Saturday, March 14, 2009

NATIONAL POST: Rights tribunal backs Warman, with reservation -- Hate Speech Ruling; 'Disappointing, disturbing' behaviour by WARMAN 'diminish credibility'


Rights tribunal backs Warman, with reservation

Hate Speech Ruling; 'Disappointing, disturbing' behaviour 'diminish credibility'

Joseph Brean,  National Post  | Saturday, March 14, 2009


Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman yesterday extended his perfect record when the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal upheld his hate speech complaint against the Northern Alliance, a long-defunct London, Ont., white nationalist group, and its bankrupt former leader, Jason Ouwendyk.

The ruling brings Mr. Warman's victories at hate speech tribunals to more than a dozen, more by far than any other complainant under the controversial Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

But in denying Mr. Warman's request for financial compensation and a fine, the tribunal also harshly criticized him for "disappointing and disturbing" online behaviour, including his posting of hate messages written by others that "could have precipitated further hate messages."

One such message, to which Mr. Warman added a comment, refers to former justice minister and Liberal MP Irwin Cotler as an "Israel firster." Mr. Warman's comment then referred to politicians as "scum."

"It diminishes his credibility," wrote CHRT chairman Edward Peter Lustig.

As the only party left on the prosecution side, Mr. Warman asked for cease-and-desist orders, a penalty of $7,500 and victim compensation for himself of $6,000.

Mr. Lustig also wrote that Mr. Warman "admitted (after initially denying) that he had participated in communicating messages on Internet Web sites similar to the Northern Alliance Web site utilizing pseudonyms such as Pogue Mahone and Axetogrind.

The one about Mr. Cotler, a prominent human rights expert, was posted on July 18, 2004, to the Floridabased "white nationalist" site Stormfront.

In the message, titled "Re: Irwin Cotier [sic] (Jewish) as Minister of Justice in Canada," Mr. Warman quotes at length from a previous post -- written by someone else -- about Mr. Cotler.

It starts by observing that Mr. Cotler is Jewish, then accuses him of spending "much needed tax dollars on a scheme to further impose the will of Israel-firsters on Canadians."

Mr. Warman then added the comment, "Did you know we had an election and the new Cabinet hasn't been named yet? We still have scum in government but we have to wait and see which scum goes where."

In another message, posted on the similarly themed Vanguard News Network on Jan. 5, 2005, Mr. Warman responded to a message--again written by someone else--about Jeff Schoep, whom the Southern Poverty Law Centre described as "uniform-clad commander of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement."

The message suggested news coverage of Mr. Schoep's activities by "those ADL [Anti-Defamation League] Jews" might "spark curiosity in (not yet racist) whites."

"I agree. Keep up the good work Commander Schoep!" Mr. Warman wrote. He then signed the message with "88," a common neo-Nazi salute that means "Heil Hitler," because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

Mr. Warman told the tribunal his messages "did not 'cross the line' into hate messaging" and that his quotation of possible hate messages written by others were "inadvertent slips."

The tribunal found this explanation "very weak," and wrote, "I do not see any acceptable reason for Mr. Warman to have participated on the Stormfront or Vanguard sites, since there appears to be ample easily obtained messages on these sites available without his involvement."

The tribunal further found that "his activity in this regard could have precipitated further hate messages in response."


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