Friday, April 16, 2010

Senator Finley on RoadKillRadio. Freedom of Speech in Canada & Human Rights Fanatics (Mentions the Lemire case multiple times)



The Erosion of Free Speech in Canada 

7:30 8:00 pm:  IMPORTANT!!!!  SENATOR DOUG FINLAY (Ontario South Coast) will join us to talk about his “Inquiry into the Erosion of Free Speech in Canada.”  (Global News Article)  Click here for the Debates of the Senate, March 30, 2010 (National Post article topic related)


8: 00 – 8:45 pm:  JOHN CARPAY, Executive Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation will join us to further talk about the issues involving Free Speech.  The Foundation has been instrumental in securing a number of VICTORIES involving Free Speech that are now going to be appealed.  Visit their website for details on these court cases.


Listen Now - Download now in MP3 format









NATIONAL POST: Our Senate gets it right on free speech



http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=2908055

Our Senate gets it right on free speech

National Post Editorial | April 15, 2010
Canadians who think the Senate is a temple to doddering uselessness have not been paying attention to the Upper Chamber's recent debate on free speech. Over the past two weeks, Senators have given a string of eloquent defences of free expression in response to a call from Senator Doug Finley's request for an inquiry into the status of free speech in Canada.

"Censorship," Mr. Finley said in his opening remarks, has begun to "rear its ugly head" in the form of aggressive human rights commission investigations into politically incorrect Internet postings and a university administrator's threats to American author Ann Coulter that she risked hate-crimes prosecution if she didn't curb her tongue while in Canada. "Despite our 400-year tradition of free speech, the tyrannical instinct to censor still exists."

On Tuesday, Senator Nicole Eaton explained how the desire to protect identifiable groups from being offended, while well-intentioned, had led to a "tyranny of the nice." She added that "to have a government agency monitoring the Internet, searching for certain political views to prosecute, is anathema to a liberal democracy."

Meanwhile, Senator Patrick Brazeau explained how the right to speak one's mind "is reflective of the notion that all men and women were created equal. Freedom of speech knows no political station, no power structure nor race, colour or creed."

Contrast that with the views of Canadian Human Rights Commission investigator Dean Stacey who at a hate-speech inquest three years ago testified that, "Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don't give it any value."

In a debate over who would better protect Canadians' ancient right to free expression, our Senate or the CHRC, it's not much of a contest.





Monday, April 12, 2010

*** CJC files to Uphold Section 13. Speechless on Machette Attack tho



Canadian Jewish Congress Hypocrisy

On Machete Attack of Jewish Students
On Sec. 13(1) Censorship and thought Control


“Maybe we should consider the impact that words can have in accelerating the argument to the point where people feel that this kind of behaviour is acceptable."


“Extremist racist speech is an assault on the psyche of those it targets. It threatens the physical security of victimized communities

Section 13 plays a vital role in protecting the Canadian Jewish community from the harms of such speech… The Jewish community … have come to rely on s. 13(1) as a last resort to ensure that harmful speech does not progress into violence”

[CJC Submission to Federal Court of Canada


The Canadian Jewish Congress wants to limit freedom of speech, using the draconian Section 13 of the Canadian Human Right Act to make sure the “Canadian Jewish community” is protected from “hate speech” which will ensure that “as a last resort that harmful speech does not progress into violence.”

YET.   When anti-Semitic violence is actually done towards the Canadian Jews by radical Muslims.  The Canadian Jewish Congress is almost silent.

Think about this:

The Canadian Jewish Congress is spending tens of thousands to oppose freedom of speech and uphold Section 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which has lead to the censorship of such “nazi” publications as the Western Standard, Macleans and Catholic Insight. …  YET they are not going to spend any time or resources tracking down or exposing the Muslim extremists who attacked a Jew and supporter of Israel in Ottawa last week.



Oh and not surprisingly… not a single word in the entire Canadian Jewish Congress’s submissions was about radical Muslim haters such as Al-Hayiti,

I guess it is not hate (if you’re Muslim that is) to write that Gays should be "beheaded", and that Jews "spread corruption".

