As a Canadian, I must say reading things like this makes me hang my head in shame. See if you can guess why:
Canada is often thought of as a land of bland consensus and multicultural harmony – the last place where you would expect to see a religious minority up in arms, and journalists accusing the state of gagging freedom of speech.
Yet in recent months, these have become fixtures of the country’s public debate.
The opening shot was fired by Mark Steyn, an outspoken conservative columnist regarded by supporters as the Canadian equivalent of Denmark’s cartoonists or the Netherlands’ Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Okay. Let’s make a few things clear. It’s not the “bland consensus” bit that makes me hang my head. Canada isn’t bland, and neither is our multiculturalism. This is just sloppy writing and sloppier thinking on the part of the Beeb’s so-called reporter.
What I AM ashamed of, is that an ex-Brit and wannabe Yank named Mark Steyn is currently squatting here, and what’s even more shameful, is that those who don’t know doodley-fuck about him are calling him the “Canadian equivalent” of anything. He is NOT Canadian, no matter what his current passport says.
And as for equivalence, let him have a class unto himself, preferably at the bottom of the heap. He deserves no better.
Now, for the really shameful bits.
In a 2006 article he used demographics to suggest that the West would succumb to Muslim domination.
The piece, entitled “The future belongs to Islam” and published by the Toronto magazine Maclean’s, argued that Europe was “too enfeebled to resist its remorseless transformation into Eurabia”.
Mr Steyn summarised the presumed global advantage of militant Islam with a stark equation: “Youth + Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way.”
To some, he had crossed the line between vigorous polemic and Islamophobia.
“To some”? How about MANY? How about AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY? He is certainly the most despised hack to write for our so-called national newsmagazine (which I’m sure will come as an unpleasant surprise to Barbara Amiel, the other ex-British pretender to the throne.)
The notion that Muslims should be feared by virtue of their numbers and purported militancy is “quite inflammatory”, says Toronto law student Khurrum Awan.
Mr Awan and fellow students marched on Maclean’s a year ago to demand a chance to issue a full-length rebuttal in Canada’s only nationwide news magazine.
“What we said is that we want an opportunity to participate in the debate when you are talking about the issues that relate directly to us,” Mr Awan told the BBC News website.
Maclean’s editor gave the students short shrift. He said he had published 27 letters in response to the Steyn article, and would “rather go bankrupt” than let outsiders dictate the content of his magazine.
So. Let’s see if I’m reading this correctly here. It’s “free speech” for Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, et al, to talk about Muslims the way Hitler did about Jews, but freedom of speech here stops short of Muslims and their friends having the right to rebut such a steaming heap of demographically challenged drivel?
I’m so glad I stopped reading Maclean’s, and gladder still that I got my parents to cancel their subscription, in response to Steyn’s rantings. That magazine has gone down the shitter in recent years, and its neo-con-with-a-boob-job editorial turn (an attempt to “liven things up” American-style, no doubt) is one reason why. (Its hideous supermarket-tabloid look, an attempt to “liven things up” British-style no doubt, is another.)
At this rate, Maclean’s deserves to go bankrupt. And I for one hope it does.