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Doug Collins: A biographical sketch
Canadian journalist Doug Collins was born 81 years ago in the United Kingdom.
In 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, he volunteered for the British Army and, while serving as an infantry sergeant (at 19, the youngest in his regiment), was captured by the Germans at Dunkirk in 1940.
As a POW in both German and Hungarian prisoner of war camps, Collins staged as many as 10 separate attempts to escape captivity. Upon his release from Rumania in 1944, he again fought with the British forces in Europe until the end of the war.
Between 1946 and 1950, Collins served as a political intelligence officer with the British Control Commission's de-Nazification program in Germany.
In 1952, he emigrated to Canada.
Doug Collins' career in journalism has included work in print and electronic media, both as a reporter and commentator. He has worked at several of the big Canadian dailies, including The Calgary Herald, the Vancouver Province and the Vancouver Sun. For a time, he hosted an open-line radio talk show, and also worked for CBC Television.
Between 1983 and 1997, Collins wrote a popular and controversial column for The North Shore News (North Vancouver, BC).
On November 12, 1997, a complaint brought before the British Columbia Human Rights Commission by the Canadian Jewish Congress for comments made in a column Doug Collins wrote about the Spielberg film Schindler's List entitled "Hollywood Propaganda" (March 9, 1994, North Shore News) was dismissed.
A follow-up complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Commission by Harry Abrams of Victoria, with the support of B'Nai Brith Canada, that included for orginal News column plus three others, was upheld and was currently being appealled.
Doug Collins is the author of several books, including his wartime memoir, POW: A Soldier's Story of His Ten Escapes from Nazi Prison Camps (New York: W.W. Norton, 1968), Immigration: Parliament versus the People (1986), The Best and Worst of Doug Collins (1988), and Here We Go Again (1998).
Doug Collins' work in journalism has been honoured with Canada's National Newspaper Award (1953) and the MacMillan Bloedel Award (1975). On January 20, 1993, he was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada's Confederation. The medal honours Canadians "who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community or to Canada."
We leave the last word to Doug Collins: "I will conclude by saying that ... I defended freedom in the 1940s when Hitler was on the loose, in the 1970s when the federal hate laws were passed, and 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."
Douglas Collins, veteran of Dunkirk and WWII, died aged 81 in a Vancouver BC hospital on September 30, 2001.
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