Montreal Imam Al-Hayiti:

·        Jews "spread corruption and chaos on earth"
·        Most Jews "seek only material goods and money, apart from that, they have nothing"
·        Homosexuals and lesbians should be "exterminated in this life"
·        "Homosexuals caught performing sodomy are beheaded"
·        "... a Muslim must never put his brother in Islam at the same level as an Infidel. In fact, to place Infidels at equality with Muslims is one of the greatest form of ignorance and injustice"
·        "The rule is that the most disobedient among Muslims is better than the most virtuous, the most polite, the most honest and the most loyal among the Infidels"








Submissions of the Canadian Jewish Congress to uphold Canadian censorship!








Doug Christie's Speech on Freedom delivered to the University of Ottawa


Notes for Doug Christie’s Speech
University of Ottawa, April 8, 2010
I’m here to talk about free speech. I’m not here to practice it.

Unlike Ann Coulter, I don’t need a warning from the provost. I am a Canadian, trained by law in the way of silence, sullen silence, and code language. I have been trained by the Supreme Court not to engage in hate speech, even though no one can define it in advance, so I can avoid it.

There are general taboo topics which I must avoid or tread lightly around, like race, religion, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability or mental status. Then there are peripheral taboo topics like multiculturalism, immigration, affirmative action programs and a host of other ill-defined topics.

I have been trained to remain very sensitive to the broad political implications of these topics lest I face a very expensive lesson from the Human Rights Tribunal.

What the Supreme Court taught me when I appeared in Taylor and Zundel and Keegstra was that free speech has its limits in “hate” which means “extreme dislike.” So presumably I must like all races, religions, ethnic origins, etc. equally or at least dislike them only moderately. Or at least pretend to, which is more Canadian. I cannot denounce any one as evil.

The Law Society, through its decision of Harvey Strosberg taught me that if I speak in public, “law students” may tape some but not all of my words, and the Chairman of the Discipline Committee can issue a statement to the media condemning me as “identifying with a lunatic fringe,” even in the very act where he decides not to give me the benefit of a hearing where I could answer the allegation with evidence where both sides could be heard.

I learned in McAleer and Malcolm Ross, both of which went to the Supreme Court of Canada, that expressing your religious beliefs on your own time, is no defence and placing the messages in the United States where it is legal, is no defence if you mention where you can get the message to someone in Canada.
I learned that our parliamentarians of all parties love free speech so much that they banned someone from the precincts of Parliament who wanted to rent the parliamentary press gallery, a place anyone can rent for a press conference.

What was the press conference about? That the Human Rights Tribunal had ruled in Zundel’s case that “Truth was no defence,” and the truth of the statement could not be proven by any evidence. I know because that someone was me, the only lawyer in Canadian history to be banned by all party agreement from the precincts of parliament. Because in Canada truth is no defence. Orwell was right about double speak. Randy White a so-called Reform MP said he did not want me in his work place. Orwell was right about a lot of things.

I have learned and been carefully taught to avoid the taboo topics, to measure every word lest a tape recorder in the audience be taken to the Human Rights Commission, the police, the Law Society, or someone likes to complain to the Human Rights Commission.

I have learned to talk about free speech but never practice it. Never say anything like Ann Coulter would say, coming from a free society. And being in a university setting is all the more reason to be very careful about how you choose your words. The left-wing political giants who run most universities are able to let loose the mob with a wink and the students know their success with many professors depends on how successfully they can entrap a political foe.

Universities are the most dangerous place to practice free speech. Even topics like abortion which you would not normally think involve a taboo topic can quickly be spun into forbidden territory and sexism can result in expulsion or criminal charges. The civility of universities is accorded to those who can mobilize the largest screaming mob. No one listens.

I have to even be careful how I speak about Freedom of Speech.

So let me just speak about freedom of speech. I have come here to praise freedom of speech, not to bury it. I do not want to be cynical or bitter. But since 1984 when I took up the cause of freedom, I have become aware of the price to be paid for this precious legacy of freedom.

