Monday, January 07, 2008

Steyn Responds: CHRC Not Needed To Combat White Supremacists/Nazis

Thanks to the folks from Law is Cool for keeping my challenge to Mark Steyn alive. He responds here, and the following is a short excerpt from his response:

What's the point here? That a Zionist neocon Bush shill like me is somehow silent when an anti-Zionist anti-neocon anti-Bush nut in BC gets picked on by the thought police? If that's the issue, let me put it this way:

Do I like anti-Semites and white supremacists?

No.

Do I like Bnai Brith or anybody else unleashing the Canadian thought police on anti-Semites and white supremacists?

No.

So what's the bigger danger to Canada? A white supremacist who sits in his basement posting to a website six people read? Or systemically biased government bodies increasingly comfortable with regulating public (and semi-private) discourse in Canada? No contest, it's the latter. Who are the real "supremacists" here? The loser boy ranting about Zionists? Or a guy like Richard Warman using the CHRC as his own private inquisition?

A couple of brief points. I should say that I do not entirely disagree with Mr. Steyn's sentiments here. The B'nai Brith case against Topham, and gay activist Rob Wells' case against small circ. magazine Catholic Insight, for example, seem to be examples of over-kill, of activists needing to stay active, of B'nai Brith's representatives deciding that they need to remain capital-J Jewish 24/7. However, the people Warman has been pursuing are, arguably, dangerous (some have been picked up on weapons charges), and his case against Free D involves the purported violation of Canadian libel laws, so that is a different kettle of fish entirely. Nor do the writers at Macleans qualify as posters to websites that nobody reads and, as I have said elsewhere, I have no problem with groups like the Canadian Islamic Congress turning their legal guns on the big fish.

And, oh yeah, Mr. Steyn doesn't offer an opinion on the propensity of his old boss Conrad Black, and avid supporter Ezra Levant, to sue everyone within a thousand yards when they're pissed off. The CHRC isn't the only legal tool available to silence debate, especially if you're filthy rich or a lawyer .

55 comments:

Ti-Guy said...

who sits in his basement posting to a website six people read?

I'm sure (shit)Steyn's BFF Kathy Shaidle and the The NRO's "The Corner" would be very insulted by this characterisation.

Ti-Guy said...

By the way, how many different ways can Mark Steyn call his detractors "queers?"

Hissy and peevish theatre critics who affect poncey accents that invoke scenes of bare-buttocks caning from their "John Brown's School Days" English public school experience should not be casting stones, knowhatImean?

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, and good for you for getting Steyn to respond. Briefly, Steyn's response is one of the worst arguments I've ever seen a grownup make in public.

It does not suffice to point to one or two articles over the past couple of years to proclaim oneself a defender of free speech.

And from a conservative point of view, did he just seriously make a defense of free speech based on a friggin' UN treaty? As ever, too clever by half. And this:

"So what's the bigger danger to Canada? A white supremacist who sits in his basement posting to a website six people read? Or systemically biased government bodies increasingly comfortable with regulating public (and semi-private) discourse in Canada? No contest, it's the latter."

Fine, then the "One Man Global Content Machine" should be able to point to like 20 or 30 articles he's pumped out over the last decade on the matter. He can't; he was too busy being wrong about Iraq on a daily basis to stand up for redneck values like free speech.

And the false dichotomy Steyn posits of attacking either "the Nazis" *or* the HRC, and subsequently placing himself on the latter, is weak, weak, weak.

Steyn isn't going to come right out and say he secretly supports the HRCs and other restrictions of free speech such as "the propensity of his old boss Conrad Black, and avid supporter Ezra Levant, to sue everyone within a thousand yards when they're pissed off". He doesn't have to; it can be inferred by his decade of silence on the matter.

Law is Cool said...

We've tried to keep our partisan affiliations out of the site to try to create a semblance of balanced discourse.

But Steyn supporters are so overwhelmingly Conservative, and no surprise. We've known about him for years for his bashing of everything multicultural or even Trudeau-related.

Part of the bigger problem is that Steyn is importing American Republican ideology into Canada, and in many ways, in contrast to Canadian values that are entrenched in legislation.

It's about time that someone called him on his rhetoric. But he still doesn't realize that he is not a respondent to the CHRC complaint; it was directed at Maclean's alone.

