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:
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.
For the full monster PDF ruling, click here. I'll be discussing the verdict later today after 6.30pm Mountain Time with Rob Breakenridge on 770 CHQR Calgary. Further reports from The National Post, plus comment from Andrew Coyne, and from Kathy Shaidle & Pete Vere - and there's never been a better day to pick up a copy of The Tyranny Of Nice.
Go to Mark's site and the links will work.
I haven't read the whole decision yet, only a few pages. But what struck me is how slippery and pompously legal-sounding it all is with all the "high-minded" talk about balancing rights.
It is strange how the right to be equal before the law has morphed in the looking-glass, Kafkaesque "human rights" world into equality rights that trump other all other rights. And it no longer means equal before the law and impartiality and innocent until proven guilty and all that good stuff but quotas and rights for special interest groups and the right to discriminate against Christian belief and practice and in the case of Steyn, fact-based opinion writing. That should give every columnist in the country a bad case of the libel chill flu.
Of course, if Mark Steyn were not Mark Steyn but some low profile Christian polemicist and Maclean's Magazine were not Canada's highest profile news magazine but some tiny circulation special interest publication or blog, I bet the verdict would have been different. The BCHRT, like the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is picking its battles. It wants to survive.
It was also interesting that the BCHRT did recognize that freedom of expression is a Charter value, but stressed that the right to be free of discrimination is also not only in the Charter but in the Code. Like that gives it more weight or something. This is the balancing act and the Code gives more weight to the freedom from discimination thing, but, hey, we'll be magnanimous.
Gag me. Are we going to start hearing the Code spoken of with the same reverence in Canada as the Charter?
The Code is anti-Charter, unless the equality provision has, through legal sleight of hand, become the trump card for every other right through judicial interpretation. I don't think that's what the framers intended. And it certainly is not in our civil rights inheritance that preceded the Charter.
Well, Andrew Coyne, who liveblogged his fingers off during the kangaroo court proceedings says:
If they do, then Maclean's should not be gentlemanly about it as they were at the Tribunal, where they indicated they were not going to seek costs.
The horror of the BCHRT, despite how reasonable-sounding and balanced and mealy-mouthed its decision, is that any time someone decides they want to punish someone whose thought offends them, they can victimize that someone with an expensive, ridiculous, rule-free, goal-posts always moving around travesty of a trial.
The Sock Puppets won because they have chilled free expression in Canada because most media outlets would not or could not go through what Maclean's went through in that week from a surreal, ridiculous hell last June.
By the way, I am reading my e-copy of Tyranny of Nice now. Can't wait to get back to it.
Kathy Shaidle has details on where to get your copies. You can also get a signed copy from Mark's site.
I'm going to order several bound copies to give as Christmas presents and stocking stuffers.
The HRCs and the HRTs hope that by dismissing complaints against Mark and Ezra that we'll just go away. But we will be watching every single decision they make from now on, thousands of us.
Kathy comments on the decision:
But what's with the "but"?
Well, now we'll get to hear, "It's cuz we iz Muslims, init?" for the next 10 years. Jews have always won their HRC cases against neo-Nazis, and Christians always lose to gays; the optics are bad all around.
Mohammed Al-Sharpton will say, "This verdict is just as Islamophobic as Steyn's articles. They even released it on a Friday because that's our holy day!"
And the cycle will continue in appeal.