Human Rights Complaint Against Maclean's

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Indiana Jones
Human Rights Complaint Against Maclean's

 

Indiana Jones

[url=http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20071130_111821_7448]http://w...

The Canadian Islamic Congress—Canada's largest non-profit Islamic body—has launched two human rights complaints against Maclean's and its editor-in-chief, Kenneth Whyte. The complaints' subject is "The Future Belongs to Islam," an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It," which appeared in the magazine's Oct. 23, 2006, issue.
Complaints were submitted to Human Rights Commissions in B.C. and Ontario on the grounds that "the article subjects Canadian Muslims to hatred and contempt," according to a CIC press release. In the release, the CIC labels Steyn's article as "flagrantly Islamophobic."

Michelle

I'd like to see what specifically they're complaining about in Steyn's piece. It doesn't say in this summary.

Stephen Gordon
RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

quote:


The median age in the Gaza Strip is 15.8 years.
Once you know that, all the rest is details. If you were a "moderate Palestinian" leader, would you want to try to persuade a nation -- or pseudo-nation -- of unemployed poorly educated teenage boys raised in a UN-supervised European-funded death cult to see sense? Any analysis of the "Palestinian problem" that doesn't take into account the most important determinant on the ground is a waste of time.

That's far enough for me to applaud them.

Boarsbreath

Is it the largest body? I thought the Muslim Congress was the mainstream one.

Michelle

He's full of shit, unsurprisingly, but after skimming the article, I don't see any grounds for a human rights complaint. Of course, I tend to think that censorship through human rights complaints is horseshit anyhow, so I'm sure I'm biased.

Anyhow, I'd love to see what they're claiming in that article actually crosses the line into being illegal (as opposed to simply racist or stupid). Because I sure don't see it.

Noise

From the article:

quote:

Big government is a national security threat: it increases your vulnerability to threats like Islamism, and makes it less likely you'll be able to summon the will to rebuff it.

It's pretty much Islamophobic all the way through. Is anyone aware of what he'd actually have to say or have published for this to qualify as a human rights violation?

This is a great quote. Refers to the 'lawless fringes of the map as 'Indian territory' and then highlights the major difference:

quote:

And another difference: technology. In the old days, the Injuns had bows and arrows and the cavalry had rifles. In today's Indian territory, countries that can't feed their own people have nuclear weapons.

[img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

and I know this is silly but:

quote:

The Canadian Islamic Congress—Canada's largest non-profit Islamic body

Is this implying there is a larger for profit Islamic body in Canada?

[ 18 December 2007: Message edited by: Noise ]

Indiana Jones

Thanks for posting the link to teh actual article, which I hadn't read up until now.

I certainly don't agree with everything he said but certainly don't think anything he said could be considered illegal. If I don't like it, I don't have to read it or buy his book, which I didn't. If I'm offended, I can write a eltter to Macleans, I can cancel my subscription or a whole bunch of otehr things. I don't think being offended gives me the right stop them from publishing or to force them to apologize or to force them to print a rebuttal that I come up with.

Michael Hardner

He implies that Islam is part of a global conspiracy, and calls the religion a death cult.

That's clearly hate mongering, although how actionable it is... is up for debate.

Noise

Just to repeat... Can anyone answer this?

quote:

Is anyone aware of what he'd actually have to say or have published for this to qualify as a human rights violation?


Unionist

Speech, no matter how offensive, is not a "human rights violation".

Human rights legislation bans discrimination in employment, commerce, access to public spaces and services, on the basis of race, colour, creed, etc. It does not ban saying horrible and hateful things.

On the other hand, speech can constitute a criminal offence under Section 319 of the Criminal Code if it is found to constitute "publicly inciting hatred". There's a very high bar to prove that offence; the Crown would have to show that the statements made would likely lead to a breach of the peace.

I'm no lawyer, but I've dealt with lots of issues in the union as to what you can and can't say. Of course, statements that are legally unassailable can get you fired from your job, but that's a completely different story.

