Sunday, May 4, 2008

PUNDITA writes about the Lemire case and recent Call for Interveners


Revelations about Richard Warman's Section 13 complaint against Marc Lemire


Warning to both sides: if you're on blood pressure medication be sure to take it before reading further.)

On April 30 I received a blast email from Marc Lemire asking for help from 'FreeSpeech' bloggers in appealing to civil liberties associations for their intervention in closing arguments in the Section 13 case launched against him by Richard Warman.

I hesitated. Warman's complaint is devastating in the examples it uses to shore the argument that Marc's website repeatedly posted hate speech. So while it was one thing to voice my support for Marc's case (through a series of email exchanges in February I'd been satisfied that I'd vetted Marc sufficiently to defend him on my blog), it was quite another for me to argue to Canadians such as Alan Borovoy that they should put their reputations on the line in the matter.




""1) Provide further detail about when you removed the postings that Warman cites in his 2003 CHRC complaint; i.e., was it your policy to routinely remove hate speech/bigoted comments?"

All the comments Warman mentions in his 2003 complaint were anonymous and/or posts by someone named Craig Harrison, made to the Freedomsite Message Board. The Freedomsite Message Board was totally shut down January 1, 2004. I received the complaint in I think April or May, 2004. So everything was removed PRIOR to me even receiving or knowing about the complaint.

The policy of the message board was not to remove any posts, unless they were specifically pointed out to me, and if I felt they might be a violation of the law.

The posts that Warman complained about, I had never seen before, did not know about them, nor did I post them. Warman chose NOT to tell me about them or complain, and instead brought me to the Star Chamber.



"The complaint lists several examples of bigoted speech (e.g., Jewish, Black jokes, etc.) and some comments posted on the Freedomsite message board that should be characterized as "hate speech," i.e., words that carry an incitement to murder (e.g., "we have to kill the french forigners from quebec," and "we all need to rise up and kill non whites because that's gods solution amen."

I looked through some of the material and can’t find those specific quotes, but some of the abusive message board posts, were of a similar vain.

Also, keep in mind that Section 13 does not cover alleged incitement to murder, the criminal code of Canada does. Warman freely admitted he went to the Toronto Police Service with those claims, and the police never even bother to contact me over his allegations. I assume because as a webmaster of an interactive message board, I am given “Common Carrier” Status, similar to something like the AOL message board or Usenet news groups. If there was a criminal issue, they could have contacted me and then I could have taken some form of action.

Like any other offense, there is a notice requirement, so that people who were in a position like myself, would be aware of what was there and then could have taken action. Say for instance, someone posted on my message board that “lets kill PUNDITA, and she lives at XXX and she has three children that go to XXX school, etc”

The notice requirement is required so that the owner is made aware. As part of our example, say I said I want to leave that online – screw PUNDITA! Then YES… I am liable for something. But that’s not the case with Section 13.

Also lets take it one step further. What if an old boyfriend of your felt slighted by the way in which the relationship ended, and decided to start posting on websites (including my message board) that you were generally bad, you were a whore, etc etc. They use my message board to go after you, WITHOUT the message board owners knowledge.

Who is the guilty party? The ex-boyfriend who targeted you, or the message board owner who had no idea? Section 13 makes it the message board owner.

Or how about this scenario, which has much basis in truth. Say a CHRC officer by the name of Dean Steacy, logged onto the Freedomsite Message Board, using a pseudonym, and pretended to be a “white nationalist” and posted (without my knowledge or approval) that Blacks are sick people and that Muslims should be shot due to the Sept 11 attacks?

Then a third party come along, and for the sake of argument lets pretend he is a co-worker of the CHRC employee that posted those comments, and he in turns complains about what the other CHRC employee posted. Take a guess under Section 13 who would be responsible? The message board owner….! Dean Steacy himself admitted to it, when my counsel cross-examined him.

Because Intent to discriminate as the Supreme Court of Canada ruled “is not a factor”. This means the mere fact it might hurt someone feels is all that matters. That’s the heart of the constitutional challenge of Section 13. It is not about me. But about the validity of the law.

In terms of the comments above, let me be crystal clear -- I do not support those comments, never have supported them, I did not post those comments, and of course being of French heritage myself, I certainly don’t support in any form the killing of French people (or anyone else for that matter)

But I do believe in free speech, and many many people went onto my message board, called me the nastiest of names, and I did NOT delete those posts. I believe in debate and open dialog. I really do wonder why open dialog really scares those that seek to repress ideas and control the free flow of information (like the CHRC) If their arguments were indeed so persuasive, they would much rather rent out Toronto’s SkyDome and debate me in public. But instead they use the immense power of the state to crush me into the ground. That alone speaks volumes about these people.



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