On April 12, CBC Newsworld’s programme On the Line posed the question: “Should the Internet be censored?” To argue the case, they brought in the Dave Steib — “Tomorrow I’ll Be Perfect”– of anti-racists, Warren “Web of Hate” Kinsella. He fulminated about the need for government to step in.
An Ottawa journalist debated him and gave a good account of himself. The CBC carried some provocative “man-in-the-street” interviews. Most said that, of course, there have to be controls; why you can’t have that Ernst Zundel spouting his views — almost as if they’d been primed off camera with the Zundel question. However, the forces of censorship got a rude shock. The Canadian public who could phone in their votes gave a resounding “No!” to Internet censorship. A thumping 82% said “no” , as opposed to just 18% who wanted the government or the professional minorities to do our thinking for us.
The McGillis Decision Must Stop the Zundel Tribunal
Mark March 23 as a landmark decision that should help the cause of freedom of speech and throw a spanner into the costly spinning wheels of human rights tribunals across the country. In plain terms, Madame Justice Donna McGillis, a federal judge, ruled that human rights tribunals, as presently constituted, pose a reasonable apprehension of bias. She was ruling in an employment equity case brought before a Canadian Human Rights Commission tribunal by the Canadian Telephone Employees’ Association and the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers of Canada against Bell Canada.
Noting that members of human rights tribunals do not have security of tenure and that their remuneration is set by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which appoints them but is also a party to the hearings, she concluded that reasonable people might fear that the tribunal members might show bias as they owe their position to the commission.
Madame Justice McGillis carefully based her reasoning on a 1992 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. “In Newfoundland Telephone Co. v. Newfoundland Board of Commissioner of Public Utilities, … the Supreme Court of Canada indicated, in a unanimous decision that finding of a reasonable apprehension of bias vitiates a right to a fair hearing.
The Court stated as follows: ‘Everyone appearing before administrative boards in entitled to be treated fairly. … It is impossible to have a fair hearing or to have procedural fairness if a reasonable apprehension of bias has been established. … The damage created by apprehension of bias cannot be remedied. The hearing , and any subsequent order from it, is void.'” (paragraph 156) Then, applying this law to the case at hand, she stated: “I have concluded that the statutory scheme in the Act is inadequate in that it fails to provide Tribunal members with a sufficient guarantee of security of tenure.
I have further concluded that the insufficient nature of the security of tenure … would raise a reasonable apprehension of bias in the mind of a fully informed and resonable person.” (paragraph 143) She, then, concluded: “I have therefore concluded that the proceedings before the Tribunal in the present case are void.
The fundamental rights at issue … cannot be determined by a Tribunal appointed under the Act until legislative reform, which has been sought for so many years, corrects the problems identified in relation to security of tenure and financial security.” (paragraph 156) Her conclusions are sweeping: it is not just this tribunal in the Bell case, but “a” — any– tribunal so constituted.
Political Correctness May Nix Manitoba Licence Plate
“Rod Ward says he’s only supporting his beloved British soccer club, but his personalized licence plate might get the boot anyway. Ward’s car sports the plate NOTTS C, chosen in honor of the Nottinghamshire County Football Club. But the Manitoba Highways Department is considering revoking the plate after getting complaints about its aural similarity to the word Nazi.
‘They’re looking for an excuse to take the easy way out, but I feel I’ve got some rights here, too,’ said Ward, who moved to Winnipeg from Nottingham in 1969. ‘It is a legitimate soccer team from my home town. Why should I have to suffer because of the minute amount of complaints they get out of the whole population of Manitoba? Susan Boulter, the registrar’s director of licensing, said a decision will be made in a few days. ( Calgary Sun, April 27, 1998, )
Customs Censors Seize Irish Myths & Hellyer’s Books as “Hate” at B.C. Border Crossing
[See CAFE Press Release also] “Canada’s Customs censors have run amok,” says Paul Fromm Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, referring to a May 1 seizure by Canada Customs of 98 different books, booklets and tapes.
The material valued at about $1,450 retail were held up as potential “hate propaganda.” The seizure by an Inspector Rece at the Chopaka border crossing, west of Osoyoos, B.C…, involved all books and tapes in Mr. Fromm’s car. Fromm had earlier in the week run a meeting in the Okanagan, where these titles were for sale.
