Mark Steyn and the Canadian Inquisition

Inquisition, Canadian style. Illustration.Typically one does not associate the word inquisition with our neighbors up north in Canada, and yet that is pretty much what is going on there to conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn. Minus the violence, Steyn is being subjected to a twisted court system that always finds defendants guilty and conducts itself in an utterly capricious way.

Steyn's crime? Daring to criticize radical Islam, an offense that many in this country would would no doubt love to criminalize. For his temerity, Steyn and the Canadian magazine Maclean's (which printed Steyn's essay, an excerpt from his book) are being put on trial by the "human rights commission" of British Columbia, one of several such bodies both Steyn and Maclean's have been forced to deal with by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Incredibly, the group claims that its human rights were violated because Maclean's did not allow one of its members a chance to respond in the publication.

What to do about this outrage? The editors at National Review have a few suggestions:

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.

Full editorial here. Hat tip: motherbelt

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013