From the OHRC statement, released yesterday, in regards to the complaints raised against Maclean's Magazine:
While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.
The Commission is concerned that since the September 2001 attacks, Islamophobic attitudes are becoming more prevalent in society and Muslims are increasingly the target of intolerance, including an unwillingness to consider accommodating some of their religious beliefs and practices.
This is the result I predicted back in January: that it would be eventually decided that it is legally okay, but morally reprehensible, for Ken Whyte and company to take Canada's national news magazine and drive it into the same sewer they took the National Post.
I will just re-quote myself from that time-frame:
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.
Thanks to the OHRC for providing that public shaming.
Elsewhere, RT gets all foamy and suggests that these latest developments in the speechy wars, esp. Warman's various lawsuits, are a good reason not only to scrap hate-speech laws, but libel laws as well. Oh my!!