Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hello, Mark

I agree with much of what writer Mark Steyn says in his article Wise and the ways of the world, which is his response to my last post.

Where I part ways with Mr. Steyn is in my primary characterizations of this affair.

I view the Steyn-CIC matter as an example of the broader problem of politically-driven lawsuit abuse, rather than as a specific indictment of Canada's human rights legislation.

The "real world" that I observe frequently includes litigants who cleverly exploit any legislation or legal avenue open to them in pursuit of their often-transparent advocacy agendas. Sometimes they succeed with this type of litigation. Sometimes they do not.

My faith that the judicial system will sort it all out does not imply that I welcome these claims against Mr. Steyn. It simply explains why, contrary to some, I have concluded that the future of the free world is not likely riding on their outcome.

What strikes me as noteworthy, however, is how serious Mr. Steyn has become over these complaints. From what I can gather, he used to think that politically-motivated litigation by partisan hacks with axes to grind was fodder for humour:

... Even for Bill Clinton, this is unworthy. Internwise, America divides into those who think he's Benny Hill with subpoenas and those who believe it was Richard Mellon Scaife under the Oval Office desk and he later pinned it on Monica. But either way we're interned out.

The Wrong Way to Mount Rushmore, Mark Steyn - Opinion Journal, June 27, 2004

(Ah, those good old days of Larry Klayman, when "only" the U.S. Presidency was at stake in those dubious legal attacks by what Mr. Steyn refers to as "serial plaintiffs")

Finally, on a personal note before I move on, as gifted as Mr. Steyn undoubtedly is when it comes to crafting amusing prose, I am nonetheless not pleased that immediately upon reading Mr. Steyn's post, my 'significant other' adopted his "Mr. Moderate" moniker as her new "pet name" for me - with at least as much friendly mischief in mind as that intended by Mr. Steyn.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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