Why did the CHRC attack Marc Lemire?
Was it really to silence a critic and shut down his website?
In November 2003, serial plaintiff and former CHRC employee Richard Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against Marc Lemire. After a six year battle before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, on September 2, 2009, Section 13 and 54 was declared unconstitutional.
A series of events occurred in 2003, which could provide the context as to why the Canadian Human Rights Commission was so desperate to shut down Marc Lemire’s website – the Freedomsite.
Back in 2003, Lemire ran one of the only Canadian internet sites that were highly critical of censorship and especially the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Freedomsite carried hundreds of commentaries and news items, which were exposing the CHRC’s ravenous censorship which targeted victims like Ernst Zundel, Mark Schnell, Tony Mcaleer, Tomasz Winnicki and many others.
Here are just a few events which took place, in the immediate timeframe that Richard Warman filed his complaint against Marc Lemire. Warman filed the complaint on Nov 24, 2003.
- In September of 2003, several messages were posted on freedomsite.org written by Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, which set out the activities of Mr. Warman in laying a complaint against a London man named T. Winnicki and Bell Canada and his libel action against a group called Northern Alliance. These messages and the others detailed in the paragraphs following also were sent out on the Freedomsite mailing list, of which Mr. Warman was a subscriber.
- In October of 2003, a message was posted on freedomsite.org announcing a protest which was being organized by the Canadian Association of Free Expression against the government funding of ACensorship Advocates@, including Mr. Warman, in Victoria, British Columbia. A second message was posted on October 28, 2003 giving an account of the protest in Victoria, BC, where Mr. Warman and Mr. Adler of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre spoke about the Internet.
- On October 29, 2003, a message was posted on freedomsite.org which announced that CAFÉ would be holding a protest of the actions of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, including one of its employees, Richard Warman, in suppressing free speech on the Internet.
- On October 31, 2003, a message was posted on freedomsite.org which provided a summary of a press conference given in the Parliamentary Press Gallery in Ottawa by Paul Fromm regarding the what it termed the Aextensive campaign of harassment against dissident websites by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and by one of its lawyers, Richard Warman...@ Two men, Tom Kennedy and Jason Oewendyk, appeared with Mr. Fromm at the press conference and were described in the summary as Avictims of Richard Warman.@ The message outlined various activities of Mr. Warman in attempting to shut down meetings and websites. [Note: Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against Ouewendyk and sued Fromm for Libel. Melissa Guille was also present at the press conference, and Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against her]
- On Nov. 2, 2003, a message was posted on freedomsite.org entitled AWarman on the Warpath - Threatens CAFÉ@ which stated that Richard Warman had served Paul Fromm and CAFÉ with a Notice under the Libel and Slander Act of Ontario alleging that words defamatory of Mr. Warman had been posted on the freedomsite.org. The notice demanded that a retraction be published on the freedomsite.org and on the freedomsite email announcement list.
- On Nov. 2, 2003, a message was posted on the freedomsite.org which was the text of the CAFÉ press conference in Ottawa in the Parliamentary Press Gallery on Internet censorship.
- On Nov. 12, 2003, a message was posted on freedomsite.org entitled ACAFÉ complaint against CHRC lawyer Richard Warman.@ The message set out a letter which Paul Fromm, director of CAFÉ, had sent to Chief Commissioner Mary Gusella by fax on Nov. 11, 2003 in which Mr. Fromm lodged a formal complaint against Mr. Warman who worked as a investigator for the Commission. The complaint alleged that Mr. Warman was Ausing his position at the Commission to carry on an ideological vendetta against people whose views he disagrees with...@ Mr. Fromm listed Mr. Warman=s recent activities and demanded an investigation of his behaviour which he stated harmed the integrity of the Commission.
- On Nov. 11, 2003, the same day Mr. Fromm faxed his letter of complaint to the Commission, Mr. Warman visited the Freedomsite website message board, looking for and finding messages which he would include in the complaint against Marc Lemire. He returned to the site on November 15 and 23, 2003 to find further matters to include in the complaint.
- On Nov 24, 2003, Richard Warman filed a Section 13 complaint against Marc Lemire with his employer – the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Was Marc Lemire attacked to simply shut him up and his website down?
What happened next?
The Commission did not follow the normal procedure used in screening complaints in handling this complaint. For instance, Mr. Warman was not required to contact Mr. Lemire in order to see if the matter could be settled privately. Attempts at mediation by Mr. Lemire failed. (See Lemire decision. Para 284 and 289)
The Commission itself had an interest in shutting down a website active in criticizing one of its investigators activities and which was leading to controversy about the Commission and its activities under section 13.
On the day Mr. Fromm=s complaint was lodged with the Commission, Mr. Warman logged onto the Freedomsite Message Board and started printing off material which would be used in his Section 13 complaint against Lemire.
On Jan. 2, 2004, a message was posted on freedomsite.org entitled AComplaint Against Warman filed with Law Society.@ The message was the text of a complaint filed by Mr. Gordon Watson concerning Mr. Warman=s activities in stopping meetings of the Tax Honesty Movement on the grounds of anti-Semitism.
On March 18, 2004, a message was posted on freedomsite.org announcing that Mr. Warman had sued Paul Fromm and CAFÉ and setting out a copy of the Statement of Claim.
On March 25, 2004, the respondent Mr. Lemire received notice of the complaint of Mr. Warman.