_Doug Christie for the Defence in Fromm Case_

Victoria lawyer Douglas Christie will act as advisor and representative for Peel high school teacher Paul Fromm at a meeting of the Peel Board of Education, January 28, to consider a staff recommendation that Fromm be fired. Fromm, who has taught English in Peel for the past 23 years, has come under attack from a number of special interest groups for his outside political activities. His alleged criticism of federal multiculturalism policies have landed him in trouble with the Board.

In a January 20 letter to the Board, Christie accused Board staff of “a serious breach of fundamental justice. You have adopted as truth and stated as fact, allegations which were first made plain to Mr. Fromm … January 10, 1997. Mr. Fromm takes serious exceptions to all these allegations and can provide evidence of their falsehood and the malicious nature of their origin.”

By accepting the allegations in a complaint by Vancouver activist Alan Dutton as fact, the Board staff “have even more seriously prejudiced the appearance of a fair and impartial hearing,” Christie argued. “These precipitous steps have all the appearance of a flagrant railroading of Mr. Fromm, out of his job without a hearing,” Christie added. “Fromm like anyone else before any administrative decision-making body of a public nature has a right to natural justice, fundamental justice and Charter rights. This is so because it involves government’s actions” Christie accused the Board staff of imposing a penalty — job loss — prior to a hearing to test allegations and determine facts: ” You state ‘a recommendations till be made that [Fromm] be dismissed for cause.’ …

Has there been any impartial hearing to hear Fromm’s side of the matter?” Christie called on the Board to use the Janaury 28 meeting to set a date for a proper hearing where the Vancouver complainant Dutton could be cross-examined and where Fromm could call witnesses and play tapes of meetings that would demonstrate the responsible nature of the political activities in which he’s involved. In another development, University of Western Ontario History professor Kenneth Hilborn has written to Peel Board Chair Beryl Ford defending Fromm.

As editor of the Canadian Issues Series of booklets published by Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform of which he is a director, Fromm has published several booklets by Prof. Hilborn. Hilborn stated that in the booklet The Quest for Equality, “I write: ‘Non-Western civilizations, like those of China and the Islamic world, developed rich cultures and deserve our respect for their art and craftsmanship, their literature and contributions to scientific knowledge.’

I understand that Mr. Fromm stands accused of not respecting other cultures, but he made no objection whatever to publishing the statement quoted.” In his January 22 letter to Ford, Hilborn concluded: “A governmental body should also take into account the implications of penalizing an individual professionally for the lawful exercise of rights (such as freedom of expression and freedom of association) that enjoy constitutional protection under the Charter of Rigfhts and Freedoms.”
For more information, contact: Paul Fromm – 905-897-7221 – hilborn@sscl.uwo.ca