Posted by: transcendingchaos | June 6, 2008

This is the end (?)

Well, today the BC Human Rights Tribunal heard the final arguments in the Maclean’s/Mark Steyn “trial.”

Maclean’s has a great blow-by-blow live-blogging archive from all five days of the trial, which can be found here. Reading through Andrew Coyne’s live-blogging is almost surreal–it’s hard to believe that what you’re reading is actually happening, has actually happened.

As far as I am aware, no outcome has been decided yet. A few possible scenarios:

1.  Maclean’s/Mark Steyn are convicted
In this case, Steyn will be banned from being able to write anything in Canada. This may sound extreme, but this is what he himself has told me will likely happen if they lose.
Maclean’s will ordered to publish a counter-argument to the piece, or to publish the tribunal’s decision finding that the article was promoting hatred (this is actually what the “prosecution” has asked for — see Coyne’s blog).
Maclean’s and Steyn appeal to a higher court and (God, we hope) win.

2. The HRT throws out the case, but “convicts” Maclean’s/Steyn anyways
A la the Ontario HRT. (see previous post here)

3. The HRT realizes that they’ve way overstepped their authority and gracefully bows out
Not likely, but hey we can hope.

It’s funny… in one way it would be good if Maclean’s/Steyn are convicted because then they could take the case to a real court and actually get the law changed. And that, really, is the most important thing. This kind of unfounded “hate speech” stuff cannot continue.

At least one person in Parliament is trying to do something about changing the law. Keith Martin, a Liberal MP, recently introduced a private member’s motion to delete section 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 telecommunication 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.

(the Canadian Human Rights Act can be found here)



  1. I am amazed by this whole thing going on and seriously cannot wait to see how it unfolds. Thanks for updating… I don’t have access to a newspaper and my internet is long distance so I don’t have time to check news feeds… I appreciate it. 🙂


  2. I think worst case scenario is if the BC tribunal pulls something similar to the Ontario commission – a conviction without conviction so to speak.

    I think if an actual conviction does come about and the case actually goes to a real court (who can actually stand in for a real moderator in my previous ‘debate’ examples) it may be the best thing as I can’t see the case advancing very far and an actual judge isn’t going to be able to smear Macleans and Steyn if he or she throws out the case (which would seem likely).

    Thanks for keeping us all up to date by the way (I haven’t heard more than a peep here or there down here in the states about it).

    Regardless of what the decision of the tribunal will be I think it can be agreed all around that the entire thing has been overwhelmingly negative as a whole – it poisons the air of debate and discussion when someone tries to execute a powerplay like this, undercuts their own legitimacy, and breeds bitterness and hurt feelings on both sides.

  3. Hey, no problem. It is all over the news, everywhere here. Case in point — Chris and I were driving home from his parents’ house this afternoon and Keith Martin was giving an interview to CKNW.

    As a P.S., I’ve finished transcribing my interview with Steyn and will post a bit of it tomorrow (not the whole thing, though — I can’t very well scoop my own magazine!) 🙂

  4. hehe I am suuuch a CKNW nerd.

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