Mark Steyn has a look at our troubled dealings with free speech and doesn’t like what he sees.
No two situations are identical, but Australia’s Section 18 is very roughly analogous to Canada’s Section 13, with Andrew Bolt and The Herald Sun playing the roles of me and Maclean’s magazine and various aboriginal persons in the parts of Khurrum Awan and the Canadian Islamic Congress Sock Puppets. Thanks to Brian Storseth’s private member’s bill, Section 13 was final repealed by the Canadian Parliament last year, after a somewhat protracted path to Royal Assent. By contrast, it’s not clear our Aussie cousins’ efforts to repeal Section 18 will get out of the starting gate.
Steyn is so unique that it is only he who has been able to see through to the core issues and then set himself against the gale force winds that come his way. Here the legal precedent went the other way and was not appealed beyond the initial court decision. But let’s face it. No one wants to take these issues on; we all have other things to do with our lives and no one is made of money. So this may be more than a bit of whimsy.
I hope the Section 18 campaign picks up a bit of steam soon. But I did take the precaution of threatening The Australian‘s readers:
I might have to fly in and do it myself.
I mean that. We’re currently mapping out plans for my Aussie tour later this year. In ideal circumstances, I’d fly in in time to attend the Governor General’s Section 18 Repeal cocktail party at Government House. But I have the glum feeling that the case for free speech might still be far from won.
Meanwhile on Steyn’s other adventures in the world of law, there is the latest episode of Mark v Mann, Mann of course being the man with the hockey stick who sued Steyn for slander. The only trouble is actually trying to get the case before a court. This is where the process is now at after more than a year of Mannoeuvering:
On Saturday, I noted that Mann had yet to join me in filing an objection to National Review‘s Motion to Stay Discovery. He did so today:
Defendant Mark Steyn opted not to appeal the denial of the motions to dismiss the amended complaint. Rather, Mr. Steyn has filed an answer and counterclaims and has expressed his intention to move forward with discovery, regardless of the fact that his co-defendants have opted to appeal.
Indeed, I have. So what’s Dr Mann’s position? Well, it’s a two-part response.
On the one hand, he’s in favor of his proceeding with discovery against me:
The fact that Mr. Steyn has not appealed the denial of the motions to dismiss counsels further against a discovery stay. Mr. Steyn, like Dr. Mann, has made clear his desire to have this Court resolve this lawsuit and to move forward with discovery immediately. As such, there is no reason for this Court to delay discovery further.
On the other hand, he’s totally opposed to my proceeding with discovery against him:
While Dr. Mann agrees with Mr. Steyn that discovery should move forward on Dr. Mann’s claims, discovery cannot move forward on Mr. Steyn’s counterclaims.
Oh, my. You do surprise me.