The heart of the complaint against Macleans and Mark Steyn:
"'We are for free speech and free expression, but it shouldn't be exclusively for the rich and powerful corporate media,' Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), told the paper."
The CIC, Canada's largest non-profit Islamic body, launched last month three complaints with Canada's federal and provincial human rights commissions against newsweekly Maclean', which had published excerpts from a book critical of Islam by Canadian writer Mark Steyn.
...the CIC is not seeking monetary damages [from MaCleans magazine], but it only wants the magazine to publish a rebuttal of the offensive article.
Is Steyn a racist? Indubitably. Is what he wrote protected by Canadian Freedom of Expression laws? Contrary to some of the Doom-Sayers on the Right, who want to make Macleans, the representative of the "powerful corporate media" in question here, look like underdogs in the case, it almost certainly is.
So, if Mr. Steyn and Macleans get dragged before a Human Rights tribunal and win, what is the point of the exercise? A case can be made that Macleans actually stands to come out ahead, as controversy = increased sales. Mind you, this is Canada not the U.S.. The tabloidization of media culture does not seem to have proceeded quite as far North of the border, and overt displays of bigotry don't seem to play as well up here. Given that most of Macleans' editorial staff are the same gang that crashed and burned the National Post (which you can't even use to line a bird-cage these days, because the parrot will complain), an even stronger case can be made that they have mis-judged the Canadian Zeitgeist a second time, and that the final trade-off will be the two semi-literate Neo-Nazis who are attracted to the magazine by its stand on Mr. Steyn, versus the half-dozen normal Canadians who still read Old Mac from nostalgia, but cancel their subscriptions for the same reason.
For me, what this is all about is the necessary public shaming of a Canadian news institution that has gone from being harmless if a little dull to a disgrace to the nation. If Kenneth Whyte and co. come to realize that an association with Mark Steyn is a net negative for their publication and give him his walking papers, this will be a good result however the CHRC case in question plays out.
Update: Read Gary Wise for his take on the case. The short version:
...my impression remains that the complaints against him are dubious, politically-motivated and extremely unlikely to succeed.