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Battles for Freedom

Doug Collins Oliver Speech.

March 21, 1998

Hear Doug Collins speech in Real Audio

These are extraordinary times in Canada. Dangerous ones, too. The attack on freedom of speech is massive. It has been going on for many years, beginning in 1971 when the federal hate laws were passed. I was covering parliament at the time and saw it happen at first hand. Since then situation has grown progressively worse. It has now reached the stage where under the B.C. Human Rights Code a person could be taken before a human rights tribunal for telling a Newfie joke. It just depends on whether Uzzal Dosanjh and the provincial government want to go after him; in other words, whether he is a sanctioned target � sanctioned by the politically correct and pressure groups like Sol Littman�s Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

It�s disappointing that the establishment media are suckers for propaganda put out by those groups. All that�s needed for them to press the panic button and produce scare headlines is for the usual trigger words to be used � neo-Nazi, white supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic. The issues are rarely debated. So they resort to calling people names. Meanwhile, real reporting seems to be out of fashion, taking handouts is very much in fashion. The stories in the Okanagan media have been good examples of that, as was Thursday�s scare story in the Globe & Mail. Call it the spirit of the times. Forty years ago we saw another spirit of the times. It was called McCarthyism. Anyone who wanted medicare could be demonized and seen as a Communist. I lived through those times, too, but many of today�s media weren�t around then. So let�s forgive them, for they know not what they do. But it�s time some of them grew up.

In the United States none of the anti-free speech laws that decorate the landscape in Canada would get to first base. They have a Constitution that protects free expression. We don�t. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a leaky vessel, which is why teachers and others can be fired from their jobs for holding the wrong views. In this country, too, an author like David Irving can be arrested while making a dinner speech about free speech, put into handcuffs, and deported on an immigration pretext �while many killers and crooks of all kinds are allowed to remain here and while Asian gangs roam Vancouver on drive-by shootings. That�s something else the people of Oliver might think about when they sign petitions asking the Attorney General in effect to go after Mr. Klatt for running an Internet service. But once again, let�s not blame them. They are victims of a massive propaganda campaign. that�s what I was getting at when I wrote that famous or infamous column on Hollywood Propaganda.

My interest in freedom of speech began a long time ago. When Ernst Zundel was prosecuted for �spreading false news� in 1985 I appeared for the defence. I had never heard of the guy but it was incomprehensible to me that a man could be prosecuted for spreading false news. As I told the court, Santa Claus spreads false news, the weatherman spreads false news, and any reporter who has ever reported what a politician has had to say is probably spreading false news. Today�s media are particularly good at spreading false news. The Globe & Mail story about this meeting that appeared on Thursday was liberally sprinkled with false news, as Oliver has good reason to know. In the Zundel case, of course, the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with me in the end and the false news law was nixed. Littman can count himself lucky.

But the anti-free speech experts were not discouraged. They invented human rights commissions.The B.C. Human Rights Act, or Code, as it�s called now, is a disgrace to the province and to the country. The Littmans think it�s wonderful, of course, but they would, wouldn�t they!.

I was charged under that Code. The Canadian Jewish Congress laid a complaint against me after I�d written a column headed �Hollywood Propaganda� in which I said that the six million holocaust figure was nonsense, that the Jewish influence in Hollywood was predominant, and that the move Schindler�s List should have been called Swindler�s List. I said that because the man�s own wife denounced him as a swindler, and she should know. As for who runs Hollywood, only last Sunday a two-hour program was shown on network TV called �Hollywoodism,� which confirmed my view in spades. I also stated in the column that I was tired of hate literature in the form of films, and that Schindler�s List had to be the 555th. movie on the same subject. Think about that, when the Littmans and the Canadian Jewish Congress fulminate about hate literature. How would you feel if you were a German born long after Hitler was dead and you were reminded every day that your grandfather did the wrong thing? Ask yourselves how you would feel if you were a young German, being told by Daniel Goldhagen, a Jewish professor in New York, that Germans have a pathological hatred of Jews? That�s what he did in his book Hitler�s Willing Executioners. Isn�t that hate literature. But there�s not much fuss about that The book is freely available in Canada, while books to which the pressure groups object are not. They are stopped at the border. Reverse the Goldhagen thing and consider what the reaction would be if someone wrote a book claiming that all Jews are crooks. What it boils down to of course is that one man�s Hitler is another man�s Hemingway.

It�s now over half a century since the war ended but from what see on TV and you get in the media you might think it ended two weeks ago.

As it happens, I know a lot more about Nazis than most of my critics do. I was a prisoner of war in Germany until I escaped. I saw Bergen Belsen concentration camp on the way up through Germany in 1945 after I had rejoined the forces, and for some years after the war I was a Political Intelligence Officer working on the de-Nazification of Germany. In short, I have seen a lot of real Nazis, not just the ersatz types of which Sol Littman and that Communist academic David Lethbridge of Salmon Arm are so concerned about.

