Barbara Kay takes on the Quebec Press Council in a column today in the Montreal Gazette.
She recalls how on: "’one fine morning’ – Feb. 19, 2007, to be precise – notice was served of the council’s condemnation of two of my columns published last August in the National Post during the Israel-Lebanon war. It upheld complaints by officials of the Societe-Saint-John-Baptiste and others against the columns in which I castigated four Quebec career politicians, the only ones in Canada to lend their names and credibility to a demonstration organized by supporters of the officially classified terrorist group Hezbollah."
"Judging from their see-no-evil behaviour before and during a "peace" march fairly humming with anti-Semitism, I predicted a soft-on-Islamism political culture in a putatively independent Quebec. Edgy, but business as usual in the lively comment section of my newspaper."
"According to the QPC, however, I was guilty of serious ethical lapses: "undue provocation" (define "undue"), "a lack of rigour" in my writing and – mentioned more than once in the decision – the especially grave journalistic sin of "altering the facts" upon which my opinions rested."
"Nobody from the QPC has ever publicly identified these allegedly altered facts. There isn’t a single point of information in my columns that will not stand up to scrutiny, or any I couldn’t have substantiated, or that the National Post (also censured) did not substantiate in its response, but the insalubrious facts around the Aug. 6 "peace march," although essential to an understanding of my opinion, seem to be, in today’s parlance, a place the "court" doesn’t want to go."
"For the council’s real purpose is to publicly shame critics of Quebec in perpetuity to chill any similar impulse in others. But the shame is on them."
Will the QPC respond? Time will only tell.