In short: I see nothing unlawful about the Maclean's item. And I hope I'm right about that. It is the progressive forces who will suffer from censorship long before, and far worse, than the forces of hateful reaction ever will.

In that context, let me remind everyone of [url=http://canadiandimension.com/articles/2007/09/05/1311/]B'nai Brith's attempt[/url] to silence Peace, Earth and Justice.

aka Mycroft

I don't know if the HR complaint has any merit as I haven't examined it or the column. My understanding though is that Maclean's has rejected requests for a right of reply and that there are several examples over the last year or so of Islamophobic comments in Macleans with no countervaling examples expressing views against anti-Muslim hysteria. My understanding is the law students are upset in part about the lack of balance and that they decided to launch an HR complaint after Macleans refused to publish a response to Steyn (I suspect the response went beyond a letter to the editor). This might not be grounds for an HR complaint but it could be grounds for a Press Council complaint were Macleans a member of the Ontario Press Council.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Stopped reading Macleans years ago and I will not even link into their website because it increases their traffic and gives them revenue.

Just looking at their covers lately makes me spit nails at the nasty imperialism on display.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I don't read it either. To me it seems their target audience is the same as National Lampoon: male, sexist, stupid, and emotionally stunted.

Anonymous

I agree with unionist - any ruling or fine against Maclean's is a violation of free speech.

I disagree with his optimism that such a ruling won't occur, however just the fact that the commmission has agreed to hear this case is troubling.

In reponse to the last question, Maclean's ran more letters to the editor on this piece than on any other this year - the majority of which criticized Maclean's. The law students who spearheaded the complaint requested a five-page article, unedited and direction of the cover art. The editor of Maclean's said he would rather go out of business than hand over editorial control to someone else.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Oh! Do you think they will go out of business? That subsidized, anti-subsidy rag? The government propped anti-government organ (organ in the nasty sense)? Oh, glory days! We can only hope. On, Muslim students! God speed for all our sakes.

Michael Hardner

unionist, thanks for explaining the law in this regard so clearly.

Michelle

If this is true:

quote:

Originally posted by EmmaG:
[b]The law students who spearheaded the complaint requested a five-page article, unedited and direction of the cover art. The editor of Maclean's said he would rather go out of business than hand over editorial control to someone else.[/b]

(and I have no idea whether it's true or not), then I would certainly agree with the editor.

Remember that Secret Shoppers piece I did a while back for rabble? (Of course, you all read my rabble articles religiously, DON'T YOU? [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] ) Anyhow, we got a letter from someone in the industry suggesting that he or one of his representatives be allowed to write a column in response, or that I write another column from the point of view of secret shopping companies.

Needless to say, my view on the subject was, chuck you, Farley, you don't get to dictate our editorial policy here, nor do you get column inches on demand when you disagree with an article we've printed. We figured they were free to post on babble if they wanted to respond to the article. The editorial team agreed.

That said, the law students should have been given the opportunity to respond in the letters section - I have no idea if they were or not. That and Mitchell Raphael's column are about the only part of Maclean's I read when I'm unlucky enough to have that magazine as the only reading material in a waiting room or something. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

-=+=-

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]Speech, no matter how offensive, is not a "human rights violation".

Human rights legislation bans discrimination in employment, commerce, access to public spaces and services, on the basis of race, colour, creed, etc. It does not ban saying horrible and hateful things.
[/b]


I don't think this is correct.

Offensive speech in a workplace can be a human rights violation. I thought this was the whole point of the human rights tribunals -- to address what didn't fall under hate speech laws i.e. discrimination, harassment in the workplace etc.

If Steyn said what he wrote in the news rooms at Maclean's he could certainly have been censured by the tribunal. But since he wrote it in a "reputable" magazine, its freedom of the press, and probably protected by the charter.