My office has been vandalized, repeatedly; my name has been defamed in the press; I have been the target of spurious complaints to law societies, I have been banned from the precincts of parliament. The very press who today became the target of complaints themselves because they post on the internet, who have come late to the battle, because of their money and power, are turning the tide. They were not long ago in the forefront of the mob, vilifying my clients and myself, since it was not their ox that was gored.  Irony, thy name is Canada.

1984, the year Orwell entitled his most famous work was actually the year I got involved in the defence of James Keegstra. From that moment on, the lawyer who had defended successfully all manner of criminal cases from drugs to rape to murder and with no ill effects to his reputation other than professional jealousy became in the eyes of many, through the window of the media, a hated nazi-lawyer. This title, I have worn to this day, at first reluctantly and gradually resigned myself to it, knowing as “Human Rights” law tells us, “Truth is no defence.”

I would never be elected anywhere to anything. Any party would expel me, the right of left for fear of the media. I was warned this would happen. “Better alone than in the company of hypocrites,” I reasoned. There is one hope and that is that truth cannot be buried forever, and people will tell it come what may, even about race, religion, or ethnicity. There are some truths to be told on that score. They are the building blocks of culture and even the government of Quebec is recognizing this, even though they wrap it in convoluted language. Oops! I almost practiced free speech!

The best indication of what is the true value of free speech is provided by what happens when it is taken away. The thinking people become “bush league.” The first reaction to a controversial idea is not to hear the person about whom you heard, but to adopt the mob-mind view.

Left-wing, multicultural, tolerant, good. Right wing, xenophobic, intolerant, bad. A few code words and the mob takes the argument to the streets. The psychological guillotine cuts off debate and civility like the real guillotine cut off heads in Paris in the revolution till there were no heads to cut off. Everybody was at the same low level of passive, intellectual obedience to the omnipotent state. Then a forceful tyrant like Napoleon can impose his will with very little difficulty. Do we really have to go through these cycles of oppression, revolution, depression? Have we no intellect to listen for ourselves, evaluate for ourselves, accept or reject an idea with a civil attitude of tolerance? Do we need to have a hysterical violent reaction to every idea of a different perspective?

The Roman maxim: “Audi Alteram Partem” was over the door of the law library at McGill University where I once spoke. I entered through that doorway to face a hostile screaming mob, much like Ann Coulter faced. 

They had never met me. They could never hear me. Why did they reject me before hearing me? Why not hear both sides? Sometimes all sides need to be heard. Until they are, how can you really form an intelligent and informed opinion?

I believe the truth is that the idea of tolerance has been used as an Orwellian doublespeak smoke screen for intolerance and is really about narrowing the scope of debate before the debate begins. This is consistent with Marxism, but it is not consistent with liberalism or of constitutional principles of free speech. Certain topics cannot be discussed.

We don’t absolutely make it illegal to talk about certain subjects, we just make it so dangerous, with so many obscure and complex rules that no one dares to go there. Somewhat like gun laws. We don’t overtly ban all fire arms. No, we would find too much resistance and rational criticism. The hypocritical Canadian way is simply to regulate them out of existence, gradually, just like controversial speech. Hate laws mean whatever we say they mean. We will only tell you after you say something if you have offended. This is the process of gradual Marxism. The state gradually disarms the citizen of their weapons and their free speech by slow degrees so that absolute control both physical and mental will be with the state.

The other side of this equation is the enforcers, state agents, professional complainers, the enablers of state power. The people who go from politicians to judge or from politician to president of a University. They create a network of willing and compliant officials who can be counted on to cleverly manipulate and manage the progress from freedom, which they call “anarchy,” to the tyranny they call a “benevolent oligarchy.”

Thus they acquire through a system of servants and paid enforcers, through Human Rights Commissions and police forces the only persons authorized by law to break into your house, seize your computer, examine your files, your books, your speeches, your appearances and even your surreptitiously recorded comments as in the case of David Ahenakew.

