Vancouver Library Urged to Resist Threats of Anti-Racists



"Supporters of free speech call on the administration of the Vancouver Public Library to hang tough in the face of hysterical criticism and a planned protest aimed at stopping a meeting of the Canadian Free Speech League Thursday night," said Paul Fromm Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression from Prince George today.

The meeting is being held to raise funds for former North Shore News columnist Doug Collins. Collins was found guilty of a discriminatory practice by a one man B.C. Human Rights Tribunal earlier this year for four columns he wrote on immigration and the holocaust. He is currently seeking judicial review of this decision, which has been criticized by free speech supporters across Canada. "We are trying to get this police state press gag law declared unconstitutional and in violation of the Charter guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press," said Fromm.

The Canadian Association for Free Expression has sought intervenor status in this case and has also held fundraising meetings in Eastern Canada for Doug Collins.

The case opens in Victoria on October 18.

In a September 25 release Alan Dutton, Director of the Canadian Anti-Racism Education and Research Society called the organizers of the Thursday fundraiser "a front for neo-Nazis." Further, Dutton demanded that the meeting be cancelled. Otherwise, he threatened: "If the contract is not revoked, the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society will hold a public meeting at the Library to protest the use of public facilities by hate groups."

"The accusations against the meeting organizers are defamatory and scurrilous," said Fromm. "Since when did the defence of freedom of speech become 'hate'?' he demanded.

"As a volunteer in the Second Gloucestershire Regiment in the British Army in World War II, Doug Collins was fighting Nazis and other totalitarians before Dutton was even born," said Fromm.

"The anti-racists have become the new fascists, with their threats and intolerance and dtermination to silence any views but their own," said Fromm. He pointed to an anti-racist protest outside a similar fundraiser for Doug Collins in Victoria in June. "Elderly people were shoved. A group of Trotskyists sat down and blocked the doorway to the meeting forcing people to step over them and risk violence," said Fromm who spoke at the June meeting.

"It's particularly galling that these late 20th century book burners and censors get most of their budget from the taxpayers they are strying to censor," said Fromm,. referring to grants of more than $100,000 annually received by Dutton's group from the B.C. Attorney General's department and the federal Heritage Ministry.