THE BACK PAGES

I prefer living with space lizards

Human rights commissions seem to believe that Canadians have some surprising rights

MARK STEYN March 10 2008
THE BACK PAGES

I prefer living with space lizards

Human rights commissions seem to believe that Canadians have some surprising rights

MARK STEYN March 10 2008

I prefer living with space lizards

Human rights commissions seem to believe that Canadians have some surprising rights

steyn

MARK STEYN

What does Maclean’s have in common with a labiaplasty and blood-drinking space lizards from the star system Alpha Draconis?

Well, they’re all part of the wacky world of Canadian “human rights.”

First things first: what is a labiaplasty? Well, it’s a cosmetic procedure performed on the female genitalia for those who are dissatisfied with them. I think I speak for many sad male losers living on ever more distant memories when I say that I find it hard to imagine being dissatisfied with female genita...

What’s that? Oh, it’s the women who are dissatisfied are they? Ah, right. Well, there’s the rub. The Ontario Human Rights Commission is currently weighing whether or not to become the (at last count) third “human rights” commission in Canada to prosecute Maclean’s for the crime of running an excerpt from my book. The Globe And Mail’s Margaret Wente was interested to know what Canada’s vast “human rights” machinery does when it isn’t sticking it to privately owned magazines, so she swung by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal to check out the action. And it seems the reason they haven’t yet dragged Maclean’s into court is because they’re tied up hearing the case of two women who claim they were denied their human right to a labiaplasty by a Toronto plastic surgeon who specializes in that particular area. The women proved to be post-operative transsexuals who were unhappy with some of the aesthetic results of their transformation, and Dr. Stubbs declined to perform the procedure on the grounds that he usually operates on biological females and is generally up to speed on what goes where and, when it comes to

transsexuals, he had no idea what he was, so to speak, getting into. Had he done it and it had all gone horribly wrong, the plaintiffs would have sued his pants off. So, as a private practitioner, he chose to decline the business, and as a result now finds himself in Human Rights Commission hell.

As Ms. Wente pointed out, you can see what got the “human rights” commissars’ juices going: here was an opportunity to lay down a lot of landmark “jurisprudence” on the issue of “transsexuals’ access to medical care,” and if, in the end, it destroys Dr. Stubbs and his business, hey, that’s a price worth paying: the human right to a labiaplasty is too important to a free society. So the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is solemnly deliberating on whether the party of the first part is obliged to take apart the party of the second part’s parts.

Dr. Stubbs is a big-shot plastic surgeon, so, like Maclean’s, he can probably withstand a few years of “human rights” heat. The system is risk-free for the plaintiff: the Crown picks up the tab for the “complainant,” while the “respondent”—i.e. defendant—has to pay his own legal bills no matter what the eventual verdict is. Ted Kindos of Burlington, Ont., has already spent $20,000 of his own dough defending himself against a “human rights” complaint and estimates he’ll add another six figures to that before it’s all done. Mr. Kindos owns a modest restaurant, Gator Ted’s Tap and Grill. So what outrageous “human right” did he breach? Well, he asked a guy smoking “medical marijuana” in the doorway of his restaurant if he wouldn’t mind not doing it. Mr. Kindos felt that his customers— including young children—shouldn’t have to pass through a haze of pot smoke to enter his establishment. But apparently in Canada

there’s a human right to light up a spliff in some other fellow’s doorway. The other man’s grass is always greener, and in this case the plaintiff’s grass will cost Mr. Kindos an awful lot of green. He faces financial ruin, while there’s no cost to the complainant.

The “human rights” racket is a disgrace. Canadians are not notably “hateful” people. To be sure, deep in the human heart lurk dark prejudices that may occasionally be furtively expressed to like-minded persons over a drink or two. But discrimination in housing and employment on the grounds of gender and race—the original justification for creating the “human rights” pseudo-courts—is all but extinct, so a self-perpetuating nomenklatura has moved on to invent new rights—like the human right to a labiaplasty or a joint on someone else’s property. You’ll recall the Osgoode Hall law students who objected to my book excerpt in Maclean’s demanded a five-page cover story in response, unedited, with the students determining the artwork and the cover art, along with a financial contribution to their “cause.” As any self-respecting publisher would, Kenneth Whyte told them he would rather go bankrupt—much as Mr. Kindos seems likely to. The Osgoode students have since explained that they went to the “human rights” enforcers because they were only trying to “start a debate,” and mean old Maclean’s was preventing their voices from being heard. They have repeated this mournful plea in lengthy editorials they’ve written for, at last count, the Globe And Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Ottawa Citizen, the Calgary Herald, the Montreal Gazette, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the London Free Press, and no doubt a few other publications. That’s the reality of Canada’s “Islamophobic” media: they’ve been given acres of op-ed real estate to yell that their voices are being silenced and all they want to

do is start a debate—even though, in none of their many columns, do they actually start it.