They can ruin you. They can prosecute you. They can and will vilify you in the press. As was done to David Ahenakew and then even if you win, you still lose. You go through court for four years of stress and when you are finally acquitted, no one says “sorry” or pays your costs. On the contrary, they repeat in the media around the world the words of the judge condemning you in the very act of acquitting you.

And the state has all the guns, police, sheriffs, jails, probation officers, all paid by the state which you support with your taxes. If you want to be a paid bully, there’s a job for you. If you want to shoot people, just don’t say so, join the RCMP. If you want to taser people like Dziekanski, if you want to shoot teenagers like Ian Bush, or misfits like Jess Hughes, and never be charges, join the RCMP.

Just be sure you don’t admit what you did and the establishment will protect you. You are after all, protecting them. We are paying for our own enslavement. Only a few really know where we are going. The rest are following along for the ride, and the free lunch.

(Oops! Too much free speech!)

So if you want to carry on down the road to tyranny, just shout me down. If you want to go quietly into the night of tyranny, just ignore what I have said. Put it out of your mind and never think of it again. The legitimate function of the state is to preserve and maximize the freedom of the conscience, belief and opinion of the individual. It is not to enforce a social model of artificial cultural stew, enforced by law. We have inherent rights to survive as a free people only to the extent we articulate, manifest with rigorous debate and listen to all criticism with an enlightened and critical mind. Let us not presume we are possessed of all knowledge before the discussion starts, and set a limited agenda for social and acceptable speech.

Where once sex was a taboo topic, it has now become an obsession. Speech about race, if suppressed, becomes an obsession and if further suppressed, leads to violence. Let’s get debate out of the closet on all matters. Let’s use it, or we’ll lose it.

I have not said anything. More than anything, I have been allowed to speak here without interruption on the belief I would be ineffectual and secondly I would make the administration look better than the last speaker who was cancelled. I realized this at the beginning, but it is an opportunity to make the point that the redemption of an individual like me, or a society like your university, or of a country like Canada, is only possible if we listen to each other and talk openly about all of our serious and sensitive issues. Unless this really happens, Canada isn’t worth saving and neither is this university.

I will leave here knowing more than anyone in this room about the battles for free speech that have gone on in this country in the last thirty years. I see only minor changes occurring. This is your chance to ask what you need to know to make a difference.


Reports on Douglas Christie’s Speech






Thursday, April 8, 2010

Canadian Civil Liberties Association Applies for Intervener Status in the Lemire Constitutional Challenge of Internet Censorship

CCLA supports Free Speech and an end to CHRC Censorship

http://www.freedomsite.org/legal/apr08-2010_CCLA_Intervenes_at_FC.html

 

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has filed a 200+ page intervention application at the Federal Court of Canada.  They are seeking to rid Canada of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which is Canada’s shameful Internet censorship legislation.

 

Motion Record of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Written Representation of the Proposed Intervener the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (14 Pages)

Affidavit of Abigail Deshman. Sets out who the CCLA is and their interest in freedom of speech (39 pages)

Case Law Referred to by the CCLA (118 pages) 

 

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is one of Canada’s premier organizations protecting freedom of speech.  According to the Affidavit of Abigail Deshman, the CCLA “has long been concerned with the protection of civil liberties in Canada.  The CCLA has long been involved in initiatives relating specifically to freedom of expression.”

The CCLA submissions specifically address two key points: 

1.     The manner in which individuals experience the effect of a statutory scheme is a proper consideration in the context of a Section 1 analysis when examining a statute that, on its face, aims to operate in a conciliatory or remedial manner

(This submission takes aim directly at the CHRC’s arguments, which claim the Lemire defence should  not have been allowed to look at the CHRC’s long history of censorship and persecution and the fact that although the law is 100% remedial, the CHRC has used the law to persecute and punish people for bad thoughts and speech)

 

2.     Severance is not an appropriate constitutional remedy in the circumstances of this case, and in freedom of expression cases more generally. 

