Two years ago, Athanasios Hadjis was a human rights hack, sitting on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal full of other hacks. He mindlessly rubber-stamped the censorship litigation oozing from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its complainant of fortune, Stormfront member Richard Warman.
Here’s a section 13 censorship case, less than two years ago, where Hadjis happily condemned a young woman to a lifetime publication ban, ordered her to pay Warman $3,000 for his hurt feelings (tax free to him), and then fined her another $1,500. That’s a heavy punishment for a woman earning just above minimum wage, and too poor to hire a lawyer.
(It’s been a while since I practiced any criminal law. I’d be curious to know what kind of criminal conviction these days would yield a $4,500 fine and no time in custody. Would a first offence for an assault with a weapon get that heavy a penalty? If you’re a criminal lawyer who knows, tell me in the comments section.)
Hadjis didn’t mind his lifestyle one bit. He was part of the human rights industry – near the top of the food chain, actually – and it was easy work. No-one really cared about the people he sentenced for thought crimes. 90% of such victims were too poor to have lawyers there, and only murderers and rapists get legal aid – not people who write rude things on the Internet. The news media sure didn’t give a damn about the petty racists Hadjis bravely brought to, uh, justice.
What a difference a couple of years makes.
Today, Athanasios Hadjis issued a 40,000-word ruling – that’s almost as long as my book, Shakedown! – denouncing the Canadian Human Rights Commission, its aggressive style and its punitive powers. He rejected almost all of their “evidence” that Marc Lemire published “hate”, pointing out the curious fact that their five-year prosecution of him involved nothing that Lemire himself wrote, and nothing that was actually on Lemire’s website at the time the complaint was filed.
Hadjis called some of the comments that others wrote on Lemire’s website “offensive”, some of them “xenophobic” and some of them merely “pessimistic”. In other words, almost all were political views, not hate speech. What more proof is needed that the CHRC is a political vengeance machine, with Jennifer Lynch and Richard Warman deciding who is allowed to speak and who isn't?
I laughed out loud when I read that one of the things that the Canadian Human Rights Commission spent millions of dollars prosecuting was the comment that French Canadians were “cheese sniffers”. I’m not even kidding, the CHRC thinks that it should be against the law to call someone a cheese sniffer. Gentle reader, I swear I am not making that up – read the ruling yourself; just search for the word cheese. Or sniffer.
So two years after being a censor himself, Hadjis now calls censorship un-Canadian, un-constitutional and illegal. He says he will have nothing more to do with it, and he will refuse to implement it.
Hadjis isn’t the first tribunal member to put down the Kool Aid and slowly walk away from the human rights cult. This March, Hadjis’s colleague, Edward Lustig, issued an equally stunning ruling, when he refused to punish the target of Warman’s last inquisition, and instead condemned Warman and his tactics as “disturbing” and “disappointing”.
Lustig was appointed by Stephen Harper. But Hadjis was appointed by Jean Chretien. And before Hadjis was a censor, he was the head of Montreal’s Greek lobby – a master practitioner of multicultural ethno-politics. His conversion from fascism to freedom has been a long journey indeed.
First Richard Moon, the professor who was paid $52,000 to whitewash the CHRC’s censorship, turned against them. Then Lustig. Now Hadjis. Pretty soon the last dozen supporters of censorship will be Jennifer Lynch, Richard Warman, and ten of Richard Warman’s anti-Semitic personas on the Internet.
Last December I wrote that Lynch was a “jet-setting lawbreaker”. It was not an exercise in hyperbole, but rather a legal analysis of her corrupt behavior: it was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights, and contrary to the express ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada when they last considered censorship laws in 1990.
Lynch was a scofflaw, but she didn’t give a damn, because nobody was going to stop her.
As I wrote in December:
Section 13 -- the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act -- has been before the Supreme Court of Canada already. In 1990, John Ross Taylor, then 80 years old, appealed his section 13 conviction all the way to the SCC. The seven judges split, four saying the law was constitutional, three (including Beverly McLachlin, now the Chief Justice of the SCC) saying it was unconstitutional.
But the four who let section 13 slide were strict about its application. Here's what they wrote in their judgment (I've bolded a few key words):
In sum, the language employed in s. 13(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act extends only to that expression giving rise to the evil sought to be eradicated and provides a standard of conduct sufficiently precise to prevent the unacceptable chilling of expressive activity. Moreover, as long as the Human Rights Tribunal continues to be well aware of the purpose of s. 13(1) and pays heed to the ardent and extreme nature of feeling described in the phrase "hatred or contempt", there is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will supplant the proper meaning of the section.
Take a look a that just for a moment.
Three judges said the law was illegal. Four said it was legal, but only if it remained focused on truly evil hatred, that was ardent and extreme. Subjective opinions about offensiveness weren't permitted -- and, said those four judges confidently, there was little danger of that happening.
Well, those four judges hadn't met Jennifer Lynch and her corrupt crew of political inquisitors.
