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 Posted Saturday, April 3, 1999

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Battling B.C. Journalist Doug Collins to Counter-Attack: Issues Press Release

April 5, 1999

Doug Collins has launched an appeal against the human rights verdict that found him guilty on Feb. 2 of violating the B.C. Human Rights Code.

THE appeal -- called a judicial review -- is a direct challenge to the Code, which Collins says is unconstitutional. If the appeal is successful, the anti-free speech provisions of the Code will be rendered null and void.

The human rights verdict resulted from complaints brought by businessman Harry Abrams of B'Nai Brith, Victoria. Collins refused to attend the tribunal, stating it was unconstitutional and that the rights law was the greatest threat to the press since the Alberta Press Act was defeated by the courts in 1938.

The application for the judicial review was filed Thursday with the B.C. Supreme Court by lawyer Doug Christie.

Collins has also launched a national appeal for funds to finance his action.

The tribunal verdict found that four columns written in 1994 exposed Jews to "hatred and contempt," something that the recently-retired Collins describes as nonsensical.

Doug Collins"Human rights in B.C. have become a travesty," he said. "The NDP government has declared war on free speech where it annoys powerful interest groups and it should not be allowed to get away with it. So now we'll see what the real courts have to say.They are quite different from Premier Glen Clark's kangaroo courts."

Lawyer Christie's submission states that the Human Rights Code infringes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and "is not a reasonable limit prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society."

"It should be set aside, says Mr. Christie, "as being of no force and effect". The court is being asked to award costs against Mr. Abrams and against the attorney general's department. Collins says adjudicator Tom Patch's decision was outrageous. "It ordered the News to run his reasons for judgment, which is direct interference with freedom of the press. Even the real courts can't order newspapers to run its decisions."

The ruling also laid down that Collins and the North Shore News cease publishing articles that are "likely to expose Jews to hatred and contempt." "In short," said Collins, "they don't know what I'm going to say but I'd better not say it. That's called prior restraint, a condition common to dictatorships."

He also ridiculed the tribunal's view that while none of the columns contravened the Code individually, they did collectively. "We must be living in Wonderland," he commented, "especially since one of the columns was the subject of a complaint brought in 1997 by the Canadian Jewish Congress and dismissed as not being hateful. Mr. Patch may be a lawyer but he seems never to have heard of something called double jeopardy."

The News and Collins were ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and the News has paid it on instructions from Hollinger/Southam. "I was not consulted," said Collins, "but I regret that it was paid. I had -- and have -- absolutely no intention of paying a single dime unless told to do so by a real court. The NDP's view of free speech is intolerable."

The B.C. Press Council has "deplored" the Patch decision, stating it is the first time in Canadian history that a government-appointed body has convicted a newspaper and its columnist of violating standards set by a legislature. It also stated that governments have no business telling newspapers what to print.

It is likely that the B.C. Press Council and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association will intervene in the case, arguing that the Code is unconstitutional. Donations may be made to the Canadian Free Speech League, c/o Mr. Doug Christie, 810 Courtney Street, Victoria, B.C. V8W 1C4.

Previously on Doug Collins: [1] [2]

Doug Collins, Phone and Fax 604--926--0052 • e-mail

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