Emotional Farewell for Free Speech Warrior Douglas Christie in Toronto
TORONTO. March 23, 2013. Friends, clients, admirers and fellow free speech warriors going back to the two Zundel “false news trials” (1984 and 1988) gathered in Toronto today for a memorial to free speech lawyer Doug Christie who died of liver cancer in Victoria, March 11. Marc Lemire who assisted CAFÉ in organizing this meeting, brought several interesting collages of photos of Doug Christie’s life and cases, especially those in Toronto (Zundel, Finta, Lemire, etc.) Michelle Erstikaitis provided a portrait of Mr. Christie and a bouquet of flowers.
Erich Holy of the German World Congress (Deutsche Welt Kongress), a long-time admirer of Mr. Christie, said: “Doug could cast a spell over an audience. We drew inspiration in the battle for free speech from him. … On behalf of the German World Congress, we honour Doug Christie’s memory and extend our condolences to the family of this great man.”
One of Doug Christie’s clients, a teacher persecuted and eventually relieved of his teaching position for expressing his religious and political views, especially opposition to Zionism, on his own time, spoke next. Malcolm Ross from Moncton, New Brunswick recalled: “For 10 years I was fighting and testifying as to my belief that Canada was a Christian nation, but that many of the Christian churches are enemies of our Race and our people.” Mr. Ross hailed Doug Christie as a fellow traditional Christian, “but the Christianity we both shared was the masculine Christianity of the Crusades,” he explained.
Recalling the Supreme Court hearing into the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission complaint against him, alleging that his views expressed outside the classroom created a “poisoned environment,” Mr., Ross said “there were 23 lawyers, many of them Jews, versus two Scotsmen. Now, those are pretty good odds,” he quipped. “Then, I was sent away and told I couldn’t assist Doug. So, then it was 23 to one.”
Mr. Ross remembered one of the Supreme Court judges complaining: “This talk by Mr. Ross about the Kingship of Christ makes me very uncomfortable in a pluralistic society.”
“The Supreme Court voted 9 to 0 against me,” Mr. Ross recalled. “Doug said: ‘We’ll go to the United Nations.’ The Canadian Government’s brief was basically that of the Canadian Jewish Congress. We lost there 17-0.”
Amazingly, Mr. Ross recounted, “the Supreme Court of Canada said even though they found no evidence that I had taught my beliefs in the classroom or that I had influenced anyone, still it seemed ‘reasonable’ for them to assume that I had contributed to a ‘poisoned environment.”
Mr. Ross said that, in 1996, “the Supreme Court returned its decision on the Eve of Passover, a Wednesday. The Court usually releases decisions on Thursday. Keith Landy of the Canadian Jewish Congress said the date ‘sent a message.’ It was unusual because it was in the middle of the Christian Holy Week, when Christians remember the sufferings of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious Resurrection.”
“We are not defeated when we lose in court,” the New Brunswick teacher told his hushed audience, “but only when we compromise.”
“Doug Christie,” he said, “was a righteous man with a heart of fire.”
“The government of New Brunswick paid the personal lawyer of the complainant David Attis (Atlantic head of the Canadian Jewish Congress) $225,000. They paid my lawyer nothing.”
The main witness against Malcolm Ross was David Attis’s daughter. She had not attended the school where Mr. Ross taught nor had ever seen him. Still, she claimed that anti-Jewish taunts directed at her by several students should be laid at his feet. One boy called her names after she wrestled him to the ground and stuck two fingers into his eye with the goal of ripping out his eye.
“Doug was a good friend. He enjoyed himself. Indeed, we were the only two people in that court in New Brunswick who seemed to be enjoying themselves,” Mr. Ross recalled.
“Doug Christie had a passionate love of freedom and the Red Ensign,” Canada’s traditional flag, Mr. Ross concluded.
Sydney White who lectures on Studies in Propaganda at the University of Toronto read a poem she’d composed called “Censored”. In her introduction, she added: “I have heard Doug Christie speak. Freedom of speech is the most important part of any democracy or republic,” she said. “Canada is becoming increasingly politically correct and factually incorrect.”
Marc Lemire, the only victim to win a Sec. 13 (Internet censorship) case, and who is currently before the Federal Court of Appeals seeking to have Sec. 13 declared unconstitutional, said: “I’ve known Doug for 20 years. I first met him when I was 17. He was one of my heroes. The comments, even in some nasty articles in the press, show how many people loved and admired Doug.”
“Doug was great at cross-examination, like his cross-examination of government witness Karen Mock (of B’nai Brith) in my case. He delivered a forceful summation, December 11, 2011, in my Sec. 13 case in Federal Court.”
Mr. Lemire recalled attending CAFÉ meetings where Doug spoke years ago. “His comments about free speech first brought it alive in me what free speech really means.” Mr. Lemire quoted Helen Keller’s comment frequently quoted by Mr. Christie: “I am only one, but I am one; I cannot do everything, but I still can do something.”
“Doug was aware of the awesome power of the state to crush people, people like Malcolm Ross. Doug made many trips to the Supreme Court of Canada. He would be alone facing many lawyers opposed to free speech. He’d ask: ‘Do each of these lawyers get the same amount of time as me?’ And, when informed that they would, he’d say with that wicked grim of his: ‘That seems fair.’”
“There’s ‘state approved speech’ and then there’s ‘free speech’, Doug would say.
“The life of Doug Christie showed me that one person could make a difference. Doug Christie never refused to do what he could.”
And, to the enemies of freedom, Mr. Lemire sent the warning: “Enjoy your happy dance. Your glee at Doug Christie’s demise will be short-lived. The battle for freedom will continue.”
Another co-organizer of the memorial, Christian Klein, Director of the Historical Society of Mecklenburg and Upper Canada, said: “I am a spokesman for the German survivors of World War II. My group was expelled from Silesia. History has been falsified or only partially told. There has been practically nothing told of the forced expulsion of 16-million Germans or the bombing of German civilians or the German holocaust by bombing.”
“I was very impressed Doug Christie the lawyer. He was often one alone against many. I was shocked as I was there in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and learned that truth was no defence,” Mr. Klein added. “We must keep telling our account of real history.”
Mr. Klein, a talented musician, then sang, accompanying himself on his guitar, a German freedom song from the Napoleonic Wars – Thoughts Are Free.
Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,
Thoughts are free, who can guess them?
Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, read a tribute to Doug Christie sent by Ottawa-based former diplomat Ian Macdonald.
Mr. Fromm added: Doug Christie “put others in the legal profession to shame. He didn't just believe in a client's right to a full and proper defence, he really did believe in freedom of speech: that freedom of expression is the gift you must give to your worst enemy, he told a CAFE meeting in Toronto, December 2, 2012. Many other lawyers lost that belief. Terry Tremaine, later one of Doug's clients and another Richard Warman free speech victim, called on seven Regina law firms to represent him in a "judicial review" (appeal) against the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision finding him guilty of spreading "hate" on the Internet. Finding out that this was a controversial free speech case running headlong into political correctness, not a single Regina law firm would touch Mr. Tremaine's case.
Murderers, child molesters, rape-kidnap-murder perpetrators like Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo, or more recently accused murderer and butcher Luka Magnotta, had no trouble finding counsel. The media and other bien pensants would praise their counsel as brave and creative lawyers. Yet, Doug Christie, who stood up for non-violent freethinkers assailed for having unpopular beliefs was often reviled in the press and in the legal profession. It will take a decade or two before the public appreciates what a legal giant and idealist it has lost,” Mr. Fromm concluded.