The Canadian Association for Free Expression honouredformer North Shore News columnist Doug Collins (Thursday, November 20) with a presentation and a cheque to support his fight to preserve freedom of speech. The meeting took place at the Best Western Capilano Hotel at 8:00 p.m. The meeting heard an update from Collins on the fight against B.C.’s notorious gag law Bill 33 — dubbed by Collins “The Kill Collins Bill”. Collins was recently exonorated by a one-person tribunal of having spread hatred or contempt in a 1993 column he had written. “Collins is one of this country’s most outstanding supporters of free speech and open dialogue,” said Paul Fromm, CAFE Director who made the presentation to a standing room only crowd. “This man has paid his dues. He twice put it all on the line for freedom.
He fought Hitler from 1939 to 1946. Amazingly, half a century later he had to fight his own government to secure the rights he thought he won in wartime.” “Bill 33 is an abuse of free speech. I t must be quashed by the courts or repealed,” says Fromm. The case has already cost Collins’ publisher $200,000. “This is an outrage,” adds Fromm. “The cost of this litigation alone will cast a politically correct chill over the province.” In a fiery speech that had the enthusiastic North Shore audience repeatedly on its feet, Collins said: “I’m proud to represent the real Canada as opposed to the Canada imposed on us by politicians and special interests.” Earlier in the day, Collins had appeared before a B.C. Press Council hearing adjudicating a complaint made by failed Liberal politician Warren Kinsella.
At the hearing, Collins stoutly refuted Kinsella’s complaints of unfairness and a wounded reputation. Kinsella had smarted under Collins’ accusation that he’d been parachuted into the North Vancouver riding in last June’s federal election. Kinsella was forced to admit that eight days after the election he had put his North Van home on the market and has since taken a job with McMillan Bull Casgrain, an establishment law firm inb Toronto.
Several years ago, Kinsella had authored Web of Hate, a strident diatribe and smear against many Canadian conservatives and patriotic groups.”I called Kinsella’s book a ‘daft book’ and that’s one of the reasons for the complaint,” Collins told the Press Council. “Dirty tricks are his trademark,” Collins added. “If the so-called hate laws of all kinds have a friend, it’s Warren Kinsella.” The Canadian Association for Free Expression was founded in 1981 and has been in the forefront of the defence of freedom of speech in Canada.