We conclude that he likes playing the (whining) victim, even when he's not personally targeted.

Anonymous said...

You know, since you keep using the pseudo-word neocon, I'm going to refer to you Canadian liberals from now on as Democrats. You'll just have to learn to accept the negative implications about your mental state because of it.

Anonymous said...

"We've known about him for years for his bashing of everything multicultural or even Trudeau-related."

Errr...didn't a man in Canada recently get sentenced to 9 months in prison for criticizing "multiculturalism" on the internet? In violation of a HRC order not to do so?

Someone 'splain to me how it is possible for Steyn to allegedly bash multiculturalism for years, in a country that is known to jail people for such behaviour. Law is cool, can you help me out here?

Ti-Guy said...

You know, since you keep using the pseudo-word neocon, I'm going to refer to you Canadian liberals from now on as Democrats. You'll just have to learn to accept the negative implications about your mental state because of it.

In one ear, out the other. Connies really shouldn't take on semantics. They should start small...like with basic logic.

Errr...didn't a man in Canada recently get sentenced to 9 months in prison for criticizing "multiculturalism" on the internet? In violation of a HRC order not to do so?

I'm sure this isn't correct.

KC said...

I think Steyn is making a valid argument here regardless of whether it disposes of the matter. I used to fully support "hate speech" type laws but am starting to waffle because 1) im convinced it gives racists who might otherwise have almost no exposure tonnes of exposure, and 2) it is starting to be used against speech that isnt hate speech (ie Steyn). The former argument doesnt do much for Steyn's case because... well... MacLean's is a mainstream publication.

I've read the Steyn article cover to cover and dont see anything that should attract the attention of the state there. This complaint has done more damage to public perception of the complainants religious group than anything Steyn ever wrote.

I dont quite understand why you have jumped on the bandwagon with this complaint other than some ]troubling desire to simply embarass a publication you just dont like anymore. I wish I had more time to write a blog post of my own on the subject because I think its embarassing to "liberals" that you are the only voice on this and have so little belief in free expression and a limited state which are fundamental to liberalism.

Anonymous said...

kc: beautiful post. Indeed today's left hardly believe in anything which is actually liberal.

Thought crimes, and the persecution thereof used to be the realm of dictators and fascists. Actually, it still is.

Ti-Guy said...

KC: Steyn's article didn't attract the attention of the State; it's simply the focus of a human rights complaint brought by a group of citizens.

It would probably be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the relevant legislation, both criminal and civil. Worshipping freedom of expression absolutism is no excuse for being uninformed.

My interest in this issue stems from the fact that Steyn is part of the neo-con cabal that helped lie the Americans into an illegal war. Whether he's legally responsible for anything matters less to me than his clear moral culpability.

Those lies have had dangerous consequences, not the least of which are the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. They are not trivial.

Anonymous said...

The more I read of your blog, and the comments from some of the regulars, it's become plain that you are very long on opinions about issues and very short on real understanding about those same issues. Bad combination. My time reading here has been wasted.

Anonymous said...

Whether he's legally responsible for anything matters less to me than his clear moral culpability.
Ya, who needs the rule of law if he has offended Ti-Guy. What a moron.

Ti-Guy said...

My time reading here has been wasted.

Well, if you're wasting your time here, might I recommend The Fall of the House of Bush by Craig Unger? I got it for my IPod yesterday and it's really good.

The neo-cons are pure, distilled evil.

Ya, who needs the rule of law if he has offended Ti-Guy. What a moron.

I only meant I don't care because I don't administer the law and I have faith in due process.

But Steyn and the neocons are morally responsible for what has happened, and at the very least, should no longer have careers in the serious media.

I'm sure Steyn can find other work, and if he's smart, he'll be the first to take advantage of the coming fashion in stand-up comedy; reformed neo-cons making fun of themselves. Very soon, deliberate self-parody is all these people will have left.

Anonymous said...

hey ti-guy if you hate Steyn and Macleans so much, how about not buying Macleans and not reading Steyn? The "serious" media will likely decide by themselves whether keeping Steyn on is beneficial or not based on readership, and unfortunately for you, Steyn is quite popular, and this HRC complaint will only give him more coverage and more loyal fans.

If you would like to see Steyn jailed for having argued in favor of the removal of Saddam Hussein, Im afraid you're going to have to wait for the NDP to gain power.

bigcitylib said...

