There is lots of commentary on the proceedings.
Coyne on the basics:
Only in the demented Dominion.
...from the complainant’s lawyer:
10:00 AM Faisal Joseph opening now…
10:03 AM "A national media organization that consistently and persistently denigrated Canadians of Muslim origin … while refusing to offer any meaningful reply…"
10:05 AM Section7.1 of the BC Human Rights Code is the relevant legal text, prohibiting exposure to hate.
Free speech, in Joseph’s humble submission, is a "red herring."
10:21 AM He’s quoting various intemperate blog posts—written by people with no connection to Steyn or Maclean’s—to make the point that Steyn’s article encouraged others to view Muslims with hatred.
10:23 AM So he wants the tribunal to order Rogers to publish … something, in the name of "balancing" free speech against the right to be free of discrimination.
...from Maclean’s defence:
11:02 AM Roger McConchie now up for Maclean’s…
Fundamental position: these proceedings, from beginning to end, are an infringement of the constitutional right to free press, and the relevant section of BC code should be struck down.
On the narrow substantive issue, we appear for the limited purpose of rebutting the complainant’s claims.
11:04 AM Under Section 7.1, he continues, innocent intent is not a defence, nor is truth, nor is fair comment or the public interest, nor is good faith or responsible journalism.
Or in other words, there is no defence.
11:08 AM Maclean’s does not recognize the right of governments at any level to monitor the contents of magazines. We will call no witnesses, but will simply ask that the complaint be set aside…
We will, however, get into whether the article in question conforms to the definition laid out in the Taylor case, a Supreme Court decision upholding a similar section of the federal law on the grounds that it would only apply to really "extreme" examples of hatred…
11:19 AM McConchie goes on: whether or not we agreed to publish the "response" sought is irrelevant. It wasn’t in their original complaint, and it’s not grounds for claiming "discrimination" under Section 7.1.
And he’s done.
11:38 AM It’s kind of a cool defence, when you think of it. The law does not permit us to defend ourselves on the basis of responsible journalism (or anything else, really). But that’s patently unreasonable, so the complainants are actually trying to sneak it back in—to make the issue our journalistic practices, rather than their attempt to silence us. We’re not giving them that opportunity.