I generally steer clear of the Wednesday rantings of The Australian’s Janet Albrechsten, but today is different.

I was expecting a big mea culpa from Albrechtsen now that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed a complaint made by an Islamic group against Maclean’s magazine and its columnist Mark Steyn. But there is not one word on the matter in her column.

Steyn wrote a column in 2006 for Maclean’s, a leading Canadian weekly, titled “The Future belongs to Islam”. To put not to fine a point on it, Steyn’s piece essentially warned that radical jihadists were going to take over the world and Islam would kill off western civilisation. The piece enraged many Islamic groups in Canada and Steyn and Maclean’s were hauled before Canada’s national Human Rights Commission, and the Human Rights Commissions of Ontario and British Columbia. Steyn and Maclean’s were accused of all manner of things including racism, and inciting racial hatred and Islamophobia.

Only a fortnight ago, Albrechtsen jumped to the defence of Steyn and Maclean’s. While she focussed on the BC human rights commission matter, she unambiguously warned that Canada’s human rights bodies are not interested in fairness.

“It’s a show trial’, said the tub-thumping Albrechtsen in The Australian on June 18. “Canadian human rights tribunals have a 100 per cent conviction rate on so-called ‘hate speech’ cases,” she said.

But only ten days after Albrechtsen made this serious accusation on the intellectual and judicial integrity of Canadian human rights tribunals, Steyn and Maclean’s won their case in the national Human Rights Commission.

“The Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed a complaint filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress against Maclean’s magazine,” reported wire service CP last Saturday.

“In its ruling, posted on Maclean’s website, the Commission acknowledges ‘the writing is polemical, colourful and emphatic, and was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.’ But the Commission also says that, overall, “the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature, as defined by the Supreme Court, ” CP said.

And this is not the only win Steyn has had, despite the impression Albrechtsen has given to readers. The Ontario Commission ruled in April it did not have jurisdiction to hear the complaint against Steyn and Maclean’s. The BC Human Rights Commission is yet to rule on the matter.

So much for Albrechtsen’s show trial allegation. Even if the BC Commission rules against Steyn and Maclean’s, Albrechtsen’s sweeping comments about show trials and a 100 percent conviction rate have been proven wrong.

She should have acknowledged this in her column today.

It’s time to book your next dose of Crikey.

Through the week, news comes at you fast. Every day there’s a new disaster, depressing numbers or a scandal to doom-scroll to. It’s exhausting, and not good for your health.

Book your next dose of Crikey to get on top of it all. Subscribe now and get your first 12 weeks for $12. And you’ll help us too, because every dollar we get helps us dig even deeper.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.