KC,

Why am I "jumping on the bandwagon"?

Because whether Steyn's article in Maclean's meets the legal standard of being in violation of Canadian legislation, I think it does in fact make the argument that Muslim immigrants to a country cannot be trusted, that while "we" once colonised the savage indians, now savage muslims are colonizing "our"cities". In other words, the substance of the CIC complaint is accurate.

Because factually, the article is crap. It, and AA in general, have been debunked in many different places. (I admit that I have not read the book).

Because, since three HRCs decided to look into the complaint, it is probably reasonably close to being over the line legally. The alternative hypothesis being that the HRCs are commie run and etc. etc.

Because I see no reason to spare Macleans the embarrassment of being hauled before a series of HRCs. In fact, I think I will find it all immensely entertaining.

Because the CIC argument that THEY should be allowed to make use of Canada's legal system as much as anyone else is a good one, whether or not their ends are "political".

How's that?

Wayne said...

"But Steyn and the neocons are morally responsible for what has happened, and at the very least, should no longer have careers in the serious media."

I think ti-guy and the leftest media are morally responsible for what happened in Cambodia in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

big city lib: you have no concept of free speech at all do you?

if AA and the article is crap, a normal, liberal response, would be to point out why it is crap, and to debunk it, as you claim was already done.

whether it is "over the line legally" cannot be properly determined by a HRC. whatever the exact state of the law is, the real question is whether we want quasi-judicial bodies deciding on free-speech issues. the liberal answer to that should be an overwhelming NO.

your glee in having a publication you dont like hauled before an HRC is understandable, but lacks principle. if you favor free speech only for people with whom you agree, then you dont favor free speech at all.

I agree the CIC should be able to use the legal system as much as anyone else. The problem however is not the CIC, its the legal system. Hopefully, this case will shake things up enough that HRCs will be either abolished or very extensively reformed.

Ti-Guy said...

I think ti-guy and the leftest media are morally responsible for what happened in Cambodia in the 70s.

Pipe down, cretin.

Anonymous said...

I think ti-guy and the leftest media are morally responsible for what happened in Cambodia in the 70s.
Pipe down, cretin.


Wayne: ti-guy doesnt like it when people who know a lot more than him and are a lot more intelligent point out his obvious stupidity. This blog is for having BCL and Ti-guy give us their wisdom and we should merely stand in adoration at their infinite wisdom, not think for ourselves or criticize glaring inconstitencies. How silly of you.

Ti-Guy said...

Wayne: ti-guy doesnt like it when people who know a lot more than him and are a lot more intelligent point out his obvious stupidity.

That's not what Wayne was doing. He was making a retarded comparison with the Khmer Rouge.

Frankly, when it comes to the freedom to be really dumb, don't ask me to defend anyone.

Wayne said...

ti-guy, anonymous got it, you didn't.

Gayle said...

TG ane BCL

Have I told you lately that I stand in adoration at your infinite wisdom?

I really should tell you that more often.

Ti-Guy said...

ti-guy, anonymous got it, you didn't.

Ok, Waynikins.

lenny said...

"I think ti-guy and the leftest media are morally responsible for what happened in Cambodia in the 70s."

Nixon's carpet-bombing(a bombardment that exceeded the US bombing of Japan during WW2) and killing of thousands of Cambodians? How's that?

KC said...

Ti-Guy - If it wasnt for the concept of free expression--whether it was enshrined in law or not--the Catholic Church would probably still exercise total control over our society.

Im not absolutist about free expression and understand that there can be reasonable limits (ie no yelling fire in a video theatre) but I pay it due deference (ie their is a presumption--a heavy presumption at that--in favour of it). In fact I make it quite clear that my position on the issue of "hate speech" has evolved and not because I care about free expression more but because I see gaping holes in the rationale for restricting it and the predicted slippery slope away from it.

... and BTW decisions of HRT's enjoy the backing of the coercive power of the state.

BCL:

1) I'd repeat my arguments before and add that maybe Steyn's motives are borderline racist, but there is plenty of legitimate criticism to be made of religion and its effect on people. You're putting the continued liberty of our society at risk by agreeing that it should be banned. Maybe Steyn is wrong on this one (I think hes overstating the case if he even has one) but lets put it into perspective. If we were experiencing a wave of immigration of evangelical christians from the southern United States you bet your ass I would have something to say about it and I reckon you would too. Now I suspect there is some racism behind what Steyn is saying because Christians escape his ire, but I reserve the right to stand up and speak when religion (whatever it might be) threatens my way of life. I wouldnt have that opportunity in your world.

