On November 12, a one-person tribunal established by the B.C Human Rights Commission dismissed a complaint against columnist Doug Collins for having written views likely to expose one of the privileged minorities to hatred or contempt. “A column he wrote was branded nasty, insulting and anti-Semitic, … but tribunal member Nitya Iyer found Collins’ 1994 article on … Schindler’s List fell short of violating B.C.’s new human rights code. Her 143-page ruling said the tone of the column was deliberately provocative and mean spirited.
It expressed a ‘smug self-satisfaction’ in Collins’ apparent success of freeing himself from the ‘propaganda’ by which others in society are duped. But it did not caputre the ‘degree of calumny, detestation or vilification’ signified by hatred and contempt in the code. Collins … said he wouldn’t take back a word he wrote and called the provincial law ‘an absolute atrocity’ for freedom of speech.” (The Province, Vancouver, November 13, 1997)
The dismissal of the Canadian Jewish Congress complaint against the intrepid WW II hero was a victory. However, freethinkers would be premature in cracking out the champagne just yet. Yes, Collins won, but it cost his paper and supporters $203,000! Free speech isn’t free. In fact, it’s very expensive and the enemies of freedom mean to make it so. Many a less courageous publisher may look at anything controversial,– that is, anything that criticizes the privileged minorities — and say: Remember Collins!
Yes, he won, but look at the cost. Any minority can launch a complaint. It costs nothing. The human rights industry — taxpayer-funded — takes over the prosecution. The victim, even if he wins, has paid and paid and paid. The law must be challenged and declared unconstitutional. B.C. free speechers should contact their MLAs and denounce the waste of taxpayers’ money in persecuting Collins. In an otherwise mean-spirited editorial, The Province (November 13, 1997) concluded: “In a notably self-serving decision, the tribunal also ruled that the anti-hate law portion of B.C’s Human Rights Code is constitutionally valid. Further legal action is likely and the whole mess could end up in the Supreme Court of Canada. The NDP is wasting everyone’s time with this law: Victoria has no business in meddling on issues of censorship that properly belong in the courts.”
Collins Charged Again
The very abuse of process mentioned above — censorship through beggary — quickly came to pass. The ink was scarcely dry on the B.C. Human Rights tribunal’s judgment than Collins was complained about again. More expenses! However, neither Collins nor the North Shore News intends to play the costly game. They seek to get the iniquitous law before a proper court.”The North Shore News and retired columnist Doug Collins are giving British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal the cold shoulder. The reaction is a response to a second and third complaint filed with the tribunal against the paper and its former columnist. B’nai Brith member Harry Abrams of Victoria launched the complaints and alleges a number of columns written by Collins are likely to cause hatred against various groups. …
The groups he includes in his complaint are Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Iranians, and Sikhs. However, the News and Collins maintain the legislation, Section 7 of the Human Rights Code, under which the tribunals propose to proceed, is unconstitutional and violate free speech and press rights contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms. … At a December 15 Human Rights Tribunal pre-hearing scheduling conference, News lawyer David Sutherland is expected to state that the paper and its former columnist will not participate in any upcoming hearings, except to continue to question the constitutional validity of section 7(1)(b) of the Code. ‘I want to make it clear to everyone that the North Shore News and Doug Collins don’t accept Nitya Iyer’s Charter decision,’ said Sutherland, … ‘that while the legislation infringes the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of expression, those infringements were justified and constitutionally valid. … News publisher Peter Speck called the Abrams complaints ‘ludicrous’ and questioned the validity of the process as a whole. ‘This is going to lead from one charge to another. How many times can we be tried for the same thing?” (North Shore News, December 10, 1997) The latest complainant is no friend of free speech.
