throws out Zundel's case against federal
DENIER | Sued over
banishment from precincts of
Ottawa - An Ottawa
judge yesterday gutted the efforts of
Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel to
sue federal political parties and their
In his written ruling, Justice James
Chadwick dismissed Mr. Zundel's claim
against the political parties. The judge
struck down the claim against Jean
Chrétien, the Prime Minister,
other party leaders, and five other
politicians, ruling there was no
reasonable cause of action.
Mr. Zundel, a Toronto man whose public
denials of the Holocaust have brought him
before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,
began civil proceedings last year. After
the House of Commons banned him in June
from the precincts of Parliament, he
responded with what he promoted as "the
mother of all lawsuits."
Mr. Zundel had wanted to hold a news
conference on Parliament Hill to discuss
his case before the tribunal, but MPs from
all parties unanimously supported a
government motion to keep him out for the
remainder of the session. Mr. Zundel
contended the parties denied him his
freedom of speech as protected under the
Charter of Rights and Freedom.
He sought $1-million in damages from
each of the parties, and $1.25-million
from each of the politicians. Zundel also
sought similar damages from the Canadian
Jewish Congress, which he claimed
conspired with the MPs.
Lawyers for the political parties
argued the parties have no assets, hold no
real estate, employ no people, and as such
are not legal entities. The parties'
registered agents, such as the Federal
Liberal Agency of Canada and the Reform
Fund of Canada, are incorporated legal
entities and can be sued.
Justice Chadwick agreed with the
position of the parties.
Lawyer Brian Crane, representing
Mr. Chrétien, other party leaders,
and several other MPs named as defendants,
argued the claim against them should be
struck because the politicians were
exercising the privilege of Parliament to
control access to the House precinct.
Justice Chadwick agreed. "The court
should not interfere with the decision of
Parliament," he said, noting the
restriction on Mr. Zundel applied only to
the use of Parliamentary precincts and was
not a prohibition from speaking.
While the MPs gave no reason for their
decision, Justice Chadwick commented "it
is obvious it was to preserve the dignity
and integrity of Parliament."
When informed the judge had ruled in
favour of the MPs, Mr. Zundel was
"You're kidding me," he said. "I really
believed there was a new wind blowing." He
called the judge's decision a "setback"
and said he would ponder the possibility
of an appeal.
This week, in a sequel to the ban
against Mr. Zundel, Gilbert Parent, the
Commons Speaker, banned Douglas Christie,
Zundel's attorney and the lawyer of choice
for Canada's far right, from