2) So now we're going to start restricting free expression because its judged to be "incorrect". Geez think about the scientific progess we would have foregone had we adopted your reasoning. I dont think Steyn is necessarily correct (although I am constantly wary about the cultural conservativism of all religions--christianity, islam, whatever) but I dont think our judgment that he is incorrect is enough to silence him.

3) Or the alternative explanation is that our human rights laws are overly broad.

4) Well I think Kant would probably say that you should probably expect others to take glee if you are ever the subject of someone's harassment via the legal system (I've SEEN it happen)

5) I dont really see why any private individual/group etc should be able to suppress speech regardless of how poor or wealthy they are. Only the state should have that power and it should be exercised judiciously and only in the very rarest of circumstances (ie the KKK is planning a 50,000 man march down the streets of Toronto).

Ti-Guy said...

If it wasnt for the concept of free expression--whether it was enshrined in law or not--the Catholic Church would probably still exercise total control over our society.

Why? It never did in the past. Or by "our" society, do you mean pre-reformation Europe?

I really don't care what people "believe" or "feel" about this. I just think the dialogue is burdened by a lot of unnecessary ignorance or (in Steyn's case) dishonesty and moral relativity.

Case in point:

... and BTW decisions of HRT's enjoy the backing of the coercive power of the state.

It's not particularly persuasive to call the law "coercion." The last time I heard that, it was Bishop Henry calling for the persecution of homosexuals.

KC said...

Ti-Guy - The Catholic Church controlled Europe and had it been calling the shots when America was taken over it would have been in control here to this date... butfor free expression. Nice try though.

The ignorance, dishonesty, and "moral relativity" (not sure what you mean by that) of some seem a small price to pay for our relatively free society.

The law is by its nature coercive. I dont know how else it could be described.

Ti-Guy said...

The Catholic Church controlled Europe and had it been calling the shots when America was taken over it would have been in control here to this date... butfor free expression. Nice try though.

Read up on the Puritans in early America. They weren't Catholics.

Look, you believe what you believe and that's fine. You characterise the law as "coercion" and you thinks that's meaningful.

Good for you. But don't think anyone else has to think much of what you add to this discussion.

The moral relativity I'm talking about is Steyn's apparent indifference to human rights complaints for issues he doesn't support and his silence on the use of libel laws by his powerful friends.

KC said...

My gawd you dont listen Ti-guy. The reason the Puritans or any other non-Catholic Christians even exist is because people spoke up to the Catholic Church. It doesnt matter that there were Puritans in the US. The fact is that people used expression to cast off the shackles of the Catholic Church.

Oxford Canadian Dictionary
"Coerce" - Persuade or restrain by force.
"Coercion" - 1. The act of process of coercing, 2. government by force.

Steyn's hypocrisy has absolutely no relevance here. Two wrongs don't make a right. Didn't they teach you that in Kindergarten?

Ti-Guy said...

Stay in school, children!

Anonymous said...

ok tiguy this is too much the coercive power of the state is a coined phrase, its not like kc just made that up.

Gayle said...

"I dont really see why any private individual/group etc should be able to suppress speech regardless of how poor or wealthy they are."

What private individuals are you referring to here? If it is to the private citizen who made the complaint, then that citizen has not supressed any speech - it is simply a complaint that a public institution acts upon.

That said, I happen to believe that racist, sexist and homophobic speech is a form of censorship as it operates to silence the subject of that speech.

Ti-Guy said...

ok tiguy this is too much the coercive power of the state is a coined phrase, its not like kc just made that up.

It's decidely lacking in nuance. Coercion implies limiting the exercise of freedom of conscience and action, which is an exceedingly narrow interpretation of the role of the State (particularly in a democracy) and of the law.

It's propaganda.

Anonymous said...

tiguy you're hopeless. you cant understand a point and wouldnt get a nuance if it slapped you across the face.

the point kc was making was that at the end of the day, HRCs have the full backing of the state and if you disobey their orders, you can go to jail (if you're in contempt) or they can seize your assets (if you owe money). That is the coercive power of the state - the knowledge that ultimately, you have to obey or you go to jail or have your assets seized. the law wouldnt work without that ultimate promise. that is also why "international law" is a scam, because no one can enforce it, so countries are free to ignore it.

