A rift between Rob Nicholson and Jennifer Lynch
Rob Nicholson is the Conservative Justice Minister who made the mistake of appointing Jennifer Lynch, Joe Clark's former chief of staff, to the post of Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
In fairness, I don't think Nicholson would make that same choice today. When Nicholson appointed Lynch, it was in March, 2007 when the atrocious conduct of the CHRC was on few politicians' radar screens, so Nicholson probably gave little thought to his pick. Out of general political hygiene, Lynch shouldn't have been appointed to any position in the Conservative government -- she's a radical feminist, outside the mainstream of Canadian values, and she has a snobby streak when it comes to Albertans -- but Nicholson probably thought he was just filling some second-rate patronage position with second-rate political deadwood. Lynch had not-so-subtly campaigned for an appointment to the bench but even Nicholson wouldn't make that gaffe.
Fast forward a year and a half, and Lynch has turned into an ethical disaster for Nicholson and the Conservative government. She has presided over the most corrupt agency in Ottawa, with four full-fledged investigations into its conduct -- including an RCMP criminal investigation, and a Privacy Commissioner's investigation. And what's Lynch's approach to crisis management? Mere days before the CHRC had its public melt-down over its illegal hacking, its staff posing as neo-Nazis online, etc., Madame chose to go down to Washington for a little junket to do some five-star hob-nobbing.
Which is why I'm guessing Lynch is off somewhere really exotic right now. Because trouble's afoot -- and it comes, interestingly, from Nicholson's office.
Last month, the hearings in the Warman v. Lemire "hate speech" trial wrapped up.
The CHRC had their own lawyer, a woman with a name Dickens would have chosen for her: Margot Blight. Nicholson had his own lawyer there, too, named Simon Fothergill. It was Fothergill's job to oppose Lemire's challenge to the constitutionality of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the "hate speech" provision.
That's a putrid job, because it is so obviously un-Canadian, and Fothergill's efforts show it. His 50-page legal submission was a mish-mash of Marxist, grievance culture clap-trap so awful that even the Prime Minister's Office noticed what was supposed to be a routine submission. (It was in the wake of Fothergill's disastrous brief that Rick Dykstra, the Conservative MP from St. Catharines, was permitted to move his motion calling for a review of the CHRC and section 13 as a form of damage control.)
There were also three censorious Jewish groups represented at the hearing -- the Canadian Jewish Congress, the B'nai Brith and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, whose own legal pleadings denigrate Jews by claiming that we are so fragile that we depend on government censorship for our "psychological security". But don't get me started on Canada's "Official" Jews.
Just because all of those lawyers were there to destroy free speech doesn't mean that there were no differences amongst them, though. And here is the problem for Lynch.
Blight's job at the hearing was to defend the CHRC at all costs -- to gloss over the CHRC's corruption, to stonewall, to deny everything. She's the point woman defending every corrupt and abusive thing the CHRC has done, from its entrapment of victims to its failure to disclose documents to Lemire, to its doctoring of transcripts, to its tampering with evidence. Blight is Lynch's janitor. A very well-paid janitor.
Not Fothergill. His job is more simple: arguing that section 13 is constitutional. Blight is arguing not only that section 13 is constitutional, but that Lemire is guilty of breaching it, and that the CHRC's Stalinist conduct is acceptable in Canada. Fothergill doesn't care if Lemire is convicted or not. He just wants the law upheld.
Needless to say, Fothergill was embarrassed by the litany of corruption exposed by Lemire. It made his job harder.
He was embarrassed -- but also worried. Because the chair of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing the case, Athanasios Hadjis, expressed some doubts.
During the final hearings, Hadjis said that section 13 "has an effect on the citizens of Canada who may be near that line [of hate speech] but not crossing it."
Hadjis said that innocent people could be "dragged through the process" of a human rights complaint -- exactly Lemire's argument. Hadjis talked about a "grey zone" that should be permitted and said "maybe the scale is tipping the other way" in the age of the Internet.
That's plenty of heresy right there -- the most independent thing Hadjis has ever said. And he seemed to reject Fothergill's idea that a previous, 1990 constitutional challenge to section 13 (the Taylor case) was still valid in the age of the Internet: "It's a different context," Hadjis said. "Suddenly all these declarations that may have legitimately been made on paper, in the age of Taylor, will be caught by Section 13."