But if he had written it on a "disreputable" website -- say one connectected with Zundel or neo-Nazis, and not a one hundred year-old national magazine -- could he still claim freedom of the press?

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by -=+=-:
[b]Offensive speech in a workplace can be a human rights violation. [/b]

If it's an agent of the employer, then yes, of course, it could fall under discrimination (which includes harassment) in employment, hence be sanctioned under human rights legislation. But if an employee runs around yelling racial or other abuse, they can't be hauled in front of a human rights tribunal. They can be disciplined, or fired. But there's no law that says I can't call a fellow worker a "dirty rotten _____". Again, if the employer [b]tolerates[/b] such a workplace climate, the [b]employer[/b] can be sanctioned under human rights legislation. But never the employee.

quote:

[b]I thought this was the whole point of the human rights tribunals -- to address what didn't fall under hate speech laws i.e. discrimination, harassment in the workplace etc.[/b]

No, not at all. Human rights legislation and tribunals [b]predate[/b] criminal code sanctions against hate speech. They prohibit [b]employers[/b] from discriminating or harassing on the various prohibited grounds.

quote:

[b]If Steyn said what he wrote in the news rooms at Maclean's he could certainly have been censured by the tribunal. [/b]

Absolutely wrong - unless Steyn is a manager whose actions deprive an employee of employment or promotion or other benefits available to all. There is simply no law that would be violated here.

-=+=-

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]
But if an employee runs around yelling racial or other abuse, they can't be hauled in front of a human rights tribunal. They can be disciplined, or fired. But there's no law that says I can't call a fellow worker a "dirty rotten _____". Again, if the employer tolerates such a workplace climate, the employer can be sanctioned under human rights legislation. But never the employee.
[/b]

In this present case, is the complaint against Steyn or against Maclean's, or both? [update: Its just against Whyte as editor of Maclean's; see first post in thread.]

If Steyn said what he wrote in the press room, and his employer, Maclean's allowed him to say it without censure, then Maclean's would be found in the wrong by the tribunal.

The only difference I can see in the present case is that his employer allowed him to say it in the pages of the magazine, rather than in the newsroom.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but if you support human rights tribunals, then eventually its going to lead to a case like this.

And in the case of charter free press/free speech -- it was no defence for the Nazis, why should it be a defence for Steyn?

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist you are are not very precise in your views about the law. While it is true the employer has the ulitmate responsibility to ensure a workplace free from discrimiation individuals can be cited for discrimination in the workplace even if their bosses don't know about it. For instance in BC it is a "person" who cannot discriminate except in the wages section and then it says an employer.

If an employer knows about the discrimination and does nothing then they also become liable. In effect that means that any employee who goes to their employer with a verifiable complaint either gets an employer who will fix the problem or an employer who has become part of the problem.

The Tribunals can and often do make rulings of discrimination against both companies and individuals and the individuals do not have to be part of management.

pookie

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]Speech, no matter how offensive, is not a "human rights violation".

Human rights legislation bans discrimination in employment, commerce, access to public spaces and services, on the basis of race, colour, creed, etc. It does not ban saying horrible and hateful things.

[/b]


Wrong.

From the Canadian Human Rights Act:

Hate messages

13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a elecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

***********************
From the Alberta version:

Code of Conduct

Discrimination re publications, notices

3(1) No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that

(a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a class of persons, or

(b) is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt

because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.

jeff house

I think unionist is a lot closer to the legal position on this than is Pookie.

The law which makes it illegal to post a sign saying: "No Jews allowed in this store" or "We don't hire women" cannot possibly refer to an article in MacLeans magazine.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by pookie:
[b]

Wrong.

From the Canadian Human Rights Act:

Hate messages

13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a elecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination. [/b]


You're quite right, I forgot about that - it's designed to stop the "telemarketing" of hate messages. But you really should quote the whole section - it doesn't apply for instance to "broadcasting", only to telephone and computer networks. It certainly doesn't apply to a single article in a magazine.

