Injured feelings of “vulnerable groups” used to define discrimination, rather than intent or facts of story

EDMONTON, May 1, 2002 ( – The Edmonton-based Report Newsmagazine has lost a key media-freedom case before a tribunal of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. In Kane v. Alberta Report, the tribunal determines which parts of a news story are newsworthy and which are not; it “strongly suggests” that the magazine’s staff submit to human rights training by the commission; and it warns that henceforth findings of discrimination will be based on the injured feelings of “vulnerable groups,” not on the intent of a publisher nor on the facts of a story.

Report Newsmagazine’s pro-life editor and publisher Link Byfield is concerned that the ruling will set a precedent threatening freedom of the press. Moreover, the well known bias of human rights commissions in Canada to favour homosexual activists has led observers to suggest that the homosexual issue will be the next application of the precedent set in the ruling against Report Newsmagazine. Human Rights Tribunal decisions in Canada have already ordered Christian mayors fined up to $10,000 for failing to proclaim “Gay Pride Day” and a Christian printer being fined $5,000 for refusing to print homosexual propaganda and being ordered to print such material in the future. The many centuries old moral beliefs of the Christians involved were disregarded in favour of the more politically correct complainants’ intolerance of those beliefs.

The complaint against Report arose over a short story published by Alberta Report Oct. 13, 1997. Kane objected to a description of a Jewish businessman, which he felt to be an anti-Semitic caricature, and to a comment that North American commercial real estate is dominated by Jewish families who sometimes deal preferentially with each other.

Report editor and publisher Link Byfield refused to apologize, saying the so-called “caricature” was not recognizably Jewish, that the real estate comment was simply true and not anti-Semitic, and that there was no anti-Jewish intent in the story and no anti-Jewish effect. Moreover, Byfield argued, even if there were, the Human Rights Act in Section 2(2) allows for free expression of opinion on any matter.

See the Report Press release which includes a link to the complete Human Rights ruling:


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