He had later crossed into the U.S. to do some shopping and sightseeing. The Customs officials agreed that he was not “importing” these books and tapes and that they were his personal/business property.
The seizure included:
- The Irish Fairy Tale Book: Myth and Romance from the Old World
- The Breakdown of the Criminal Justice System in Canada by former B.C. Judge Les Bewley
- The Evil Empire: Globalization’s Darker Side by former Liberal cabinet minister Paul Hellyer
- Our Home or Native Land: What Government’s Aboriginal Policy is Doing to Canada by Melvin Smith, QC, a constitutional adviser to four successive B.C. governments
- Stalking the Wild Taboo by Prof. Garrett Hardin, a world renounced ecologist from the University of California at Santa Barbara
- The Cult of the Victim by Prof. Ken Hilborn of the University of Western Ontario
- The Hate Crimes Law in Canada, 1970-1994: Effects and Operation by lawyer Barbara Kulaszka, LL.B., M.L.S.
The time it takes to examine titles can extend to six months or more. “The arbitrary seizure of these books is an outrageous affront to free speech and a severe business hardship,” adds Fromm. The motivation was clearly political. “I was grilled aggressively as to whether or how I knew Bernard Klatt, a local controversial Internet Service Provider.”
Fromm believes the Customs inspector was motivated by an anti-German bias. “I was asked: ‘Are you related to Ernst Zundel?’ I have an obviously German name. Would I have been asked, were I Chinese, whether I was related to Chairman Mao? I got the clear impression that the thinking was: German equals Nazi.
Therefore, seize his books.” Inspector Rece admitted he was no expert in political or cultural literature. He indicated that the authorization for the seizure had come from Stu Piggot, his superior at the Customs and Border Service, Okanagan and Kootenay Region, in Penticton, whom he had phoned and consulted. “Sadly, Canada is becoming Cuba del Norte,” comments Fromm.
” It’s interesting that both Prime Minister Chretien and House Speaker Gilbert Parent seem inordinately fond of this communist dictatorship, which offers its sorry people little freedom to read or to express themselves.
We seem to be moving in that direction here. My mom and dad both volunteered and served in the Canadian armed forces during WW II to prevent this very sort of thing — this book burning. The behaviour of Canada Customs is ignorant and a disgrace to thinking men and women in a supposedly free country. Would-be dictators always go after books — ideas and art,” says Fromm.
“What most amazed me was the bone-headed way the Customs’ officers insisted on seizing the Irish Fairy Tale Book. The one-eighth of me that is Liverpool Irish remembers the old rebel song ‘They’re Hanging Men and Women for the Wearing of the Green.’ In politically correct Canada, they’re seizing books of Irish fairy tales!” Customs Censors Run Amok The B.C. seizure of C-FAR books seems part of a growing pattern of repression by the Canada Customs censors.
An April 1, 1998 [no kidding, April Fool’s Day!] ruling by R. Roskaft informed Toronto publisher Ernst Zundel: “201 books entitled Eugen Duhring on the Jews were detained at International Mail on October 24, 1997. The material has been reviewed and found to contain depictions of HATE LITERATURE. As the portrayal of sex was found to be the main object of the material and as it contained the above depictions, it is therefore considered to be obscene, as that term is defined in the Criminal Code, and its importation into Canada prohibited.”
What’s going on here? The Duhring book is a translation of a historical work by a 19th Century German philosopher. There is no mention of sex. Is this monumental incompetence or spite? The latter possibility suggests itself as, if the ruling isn’t successfully appealed, the shipment can be returned to the U.S. publisher, if it is “hate”. However, if it is obscene, it cannot be shipped through the mail and, therefore, must be destroyed. The crowning irony is that author Alexander Jacob is East Indian!
Meanwhile, novelist Ingrid Rimland, raised a German Mennonite in what is now the Ukraine and one of the millions of ethnically-cleansed German expellees, reports: “I still haven’t received notice why a rather substantial shipment of my trilogy, Lebensraum!, was seized at the Canadian border as being unfit for adult Canadians to read.
Almost all of the small parcels were either gifts to supporters of my work or review copies to media. Apparently about half of the books went through, and the rest are being held for censorship scrutiny.” (The Lebensraum! trilogy is available for $105 from C-FAR Books, Box 332, Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3.)