I'm not familiar with Alberta law.

My conclusion: If these sections can be used to ban articles of the Maclean's type, we have a serious problem.

-=+=-

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]
My conclusion: If these sections can be used to ban articles of the Maclean's type, we have a serious problem.[/b]

But unionist, the human rights laws have already been used to ban articles in the press. In this case, the articles were written by Nazis against Jews.

In 2001, a B.C. resident won a judgement against Doug Collins and the Northshore News before the B.C. Human Rights tribunal.

quote:

A second important human rights tribunal decision, issued in November 2001, concerns the complaint of Harry Abrams against Doug Collins and the Vancouver area North Shore News. Mr. Abrams is the British Columbia representative of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights. Originally the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal had ordered, at the request of Mr. Collins and the North Shore News, that the fault (i.e., whether the columns breach the B.C. Human Rights Code) and Constitutional issues be separated. In February, l999 the Tribunal upheld Mr. Abrams’ complaints against four columns written by Doug Collins and published by the North Shore News. It ordered that a summary of its decision be published and that a fine be paid.

[url=http://www.bnaibrith.ca/league/league.htm]Link[/url],([url=http://www.jewishindependent.ca/Archives/dec01/archives01dec21-02.html]more here[/url])

Why is Steyn and Maclean's different than the Northshore News and Doug Collins?

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]

Unionist

Good question. I'll have to study the [url=http://www.bchrt.bc.ca/decisions/1999/pdf/abrams_vs_north_shore_news_and... decision[/url] when I have a minute, and I'll resume the discussion.

pookie

quote:


Originally posted by jeff house:
[b]I think unionist is a lot closer to the legal position on this than is Pookie.

The law which makes it illegal to post a sign saying: "No Jews allowed in this store" or "We don't hire women" cannot possibly refer to an article in MacLeans magazine.[/b]


Unionist basically argued that human rights violations can only occur in the context of employment and services. That is wrong.

I took, and take, no position as to whether the current complaint against Macleans is well-founded, but the argument that there is no human rights jurisdiction over such a complaint is clearly wrong.

ETA: And, Jeff, the provisions CLEARLY go way beyond posting signs refusing service or employment, since they cover not only "an intent to discriminate" but statements that will expose specified groups to "hatred and contempt". That is very close to Criminal Code language.

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: pookie ]

Proaxiom

Unionist is right that there is no discrimination case here.

The question is whether the article can be said to incite hatred against Muslims.

If it's hate speech, there's a case against Maclean's. If not, there isn't. In spite of the arguing, everyone here appears to agree with this.

aka Mycroft

In his biography, Pierre Berton recalls that in the late 1940s (or maybe early 1950s) he wrote a piece for Macleans on companies that refused to hire Jews. I think he even went to the extent of having identical applications sent in, one with a Jewish name, one with a non-Jewish name, to invariably have the Jewish applicant told the position was filled or that he wasn't qualified while the non-Jewish applicant was called in for an interview.

After the piece was submitted Berton's editor told him that there was a problem because Macleans itself had a policy (unwritten) against hiring Jews. While Jewish writers were paid for freelance pieces they would not be hired as staff writers - not even a prominent foreign correspondent who had been published as a freelancer for years was ever offered a staff position. Berton complained and the policy was subsequently changed.

I know this really has nothing to do with the current complaint or indeed with anyone who currently has anything to do with Macleans but, what the hell...

BTW, since Barbara Amiel and Peter C. Newman both currently write for Macleans one wonders what staff parties are like [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

-=+=-

The telling thing about the Collins piece is that it was almost a textbook example of using an acceptable position to push into hate territory.

The acceptable position (though controversial), is that the Holocaust is used in public debate to support pro-Israel policy (Norman Finkelstein calls this the "Holocaust industry"). Collins uses this cover to say, in that case, the number of dead in the Holocaust wasn't 6 million. He claims its been inflated. He is a "trivializer" -- a gray area Holocaust deniers use to stay out of criminal territory.

