The death of free speech in Canada?

June 11, 2008

You wouldn’t think it of the most polite nation in the world, would you, but free speech, a cherished cornerstone of Western liberal civilization, is under furious assault in Canada. The attackers are the multiculturalist, politically correct, self-loathing Left and the cultural jihadists claiming to be fighting "Islamophobia." The weapon is the star chamber of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions (both federal and provincial), which have the authority to bar someone from ever speaking or writing about a topic, and to prevent a publication from carrying that writer’s articles.

What’s that word I’m thinking of? Oh, yeah — "censorship."

The latest victim is Mark Steyn, a brilliant Canadian satirist and commentator who resides in New Hampshire. His most recent book, America Alone, was excerpted in Canada’s Maclean’s magazine in 2006. For what Steyn wrote, and Maclean’s for daring to publish it, both were hauled before the British Columbia HRC to answer charges of inciting hatred or contempt against Muslims. If they lose (and Canadian HRCs have a 100% conviction rate — Stalin would be proud), Steyn could be barred from publication in Canada and Maclean’s forbidden to carry his column.

Canadian blogger Kathy Shaidle reports on the Steyn/Maclean’s show trial for Pajamas Media. Perhaps most appalling is the support so-called journalists in Canada are giving to the Human Rights Commission in its quest to stamp out the very liberty they depend on:

So Mark Steyn’s guilty verdict seems a fait accompli. As he predicted in May, his “career in Canada will be formally ended next month.”

Canada’s liberal mainstream media more or less shrugged. A veteran journalism professor condemned the “xenophobic” Steyn in an online forum for professional reporters, accusing Steyn of failing to express his opinions “in food [sic] faith,” then scolding prissily that “everyone must obey the law.”

With professors like that training journalists, it is no wonder that the state-run, taxpayer-funded CBC got the name of Steyn’s book wrong, their local reporters admitted they knew nothing about the case they’d been sent to cover, and rival outlet CTV published an amateurish, glorified book review in lieu of an objective, unbiased news report.

A couple of savvier columnists begged the Human Rights Commissions to come after them, to help boost their book sales.

Be sure to read the whole thing, and the previous article on l’Affaire Steyn. Free speech is under assault around the West from a grotesque alliance of the multi-culti Left and Islamists who want to take the world back to an idealized (and very uni-cultural) seventh century. Steyn and Maclean’s travail is just one glaring example.