Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Censorship Government News Your Rights Online

Author Faces Canadian Tribunal For Hate Speech 818

An anonymous reader writes "A Seattle Times editorial notes that the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will put author Mark Steyn on trial for his book 'America Alone,' which has angered Muslims in Canada. Steyn is a columnist for the Canadian magazine Maclean's. According to the editorial, British Columbia bans all words and images 'likely to expose a person... to hatred or contempt because of race, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.' Steyn is unapologetic, and is advertising his book as a 'Canadian Hate Crime' and daring the tribunal to 'pronounce him bad.'" The Canadian tabloid the National Post has coverage of what it calls "a media storm."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Author Faces Canadian Tribunal For Hate Speech

Comments Filter:
  • by dsanfte ( 443781 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:31PM (#23363022) Journal
    The National Post is one of the national dailies up here, it's not a bloody tabloid.
  • National Post (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:35PM (#23363052)
    The Post, Canada's other national newspaper, is a broadsheet [], not a tabloid [].
  • by bobdotorg ( 598873 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:38PM (#23363082)
    ... does absolutely nothing to stop the scourge that is Celine Dion for acts, "likely to expose a person... to hatred or contempt."
  • Rights and Demands (Score:5, Informative)

    by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:42PM (#23363098)
    This whole thing is about the right to not be offended. Most important is the fact that any individual can file a complaint and legally go after (paid by the government) anyone they think has slighted or defamed them or said nasty words against them. Of course, the defendant has to foot all his/her own legal expenses.

    It's actually a free speech issue and I'll leave out my own prejudices and let readers decide for themselves.
    • by Klaus_1250 ( 987230 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:44PM (#23363704)

      This whole thing is about the right to not be offended.

      But that is the most ridiculous right anyone can ask for. Sometimes truth offends people, does that me we should lie to them instead? And what about religion? Some religious people are offended by any attempt to question their belief-system, does that mean we can no longer criticize any religion? And what if a religion offends certain people, is that allowed?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't think people should have the "right to not be offended." I believe originally, free speech was limited not to prevent people from getting offended, but to prevent people from getting killed for opening their mouths. But with the (relatively) recent "politically correct" movement, all the sudden you can't say anything that hurts anyone's feelings. If you get your feelings hurt now, you can sue. That's BS.
      And here's why: If the government wants to say, "you can't say offensive things" then it's a
  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:44PM (#23363102) Journal
    To silence others who say things that may make you uncomfortable is not a human right.

    To be able to say things that may make people uncomfortable is.

    I would ask the BC HRT: Is your mandate to preserve human rights? Or is it to restrict them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jd ( 1658 )
      I believe in the right to say what you want, balanced by an equal and opposite right for someone not to have defamatory remarks likely to create a false impression in a reasonable person made about them. In this case, I would say the argument isn't nearly strong enough to meet the defamatory criteria in general (groups in the UK have created Sharia Law enclaves) but if specific, well-defined denominations have distanced themselves from that and yet been tarred by the same brush, they might merit some Govern
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr ( 53032 )
      I would ask the BC HRT: Is your mandate to preserve human rights?

      It's to violate human rights while pretending to preserve them. Pretty much standard operating procedure for the "politically correct" crowd.

  • Fantastic sources. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:47PM (#23363130)
    "Follow into foolishness" "Media gong show". I know people love echo chambers, but try looking for actual news articles rather than op-ed pieces that show their biases in the first bite-sized paragraph next time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:50PM (#23363168)
    As a Canuck, I can tell you that the human rights tribunal stuff is very scary...because they operate under the effective assumption that you are guilty until proven innocent, they do not conform to the crimina code of Canada, and there is no jury of peers.

    Essentially it's a kangaroo court that is allowed to issue 'sentences' that are themselves not in keeping with the criminal code, but are legally binding in the sense that you can be charged with contempt of the court.