While advancing this covered position, Collins employs a denigrating tone, calling the movie Schindler's List, Swindler's List, and so forth -- and I wonder if this tone helped decide the case against him (Steyn could be in trouble for the using the epithet "Injuns").

Honestly, how is Steyn's approach that different? He uses an acceptable position: Islamic terrorism wants to destroy the West (again a controversial position) as cover to attack all Muslims.

Also note, Collins was once a "respectable" journalist working on the CBC. (Collins was in his 70s when he wrote the Northshore News columns). Steyn seems to be following a similar career trajectory.

(And read the complainant's account of the Collins case [url=http://www.darrenduncan.net/archived_web_work/voices/voices_v1_n2/doug_c.... Is his motivation that different from the Muslim law students who objected to the Maclean's piece?)

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Anybody seen the cover on the latest issue of that disgusting piece of journalistic shit? In big, bold letters, it asks,

"Is it time to bomb Iran?"

Arctic Pig

The main problem with the article is that it's full of shit:

quote:

The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood -- health care, child care, care of the elderly -- to the point where it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. In the American context, the federal "deficit" isn't the problem; it's the government programs that cause the deficit. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a cheque to cover them each month. They corrode the citizen's sense of self-reliance to a potentially fatal degree. Big government is a national security threat: it increases your vulnerability to threats like Islamism, and makes it less likely you'll be able to summon the will to rebuff it. We should have learned that lesson on Sept. 11, 2001, when big government flopped big-time and the only good news of the day came from the ad hoc citizen militia of Flight 93.

Social programs are to blame for 911?? And here I was thinking Al Quaida was an offshoot of the mujahadeen, who were abandoned to their fanaticism in a country bereft of infrastructure after the US wrapped up its proxy war in Afghanistan against the USSR.

And here I was thinking that the Bush administration wilfully disregarded clear warnings about a possible attack on the US by Al Quaida as late as August 2001 in their single-minded pursuit of finding justifications for a declaration of war on Iraq.

But no--according to Mark Steyn, lousy foreign policy doesn't increase vulnerability to terrorism. It's food stamps.

And silly Canadian Islamic Congress, without whom this article would have slipped into richly-deserved obscurity.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Holy crap, that's bad. [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img] I've never had a subscription to Macleans - mostly because I couldn't stand Pierre Berton - and I let my subscription to TIME end about 25 years ago (the subscription was a graduation present).

J. Arthur

This will likely drive circulation up and threats here to boycott the mag won't amount to much since lefties don't read MacLeans anyway.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

quote:


Social programs are to blame for 911??

But, see, that's my point. No intelligent human believes that shit. So who is their audience? Males who have never progressed beyond their adolescent Ayn Rand (if it feels good to you do it) phase.

aka Mycroft

They've gone a long way from being the Red Tory/moderate Liberal mouthpiece they were from right after WWII through to Peter C. Newman's editorial tenure.

Of course, with John Tory having been head of Rogers magazine division when Macleans was acquired (and with Ted Rogers himself being quite right wing) one shouldn't be particularly surprised.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I remember the change rather clearly. It occurred slowly in the 80s. Eatons decided to chase the upscale market, and promptly went under, and Macleans, a recipient of generous social spending, decided to go neo-con and slowly went further and further right despite being dependent on taxpayer dollars. In 2003, Rogers, a huge private corporation, received welfare to the tune of more than $12 million for Macleans and Chatelaine.

Remove them from the public teat and I bet they would be gone.

Quebecor is losing money and can only subsidize so many losers.

[url=http://www.nationalpost.com/todays_paper/story.html?id=175216]Quebecor World's shares lost 9% of their value yesterday, closing at $1.57. The stock was worth $15 seven months ago.

[/url]

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]

Sineed

Not sure what Maclean's and Chatelaine's relative finances are currently, but Doris Anderson said when she was editor of Chatelaine, they were the money-makers of the franchise.

