A complaint was originally filed with the Ontario Human Rights Commission which ruled that it did not have jurisdiction. However in doing so they summarily convicted MacLeans with their comments.
While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.
A complaint was also filed with the BC Human Rights Tribunal which heard the case over a 5 day period beginning on June 2nd, 2008, which was live-blogged by columnist Andrew Coyne here, here, here, here, here and here.
A decision has yet to be rendered on this one.
I wonder if the Canadian HRC’s dismissal of the case is based on the realization that they may have bitten off more than they can chew. This case has drawn a great deal of unwanted publicity as to how arbitrary and one-sided their process is and they may rightfully be afraid that the government may be moved to reduce their power.
Which is exactly what the provincial and federal governments should do. Any government organization with the power to impact people’s lives to the extent that the HRCs can do, with the mantra that ‘truth is not a defence’, need to be severely curtailed.
Interestingly enough, I cannot find any reference on the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s website that refers to their dismissing the case against MacLeans. I’ll keep looking.