of the commissions
with regard to speech issues.