But guess who brought home the bigger paycheck: the female editor of the woman's magazine that boasted robust sales, or the male editor of Time Magazine lite, with its weak sales?

Go on. Guess.

-=+=-

Ezra Levant manages to write a whole [url=http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2007/12/17/... about the threat to free speech in the Steyn case without mentioning the one applicable precedent -- Doug Collins.

I wonder why?

Have any of Steyn's supporters raised the Collins case? Doubtful. (Although Levant does raise the case of a homophobic pastor. That's okay I guess).

Update: Same with [url=http://andrewcoyne.com/columns/2007/12/right-to-censor-others.php]Andrew Coyne[/url]. The whole thing once again reeks of hypocrisy.

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]

Indiana Jones

I've never been a subscriber to maclean's and only read it occasionally when there's a particularly good article. I can think of two very long, detailed articles by Paul Wells, one about the general election and one about the Liberal leadership race that I found outstanding, but aside from when they do something really significant, since I already read the papers and lots of online stuff, I've neveer really seen the point in reading Maclean's or stuff like Time and Newsweek.

I think it ahs definitely shifted to the right and I think that was a result of Ken Whyte taking over as editor several years back. He was the former editor-in-chief of the National Post, a close associate of Conrad Black and he brought in a lot of the early National Post writers from when that paper was at its most conservative. People like Mark Steyn and now Andrew Coyne, plus people like Barbara Amiel.

Unionist

I've read the Collins decision. Collins is (was - he's dead) a pretty creepy character.

But not as creepy as the decision.

Finkelstein's stuff is not that much different, except maybe for the "tone".

Somebody else read it and tell me what you think. I just find it scary.

Boarsbreath

Hate to sound too -- liberal (tiny, inobtrusive "l") -- but if we don't distinguish very sharply between whether the piece is 'full of shit' (etc) and whether it should be possible even to plausibly threaten legal process against it, just because of what it says about a religion, then we're -- F***ed (huge, looming "F").

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: Boarsbreath ]

sanizadeh

As pointed out by Canadian Muslim Congress, the CIC complaint is not only ridiculous but also quite harmful. I can't see how Steyn's article could be considered incitement to hatred. He has been a demography alarmist for a while. In this article he is basically telling the social conservatives to have more babies or muslims would take over. If anything, he is guilty of incitment to lovemaking!

Ironically, the position by Canadian Islamic Congress is somewhat hypocritical. It is a core belief in Islamic thought (like most other religions) that Islam would take over the world some day. I vaguely remember reading an article on some Islamic web site where they had cited Steyn's article as proof that "the future belongs to Islam". Maybe I'll dig up that article and send it to McLean's for their defence in the court!

-=+=-

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]I've read the Collins decision. Collins is (was - he's dead) a pretty creepy character.

But not as creepy as the decision.

Finkelstein's stuff is not that much different, except maybe for the "tone".

Somebody else read it and tell me what you think. I just find it scary.[/b]


I've looked through the decision, and I can't identify what is creepy about it.

All you have to do is read the first of Collins' columns included with the judgement (p. 30) to know he is spreading anti-Semitism -- he hits almost every touchstone of the modern white power movement: Paul Fromm, Butz's infamous holocaust denial book (whom Collins gives the honorific "Professor"), and invokes Keegstra and Zundel like they were martyrs.

This column is almost indistinguishable from something you would find on a white power website.

The testimony of the experts was very interesting. They really go systematically through all the canards, and show how they add up to explicit hate. (Though perhaps it is disconcerting to have observations about culture by experts presented like scientific laws).

What did you find creepy about it?

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by -=+=-:
[b]
This column is almost indistinguishable from something you would find on a white power website.[/b]

Yeah, I understand very well that he's questioning the Holocaust, opposing the "persecution" of some lowlife characters, and claiming that people are making an industry out of the Holocaust for base motives. Since when did that become illegal in Canada, except when it reaches the level of hatemongering that was found in Keegstra's case?

