Steyn responds to Law is Cool

As expected, Mark Steyn has responded within a day to Daniel Simard‘s last post on hate speech in Maclean’s.

Perhaps not as expected, he makes some snide remarks about the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

But he goes even further; on Dec. 12 he said,

…these cockamamie Human Rights Commissions which are an abomination to any free society.

Maybe he thinks they don’t read his blog, or that they share his blatant disregard and respect for the legal system.


We know that he is obviously ignorant of Canadian laws (and ignorance is no excuse), especially when it comes to hate speech. He queries whether the remark above,”typically snubbing manner,” is also “illegal.”

Hardly comes under the definition of slander, especially considering the statements by the Telegraph that he endorses,

Flagrant it is — if, by flagrant you mean abrasive, unapologetic opinion. That’s Steyn’s speciality.

Steyn supporters have even started a Free Steyn movement, completely with petition.

The Criminal Code states,

Public incitement of hatred

319. (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

But since this is a tribunal affair, and not a case being brought by the Crown before a criminal court, Steyn’s freedom is hardly at stake.


Violent hate crimes against Muslims are already on the rise in Canada, and Muslims (or those mistaken for them) are already the largest victims of hate crimes today. It’s a matter of time before an offender attributes their act to incitement by Steyn’s words.

More Tit for That

Steyn also responded to this post earlier today. Most of his comments do not deserve a response. Of course he never heard of this site, it’s intended for first-year law students in Canada. And yes, Daniel Simard is one of our team members and contributors, but the contents and the parties here are distinct from the complaint against Maclean’s.

He states,

Likewise, Maclean’s is Ted Rogers’ and Ken Whyte’s magazine. If they don’t want your guys writing on it, that’s their right.

Editorial discretion is not something this site has a problem with. But the editorial support by Maclean’s for content that is at the very least troublesome is something worthy of judicial review.

R. v. Keegstra states,

while other non-criminal modes of combatting hate propaganda exist, it is eminently reasonable to utilize more than one type of legislative tool in working to prevent the spread of racist expression and its resultant harm. To send out a strong message of condemnation, both reinforcing the values underlying s. 319(2) and deterring the few individuals who would harm target group members and the larger community by communicating hate propaganda, will occasionally require use of the criminal law.

Note that Steyn does not allow commentary on his main site.

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15 Comments on "Steyn responds to Law is Cool"

  1. James Schrumpf | December 21, 2007 at 7:54 pm |

    A couple of points: if what Steyn is illegal, and a crime, why wasn’t he brought up in a criminal court instead of the human rights kangaroo courts? My guess is that the plaintiffs realize they could never win a criminal case, but no defendant has ever won in the HR “courts.”

    Secondly, you state that “Violent hate crimes against Muslims are already on the rise in Canada, and Muslims (or those mistaken for them) are already the largest victims of hate crimes today.”.

    This is incorrect, at least in the US. FBI statistics for 2006 ( indicate that the most frequent religious hate crime was against Jews, with 967 incidents. Muslims were a distant second at 156 — not even a fifth as many — and that number has been steady since 2003, even before the invasion of Iraq.

    Using your tactics, one could accurately say that hate crimes against Muslims in the US fell by 50% since 9/11, hardly an indicator of increasing hate.

    The attack on Macleans and Steyn is nothing more than an attempt to stifle free speech in Canada, and should be dismissed as quickly as possible. Otherwise it will only be a matter of time before they come for your favorite opinion, whatever it may be.

  2. Obviously his actions are not contrary to the Criminal Code because there has yet to be proven a causal link between his inflammatory statements and a specific hate crime.

    Denise Helly explains many of your other questions related to hate crimes in Canada in the source provided, i.e. “First, victims of hate crimes seldom make an official complaint, and witnesses rarely come forward…”
    CIC figures indicated a 1600% increase post-911.

    We’re happy that you bring up hate crimes against Jews, because we also believe this is largely attributable to hate speech, largely similar in content to that of Steyn’s. We completely oppose these forms of hate speech as well, but they are usually not found in nation-wide publications.

  3. I guess you think that by siding against Steyn and free speech that maybe you’ll be spared. At best, they’ll cut your head off last.

  4. Hi Guy in CT,
    Thank you for your comment.

    I think you definitively demonstrated that such hatred is a genuine problem in North America, and we should take it that much more seriously.

  5. Paul Huedepohl | December 22, 2007 at 3:54 am |

    The worst part for Islamicist apologists of “America Alone” is that Steyn hoists Muslim radicals on their own petard. That dastardly Steyn, quoting Muslim speeches and interviews.

  6. Frozen fools deserve no freedom | December 22, 2007 at 9:45 am |

    You shmucks!

    These are Canadian lawyers, and so they have no concept remotely like American free speech. If you want freedom, head south. If you just want 11% beer, touques and backbacon, stay where you are.