(The CHRC claims that the Tribunal should have just dropped the fines provision and that in turn will magically make the law constitutional and not an infringement on freedom of speech)

 

 

Select submissions of the CCLA

On Section 13 lack of remedial basis:

  • In the instance case (Lemire case), the Tribunal held that the inclusion of a penalty provision at Section 54(1) fundamentally altered the nature of Section 13 and, therefore, section 13 was no longer consistent with section 2(b) of the Charter
  • As a component of the constitutional analysis, the Tribunal considered evidence that respondents to section 13 complaints do not experience a conciliatory, preventative, and remedial process.  Rather, the process is more prosecutorial in nature, with a focus on penalty and not prevention.
  • Further, the CCLA will submit that context of this nature is an appropriate consideration for the purpose of section 1 analysis generally. The contextual approach forms a fundamental part of the proper inquiry into the nature of a statutory scheme's operation. An assessment of "chill" in a factual vacuum undermines the spirit and intent of the reasonable limit articulated in section 1.
  • More specifically, in freedom of expression cases, the CCLA will submit that this contextual inquiry is required.

 

On Severance of Fine Provision (requested by CHRC):

  • (contrary to the CHRC’s position) Severance is not an appropriate constitutional remedy in the circumstances of this case, and in freedom of expression cases more generally.
  • The CCLA will submit that severance of punitive provisions is generally not an appropriate remedy to correct the unconstitutionality of legislation which seeks to limit the right to free expression.
  • The "chill" on freedom of expression caused by the operation of sections 13 and 54(1) of the CHRA is not remedied by carving off the penalty provisions and refusing to apply them on a case-by-case basis.
  • The very existence of section 54(1) has coloured the underlying offence of hate messaging, making it more intrusive on free expression than originally envisioned by the Supreme Court in Taylor. The penalty provisions carry significant stigma, and by consequence, a "chilling effect" on free expression. This "chill" on speech captured by the scope of section 13 is not rectified by simply refusing to apply the penalty in specific cases.

 

Background to Lemire case:

In 2003, serial plaintiff Richard Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against Marc Lemire for postings on the Freedomsite message board.  None of the posting complained about were written or approved by Marc Lemire, but because he was the webmaster of the message board, the CHRC is trying to hold him liable.

In 2005, Lemire challenged the constitutionality of Section 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act as an egregious censorship provision severely limiting freedom of speech and thought. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is Canada's shameful internet censorship provision.

Section 13 makes it an offence to "likely" "expose" privileged groups to "hatred and/or contempt." There are NO defences under Section 13!  Even truth and intent are considered irrelevant to a finding of discrimination.

The law was enacted in 1977 in order to silence a man named John Ross Taylor for messages he recorded onto his telephone answering machine.  In the intervening 32 years, not a single person who has been hauled up on Section 13 charges has ever been acquitted - a 100% conviction rate.

Mainstream media outlets, from Victoria to Halifax, have demanded a repeal of Section 13 and denounced the human rights industry. Editorials commonly refer to the Tribunal as a "kangaroo court," and highlight how 'human rights' commissions  "threaten our liberty."

The case against Lemire dragged on for 5 years before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and before the Federal Court of Canada, where the CHRC was forced to admit they spy on Canadian and American websites.

Since Marc Lemire and his courageous lawyer Barbara Kulaszka went to work, the entire landscape of Section 13 censorship has changed.

On Sept 2, 2009, the Human Rights Tribunal fully acquitted Marc Lemire, and refused to apply Section 13 due to its unconstitutional provisions.  The case has been appealed by the CHRC human rights fanatics.

 

Warman Allegation

Result?

JRBooksonline Website

Acquitted!

Stormfront Posting

Acquitted!

Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by Craig Harrison

Acquitted!

Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by persons other than Mr. Lemire or Mr. Harrison

Acquitted!

Messages posted on the Freedomsite message board by Mr. Lemire

Acquitted!

 

The “Controversial Columnists” section of the Freedomsite website

The Doug Collins Column

Acquitted!

“Ottawa is Dangerous” Article

Acquitted!

