Battles for Freedom
Doug Collins Oliver Speech.
March 21, 1998
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 ó sanctioned by the politically correct and pressure
groups like Sol Littmanís Simon Wiesenthal
disappointing that the establishment media are suckers for propaganda put
out by those groups. All thatís needed for them to press the panic button
and produce scare headlines is for the usual trigger words to be used ó
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 Thursdayís
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 todayís media werenít around
then. So letís forgive them, for they know not what they do. But itís 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 donít. 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 ówhile many
killers and crooks of all kinds are allowed to remain here and while Asian
gangs roam Vancouver on drive-by shootings. Thatís 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, letís not blame them. They are victims of a massive propaganda
campaign. thatís 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 ďspreading false newsĒ 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. Todayís 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 itís called
now, is a disgrace to the province and to the country. The Littmans think
itís wonderful, of course, but they would, wouldnít they!.
I was charged under that Code. The Canadian Jewish Congress laid a
complaint against me after Iíd written a column headed ďHollywood PropagandaĒ
in which I said that the six million holocaust figure was nonsense, that
the Jewish influence in Hollywood was predominant, and that the move Schindlerís
List should have been called Swindlerís List. I said that because the manís
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
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 Schindlerís 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? Thatís what he did in his book Hitlerís
Willing Executioners. Isnít that hate literature. But thereís 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 manís Hitler is another manís Hemingway.
Itís 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
In Lethbridgeís 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 wasnít, 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, itís
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
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. Thatís where weíre 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 Orwellís 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 Iíll 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 canít fool all the people all the time.
Itís not over, though. A man describing himself in his complaint as
ďa Jewish personĒ ó Harry Abrams, the founder of BíNai Brith in Victoria
ó 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? Whatís
that? Letís 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
whatís 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. Heís 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 ó terrorized might be a more appropriate term ó 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.ís 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 ďhate groupsĒ. 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, thatís 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 donít do it, but I can
tell you again this. Iím old enough to have seen all this happen before.
Whatís 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 itís 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 ó kill the Internet, and if the Internet
canít be killed then ruin anyone, like Mr.
Klatt, who doesnít take orders and wonít 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 Iíll tell you something.
I can be my own censor, thanks very much. I donít need Littmanís help.The
same option is open to all Internet users. But Littman canít 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 doesnít like. And of course there are nasty voices
on it, although Iíve never bothered to tune in to them. But donít be fooled
by the idea that Littmanís 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 didnít need any Internet to learn how to make and
explode bombs in the 1980s, and people intent on making bombs today donít
need the Internet either.
When Winston Churchill lost the British election in 1945, he said,
ďTrust the people.Ē I follow that precept and itís my hope that in spite
of the demonization of dissidents that Ďs going on now, Canadians will
hold steady. Weíve been through crazy times before and survived, and Iím
here today in the expectation that weíll survive this one.
Meanwhile, Mayor Larson should put on her thinking cap instead of pandering
to the Littmans and giving way to bullies. Then thereís 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 NDPís Heresy Law? If he has I must have been
snoozing. But heís reported as telling Litttman heíd 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 Littmanís word for what hate
literature is? If you ask me, heís a bit like the Red Queen in Alice in
Wonderland who said, sentence first, trial later.
Iíll 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 neoóNazi, 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:
ďThe Zionist lobby in this country is malicious, implacable, mendacious
and dangerous. Whatís 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.Ē
In 1938, the Supreme Court of Canada had this to say when it struck
down the Alberta Press Act:
ďFreedom 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.Ē 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.