  7. Hey, lawiscool:

    “I think you definitively demonstrated that such hatred is a genuine problem in North America, and we should take it that much more seriously.”

    So, one guy says something on a blog comment board, and that indicts the whole of North America? That’s about the same level of reasoning which would lead one to the conclusion that if one Muslim saws someone’s head off, then they all would.

  8. Actually, I’m pretty sure Mr. Steyn just doesn’t care whether or not the cockamamie HRC reads his blog or not — he happens to think that they are an abomination, and is not afraid to speak his mind. An opinion which judging by sentiments of someone approving of said cockamamie HRC’s…

    …I would hasten to agree.

    As an American who both values his First Amendment rights and fears the madness of some believers of the faiths of Islam (submission to Allah) and socialism (submission to “do-gooders”), it behooves me to call attention to threats made by radical believers of both faiths.

    I must say that your choice of persecution for non-believers in your socialist faith — threatening a man’s freedom, dragging him through the indignity of “cockamamie” quasi-legal (or faux-legal) proceedings — lacks something compared to the panache of Islam’s adherents. I don’t think anyone will dress up for Halloween as a “Human Rights” attorney; dressing up as a suicide bomber or beheader is way more hip and trendy!

  9. Vince P - Chicago | December 22, 2007 at 11:09 am |

    Where is the lawsuit against Iran?

    Iran: Europe will become a Muslim continent, says Khamenei’s spokesman

    Tehran, 21 Dec. (AKI) – Europe will eventually become a Muslim continent, according to a representative of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

    “In a dozen years, Europe will be an Islamic continent,” said Rasul Jalilzadeh on Friday as he was speaking to the basiji, a voluntary organisation in the capital Tehran.

    “The Islamisation of the European continent is imminent and this step favours the arrival of the Mahdi,” he said, referring to the 12th imam of Shiite Islam.

    Shiites believe that the Imam Mahdi, who disppeared as an adolescent, will return to bring an end to chaos and bring universal justice.

    Rasul Jalilzadeh believes that “the Islamisation of Europe is one of the consequences of the Islamic revolution in Iran” in that “the messages and values that this revolution has transmitted to the Europeans, to convince them “to abandon their current faiths and convert to Shiite Islam.”

  10. Vince P - Chicago | December 22, 2007 at 11:24 am |

    Back in 2002 there was a similiar “Speaking the truth about Islam = hate” human rights case in Australia.

    Read one of the witness docuements as he evualated if the statements made about Islam were the truth:
    (comment abbreviated)

  11. “CIC figures indicated a 1600% increase [in anti-Muslim “hate” crimes] post-911.”

    And that’s due to Mark Steyn and other writers critical of Muslims? Or maybe some Muslims did something on 9/11/01 which led to this hatred? I’ll have to go look it up.

    At any rate, I don’t see how those gross figures are useful in indicting Steyn, whose column(s) should be judged on their own merits. (For example, if I say “kill the Muslims” at a public rally, then I should probably be prosecuted for saying what is “likely to lead to a breach of the peace” regardless of any proximate, let alone national, statistics on Muslim-killing.

  12. It seems to me that there’s nothing in the “Public incitement of hatred” law that says “Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty…” could just as easily apply to members of the same “identifiable group.”

    As such, when some Imam defames Islam by pronouncing support of terrorism or a fatwa of murder, then he should be reported for breaking this law. After all, some of these comments are much more inflammatory than anything Steyn has written.

  13. “Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace”

    There’s the problem. Do you honestly believe that any of Mark Steyn’s regular readers are even capable of a breach of the peace? Most of them are over 45 and employed. The worst they’ll do is start boycotting Pakistani restaurants.

  14. If the United States is going to be in the business of forcibly spreading democracy, the next logical target is Canada. Few casualties would be involved because Canadians obviously lack courage- otherwise extra-judicial bureaucrats would not be permitted to censor speech on a whim. Canada’s refusal to screen immigrants for minor tendencies like terrorism poses a threat to US security and, unlike Mexico where the government is merely incapable, the Canadian government chooses to harbor likely terrorists rather than appear to “racially discriminate” against people of a certain religion. We would be doing them a favor by invading, though initially they probably wouldn’t be very grateful.

  15. DWPittelli: Yes, when this occurs domestically, this action usually follows. The hypotheticals you propose are not at issue, it’s before a tribunal.

    Ron: all it takes is one.

    Vince P: Thank you for the links. This is a Law 101 site, so we will humour you a brief answer. Statements in Iran are obviously ultra vires to any tribunal in Canada. The context and delivery of these statements also appear markedly different than the ones in question here.

    ActualLawyer: Appears from your IP address that you are from the US, like all the other readers here. As one of the other readers noted above, we do have slightly different perspectives about “free speech” in Canada.

    John: Interesting insights from our southern neighbours.

Comments are closed.