Monday, June 23, 2008

EDMONTON SUN: Anyone care about free speech?

Anyone care about free speech?



Edmonton Sun | June 23, 2008


The tragedy of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal's case against Mark Steyn and Maclean's magazine over alleged "hate" mongering because of Steyn's views on Islam is that most people don't give a damn.

Oh, many sympathize with Steyn because the issue seems so silly, but most don't see the destructive effect of hate legislation, or how it threatens our freedom.

Of all the benefits embodied in our county, free speech is -- or should be -- among the most precious. Without the freedom to express opinions on any matter, we cease being a free society. The implications are as simple as that.

The villains in the Steyn case are not Muslims who complained to the HRC that Steyn's writings foster "Islamophobia" and hate. Nor is the Human Rights Commission at fault for hearing the allegations.

At fault is the government of Stephen Harper for not rescinding a law that the Liberals introduced and makes a mockery of both justice and freedom.

Harper is PM with the power to right a wrong. Instead, he's been silent and betrayed his own values.

Steyn's case is replicated in the human rights persecution in Alberta of Ezra Levant whose now-defunct magazine, the Western Standard, published the Danish cartoons -- political statements on Islamic terrorism, not religious mockery.

The complainants get a free ride, the defendants have to pay their costs.

Truth is no defence before a human rights tribunal. Steyn's accuracy is not at issue, just his opinions. Under hate legislation, opinions are punishable if they offend a particular group.

If you think about it, this is an abomination.

Barbara Hall, Ontario's human rights chief commissioner, said she didn't have the authority to deal with Steyn and Maclean's, but that she found his article "xenophobic," "destructive" and "Islmophobic."

There's an unbiased adjudicator!


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