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Canadian Association for Free Expression 

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Battles for Freedom

Doug Collins on Reds Riot in Vancouver

I said there was a lot of talk about hate groups these days, and that the law-abiding Free Speech League has been described that way. But if anyone wanted to see hate in action, they had only to be present tonight in the Vancouver Public Library.

I described the rioters as B.C. Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh's shock troops - Red Fascists whose aim was to terrify people into staying away from the library.

Why the A.G.'s shock troops? Because the chief organizer of this riot was Alan Dutton of CAERS, the Canadian Anti-Racism and Research Society, which should more properly be called the Anti-Free Speech League. Dutton is a communist and receives government grants through the Multiculturalism and Immigration Community Liaison Branch of about $100,000 a year, a unit controlled by Dosanjh. So far this year, Dutton has been given $92,000. Last year it was about $99,000. In the three years up to 1996 he got $741,000 from all government sources, federal as well as provincial. I said it was disgraceful that taxpayers should be forced to subsidize such a man, for this was not the first time he had prevented people from speaking. He even boasts about it.

Dutton does physically what the NDP government does by other means. It was interesting, I said, that while Dutton directs his Red Fascists, the Attorney General is trying to quash my application for a judicial review of the Human Rights Code, which in effect is an appeal designed to render ultra vires a law that totalitarians would approve of. Dutton and Dosanjh move in symbiotic tandem.

The Code is a blatant attempt to censor free speech and a free press, and has been described as such by the B.C. Press Council, whose counsel has stated that the law "is an attempt to stifle speech that is not criminal". I showed the audience a front page newspaper headline of June 24, 1993, which read: "B.C. ends free speech guarantee."

Other points:

  • In a tribunal hearing, the truth is no defence.
  • There is no appeal within the framework of the Act. All that a victim of this legislation can do, is to apply to the courts for a judicial review, which is expensive.
  • Artistic and academic work is no defence.
  • The tribunal's adjudicator is judge, jury and prosecutor.
  • Complainants get legal aid, no matter how wealthy they are. If Bill Gates were to make a complaint, he could get legal aid. The target of the complaint does not, unless is he is a pauper. The North Shore News was forced to spend $203,000 defending me in my first tribunal, and it was money down the drain even though I was acquitted of spreading hatred. The verdict might have been different, but the adjudicator knew quite well that a guilty verdict would have led to a judicial review in which it would be shown that the B.C. law is unconstitutional. Nevertheless, she took the opportunity of describing the Hollywood Propaganda column as "mean-spirited" and "anti-Semitic" (but obviously not anti-Semitic enough to warrant a guilty verdict).

To repeat, costs are not recoverable. which means that newspaper publishers are not lightly going to risk having complaints laid against their writers.

I told the audience that the law is a Heresy Act and a Censorship Law. It states: �No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published issued or displayed any statement or publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that �indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a group or class of persons, or is likely to expose a person or a group of persons to hatred or contempt:

No proof of actual harm is necessary. "Likely" is good enough. It is clear that anyone who tells a Newfie joke could be hauled before a tribunal for exposing Newfoundlanders to "hatred or contempt".

As stated, I have been named before two tribunals. I refused to appear before the second one, however, describing it as a kangaroo court.

The complaint in the second case was lodged by Harry Abrams of the Victoria branch of B'Nai Brith. It involved four columns, including "Hollywood Propaganda", which had been dismissed by the previous tribunal. Clearly, the rights maniacs have never heard of something called double jeopardy.

The adjudicator fined the North Shore News and me $2,000, ordered the newspaper to print his reasons for judgment (which no ordinary court could do, and is a direct interference with freedom of the press ) and instructed me not to write anything that might annoy Jews in future, which amounts to prior restraint. As I told the audience - those who managed to get past the leftist lunatics, that is, - I have marched on regardless.

Interestingly, he in effect admitted that the columns were not hate literature.

"Individually, the columns do not express hatred or contempt., but collectively they do."

I described that as a neat piece of politically correct alchemy.

As I told the audience, I have marched on regardless.

To the accompaniment of an incredible din, I read out part of the Press Council statement on the decision made by the second tribunal.

�The B.C. Press Council Wednesday issued a statement deploring the decision of the Human Rights Tribunal in the Doug Collins case, saying it appears to be the first time in Canadian history that a government-appointed tribunal such as this has convicted a newspaper and its columnist of violating content standards set by a legislature.

�The Council maintains the position it has held since 1993, namely that the speech restriction in the revised code are an unjustified violation of the principle of freedom of the press.�

The Press Council has also stated that the B.C. Human Rights Code is the most significant legislative infringement of press freedom in the history of B.C., and that nothing like it has been seen since the Province entered Confederation in 1871.

The Hollywood Propaganda column did not say that the Holocaust as such was propaganda. It referred to the fact that "Schindler's List" must have been the 555th. movie or TV feature on the same subject - a never ending stream - and that I was tired of hate literature in the form of films.

After the Canadian Jewish Congress had stated it was pondering legal action against me, I wrote a second column in which I said that I too was pondering, but not pandering. And certainly not to the CJC.

I pointed out, too, that if I had been writing hate literature I would have been prosecuted under the federal hate laws, which makes such stuff a criminal offence.

Why the speech-restricting Code? Here I turned to the statement by the Human Rights Commission lawyer at the first tribunal, who declared: "The criminal standard of proof (under the federal hate laws) makes enforcement of the hate laws difficult." In other words, they need their own, catch-all (and unconstitutional) law .

Cabinet minister Corky Evans said, "we need this law because the courts don't always do what we want them to do."

Mike Harcourt, who was premier when the Rights Act was changed to eliminate the free speech guarantee, stated:

"We can have liberty as long as it doesn't offend anyone!"

Compare such rubbish, I said, with statements make by Americans defending the speech-guaranteeing First Amendment:

Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Freedom of speech involves the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable."

Judge Robert Warren: "The suppression of speech, even where it has little value and great costs, amounts to government thought control."

What is free speech? As George Orwell told his critics in the 1940s:

"Free speech is my right to say what you don't want to hear."

There was more , but it will probably have to wait for a book. The fight will go on, I said, and we must win. If we don't, say goodbye to whatever remains of free speech in the True North.

My E-Mail address is [email protected] And if you want my book _Here We Go Again!,_ which contains 100 columns including the offending ones and many others like them, get in touch with me and I will give you the requisite address. The book costs $18.95 post paid.


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