    It's the dark side of over-liberalization, and the belief that you have the right to NOT be offended.

    Tolerance does not mean you have to like someone...just put up with them.
  • why (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hansoloaf ( 668609 ) <> on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:55PM (#23363220)
    why is this on slashdot? i don't see anything nerdy or tech about this news.
  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @03:59PM (#23363260) Journal
    ...when one can make a spoof of "Life of Brian" but with Islamic connotations, without fearing for his/her life. For those that don't know, "Life of Brian" makes fun of both Christians and Jews, in a massive way. It's by far not the only movie that does that - in fact, both Christianity and Judaism (and Christians and Jews) have been on the receiving end of satire and comedy in all forms of artistic expression (plays, books, movies, figurative arts). And by "receiving" I don't mean it necessarily in a negative way.

    I don't know how Islam got so protected and the Muslims so protective. It would almost seem like lack of self-confidence.
    • by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:26PM (#23363544)
      my view exactly. I think that there are enough muslim individuals who would be capable of this, but the problem is the violent minority that will not approve.

      The west has been supporting this violent minority for way too long already, actively (e.g. the Taliban in afghanistan would never has been as powerful without US support) and passively (certain well-known extremist organizations are not forbidden in several european nations, despite their anti-democratic principles).

      The Dutch politician Wilders has, like many, shown that just warning for the "muslim" threat, is not a way to fight this problem. It really is too generalizing, and you cannot deal with the muslim problem by generalization, because that would affect the whole democratic principle. Why forbid muslims to wear their head scarf, but allow jews to wear a wig and catholics to wear a cross.

      It doesn't work that way. An evolution to muslim integration can only work by making sure the rotten apples don't get a change to spread. This might be easier than you would think, but there has to be a complete political will to do this. Hint: giving the extremist guns is not a very good idea, politicians: please stop with that first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hal_Porter ( 817932 )
      Christianity is only not protected now because Church lost a battle with secularism. One in a which people who made much more subtle criticisms of it than the Life of Brian got killed in very painful ways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lixee ( 863589 )
      What you are missing, dear sir, is that Life of Brian is highly offensive to Muslims. In case you didn't know, Jesus of Nazareth is highly revered in Islam. His miracle birth coupled with his sinless life, puts him in a very special pedestal that not even Mohammed (the prophet of said religion) can claim.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23363350) Homepage Journal
    Its being done by the government

    Once you ban one type of speech, none is free.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:09PM (#23363358) Homepage Journal
    im turkish. what he says is not what he conceives, or he expects or etc.

    what he is saying about muslims taking over europe and putting women in burka and banning alcohol and bringing a medieval middle eastern culture all over europe is NOT what he imagines, its what MUSLIM GROUPS that hold great leverage and followers, say. they are OPENLY declaring that this is their intention. all around europe. in uk, netherlands, france and germany, these are going around in underhand jihad and propaganda cd distributions, in meetings or in obscure, far from sight mosques. but in turkey, now, there is a firm islamist government in control thanks to the votes from the islamists who SAID they were going to multiply and turn turkey to an islamist state back 20 years ago. and thanks to that islamist government, many sheiks, groups, 'charities' that were doing the same thing thats happening europe underhand, now are OPENLY and clearly declaring their intentions in public. no - not extreme, radical, eccentric people these are. these are major leaders of the islamist segments of the society. they are openly saying that democracy is no good, the only 'salvation' can be found under islamist republic with a theology, everyone HAS to live under the rules of islam. and when the constitutional court here tries to prosecute them for anti democratical and secular behaviour, guess what happens - they run to european union, and in an APPALLING move, european union supports, and tries to protect these people from being prosecuted inside turkey's borders according to turkey's own laws. i dont know which is more appalling though, the intervention in another country's LEGAL system, or the fact that eu, which is an organization that purports to be founded on ideals of humanism, democracy, modern values, actually protects people who say they WILL abolish democracy, and all of those modern values. no. dont do err here - its not 'opinion' or 'freedom of speech' or anything, they ARE actually taking measures and taking action to that extent - setting up 'charities' that fund 'boarding schools' in which youngsters aged 6 to 22 are brainwashed against EVERY of modern ideals we hold dear today, including freedom of speech, and non discrimination. and yes, indeed discrimination and hatred against western values are brainwashed into those kids, they are taught that west is rotten morally, anything good has to pertain to islam, jews, europe and us are satan, and they should fight against them. from whence do i know ? i HAVE been in those places. and i have many acquaintances and even relatives, who actually are lost to that brainwashing. it is sad. in turkey, since the last 6 years under this islamist party, enmity towards modernism and west has reached a peak.

