June 9, 2008


Free Mark Steyn (The Editors, 6/09/08, National Review)

Supporters of free speech can do a few simple things. First, the Canadian and U.S. media need to start speaking out soon, and loudly. Aside from the fact that condemning these kinds of tribunals is the right thing to do, such proceedings also threaten the press’s very livelihood. So far, the public in Canada and elsewhere remain woefully uninformed about what’s going on.

Second, American and international political figures also need to speak out. A surefire way to get these tribunals onto the front page in Canada would be if they were roundly condemned by leaders from around the world. Speaking out in favor of free expression here is also important because, after the Danish cartoon incident, Muslims countries have been pressuring the U.N. to weaken its support of free expression as it relates to perceived offenses to Islam.

Third, support is needed for the inchoate political attempts to shut down these ridiculous inquests. Liberal Canadian MP Keith Martin has introduced what is known under parliamentary rules as a “private members bill” to do away with the section of the Canadian Human Rights Act upon which these tribunals rely for their authority to regulate media. And as a matter of principle, the conservative government currently in power in Canada should oppose these tribunals. The liberal Martin is the perfect spokesmen for the ruling party to get behind in a cross-ideological push to remove this threat to a fundamental Western freedom.

Silence only serves the cause of this miscarriage of justice. Speak up — and free Steyn, Maclean’s, and Canada.

To the Editors of the Valley News:

Dear Sirs:

Though it has unfortunately been little noted in either national or local press, one of the Upper Valley's own is currently on trial in Canada in a case that tests whether freedom of speech and the press can endure in a multiculturalist society. The prolific author/essayist/critic/commentator, Mark Steyn (steynonline.com), has run afoul of our Northern neighbor's thought police and has been charged, before the British Colombia Human Rights Tribunal, with expressing and spreading hatred and contempt for Muslims.

The basis for these accusations is a Maclean's magazine excerpt (available online at: http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20061023_134898_134898) from Mr. Steyn's recent best-selling book, America Alone. In it, he notes the fact that demographic trends in Europe suggest the likelihood that Muslims will be a majority there in the future and quotes a radical imam from Norway who celebrates that eventuality. If all this doesn't sound particularly anti-Muslim, consider that the title of the piece is, The Future Belongs to Islam. Far from being a put-upon minority in need of protection, the complainants here are just being sore winners.

Now, Mr. Steyn has had the intellectual honesty not to turn around and play the victim card in this case. Since he also had to good sense to move to the Upper Valley some years ago, it's not as if the author will fester in prison because of PC oppression. But in a community that celebrates the values of free inquiry and free speech, our silence in the face of an attack on a neighbor who was just expressing his rather unexceptional--though unusually well thought-out and delivered--opinions seems inappropriate. And if we aren't likely to have to band together to repel the Mounties when they come for him, there is a simple step we can take that one imagines Mr. Steyn would find most gratifying. Dr. Keith Martin (Member of Parliament for Esquimalt - Juan de Fuca), of Canada's Liberal Party, has introduced a bill that would revoke the authority of these tribunals to persecute the press. We can express our support for his efforts and for a fellow Hampshireman by writing to Dr. Martin at : MartiK@parl.gc.ca

If, as Mr. Steyn suggests in the writings at issue, the secular states of Europe and Canada are indeed dying there is still no reason they shouldn't live free in the meantime.

Zemanta Pixie

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 9, 2008 8:08 AM

A Modest Proposal. If a Christian filed a Human Rights complaint in Canada charging some secular professor with improper respect for our long-established religion, would not the Liberal Thought Police probably deny the claim on some truthiness defense? In a mostly Christian country like Canada wouldn't that sound the death knell for this Modern Inquisition? I would hope so. At the very least it would impose alot of needless legal fees on the secular targets.

Posted by: George Clarke at June 9, 2008 10:27 PM