KC seemed to be responding to your claim that Steyn's article didnt attract the attention of the state. His point, which was entirely correct and completely missed by you apparently, is that regardless who brought the complaint, now the state is looking at the speech in question and will regulate it and enforce its decisions with coercion if need be. That was not an opinion, it is a plain fact. Try and prove it wrong if you can, instead of just falsely claiming it lacks nuance.

Is this why the left feels the need to censor dissenting opinions? Because it's incapable of articulating responses to opinions it dislikes?

Ti-Guy said...

KC seemed to be responding to your claim that Steyn's article didnt attract the attention of the state.

That's because it quite plainly didn't. The human rights complaint process is complaint driven, and this one was brought by a group of citizens.

The apparatus of the State *is* subsequently engaged, and the State has authority to enforce the law, but that's not what KC said.

Some of you think that simply restating, over and over again that you have the right to say whatever you want is all that's required to participate in discussion.

It isn't, and maybe most of you should spend more time becoming better informed about things (history, the law) you know nothing about and work on better articulating what it is you're trying to say rather than spend so much time proving your brilliance by yakking.

I'll restate this...I despise Mark Steyn, and there's no force on Earth that's going to make me express the slightest degree of support for him, and that's my freedom to do so. If you don't like that, that's too fucking bad.

There's no shortage of wingnut loud-mouths willing to defend the fucking ponce at any rate. That you all do it so badly is significant. This isn't about freedom of expression anymore; it's about the freedom to be a moron and a hate-spewing bigot and to be free from being challenged or criticised in any significant way.

The articulate, unwingnutty defense of the principle involved here has already been made by people like Alan Borovoy and I don't need to hear it yet again from some under-educated online anony-tard.

Anonymous said...

The apparatus of the State *is* subsequently engaged, and the State has authority to enforce the law, but that's not what KC said.

that is exactly what KC said, you're just too fucking stupid every i must be dotted and every t crossed otherwise you dont understand the simplest of points.

go ahead and hate steyn, who gives a shit what a dumbass like you thinks about steyn, steyn has a massive worldwide readership. but steyn has a right to be wrong - trust me if being wrong and stupid was a crime, you'd be in for life.

i dislike many pundits and columnists, but i would support them if they were to be punished by the state for having published an "illegal opinion". that's because the principle of freedom of speech is more important than anything that can be said in a column, however hate-filled.

also if your head wasnt so deep up your ass you would see that very few posters here defend Steyn himself, it's not about what Steyn said, it's about his right to say it. If you cherrish your freedom to crap on Steyn all day, and I support your right to shit on him all day and all night, you should consider that this is a bigger principle than mere partisanship, which you seem to be completely poisoned by.

No one said anything about being free from challenges or criticism, it's exactly the opposite. Shit on him all you want, debunk him, rebutt him, that's the point - just dont silence him.

In the end I dont give the slightest crap about what you end up thinking, but just know that its not about support for steyn, its about support for freedom of speech.

Gayle said...

"now the state is looking at the speech in question and will regulate it and enforce its decisions with coercion if need be. That was not an opinion, it is a plain fact."

The state does not over-rule the constution. If the speech in question is deemed to fall under Charter protection the state can not enforce any decision that violates the constution.

If Steyn does not like the decision of the HRC he may apply to a court to review that decision. The Court has the power to enforce the constution, and it will do so.

I do not presume to speak for TG, but personally I have faith in this system and therefore do not agree with all the comments about how this entire process violates freedom of expression.

Gayle said...

Aargh

I do know how to spell constitution...

The second paragraph should read:

"The state does not over-rule the constution. If the speech in question is deemed to fall under Charter protection the state can not enforce it, as the state may not enforce any decision that violates the right to freedom of expression."

bigcitylib said...

Gayle,

Just a minor point. As the folks at Law is Cool pointed out, the complaint is actually against Macleans and not Steyn. He is being outraged on their behalf.

Ti-Guy said...

that is exactly what KC said, you're just too fucking stupid every i must be dotted and every t crossed otherwise you dont understand the simplest of points.