As we’ve warned before, multiculturalism means legislation to gag the Majority. When the Greater Victoria Public Library received an “intellectual freedom award” from the B.C. Library Association this April for standing up to the censorship groups demanding that they deny facilities to Doug Christie’s Canadian Free Speech League’s Orwell lecture in October, 1996, Abrams was outraged: “‘It’s a slap in the face for every minoritiy group in this city,’ said Harry Abrams, a B.C. representative for B’nai Brith. ‘It’s a slap in the face for all who have helped build a peaceful multicultural society.'” (Victoria Times-Colonist, April 25, 1997)
Criminalizing Dissent: Anti-Gypsy Protesters Charged With “Hate”
Charges under Section 318 — the “hate law” — of the Criminal Code require the consent of the provincial attorney-general. We warned our readers of the censorship fanaticism of Ontario’s Attorney General Charles Harnick going back to the days of his sponsorship of Bill 56 in 1993. Under his administration, charges have been laid in four separate incidents — all right of centre dissent, of course.
The latest incident involves eight youth, the oldest 20, two of them under 18. “Eight alleged neo-Nazi skinheads were scooped in early morning raids in Scarborough, Etobicoke and Brampton [December 9] and charged with provoking hatred against Gypsies. The charges stem from a protest outside a Scarborough motel last summer. … Protesters wore neo-Nazi symbols, carried ‘Honk if you hate Gypsies’ signs and gave stiff armed salutes as they paraded outside the Scarborough motel. …
The Canandian Jewish Congress … demanded police lay charges in the wake of the anti-Gypsy demonstration.” (Toronto Sun, December 10, 1997) Harnick, it must be remembered, was formerly active in the CJC. When Bernie Farber of the CJC whistles for charges, his co-religionist Harnick barks. Yes, the youths’ sign was foolish. So, too were stiff armed salutes and a Nazi flag.
But criminal? A week or two before the charges, a mob of students and others not-so-young screamed murderer and forced against police lines to protest former U.S. President George Bush being granted an honourary degree at the University of Toronto. Signs called him “murderer”. Of course, this was politically correct dissent. No charges were laid. The charges against the anti-Gypsy protesters were clearly politically motivated: crack down on any manifestation of anti-immigration dissent, especially highly visible demonstrations. Canada is rapidly resembling its newfound totalitarian buddies in Red China and Indonesia, as we reported in Free Speech Monitor, November, 1997.
Since being charged, the youths who were entirely non-violent in their protest, have been subject to draconian bail conditions. Two remained in jail past Christmas, unable to raise the $2,500 bail. The rest were forbidden to communicate with one another, thus making a common defence difficult. They were also placed under virtual house arrest, having to stay at home between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Veterans of the courts report that many people who commmit assault are remanded on their own recognisance. However, these are political cases: such special abuse is called for.
In the summer, an obscure fundamentalist Mark Harding, 44 , of Meaford, Ontario was charged with promoting hatred for distributing leaflets attacking Islam as a “false” and “violent religion”. “It suggests Muslims in Toronto are no different than ‘Muslim believers’ in Algeria who have committed bloody atrocities.. … Sgt. Dino Doria of the Metropolitan Toronto Police hate crimes unit [the political police squad] … said only three weeks passed from the time police were alerted to the material to the laying of charges.” (Canadian Jewish News, July 19, 1997) These charges are an absurdity. One of the defences against a charge under Section 318 is sincerely held religious belief.
Dutton’s Strange Allies
Alan Dutton, government-funded censor extraordinaire in Vancouver, has some strange pals. On September 25, he was one of several speakers at a meeting headlined “Exposing & Opposing the Fascist Right.” The meeting was co-sponsored by the BC Young New Democrats, the International Socialists and the Committee for Equality for Immigrants and New Canadians.
At this meeting, Dutton complained that Doug Christie and Paul Fromm get to use public facilities. He vowed to “mobilize” to stop a planned meeting for Paul Fromm on the North Shore, October 3. Alerted, the meeting organizers changed the venue, and Dutton and company shivered in a cold Vancouver rain outside an empty hall.
One of the advertised speakers at Dutton’s meeting was Splitting the Sky, a.k.a. John Hill “A U.S. Mohawk Indian, Hill … served a sentence for killing a guard during a 1971 convict uprising … in Attica … with a two-by-four. … Hill had convictions for petty larceny, attempted murder, second-degree assault, supplying contraband to a prisoner and possession of a dangerous weapon.” (Vancouver Sun, September 24, 1997)