Incidentally, although they characterize themselves as the “complainants” in these suits, they’re not. In the two “human rights” complaints against Maclean’s that are going forward, the complainants in British Columbia are Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and Naiyer Habib, and, in the federal case, Dr. Elmasry alone. Mohamed Elmasry is the man who announced on Canadian TV that he approved of the murder of any and all Israeli civilians over the age of 18. One can understand why such an unlikely poster boy for the cause of “anti-hate” campaigns would prefer to hide behind his fresh-faced Osgoode sock puppets. But the fact that every major newspaper in Canada has opened its pages to turgid recitations of imagined victimhood by three students who have no standing in these cases tells you everything about how “excluded” and “marginalized” they are. That’s the “racist” Canadian media of 2008: all you have to do is claim to represent some community with a grievance and, even though there’s no evidence you represent anything other than your own peculiar obsessions and you have nothing substantive to say, nine out of 10 editors will open their pages to you—no matter what your interminable victimological prose does to their circulation.

Dr. Keith Martin, a Liberal member of Parliament, the Canadian Association of Journalists, and PEN Canada (i.e. John Ralston Saul and the rest of the CanCon literati) support the repeal of Section 13 of the Human Rights Code, under which Maclean’s and Ezra Levant, former publisher of the Western Standard, have been hauled before the “thought police.” Others talk of Maclean’s appealing its case (after we lose, as all federal Section 13 defendants do) to the Supreme Court. Last time round, their lordships upheld Section 13 by a four-three majority, announcing confidently that there was “little danger that

subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning.” Of course, that’s exactly what has happened, as could have been foreseen by anyone but a Supreme Court judge. This is a philosophically flawed and corruptly administered system that is an affront to Canada’s legal inheritance.

That may be why, as even Liberal MPs and PEN Canada understand what’s happening, the only defenders of the system are its beneficiaries, like Pearl Eliadis, the former director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, who accused me in the Montreal Gazette of “disturbing tactics” for having the impertinence to resist being ruled a hate-monger by a kangaroo court. She claims that I am trying to “disentitle” acknowledged humanrights experts, by which she means a small and unrepresentative clique that has done huge damage to real human rights like the presumption of innocence. “Human rights” plaintiff’s are professional activists: since filing her complaint, the transsexual in the labiaplasty case has been given a government job investigating the health status of transsexuals. Richard Warman, the plaintiff in over half of all federal Section 13 cases, is not even a transsexual or a member of any other approved victim group. You can write a piece about Jews, gays, Muslims, transsexuals that offends not a single Jew, gay, Muslim or transsexual. But if Mr. Warman, a former employee of the CHRC, decides to get offended on their behalf he’ll drag you before the kangaroo court. He has been a plaintiff on every single federal Section 13 case in the last six years. No other provision of Canadian law has such a deformed profile that is, in effect, the personal plaything of one very strange man.

Oh, and the bit at the top about the space lizards? That’s a former BBC sports anchor called David Icke whom Mr. Warman has targeted. Mr. Icke went a little odd a few years back and constructed an all-encompassing conspiracy theory starting from the fact that the Queen and other members of

the royal family are blood-drinking shapeshifting humanoid reptilians descended from giant space lizards. Mr. Warman decided to shut him down, telling the Independent On Sunday.

“What benefit can there be in allowing him to speak?”

The question is not whether I’m “disentitling” Canada’s human rights nomenklatura, but who entitled them in the first place, to the point where Mr. Warman thinks the state commissars should be determining who should be “allowed” to speak. Sorry, but that’s not my definition of “human rights.” And I’d rather take my chances with a shape-shifting space lizard than an endlessly morphing, ever expanding star chamber that shames Canada. M