    what is more appalling for me is the stance of the 'mild' muslims, who supposedly constitute the majority of muslims in the world. what they dont realize that, under islam, there can be no mild muslim, and any idea to the contrary is make believe, and self delusion. in islam, there are very solid orders in koran that openly, plainly orders that muslims have to fight jews and christians, and either forcibly convert them, or subdue and take tribute from them (maida surah, 9/29) and similar. one would try to argue that, it was valid at that time, in 600 AD, but it has to be commented, interpreted in some other way, but you cant. when you try to do this, you hit a solid wall ; according to islam, koran is the unchanged word of god. noone's word, including mohammad's word can be held over koran. it is god's will. AND koran states multiple times (around 7 separate places actually) that it is a very clear, understandable book that does not require any interpretation, intermediary (cleric, priest or anything), or reference from other places. when you combine these 3 facts, you CANT argue anything against someone says that muslims should fight against jews and christians.

    thats why all the modernist, reformist ideas that some people are trying to spread around in middle east are hitting
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Daimanta ( 1140543 )
      I love the irony. In Turkey they have a very limited notion of free speech. "Anti-Turkish" remarks are punishable and there is now a trial going on to ban the largest party because they have a religious identity. But don't let me stop your tirade.
  • Ezra Levant's Blog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Observer2001 ( 447571 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:36PM (#23363630)
    I would suggest checking out the blog [] of Ezra Levant, mentioned in the National Post story. Levant was brought up before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the Danish cartoons and follows the "human rights" commissions closely.

    Here [] is a short video from his interrogation and a quote from his blog: "And after I made [my point], [Human Rights] Officer [Shirlene] McGovern said 'you're entitled to your opinions, that's for sure.' Well, actually, I'm not, am I? That's the reason I was sitting there. I don't have the right to my opinions, unless she says I do."

    And here [] is another video from the interrogation in which Levant expresses his disgust at being directed to answer to the government and characterizes the human rights officer as a thug.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @04:38PM (#23363644) Homepage Journal
    From the article We do not envy the Canadians. They have entrusted to their government a power Americans never would, and they follow it into foolishness.

    "These [Free Speech] zones [] routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event. When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, 'The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.' The local police, at the Secret Service's behest, set up a 'designated free-speech zone' on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush's speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president's path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct... Police detective John Ianachione testified that the Secret Service told local police to confine 'people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views.'"
  • by K9-Cop ( 973731 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#23364042)
    If I tell 20 people who actually listen to me to go kill the President of the United States, then I'm not guilty of anything. After all, I have freedom of speech, right? I can say anything I want, right? Hate Crimes in Canada are not in place to prevent people from saying hateful things. They are in place to prevent people from hiding behind freedom of speech when they are actually attempting to incite violence against a particular group of people (particularly minorities).
  • by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @05:27PM (#23364106)
    ...a Canadian citizen filed a formal charge against the members of one of the Human Rights Commissions alleging that they are violating his human rights by limiting his ability to read material he would like to read? No, seriously, I'm not joking. It sounds like anyone may bring charges against anyone else, so what would happen if someone actually did this? Would it have to enter the court system? Who would hear such a case?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.