In the subterranean bowels of a provincial courthouse, a bizarre and frightening spectacle starts to unfold....
So begins Brian Hutchinson's account in the National Post (Canada) of the kangaroo court proceedings now underway under the auspices of something called the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. (Folks, we are now officially beyond the bounds of Orwell.) These proceedings are more than likely to culminate in a conviction against McLean's magazine for printing an excerpt of America Alone, the best-selling book by columnist Mark Steyn arguing that Western democracy is imperiled by the spread of Islam.
Why "more than likely"?
Hutchinson's story explains that Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress--who, btw, among other uncivilized things, believes all israelis over 18 are "valid" targets for Islamic terrorism--"claims the Steyn excerpt denigrated and vilified Canadian Muslims and promoted hatred of an identifiable group."
He [Elmasry] is not obliged to demonstrate what harm occurred to whom, or to what degree. Maclean's magazine and Mr. Steyn could still be found to have violated B. C.'s Human Rights Code. No proof of damage is required.
Meanwhile, if found to have violated the code, Maclean's faces sanctions, including payment to the complainant "an amount that the member or panel considers appropriate to compensate that person for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect or to any of them."
The magazine could also be ordered to stop publishing certain ideas and points of view. Lawyer Faisal Joseph, representing the complainant, asked the Tribunal yesterday to use its "discretion" and order Maclean's to publish a suitable response in its pages. That, or publish the panel's ultimate findings. Such are the frightening aspect of this case.
"Strict rules of evidence do not apply" in cases before the Tribunal, noted its chairwoman, Heather MacNaughton.
Need I go on? This is a mockery, a sham, and an assault on freedom. And it's going on right next door.