Nineteen years ago, the Supreme Court said section 13 was constitutional, but only to be used against “evil” – seriously, they used that word. Today, the CHRC is prosecuting people for calling each other cheese-sniffers, and they’ve added the power to fine people $30,000. Hadjis made the point today that I made back in December: even under the Supreme Court’s old rules, the CHRC is acting illegally. Imagine if today’s much more pro-free speech court got its hands on the CHRC.
Which brings us to what happens next: will there be an appeal of Hajdis’s decision?
It was one thing for the Conservative government to defend the Canadian Human Rights Act from Lemire’s constitutional challenge. That’s pretty much the default state for any Justice Department: uphold their laws. But now that we know their laws were unconstitutional, to positively send in lawyers to appeal Hadjis’s ruling would be an elective, willful demonstration of support for illegal censorship. It would make the Conservatives “own” this illiberal beast in a way they haven’t before.
If you look at the bottom of the ruling, you’ll see the disgusting fact that there were eleven lawyers prosecuting the case: two from the Justice Minister’s office; four from the CHRC; and five from the tax-subsidized Official Jews – B’nai Brith, Canadian Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Who knows how many millions of dollars it took to investigate and prosecute this matter – and, again, Lemire had to fund his five-year defence on his own.
Will Rob Nicholson, the Justice Minister, send his lawyers to appeal? If he does so, he risks a backlash within his own party’s base, on the eve of an election. But it is not acceptable for him to stand back, while his lackey, Jennifer Lynch, sends her CHRC lawyers in for the appeal. It’s essential that Nicholson – or the PMO, if Nicholson lacks the political judgment – orders Jennifer Lynch to stand down. (Frankly, it’s staggering that she hasn’t yet been ordered to just shut up and get on with her job as a bureaucrat. Seriously, as Peter O’Neil reported the other day, Lynch flew all the way to Dublin, Ireland, to beg for political help, admitting that her campaign to demonize her opponents, collect names on her enemies list and save her censorship powers “monopolizes our energy”. Why is she not fired yet?)
Oh – and it’s not enough for both Nicholson and Lynch to not appeal. Lynch has been paying Warman’s expenses in all of his complaints before the tribunal. She must be ordered not to pay his expenses to appeal. Let him pay his own costs for once, rather than soaking taxpayers for his private vendettas.
There are a lot more little items in the 107-page ruling that I might dig into in the next few days if I have time.
Today is definitely a day to celebrate. The celebration should be tinged with the reality that this battle is far from over though; the book-burners at the Canadian Jewish Congress have already announced that they will simply ignore Hadjis’s ruling, and act as if the law is still legal. I really don’t care that Bernie “Burny” Farber is a foolish buffoon; I just care that he’s doing it in the name of all Canadian Jewry, and that Nicholson might actually listen to such soft fascism, and think that we Jews are all thin-skinned, hypocritical whiners who can dish it out but can't take it, and want the state to bully our political enemies for us.
What a loser.
Burny was momentarily put on a leash earlier this year, when the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, the CJC’s funder, ordered him to shut up about censorship, and focus on issues that actually reflected the community’s political agenda, such as Iran, Hamas, Jewish schools, etc. Burny’s obedience lasted for a few weeks. It was awesome while it lasted, actually – I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Burny on CTV Newsnet actually saying that David Ahenakew’s acquittal for “hate propaganda” should not be appealed. But.you can’t ask an old book-burner to give up his pyromania for long, can you? If an election is indeed afoot, look for CIJA’s election guide to have censorship as one of the top “community” issues, as it did last year, when they made the mistake of letting Burny write it, without any grown-up supervision.
But let me close how I opened: with a reflection on how far things have come in two short years.
Two years ago, Athanasios Hadjis was sentencing girls to lifetime publication bans and huge fines. Now he’s calling that conduct illegal and unconstitutional.
Two years ago, Richard Warman had a private little racket going, where the CHRC funded his complaints, and he got to keep the tax-free cash awards. Now he’s publicly disgraced, condemned by the very tribunal that used to fill his bank account.
Two years ago, Warman’s neo-Nazi antics were known to only a few dozen people – his CHRC bosses, his victims, and the Official Jews, who knew about it and abided it. Now Warman’s Nazi activities – and those of half a dozen other CHRC staffers – are widely known. (The Official Jews still abide it.)
Two years ago, Jennifer Lynch was an absentee manager, jetting off to five-star galas in the third world, on taxpayer expense, learning third world-style approaches to human rights.
Today… oh well. We still have some work to do!
But seriously, kudos to everyone who has helped to shine a light of scrutiny and accountability on these corrupt, abusive HRCs. I credit the blogosphere, and talk radio, and some of the more open-minded reporters in the mainstream media, for turning “HRC” into a four-letter word. And, of course, there’s Marc Lemire himself who has labored in the face of a relentless, tax-funded inquisition for nearly six years, as the state prosecuted him with an illegal law, using abusive tactics. He – and everyone else ever charged under this illegal law – deserves compensation for the abuses they’ve suffered.
Sacking Jennifer Lynch would free up $300,000 or so for reparations. That’s probably a good place to start.