Nice try. There's a world of difference between the citizen's use of the mechanisms of the State and the State imposing itself on the actions of individuals. It's not trivial.

If you can't argue your case articulately enough, then shut the fuck up, or put your time to more productive use...like writing yet another perfumed and lipstick-smeared letter of support to Mark Steyn.

You types have spent the last 7 years ridiculing, defaming and insulting liberals/lefties/progressives and now you think we're all supposed to be nice and supportive? You are dreaming in technocolour.

Here's a little lesson for you (and for that asshole, Mark Steyn), anony-tard...be nice to the people you step on on the way up, because you'll be meeting them on the way down.

Anonymous said...

gayle: how refreshing to have an opinion expressed on this blog, which although I disagree with it, is thoughtful and coherent.

you are correct that any HRC decision could be overturned by judicial review and that courts are likely to overturn any decision which contravenes the charter. this has happened before, in the case of a man who had had an ad put in the saskatoon star phoenix which pointed to passages in the bible which condemn homosexuality.

In a legalistic point of view, the defendant won. But in practical terms, it cost him enormous amounts of money in legal fees, which are not recoverable, and years of stress and trouble. The lesson is for publishers: go on the safe side, even if you eventually win, you dont want to go through that process.

So the chilling effect on speech is definitely there, and the defendant is effectively punished for his speech even if a higher court does overturn the HRC's decision. Ideally, the higher court would tell the HRCs not to hear cases on freedom of speech at all - to me that would be a satisfactory conclusion but it hasnt happenned yet.

Anonymous said...

You types have spent the last 7 years ridiculing, defaming and insulting liberals/lefties/progressives and now you think we're all supposed to be nice and supportive? You are dreaming in technocolour.

come on, more than 7 years.

Anonymous said...


Nice try. There's a world of difference between the citizen's use of the mechanisms of the State and the State imposing itself on the actions of individuals. It's not trivial.


its like if you call the police on someone, or if the police just arrest someone on their own. am i missing something, please expand on the non-triviality of the difference.

be nice to the people you step on on the way up, because you'll be meeting them on the way down.

if you want to play nice that's fine. i'll adopt whatever tone you deem appropriate for this discussion.

Ti-Guy said...

its like if you call the police on someone, or if the police just arrest someone on their own. am i missing something, please expand on the non-triviality of the difference.

First, learn the difference between criminal and civil law and...on the outside chance that you're an American...know that in Canada, the police have exclusive right over laying charges.

Anonymous said...

holy shit Im in shock at your stupidity, I guess analogies are too complex for you.

whether in a civil or criminal matter, once the state is alerted to a behavior it does not like, whether its "complaint-based" or not, once the state has a hold of you, it doesnt matter much if its warman or some bureaucrat who kickstarted the whole process.

Let me cite your own post so you dont lose track of the logic here:


There's a world of difference between the citizen's use of the mechanisms of the State and the State imposing itself on the actions of individuals. It's not trivial.


My point is that there isnt that much difference at all, the citizen's use of a mechnaism in this case is to compalint to the state, and then the state takes over from there. Much like a police, you call the police, they investigate, if there's something to the complaint they go further and handle it from there. I know you have a hard time with analogies but it's the same with the HRC: people complaint, they invesitage if there's something to the complaint and if so, take over from there. To the defendant, it hardly matters who or what alerted the state.

John Thacker said...

Excellent post, and good for you for getting Steyn to respond. Briefly, Steyn's response is one of the worst arguments I've ever seen a grownup make in public.

It does not suffice to point to one or two articles over the past couple of years to proclaim oneself a defender of free speech.


So your argument is somehow that he should be doing more to prevent the HRC from cracking down on the white supremacists, because without doing more he's not really a defender of free speech? That's a pretty tough standard for any of us to live up to, I think.

And from a conservative point of view, did he just seriously make a defense of free speech based on a friggin' UN treaty? As ever, too clever by half.

Actually, I'd say that one of the worst arguments I've ever seen a grownup make in public is that one that Dean Stacey of the HRC made, that free speech is an "American concept" and doesn't apply in Canada. His invocation of the UN Declaration of Human Rights was quite obviously to point out that free speech, thankfully, is not just an American idea. Certainly overheated Yanks may try to sell it as one at times, and certainly US libel law and law against prior restraint protects free speech more than Canadian or British law, but I refuse to view that as a bad thing just because it's American.

