Monday, March 10, 2008

March 25th Lemire Tribunal hearing to be a SECRET HEARING!



Lemire's March 25th Hearing to be a Secret Star Chamber!

As many of you know, Marc Lemire's Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing is scheduled to resume on March 25, 2008.

The defence team is planning to question Dean Steacy, a Human Rights Commission investigator, about why he registered on Free Dominion when we were not under investigation (something he claimed never to have done), and to ask about the CHRC complaint that was lodged against us over a post that was made just days after Steacy registered here.

I sent the following email to Carol Ann Hartung on March 6th:

Connie wrote:

Dear Ms Hartung,

My name is Connie Fournier and my husband and I were administrators of
the website Free Dominion when a person named jadewarr signed up as a

It has come to our attention that this matter will be discussed at the
March 25th tribunal hearing of Warman v. Lemire, and we would like to
request permission to sit in on the hearing since the evidence concerns
a website that belonged to us.

Please let us know if this is agreeable. Thank you in advance for your

Connie and Mark Fournier

Hartung wrote back on March 7, 2008:


Ms. Fournier,

The testimony of the witnesses on March 25th in the above-cited matter
is a continuation from a previous sitting with these witnesses which was
held in camera, pursuant to an order by the presiding Tribunal Member.
Unless the parties indicate that this is no longer required and if the
presiding Tribunal Member agrees, the hearing of the testimony of the
scheduled witnesses will remain closed to the public.


Carol Ann Hartung

Carol Ann Hartung
Registry Officer/Agente du greffe
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal/Tribunal canadien des droits de la
160 rue Elgin Street Suite 1100
Ottawa ON K1A 1J4
(613) 995-1707 ext./poste 313

So, it is to be a secret tribunal hearing, closed to the public.

How Orwellian.


A secret trial


One of the hallmarks of justice in a liberal democracy is transparency. In extreme circumstances there are secret trials in Canada, or trials that are open to the public but that are covered by publication bans, but such secrecy is only permitted for very unusual and overwhelming reasons -- such as to protect the identity of a child victim of a crime, or for true national security reasons. Secret trials, such as those conducted in the Star Chamber, are notoriously susceptible to abuse, and erode public confidence in the administration of justice.

So it should come as no surprise that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing on March 25th -- where human rights commission staff themselves are to be cross-examined on their dubious tactics of anonymous infiltration of websites, entrapment and even the bizarre practice of commission staff themselves planting bigoted remarks on websites -- is going to be closed to the public.

It is hypocritical in the extreme that HRC staff who scrutinize every public utterance and private thought of their victims will be exempted from public scrutiny themselves. There is no legitimate reason for this blackout, other than the HRCs simply being HRCs and engaging in censorship and the restriction of public debate. Usually they censor political expression they disagree with; this time they censor their own embarrassing conduct from being seen and heard by taxpaying Canadians. I don't blame them, frankly -- the more their inner workings are publicized, the greater will be the demand for politicians to rein in their excesses. The videos of my own interrogation at the hands of the Alberta Human Rights Commission have been seen more than 500,000 times; imagine the publicity that a videoclip of HRC staffers admitting to planting evidence of bigotry would receive.

I'm disgusted but not surprised by the tribunal's decision to be secretive. And I won't hold out hope that Canada's large media companies, who normally rush to court in unison to overturn other publication bans, will do so here.

But however appalling this secret hearing is, it's nothing compared to what the commission itself wanted. Here is a ruling last year by the tribunal that refers to the commission's wish list in this case (most of which was rejected). The commission didn't just want to exclude the public from the hearing. It wanted to exclude the accused himself from the hearing:


[5] ...Their physical and visual appearance would be seen by the Tribunal and counsel via video while everyone else, including Mr. Lemire, would be seated in a separate room where they would only be able to hear the audio portion of the testimonies.


[9] The Commission submits that the evidence it has filed provides a reasonable ground for the fear regarding the personal and professional safety of the Commission witnesses. Yet, the special measures that the Commission is asking the Tribunal to adopt do not relate to the witnesses' security at the hearing....


[10] The issue therefore, for the Commission, does not seem to be security at the hearing but rather the witnesses' identities or more correctly, the capture and publication of the three witnesses' images...


[11] Interestingly, no similar request was made when Mr. Warman and the expert witnesses testified in Toronto, although it would appear that their images could already be found on the Internet.


[12] The Commission has directed me to a number of decisions where courts have ordered that special measures be taken regarding the evidence of witnesses. I note, however, that the special measures in these cases relate to the concealment of the witnesses' names. In the present case, we not only know the names of the witnesses but we also know that they are employees of the Commission.


[15] ...If granted, Mr. Lemire will be excluded from the hearing examining his own alleged conduct. He will be denied the opportunity to view the evidence. His opportunity to assist and instruct his lawyer will be restricted.


The commission didn't just want a secret trial, kept out of the public eye. They wanted a secret trial where secrets were kept from the accused himself. Uncle Joe would have been proud.


Canada's human rights commissions have fostered a sick culture of obsessive secrecy, unfairness towards the accused and un-Canadian procedures. But this is more than that: it's a psychological clue as to how the commission's staff regard themselves. They don't see themselves as thin-skinned busy-bodies, or politically correct censors, or bureaucratic bullies, strangling marginal and oddball citizens with red tape. They see themselves as stars in a James Bond movie, or an episode of 24, where they are the fearless protectors of all that is good, fighting against powerful, evil, violent men -- and if they need to break a few rules along the way, well that's a price we have to pay. It would be laughable if it weren't destroying the lives of innocent people -- and the reputation of justice.


These aren't counter-terrorists, or even real police. These commission staff aren't Jack Bauer or Horatio Kane. They're civil servants who sit in their government offices, surfing the Internet under fake names, posting bigoted comments to chat sites, and then complaining about it. Comparing them to Pee-wee Herman is more accurate.


There are those who believe all that's necessary here is to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to excise section 13, the thought crimes provision. That's essential, but it's not enough. The problem with these human rights commissions isn't just that they dare to tell Canadians what they can or can't say and think. It's that their processes and procedures -- no matter what they're investigating -- are abusive, one-sided and un-Canadian. So-called human rights activists would know that instinctively if the victims hauled before these HRCs were, say, named Omar Khadr or Maher Arar. But the human rights industry isn't really about human rights. It's about "maximum disruption" to those the state finds politically incorrect. What a dishonour to our country.