“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 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.
- Lebensraum by Dr. Ingrid Rimland, a trilogy telling in novel form of the odyssey of German Mennonites from Germany to Russia and then to the New World Over a 200 year period.
Empty truck after Canada Customs plays the censor 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!” Canadian Association for Free Expression believes free speech and discussion are essential to any functioning democracy. Freedom of speech and freedom to express one’s beliefs are essential to human dignity.
The Association, through publishing, lectures, conferences and lobbying tries to protect these basic human rights and to promote to the maximum the Charter guaranteed rights of freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.