It for the same reasons that I don't view it as obviously bad that the American concept of free speech makes laws banning video game sales of "Mature" rated titles to minors get struck down by judges, whereas Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba's laws, essentially the same as voided laws from Kansas and elsewhere, remain in force in Canada.

I hardly see how Steyn's argument is so bad. It's a pretty standard argument in favor of free speech that goes back to Milton and beyond, that government censorship is worse than the dangers from speech by idiots. You may believe that Steyn is one of those classic "free speech for me, but not for thee" people, and there is a lot of that hypocrisy out there. I hardly see how what he's written right there supports it, though. Certainly some of his friends and allies have used Canadian and British libel laws to chill free speech through a threat of lawsuits, but I don't see any quotes or support from Steyn for those actions. Guilt by association can be carried to far.

Gayle said...

"In a legalistic point of view, the defendant won. But in practical terms, it cost him enormous amounts of money in legal fees, which are not recoverable, and years of stress and trouble."

Well this is the case with more than just violating freedom of expression. Every time the cops collect evidence in violation of someone's Charter rights the same thing happens.

In any event, section 24(1) of the Charter allows the Courts to order costs to the person whose rights have been violated.

Ti-Guy said...

whether in a civil or criminal matter, once the state is alerted to a behavior it does not like, whether its "complaint-based" or not, once the state has a hold of you, it doesnt matter much if its warman or some bureaucrat who kickstarted the whole process.

Man, you're a piece of work. Don't make analogies then if you are not prepared to see them through.

Criminal law is different because the action itself requires the imposition of the State (even if the State never becomes aware of it, a crime is a crime). Tort or civil law is only engaged when a someone's decides to litigate.

What you need to argue here, anony is that you don't like the human rights laws and the tribunals and you would like to see them changed. I don't agree with you and wouldn't support you, but no one's stopping you from doing what you think needs to be done.

What else do you think needs to be said? Calling me stupid some more?

John Thacker said...

By the way, how many different ways can Mark Steyn call his detractors "queers?"

Hissy and peevish theatre critics who affect poncey accents that invoke scenes of bare-buttocks caning from their "John Brown's School Days" English public school experience should not be casting stones, knowhatImean?


No, I don't. I don't really see anything that seems to be anti-gay in Steyn's post. Are you objecting to "a nation free only to prance along to Barney the Dinosaur pabulum," perhaps? Or perhaps the comment about wetting one's pants, again not one that I'm familiar with as an anti-gay attack? Has there ever been a suggestion that Barney is a gay icon, rather than simply insipid and too childish even for children?

However, I do see you making a gratuitous anti-gay comment against theater critics, theater, and accents, ti-guy.

But he still doesn't realize that he is not a respondent to the CHRC complaint; it was directed at Maclean's alone.

We conclude that he likes playing the (whining) victim, even when he's not personally targeted.


I think it's quite a stretch to claim that someone is not "personally targeted" when a lawsuit is merely aimed at whoever publishes their work or an excerpt of it. When segregationists in the American South fined trains and bus companies who allowed blacks to sit with whites rather than going after the blacks directly, it would take quite a lot of sophistry to claim that blacks were not "personally targeted," and merely wanted to play the victim.

Ti-Guy said...

No, I don't. I don't really see anything that seems to be anti-gay in Steyn's post.

Steyn starts off:

"The Law Is Cool nellies are all very excited because they think they've caught me out being inconsistent. Here's their "evidence":"

Not that I think that's significant; it's just really adolescent and, as I said, a little precious coming theatre critics with poncey accents acquired from their public school days.

...*snort*

Anonymous said...

johnn thacker: both your posts are excellent.

tiguy: althoguh HRCs dont operate in the field of criminal law, they are closer to the criminal justice system than the civil justice system in its basic structure.

in the civil system, you can make a claim against someone, pay your lawyer to represent you, and in the event you lose, you have your legal bills to pay and sometimes costs for the defendant. this is a serious deterrent against frivolous suits, although they still happen.

in the criminal system, if an individual complains to the police of criminal acitivty, the police may make an arrest, adn the state prosecutor will lay charges and argue them in court. if the charges are dismissed, the original complainant does not have to pay costs or anything.

here, with HRCs, you have complainants and all they have to do is to alert the HRC. the HRC then invesitgates by itself, and holds a hearing by itself. the complainant has nothing left to do and cannot be on the hook for costs even if the complaint is frivolous.

if you cant tell from the above that HRCs are closer in process and procedure to the criminal system than to the civil one, its a sad commentary on you.

