Liveblogging the human rights case against Maclean’s

The case of Mohamed Elmasry vs. Mark Steyn/Maclean’s is before the  B.C. Human Rights Tribunal this week.  Andrew Coyne, national editor at Maclean’s and Alberta-based conservative activist Ezra Levant have been live blogging from the courtroom all week. The two blogs paint a picture of the event, give some nice detail on the lead-up to the case and, of course, a whole lot of opinion on the matter.

Coyne’s liveblog began early Monday morning with:

Don’t tell my employers, but I’m sort of hoping we lose this case. If we win—that is, if the tribunal finds we did not, by publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, expose Muslims to hatred and contempt, or whatever the legalese is—then the whole clanking business rolls on, the stronger for having shown how “reasonable” it can be. Whereas if we lose, and fight on appeal, and challenge the whole legal basis for these inquisitions, then something important will be achieved.”

Levant, former publisher of Western Standard magazine, noted (as did Coyne) in his liveblog that old blog posts of his from the Standard were ruled admissible as evidence  in the case. It makes for a strange liveblogging scenario: Levant and Coyne sitting in the same courtroom blogging away about Levant’s former blog posts from a now-defunct magazine.

Levant has this to say about the legal arguments in the case:

“The B.C. Human Rights Code does not weigh political or editorial considerations; it is neither necessary to prove political incorrectness or editorial “irresponsibility” to convict Maclean’s; and it is not a defence for Maclean’s to prove that it was politically correct or editorially responsible. It’s just not legally relevant. Maclean’s is focusing on boring old laws, written by dead white men, talking about things like precedent, freedom of speech, etc., etc. In a real court, Joseph [lead counsel for Elmasry]  and his bigoted client would be laughed out of court, and have to pay Maclean’s costs. But this isn’t a real court. This is a kangaroo court, with three leftist activists as panellists.”

Also discussed in the posts is J-Source contributing editor and Ryerson journalism professor John Miller. The panel considered hearing evidence from Miller on the subject of responsible journalism and human rights legislation, but his testimony was ruled inadmissible on Monday afternoon. However, Miller’s comments on the case and Mark Steyn’s article can be found here.

Listen to a June 4 radio interview with Steyn from Calgary’s AM 770 CHQR here.

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