Following up on earlier threats (Feb. 14, Mar. 19), Syed Soharwardy has brought a complaint against the Western Standard before the Alberta Human Rights Commission over its publication of the Mohammed cartoons. Ezra Levant, publisher of the Western Standard, explains (Mar. 29) that defendants in the “human rights” tribunal do not benefit from the protection that the loser-pays principle affords most defendants in Canada against groundless or nuisance litigation:
even if we are successful in the human rights commission, we will not be compensated for our legal fees. It’s not like a real court [! — W.O.], where an unsuccessful plaintiff would be ordered to pay a successful defendant’s costs. So even if we win, we lose — the process is the penalty. Worse than that, the radical imam who is suing us doesn’t have to put up a dime — the commission uses tax dollars to pay lawyers and other inquisitors to go at us directly. Human rights tribunals themselves are illiberal institutions.
More: A. Alan Borovoy, “Hearing complaint alters rights body’s mandate”, Calgary Herald, Mar. 16 (PDF).
In other cartoon-jihad news, it appears that giant book retailers Borders and Waldenbooks have been Boston-Phoenix-ized (see Feb. 10); they say they won’t carry the April-May issue of the magazine Free Inquiry, which reprints Mohammed cartoons, for fear of Islamist violence against their employees and customers (Carolyn Thompson, “Borders, Waldenbooks Won’t Carry Magazine”, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 29). Free Inquiry is actually worth subscribing to quite aside from this episode; you can do that here.
P.S. Eugene Volokh has a thread discussing the extent to which Borders/Walden might be subject to later tort liability if its sale of the magazine led to violence that harmed customers (Mar. 30).