In Lethbridge�s case, at least, he seems to be quite UNconcerned about the many more millions who died under communism. I might also say that even if I was wrong, and I wasn�t, in a democracy we are supposed to have the right to be wrong. Or is that now also out of fashion, with a Ministry of Truth headed by Littman and Co.? If so, then Oliver would have to be the Hate Capital of Canada and I would have to be an agent for neo-Nazis, which is what he called me on television. And speaking of television, it�s one thing to denounce people from a distance and quite another to face them in debate. I debated free speech for an hour with Littman on CBC Newsworld and in the viewer poll that was taken 73% voted for me and for free speech.

As for that rights tribunal I faced, even a carefully selected adjudicator had to dismiss the case. No hate here, as the North Shore News headline put it. And why did she throw out the complaint? Not, in my opinion, because she would not have liked to find me guilty, but because she knew that if the case had gone to court the complaint would have been found to be unconstitutional. Why? Because the B.C. Human Rights Code is a Heresy Act, pure and simple. A Heresy Act, which is one reason why I am here today. Mr. Attorney General Uzzal Dosanjh.

Here are the facts: Under that law, truth is no defence; fair comment is not a defence, as it is with libel and slander; publication in the public interest is not a defence, innocent intent is not a defence, and even work done for scientific purposes is not a defence. Let me repeat what the lawyer for the B.C. Press Council said: this is a law that attempts to stifle speech that is not criminal. That�s where we�re at in B.C.

On top of all that the government itself can make its own complaints to its own Human Rights Commission even when no complaint has been entered by a third party. So they can get you going and coming even if no-one else wants to.Talk about Big Brother and George Orwell�s 1984! Fortunately, we still have courts in this country that can strike down the acts of these would-be dictators. In 1938 the Alberta Press Act was struck down, just as the false news law was later. But the intent of the politicians who pass such laws is the same as it is in the dictatorships.

But while the courts cogitate, speech in Canada is not free at all. It comes at a price, which is why I no longer sing the national anthem. We are not the True North Strong and Free. When we revert to being strong and free I�ll start singing again. In my case the defence of a free press has cost the North Shore News well over $200,000. Others, like Mr.Fromm , have been hounded from their jobs. But there is a bright side to this. In the case of the North Shore News the public has subscribed nearly $150,000 to its defence fund, which shows that you can�t fool all the people all the time.

It�s not over, though. A man describing himself in his complaint as �a Jewish person� � Harry Abrams, the founder of B�Nai Brith in Victoria � has launched another action against me with those rights experts over there who are led by that leather-clad lesbian, Mary Woo Sims, the chief commissioner. He complains about six columns, including the Hollywood propaganda column that was dismissed in the first tribunal. Double jeopardy? What�s that? Let�s have a rematch, they say.

Instead of waiting for handouts from Littman and Lethbridge about white supremacists and other bogeymen, the media should take the trouble to examine what�s going on. Lethbridge and other free speech artists screamed that this meeting should be stopped. So it was. only meeting of which he approved would be allowed. He�s a fasicst of the Left. Yet the media quote him as if he were an oracle.

If they did take a look at things, the media would find a firm link between the politically correct of the militant left and government, who are often one and the same, as in B.C. They would find that Lethbridge was a key speaker at, and organizer of, the pro-violence Anti-Racist Action Trotskyite mob in Toronto that has been barred from school grounds.They would find that Alan Dutton the big anti-racist in B.C. was instrumental in getting grants for the ARA from Toronto Metro Council. He himself has received hundreds of thousand of dollars in grants from government, which finances the anti-freedom movement. . They would also find that hotels have been bullied � terrorized might be a more appropriate term � into not renting premises to groups of whom the Lethbridges and the Duttons disapprove.That happened in Surrey a couple of years ago when the late Pat Burns of radio fame was to have been the keynote speaker and I was to have spoken on Bill 33, which has become B.C.�s Heresy Act. They would find that no less a person than the Attorney General of this province approved of what they were doing. They would find that the Duttons and Letbridges act as advisers to the Attonery General. They would find that the Alberta Human Rights Commission told a hotel in Edmonton not to give space to a group that planned to discuss the Canadian Constitution.They would also find that attempts have been made by the same people to deny groups space in public libraries. The same Harry Abrams I mentioned a minute ago is a leader in that endeavor. He has asked the National Library Association to do that, using the trigger word �hate groups�. But so far the libraries have refused to be panicked. And if the media are too lazy to seek all that out by themselves, I can help them. Yes, that�s the kind of stuff you should be doing, Oliver Chronicle, Penticton Herald, Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, CBC and all the rest of you. You don�t do it, but I can tell you again this. I�m old enough to have seen all this happen before.

What�s going on is really no different in spirit from what the Brownshirts got up to in Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany, it was enough to shout Jew, Communist or Socialist. Today in Canada it�s enough to shout white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and anti-Semite. The ideologies are different but the spirit is the same.