The problem is in the statute. Its constitutionality hasn't been tested. It goes much farther than the CHRA section 13 quoted earlier, which only really refers to repeated telephonic messages, and which was upheld by the Supreme Court. Attempts to challenge the B.C. statute failed in subsequent court cases (I've found about 1/2 dozen so far, brought by Collins' wife and the notorious Mr. Christie) for the sole reason that the case was deemed "moot" because of Collins' death! The Supreme Court refused twice to hear appeals, without giving reasons - but the constitutionality has never actually been heard in open court.

quote:

[b]What did you find creepy about it?[/b]

The "expert" testimony being accepted as having some kind of authoritative merit - especially in circumstances where Collins didn't bring any such evidence nor challenge the complainant's expert evidence.

Given all the above, and the fact that the case was never actually heard in court on its merits (so far as I can determine), I'm hopeful that its precedential value is next to nil. But that B.C. statute is dangerous. It can be used against any of us. Half the posts on babble - our rants against the Conservatives and the U.S. and you name it - could be ruled unlawful - instead of just in bad taste (a badge we proudly wear).

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]

-=+=-

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

Yeah, I understand very well that he's questioning the Holocaust, opposing the "persecution" of some lowlife characters, and claiming that people are making an industry out of the Holocaust for base motives. Since when did that become illegal in Canada, except when it reaches the level of hatemongering that was found in Keegstra's case?

[/b]


I think the Tribunal made the point that one of Collins' columns did not constitute hate, but that four or more of them over time reach the level of inciting hate and contempt, which I think is where it becomes illegal.


quote:

Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

The "expert" testimony being accepted as having some kind of authoritative merit - especially in circumstances where Collins didn't bring any such evidence nor challenge the complainant's expert evidence.

Given all the above, and the fact that the case was never actually heard in court on its merits (so far as I can determine), I'm hopeful that its precedential value is next to nil. But that B.C. statute is dangerous. It can be used against any of us. Half the posts on babble - our rants against the Conservatives and the U.S. and you name it - could be ruled unlawful - instead of just in bad taste (a badge we proudly wear).

[/b]


I think that point has been made many times by the free speech advocates (and not the cranks like Levant). Effectively you've removed the law from the courts to an administrative body, like the one that governs lawyers or doctors. Perhaps these Tribunals are well-intentioned, but flawed -- like the religious arbitration panels that were shut down in Ontario.

[ 19 December 2007: Message edited by: -=+=- ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by -=+=-:
[b]
I think the Tribunal made the point that one of Collins' columns did not constitute hate, but that four or more of them over time reach the level of inciting hate and contempt, which I think is where it becomes illegal.[/b]

I know - but can you explain in simple terms, which anyone can understand, what that "level" is? I can't. And that makes this a very dangerous provision.

quote:

[b]Effectively you've removed the law from the courts to an administrative body, like the one that governs lawyers or doctors.[/b]

Well, I think a Human Rights Tribunal is a cut above a professional body, in that it has jurisdiction over all citizens - and it can do a lot more than stop you from practising a particular profession. It can shut you up, order performance, fine you. But the more I look at it, I don't think I trust the courts with a statute like the B.C. one either.

pookie

In fact, we have numerous human rights codes that define as violations of that code, various forms of hate speech.

The [url=http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/default-en.asp]Canadian Human Rights Act, s.13[/url]

The [url=http://www.qp.gov.ab.ca/Documents/acts/H14.CFM]Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act, s.3 [/url] (note that it claims, laughably, that it shall not be deemed to interfere with the free expression of opinion on any subject.)

The [url=http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/S24-1.pdf]Sa... Human Rights Code, s.14[/url] (which specifically mentions "articles" by the way.)

Plus the BC example provided in the Collins case.