Ti-Guy said...

johnn thacker: both your posts are excellent.

And here we have the not unexpected righty gush.

in the civil system, you can make a claim against someone, pay your lawyer to represent you, and in the event you lose, you have your legal bills to pay and sometimes costs for the defendant. this is a serious deterrent against frivolous suits, although they still happen.

Yes, I'm familiar with this argument. Justice is something you should be allowed to think applies to yourself only if you can pay for it.

if you cant tell from the above that HRCs are closer in process and procedure to the criminal system than to the civil one, its a sad commentary on you.

Well, I can't...so start crying. Because it's, you know...sad.

*rolls eyes* I'm always amazed at the conceit righties have to think their unending complaints about everything are so grand and significant.

ben tillman said...

KC seemed to be responding to your claim that Steyn's article didnt attract the attention of the state.

ti-guy's response: That's because it quite plainly didn't. The human rights complaint process is complaint driven, and this one was brought by a group of citizens.


The complaint was brought by immigrants. Immigrants are agents of the state. That's why they are imported -- to expand and increase the power of the state.

Arthur Topham said...

Dear M. J. Murphy,

Marc Lemire was kind enough to alert me to your challenge to Mark Steyn that is posted on his site. I’m writing to first thank you for the plug and second to correct some of the misinformation that you’ve managed to spread about. I’m not sure how you came on this issue or where you actually got your information from but it seems as though you dashed to my site (possibly) and grabbed some snippets or else it was second hand info that you received from elsewhere.

I still haven’t figured out how to post material to Steyn’s site so I haven’t done so yet but for the sake of you and your readership I thought it would be appropriate to correct the more blatant errors.

All the information regarding myself, my background and my place of residence and my reasons for challenging the CHRC is contained within the “Response” which I sent to the CHRC on January 3, 2008. Had you read that detailed document it’s highly unlikely you would have made the statements that you did in you letter to Steyn. The document is on my site and can be found at http://www.radicalpress.com/?p=629

First off my website RadicalPress.com is not located in Victoria, B.C. but in a small community called Cottonwood which lies approximately midway between Quesnel, B.C. and the old historic town of Barkerville, in the foothills of the Cariboo Mt. range in central British Columbia. It’s my hunch that you’ve mixed up my site with another Victoria-based one called http://www.PEJ.org which also received the identical complaint that I did and from the same person and organization. They got their complaint back in May of 2007 and as far as I know are still “negotiating” with the CHRC and Mr. Abrams.

As well, none of the titles that you’ve listed were written by me. I run a news service and as such carry numerous articles by varied writers. Those you listed were from other sources. If you had read either the Response or the preceding article, THE HUNDREDTH MONKEY: The Battle for Control and Censorship of Canada's Internet by the B'nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress http://www.radicalpress.com/?p=628 that would have been obvious.

One thing you were right about though was my “obsession” with “those darn Zionists”. After forty years of tracking down the nature of the Beast it would be rather silly of me to keep on writing about peripheral issues when the root of the problem had been discovered and required greater attention.

I also beg to differ with you regarding your comment that a person is “basically fucked” when the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada goes after you. That is purely an assumption on your part. It may be based upon the fact that up to this point no one has ever won a case who has been charged but it is not a foregone conclusion. Time will tell. There is certain to be much more fur flying before this case draws to a close I can assure you of that.

Unlike Steyn’s reply to you which was riddled with rather puerile, insulting and misleading characterizations (which I will address next) you at least had the courtesy to bring my plight to his attention and for that I am indebted to you.

I will send you a cc of what I have to say to Steyn. If you have an email contact address for him that you could furnish me with it would be most appreciated.

I”m still forced to work with dial up internet believe it or not so I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to post to your blog. If this doesn’t appear right after you receive this email then I would appreciate it if you would post it in the comments or elsewhere. Thank you for your time and your help.

I remain,

Arthur Topham
Pub/Ed
The Radical Press
Canada’s Radical News Network
radical@radicalpress.com
http://www.radicalpress.com
“Digging to the root of the issues since 1998”
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POOTER said...

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