AIDS Secrets column

GUILTY (?)

 

 The Lemire Tribunal ruled that: 

[290] Thus, following the reasoning of Justice Dickson, at 933,one can no longer say that the absence of intent in s. 13(1) “raises no problem of minimal impairment” and “does not impinge so deleteriously upon the s. 2(b) freedom of expression so as to make intolerable” the provision’s existence in a free and democratic society. On this basis, I find that the Oakes minimum impairment test has not been satisfied, and that s. 13(1) goes beyond what can be defended as a reasonable limit on free expression under s. 1 of the Charter.

c) Conclusions with respect to the claim of infringement on the freedom of expression

[295] For all the above reasons, I find that s. 13(1) infringes on Mr. Lemire’s freedom of expression guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Charter, and that this infringement is not demonstrably justified under s. 1 of the Charter.


[279] This question, however, is not what is relevant to the present discussion. The point is that, when assessed against the characteristics of the penalty provisions enumerated in these decisions, it is evident that s. 13(1) has become more penal in nature (irrespective of whether s. 11 Charter rights are necessarily triggered). The provision can no longer be considered exclusively remedial, preventative and conciliatory in nature, which was at the core of the Court’s finding in Taylor that s. 13(1)’s limitation of freedom of expression is demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, and thereby “saved” under s. 1 of the Charter.


V. CONCLUSION

I have determined that Mr. Lemire contravened s. 13 of the Act in only one of the instances alleged by Mr. Warman, namely the AIDS Secrets article. However, I have also concluded that s. 13(1) in conjunction with ss. 54(1) and (1.1) are inconsistent with s. 2(b) of the Charter, which guarantees the freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression. The restriction imposed by these provisions is not a reasonable limit within the meaning of s. 1 of the Charter. Since a formal declaration of invalidity is not a remedy available to the Tribunal (see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. V. Ontario (Labour Relations Board), [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5), I will simply refuse to apply these provisions for the purposes of the complaint against Mr. Lemire and I will not issue any remedial order against him (see Nova Scotia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Martin, 2003 SCC 54 at paras. 26-7).  

See full decision [here]

 

On January 25, 2010, using tax-payers money, the Canadian Human Rights Commission challenged the Lemire decision, which found that the thought control legislation of the Canadian Human Rights Act was unconstitutional and a violation of the Charter guaranteed rights to freedom of speech and thought.

[See: Canadian "Human Rights" Censors file at the Federal Court of Canada to keep their precious censorship franchise]

 

 


I need your help for the Appeal!

 

Donate using a credit card online with PayPal

 

 PayPal:   Send your donation to:   admin@stopsection13.com

MoneyBookers:  Send your donation to: marc@lemire.com

     

http://www.StopSection13.com  | http://www.freedomsite.org

http://blog.freedomsite.org | http://canadianhumanrightscommission.blogspot.com

 


 

Support Marc Lemire's Constitutional Challenge

 

Be part of our team and contribute what you can to defeat this horrible law 

and protect Freedom of Speech in Canada !

 

·         Via Mail: Send Cheque or Money Order to:

Marc Lemire

152 Carlton Street 

PO Box 92545 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5A 2K1 

Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

Douglas Christie to Speak at the University of Ottawa - April 8, 2010

 

For immediate release

 

 Controversial Lawyer to Speak at the University of Ottawa Following   Ann  Coulter Censorship

 

This Thursday April 8, 2010 controversial lawyer, political activist and General Counsel of the Canadian Free Speech League Douglas Christie is to give a speech inside the University of Ottawa administration building, Tabaret Hall.

 

Christie is well known for acting as legal counsel in the notable case of R. v. Finta, Canada's first and only war crimes trial, and Christie has appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada in the  defence of freedom of speech more times than any other counsel in Canada.

 

Christie will be speaking to the issue of freedom of expression on Canadian university campuses.