The constitutionality of statutes is presumed. More importantly, the Supreme Court has twice upheld the infringement of freedom of expression inherent in hate propaganda laws, in Keegstra and in [url=http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/1990/1990rcs3-892/1990rcs3-892.html]Tay... which contains pretty much the exact same prohibition in the provincial laws already cited. Yes, there's an additional "form" requirement in Taylor, but it is still, basically, a classic content restriction on speech. At the core of all of these provisions is the idea that expressive activities that expose certain groups to hatred are vulnerable to a human rights complaint, period. That's the Charter issue with these sections, and that's the issue that has already been decided in favour of the human rights regime.

Maybe the Supreme Court would simply overrule Taylor today (which I would favour) but I've seen no indication of that. Until that happens, any lower court would properly consider itself bound by the precedent set in Taylor and have to think really hard before striking down these types of provisions.

ETA: Found a Federal Court case, Winnicki [2005] F.C.J. No. 1838 where s.13 of the CHRA was used to justify granting an injunction against a website. I guess that qualifies now.

A 1989 Saskatachewan case refused to apply that Code to a student newspaper editorial that contained sexist cartoons, on the grounds that it was not a "representation". But a later case found that a bumper sticker affixed to someone's car that had a "no homosexual" visual (two male sitck figures with a line through them) and a reference to a Bible passage, did qualify. (legal database just went down so I can't access cite information). All of these cases mention Taylor as support for the constitutionality of these provisions.

[ 20 December 2007: Message edited by: pookie ]

adam stratton

sanizadeh wrote:

quote:

As pointed out by Canadian Muslim Congress, the CIC complaint is not only ridiculous but also quite harmful.

The Muslim Canadian Congress is a group of no more than 14 (active) people and a listserv of maybe 80. Probably very few of the listserv members -rightly- ever even care to read what the MCC sends to their mailbox. This organization is commonly thought of -in Canadian muslims circles- as the "native informant" organization. The native informant being a willing tool (with self-interest) for the vilification, victimization and demonization of their own folks.

The "founder" of the Muslim Canadian Congress is Tarek Fatah, a savvy journalist who jumped from the NDP to the Liberals because the NDP was contemplating setting a "Faith and Justice Commission". Apparently the NDP opened its doors to islamists, fundamentalist Evangelists, Kahane Chai-ists, and what have you, if you listen to Tarek Fatah.

Or isn't it that the Liberals are more likely to be elected as government than the NDP ? Oh, power! power! The word itself is powerful !!

Darling of the right wing media such as the Front Page Magazine, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, Tarek Fatah was chosen (in 2005?) by Maclean's as one of the 50 "most influential Canadian Figure". Doesn't this ego boost deserve a return of favour? Thus the MCC supported Maclean in its dispute with the Canadian Islamic Congress. Any surprise ?

Tarek's criticism of labour as well as the left has increased in the last two years to the point now that it is safe to argue that his defection is more than from the NDP to the Liberals. And why does he criticize the left? Because the left does not seem to Tarek Fatah to be in tune with his own ways of thinking and acting. Because the left does not subscribe to the hysteria created by the Muslim Canadian Congress that islamists are about to take over Canada. Does not subscribe to Maclean's hysteria that the islamiststs are about to take over Europe.

Any surprise that the MCC is supporting Maclean's?

quote:

I vaguely remember reading an article on some Islamic web site where they had cited Steyn's article as proof that "the future belongs to Islam". Maybe I'll dig up that article and send it to McLean's for their defence in the court!

First: The author of this site could be anybody. No matter how it is twisted these days, islam is basically a democracy. There is no clergy, no hiearchy, no boss, no authoritative structure. Any Muslim can say whatever he/she wants. Nobody is spokesperson for Islam.

Second: Would Islam be unique amongst faiths, religions and even cults that claim that the "future belongs to them" ?

Heck, some neo-cons in and around the White House are so confident about the Armageddon (the ultimate future) that they cannont even wait for it. They want to induce it.

[ 20 December 2007: Message edited by: adam stratton ]

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