In other words, censoring the Internet is a far broader form of censorship than anything contemplated in the pre-Internet era.
Dear reader, if you were one of the half-dozen lawyers in that room defending section 13, wouldn't you be worried by such comments from the tribunal chair? Hadjis has never acquitted anyone of "hate speech" before -- no-one has. But then again, no-one has ever talked so defiantly to the censors of the CHRC before. Could it be that the CHRC's 100% winning streak is about to end?
And -- much worse for the censors! -- could it be that the first defendant to win would also be a defendant who challenged the constitutionality of the law? Could it be that by taking on Lemire so abusively the CHRC had actually undid itself? That, by conducting themselves so vilely, they would not only lose their case against Lemire, but be forever forbidden to prosecute anyone else, because the law itself would be struck down?
But why should Fothergill pay that price? Why should Rob Nicholson lose one of his laws just because of Jennifer Lynch's corrupt application of it?
And that's exactly what Fothergill told Hadjis.
He told Hadjis that if Hadjis had doubts about the case because of the CHRC's bad behaviour that Hadjis should throw out the case because of that abuse of process. Uphold the law -- but rule that the CHRC was so abusive and unfair, that Lemire is free to go.
Fothergill could sense he was losing. Better to throw Jennifer Lynch's rotten crew overboard, than to have the whole ship sink.
Incredibly, Fothergill helpfully listed six examples of the CHRC's corruption for Hadjis to consider:
- Richard Warman, the former CHRC employee who was the complainant against Lemire, had actually trained the CHRC investigator who went after Lemire -- a clear conflict of interest.
- The CHRC failed to provide proper disclosure to Lemire.
- Warman initially blamed Lemire for the bigoted online post attacking Sen. Anne Cools -- but quickly dropped that part of the complaint when Lemire asserted that Warman himself wrote it.
- The CHRC's recent cases have been prosecuted by one man -- Warman -- and that hardly fits the CHRC's mandate for "remedial" justice.
- The inconsistent application of the law; and
- Warman himself didn't even bother to attend most of the hearing that bore his name.
Hell, Fothergill could have been reading from one of my blog entries.
Fothergill was talking about Warman's strategy of "Maximum Disruption". But, as Fothergill told Hadjis, "There is only so far Warman can go with that strategy" without the CHRC's consent.
Fothergill was saving his own skin. It wasn't the law that was vile, he argued -- it was the CHRC's abusive procedures.
Nicholson's lawyer wasn't going to defend Lynch's conduct, or Warman's. The opposite: he was going to make the CHRC wear it.
He told Hadjis that if the case against Lemire was foul, the proper thing to do is to rule that Lynch's mob were the problem, not the law itself.
What he was really doing was telling Hadjis to find that the CHRC had conducted themselves illegally. That they had abused their powers. That they had maliciously prosecuted Lemire. That they were bullies -- and to stick them with the blame, not Nicholson.
If I had a transcript of Fothergill's cool exposition of the CHRC's flaws, I'd show you. But -- and this is part of the CHRC's corruption -- only the prosecutors get transcripts. They don't disclose them to the public or to the defendants. There is a gorgeous, professional transcript of the hearing, but the CHRC won't release it, for fear of embarrassment. The only public record is a scratchy audio tape of the hearings -- impossible to search or reprint. It's just another little touch of rot in a fully rotten system.
Here's the audio recording (big file) of Fothergill, Nicholson's lawyer, calmly sticking the dagger into Lynch's back.
Of course, the proper thing for Hadjis to do is to both find section 13 unconstitutional and find that the CHRC-Warman case agasint Lemire was abusive. But that's an awful lot to ask for from Hadjis, who has never once denied the CHRC their pound of flesh in a section 13 case.
I think Hadjis might actually go for Fothergill's "compromise" -- not to strike down section 13, but to smack down the CHRC and Warman.
It will be interesting to see.
And if Hadjis does what Nicholson's lawyer asked him to do -- if he deals the CHRC their first section 13 loss in thirty years, if he condemns the CHRC as the brutally corrupt rogues that they are -- it will be interesting to see how long Jennifer Lynch's disastrous tenure as chief commissioner will continue.
It will also be interesting to see how many zeros there will be in Lemire's malicious prosecution lawsuit against the CHRC and Warman.
Fire. Them. All.
Nah -- too late for that.
Sue. Them. All.