A word or two about the Internet. The Internet is seen by the Littmans as a threat. How dreadful that people can actually send out messages to the world without their having to go through the filter of a press dominated by the poltivally correct. So � kill the Internet, and if the Internet can�t be killed then ruin anyone, like Mr. Klatt, who doesn�t take orders and won�t act as a censor. I should point out here that I have seen nothing of what the Littmans and Co are bitching about, now have most of the media who echo what Littman says. I had never even heard of the Charlemagne Hammerheads before this affair blew up and I have never had lunch with a skinhead, ans what they are supposed to be saying is certainly not my cup of tea.But I�ll tell you something. I can be my own censor, thanks very much. I don�t need Littman�s help.The same option is open to all Internet users. But Littman can�t trust the public. He wants to treat people like children, while yelling about discrimination. To which I say, physician, heal thyself.

Yes, the idea is to kill the Internet, or at least the controversial voices on it that Littman doesn�t like. And of course there are nasty voices on it, although I�ve never bothered to tune in to them. But don�t be fooled by the idea that Littman�s censorship would end with stopping them. Let me give you an example of what I mean. When the Barrett government got going on its human rights program in the early 1970s we were told that all they wanted to do was to ensure fair play in hiring and housing. But these things begin small and end large, and today human rights commissions in this country are a menace to human rights. Rights have become wrongs, and in today in B.C. the human rights gang is a direct threat to freedom of the press.

It is also said that you can learn how to make bombs on the Internet. So you can. But you can also learn how to make bombs by other means. The left-wing Squamish Five didn�t need any Internet to learn how to make and explode bombs in the 1980s, and people intent on making bombs today don�t need the Internet either.

When Winston Churchill lost the British election in 1945, he said, �Trust the people.� I follow that precept and it�s my hope that in spite of the demonization of dissidents that �s going on now, Canadians will hold steady. We�ve been through crazy times before and survived, and I�m here today in the expectation that we�ll survive this one.

Meanwhile, Mayor Larson should put on her thinking cap instead of pandering to the Littmans and giving way to bullies. Then there�s councillor Terry Shafer. He has said that the matter of this meeting is a tough issue, particularly when the veterans are celebrating the creation of Canadian Legion here. They fought, he said so as to allow us the privilege of expressing our opinions, NO MATTER HOW AWFUL THOSE OPINIONS MAY BE.

What do you know about those opinions, councillor? Have you heard or read any of them or are you taking the time from Littman and Lethbridge? And what about your local Liberal MLA, Bill Barisoff? Has he had anything critical to say about the NDP�s Heresy Law? If he has I must have been snoozing. But he�s reported as telling Litttman he�d be happy to work with him to ensure that hate literature that violates the Criminal Code does not appear anywhere in Canada. Does he take Littman�s word for what hate literature is? If you ask me, he�s a bit like the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland who said, sentence first, trial later.

I�ll leave you with a couple of other thoughts. A columnist said in print last year that I give free speech a bad name. I replied by pointing out that free speech has always had a bad name. Free speech had a bad name when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittingen cathedral. It had a bad name when John Tyndale was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English. It had a bad name when John Milton wrote that truth and falsehood should grapple freely. It had a bad name when the Ayatolla in Iran proclaimed a death sentence on Salman Rushdie, and when the communists were up before the un-American Activities Committee. It had a bad name two thousand years ago, when a man called Jesus was nailed to the cross. One might almost say that free speech has NEVER had a GOOD name, and thanks to the Littmans and the Lethbridges and others like them free speech certainly has a bad name today. As I mentioned earlier, if you are for free speech you are a neo�Nazi, a crypto-Nazi, a white supremacist, or an anti-Semite.

This sort of thing is not confined to Canada. It exists right across the Western world. In Australia, Terry Lane, a well-known print and radio commentator got into trouble with the local Littmans and wrote a letter to the Australian Jewish News in 1992 in which he stated the following:

    �The Zionist lobby in this country is malicious, implacable, mendacious and dangerous. What�s more, once the expression anti-Semitism hits the air, or, heaven forfend, the sacred six million is uttered...we are thrown to the jackals. I surrender. To the Zionists I say, you win. To the Palestinians, forgive my cowardice.�

In 1938, the Supreme Court of Canada had this to say when it struck down the Alberta Press Act:

�Freedom of discussion is essential to enlighten public opinion in a democratic state. It cannot be curtailed without affecting the right of people to be informed, independent of government, concerning matters of public interest. There must be untrammelled publication of news and opinion.� UNTRAMMELLED! It stated further that if the Social Credit law were allowed to stand, the Socred doctrine would become a kind of religious dogma that the people would buck at their peril.

If the Littmans and other critics have their way, their dogmas would become a kind of religion, too, that we would buck at our peril, and we are already are buckinjg at our peril. So I say to hell with them, and you can quote me. How about it, Mayor Larson and others who are running for cover? How about it, Bill Barisoff? I can tell you where you should stand. You should be standing right here with the rest of us, not passing by on the other side of the street.

I will conclude by saying that I am 77 years of age, that I defended freedom in the 1940s when Hitler was on the loose, in the 1950s when McCarthy was on the loose, in the 1970s when the federal hate laws were passed, in the 1990s when those idiots in Victoria passed their misnamed Human Rights Act, and that I shall go on defending freedom until the day I die.

Thank you.


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