 

 

 

Watch Christie's commentary on Free Speech and Ann Coulter's visit to the U of O here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnJvP6Ryfp0&feature=player_embedded

 

Only two weeks after right-wing American commentator Ann Coulter’s speech at the University of Ottawa was cancelled, and one week after Senator Finley opened an inquiry into the erosion of free of speech in Canada, it is unclear how Doug Christie will be received by the University of Ottawa community.

 

 

Doug Christie will speak in Tabaret Hall, 550 Cumberland in Ottawa on Thursday April 8 at 1:00pm. The event will be open to all members of the public and to the media.

 

 

 

                                                                                                   - 30 -

 

For all media inquiries about the event, contact:

 

 

dougchristielaw@shaw.ca.

 

For more information on current issues of freedom of expression at the U of O, contact:

 

 

Mireille Gervais LL.L

Masters student at the Faculty of Law

Cell: 613-261-6647

Email: mgerv104@uOttawa.ca

 

Fran├žois Houle

Vice-President Academic & Provost Fran├žois Houle

University of Ottawa

Phone: 613-562-5800 ext. 5737

Email: vretudes@uOttawa.ca

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PRESS RELEASE - Landmark Case for Internet Privacy Rights - Ottawa, April 8, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Landmark Case for Internet Privacy Rights - Ottawa, April 8, 2010

 

On April 8, 2010, a precedent-setting case regarding internet law will be heard in the Ontario Divisional Court, at 161 Elgin St. in Ottawa.

 

The case is an Appeal of a lower court motion decision in the case of Warman vs Fourniers and John Does.  The ruling being appealed stated that the defendants were to turn over personal information such as IP addresses and email addresses for anonymous posters who were alleged to have defamed the plaintiff.  The defendants' position is that online anonymity should be protected until it is clear that there is a strong case that a "John Doe" has broken the law.

 

People post anonymously for many reasons.  They discuss politics, spiritual issues, health problems and relationship problems under pseudonyms.  Revealing the true identities of the people behind these usernames is an unspeakable invasion of their privacy, and should only be done when it is absolutely necessary.  It should never been done simply because someone makes an accusation of libel.

 

Intervening at the hearing will be the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, [CCLA Factum here] and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. [CIPPIC Factum]  Both of these organizations will be arguing that there is a duty to protect online anonymity, and that is it not addressed in the law, as it currently stands.

 

The issues in this appeal have far-reaching implications for people who post anonymously on the internet, and for forum and blog owners who have a duty of care when it comes to the private information of their posters.

 

The internet is changing the way we live our lives in Canada, and this case will be one of the first to address the changes that need to be made in our laws to accomodate new technology.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

 

Connie Fournier

(613) 888-1169

 

-30-

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

Also see:

 

·        Michael Geist: Ontario Court Orders Website To Disclose Identity of Anonymous Posters

·        Wise Law:  Warman and Fournier - Online Anonymity Threatened in Ontario

·        CCLA’s press release at:  http://ccla.org/?p=2627

 

 

CCLA to advocate for safeguards to protect Internet anonymity

October 5th, 2009

On September 22, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted CCLA leave to intervene in the case of Warman v. Fournier and John Does 1-8 (Court File No. 09-DV-1512). The case arises from a lawsuit which alleges that some anonymous comments made on an Internet discussion forum are defamatory. The website operators, as well as eight “John Doe” commentators, are named as defendants. The Court will be asked to decide the circumstances under which a website operator can be forced to turn over information that would ‘unmask’ anonymous forum commentators.

CCLA believes that, while the Internet should not be used as a shield to allow individuals to break the law, neither should a simple request to the Courts result in the disclosure of identifying information. Highly personal communication occurs online. Indeed, many use online anonymity as a way to explore difficult issues (political, legal, sexual, medical, etc.) that they might not feel free to explore publicly. The Internet is a highly accessible democratic forum, with virtually limitless opportunities for discussion and debate. Court orders that force individuals to reveal the identity of those who choose to participate anonymously could well chill this rigorous discussion, particularly on sensitive personal topics. Anonymity on the Internet should not be compromised simply because a private individual has filed a statement of claim.

To read CCLA’s factum click here.