As many of you know,
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
Hartung wrote back on
So, it is to be a secret tribunal hearing, closed to the public.
A secret trial
One of the hallmarks of justice in a liberal democracy is transparency. In extreme circumstances there are secret trials in
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
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:
 ...Their physical and visual appearance would be seen by the Tribunal and counsel via video while everyone else, including
 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....
 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...
 Interestingly, no similar request was made when
 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.
 ...If granted,
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.
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.