Thursday, June 5, 2008

National Review supports ACLU position on free speech?

I'm as surprised as you are.

from National Review Online: Mark Hemingway on Canadian Human Rights Tribunal: "Idiot’s Guide to Completely Idiotic Canadian ‘Human Rights’ Tribunals / Mark Steyn on trial":

Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.” —Canadian “Human Rights” Investigator Dean Steacy, responding to the question “What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate?”

This is the way free speech ends, not with a bang but as the result of an administrative hearing in a windowless basement in Vancouver, Canada.

At least that’s where a “Human Rights Tribunal” is taking place this week that will further solidify the Canadian legal position that the right not to be offended by something you read is more sacred than the freedom of the press.

At issue is a cover story National Review’s own Mark Steyn wrote for the Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s, titled “The Future Belongs to Islam.” An excerpt from Steyn’s bestselling book America Alone, the article highlighted the fact that demographic trends suggest that Muslims may well become a majority in much of Europe and that this obviously represents a threat to Europe as we know it. A few Muslim law students objected to the article and filed multiple complaints with Canada’s national and provincial “human rights” tribunals and presto! Steyn’s opinion and Maclean’s right to print it have now been effectively criminalized.

The fact that a few fringe Muslims have reacted to Steyn’s article by invoking a once-obscure Canadian bureaucratic process to hold hostage the rights of all Canadians only goes to prove that Steyn needs to be heard, more than ever.

So with all due respect to our friendly neighbors to the north, what the hell is wrong with Canada and how did this happen?

In 1977, the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) was founded “to investigate and try to settle complaints of discrimination in employment and in the provision of services within federal jurisdiction.” While their mandate was suspiciously vague from the get-go, even those involved with the founding of the CHRC admit that it was never intended to do anything as abhorrent as regulate speech. At the outset, the commission’s responsibilities were fairly straightforward, e.g. investigating cases of discriminatory hiring practices within the government, discriminatory housing practices, and other cases in which someone might be subject to prejudice in an area under the purview of the federal government.

But with almost Newtonian certainty, bureaucratic power tends to expand over time, and so it was with the CHRC. In 1979, the commission set its sights on John Ross Taylor, leader of the Western Guard Party, an unsavory white-supremacist group. The commission found Taylor guilty of violating Canada’s human-rights legislation for distributing a phone number that provided anti-Semitic recorded messages.

read the rest here...

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