Free speech, as author Malcolm Ross has long known, is a rare commodity in the Maritimes. In late April, Canadian Association for Free Expression director Paul Fromm planned to deliver two talks on the issue of his firing in the Maritimes. When his visit became known, he became a hot item, dominating the front page of the Fredericton Telegraph Journal for over a week. Journalist Giselle Gauguen relied on the usual “experts”: dismissed Toronto Sun scribbler Bill Dunphy and Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
The usual technique of lies and vilification was used. Fromm was accused, falsely, of being “a guest speaker at meetings commemorating Adolf Hitler” (Telegraph Journal, April 10, 1997) In a pirouette of chop logic, Bernie Farber stated: “The Canadian Association of [sic] Free Expression is such a misnomer. These people use the cloak of free speech as a means by which to get their views across.'” Another front-page article breathlessly entitled “UNB Professor Stares Down the New Face of Hatred,” focussed on the efforts of Thomas Kuttner, “a law professor at UNB and member of the Canadian Jewish Congress.”
Far from staring or facing anything down, Kuttner decided to try to deny interested fellow citizens the opportunity to hear Fromm and trotted around a concoction of innuendo sufficient to terrify the manager of the Fredericton Inn into cancelling Fromm’s meeting. ” Mr. Fromm was scheuled to address a seminar at the Fredericton Inn [April 19], but motel managment pulled the plug on the event [April 15] after Prof. Kuttner told them of the former Ontario teacher’s links to the extreme right.” (The Telegraph Journal, April 16, 1997) In the running battle free speechers fight with the forces of censorship and thought control, Fromm faced cancellation of a second venue. “Late Saturday afternoon, his opponents learned that he had booked a meeting room at the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel.
But when they showed up at 7 p.m. to confront him, they learned there would be no talk there — hotel management considered him unwelcome. Someone in the local Jewish community sent word of Mr. Fromm’s background to Beaverbrook general manager Frederic Ferrah.
‘I have made a decision this will not go ahead,’ Mr. Ferrah said in an interview in the lobby. ‘Under no circumstances will this be allowed at the hotel. It was a business decision, not a freedom-of-speech issue.'” (Telegraph Journal, April 21, 1997) Persons who might like to express their views to these cowardly hoteliers who refuse to honour contracts and who have utter contempt for freedom of speech can contact them: John Waite, Manager, Fredericton Inn 506-455-1430; Frederic Ferrah, Manager Lord Beaverbrook Hotel; 506-455-3371; FAX 506-457-1516.
In an April 17 FAX to Mac Carlisle, Chief of Police in Fredericton, Fromm called on the police to investigate Prof. Kuttner’s behaviour to see whether charges should be laid under the Intimidation section of the Criminal Code.
“My right to speak and others’ rights to assemble and hear a speech have been violated by the management of the Fredericton Inn. The change of attitude occurred after the visit from Prof. Kuttner. In other cities, attempts have been made to cancel free speech meetings through threats of violence and disorder. I, therefore, ask that you investigate the matter and Prof. Kuttner’s conduct with a view to a breach of Section 423 of the Criminal Code.” Chief Carlisle’s can be reached at 506-452-9701; FAX 506-460-2316.
Two New Brunswick Papers Refuse Ad for Tape of Cancelled Meeting
Not only are certain hotels in New Brunswick intent on restricting what the locals can hear, but so too are two major newspapers. C-FAR quickly moved to buy display advertizing space to offer a casette of the talk the enemies of free thought had tried to deny access to for people in Fredericton. The ads were turned down by both the Telegraph Journal which had given endless play to the views of the censors and by the Daily Gleaner. On April 23, the following letter was FAXed from the Telegraph Journal to C-FAR: “Regarding your request, the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal and the Saint John Times-Globe advise they will not accept the ad for publication.
— Charlie Fraser Director of Sales and Marketing” A call by Paul Fromm to Fraser elicited the comment: “The publisher does not wish to publish your ad.” Asked for a reason, he refused to explain. When Fromm asked if there was anything false or offensive in the ad or whether some wording might be changed to make it acceptable, he was told it was not negotiable and that a decision had been made. When Fromm contacted publisher Jamie Milne, he too refused to explain why the ad was being rejected: “I’m using the publisher’s right to reject and I’ve rejected your ad. Goodbye.”
The arrogance and insolence of the Telegraph Journal is an effort to deny interested readers the opportunity to hear for themselves what the forces of repression and censorship moved heaven and earth to prevent them from hearing. The Telegraph Journal has clearly lined itself up with the forces of thought control, feeding the peons in New Brunswick only what it feels they ought to know. Their behaviour is an affront to thinking Canadian men and women and a betrayal of the free and open communication that they should be in the front lines defending. If you’d like to register your protest at this stifling of free speech and at this utter arrogance, call Charlie Fraser or publisher Jamie Milne toll free at 1-800-222-9710.
Lethbridge Runs for Communist Party
The Lord High Censor of the Okanagan, David Lethbridge “will represent the Communist Party of Canada in the upcoming federal election.’I think that to a large extent my candidacy is a direct and natural outgrowth of my work against organized racism and fascism,’ said Lethbridge, the leading director in the Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism.” (Salmon Arm Observer, April 16, 1997) The same issue of the paper showed Lethbridge shaking hands with a scruffy Hassan Husseini, central field organizer of the Communist Party. The photo appeared, indeed, to have been taken in a field!
Victoria Library Honoured for Free Speech Stand
“The Greater Victoria Public Library’s policy to allow controversial groups meeting space is being lauded with an ‘intellectual freedom award.’ The award from the B.C. Library Association recognizes the library board’s handling of a brouhaha that erupted last year when Doug Christie’s Canadian Free Speech League held a meeting at the library’s downtown branch. … Protesters who believe the league promotes racist propaganda wanted the meetings banned. Despite the outcry, the library board voted to allow the meetings to continue. … Maurice Chazottes, board chairman at the time of the vote [said]:’We all felt very strongly that we could not bow to any pressure from any group. .. It was intellectual freedom we were supporting.'” (Victoria Times-Colonist, April 25, 1997) Needless to say, the enemies of freedom of thought and expression were not pleased. “Anti-racism activists, however, are appalled. ‘It’s a slap in the face for every minority group in this city,’ said Harry Abrams, a B.C. representative of B’nai Brith. ‘It’s a slap in the face for all who have helped build a peaceful, multicultural society.'” Abrams confirms that multiculturalism in Canada can only come about at the price of the freedoms of the Majority, including the freedom to speak and meet.
Kinsella Runs for Liberals in North Van
Warren Kinsella, author of the smear book Web of Hate is “the North Vancouver candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada.” (The North & West Voice, March, 1997) A diligent reader has sent us this voice from the past. “I am sixteen years of age … and not since moving to Calgary have I encountered such bigotry and prejudice as I found in your newspaper. … You wrote in your October 27 front-page article: ‘Bilingualism is a plot by Quebec politicians to dominate the bureaucracy of Canada.’ This, to me, is unadulterated paranoia.” — Warren Kinsella. (Calgary North Hills News, November 10, 1976)