Friday, June 6, 2008
Pay No Attention to that Trial Behind the Curtain
A particularly sinister quality of the Steynian inquisition in British Columbia this week has been the Tribunal's seeming desire not to record the proceedings for posterity. As Deborah Gyapong points out, the Maclean's defense team is having trouble getting access to recordings of testimony because of "equipment difficulty". If the defense team has trouble accessing court proceedings, how difficult will it be for the public? Most of Steyn's supporters (myself included) have been referring to this sham as a show trial, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that these Human Rights Tribunals don't want to be showy at all. They shrink from the light of day. As crass and totalitarian as a show trial is, a secret trial is far worse. Granted, the press and public have been granted access, but it seems to me that the BCHRT wishes they weren't. I think they can't wait for this to be over and forgotten in the minds of the public and press so they can go back to railroading citizens without the fame or fortune of Steyn and Maclean's. Make no mistake, they would love to rule in Elmasry's favor and firmly establish their right to regulate speech and the press, but I think I tend to agree with Blazingcatfur's assessment that self preservation will lead the BCHRT to find in Maclean's favor. The Human Rights Commissions aren't quite ready for prime time. Maybe after another 30 years of tinkering and public apathy, but not now. Quite frankly, this is terrible for Canadian free speech. Both Steyn and Maclean's know that what's at stake here goes far beyond a columnist and a news magazine. They wanted to lose. They wanted to appeal up the line to the Supreme Court. They wanted to overturn Taylor. They wanted to end this fascist institution before it does another 30 years of quiet damage. Winning this battle may cause the public at large to lose sight of the war.