The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/bc/Human-Rights-Commission/Collins-01-Press-Council-Submission.14


Archive/File: orgs/canadian/bc/Human-Rights-Commission/Collins-01-Press_Council-Submission.14
Last-Modified: 1998/09/21

304. This tribunal should note the scope of the request by the
Press Council's Gerry Porter:
          
          The Applicant for access to records seeks:
          
               1. All reports and studies prepared by
          social scientists, lawyers or other skilled
          advisors concerning the legislative
          objectives of Bill 33.  This request relates
          to documents created before or after the
          enactment of Bill 33.
          
               2. All reports and studies prepared by
          social scientists, lawyers or other skilled
          advisors relevant to whether the wording of
          Bill 33 is rationally connected to the
          legislative objectives of Bill 33.  This
          request relates to documents created before
          or after the enactment of Bill 33.
          
               3. All reports and studies prepared by
          social scientists, lawyers or other advisors
          relevant to whether the objectives of Bill 33
          are logically furthered by the wording of
          Bill 33.  This request relates to documents
          created before or after the enactment of Bill
          33.
          
               4. All reports and studies prepared by
          social scientists, lawyers or other skilled
          advisors which describe or identify
          alternative policy options to Bill 33,
          including inter alia, alternative statutory
          wording.  This request relates to documents
          created before or after the enactment of Bill
          33.
          
               5. All reports and studies prepared by
          social scientists, lawyers or other skilled
          advisors concerning the effects of Bill 33 as
          compared to the alternative policy options
          This request relates to documents created
          before or after the enactment of Bill 33.
          
               6. For the period from June 1, 1988 to
          February 29, 1996, all documents containing
          records, statistics, anecdotes, summaries or
          any other factual information about
          editorials or news stories in
          
               (a) newspapers and periodicals, or
          
          (b) television and radio broadcasts
          
          of the type that Bill 33 is designed and/or
          intended to prohibit.
          
          7. All intra-departmental and inter-
          departmental memoranda or letters concerning
          the records described in paragraphs 1 to 6
          above.

305.      In RJR-MacDonald Inc. v Canada (A.G.), [1995] 3 S.C.R.
337, McLachlin J. stated at 338-339, 342, 346:
          
          [152] With respect to the minimal impairment
          element of the proportionality analysis, I accept
          Chabot J's finding [the trial judge] that the
          impugned provisions mandating a complete ban and
          unattributed package warnings do not minimally
          impair the right to free expression.  Under the
          minimal impairment analysis, Chabot J. did not
          rely on problematic social science data, but on
          the fact that the government had adduced no
          evidence to show that less intrusive regulation
          would not achieve its goals as effectively as an
          outright ban.  Nor had the government adduced
          evidence to show that attributed health warnings
          would not be as effective as unattributed warnings
          on tobacco packaging.
          
          
          
          [160]As the second step in the proportionality
          analysis, the government must show that the
          measures at issue impair the right of free
          expression as little as reasonably possible in
          order the achieve the legislative objective.  The
          impairment must be "minimal", that is, the law
          must be carefully tailored so that rights are
          impaired no more than necessary.
          
          
          
          [165_The government presented no evidence in
          defence of the total ban, no evidence comparing
          its effects to less invasive bans.
          
          
          
          [166]  This omission is all the more glaring in
          view of the fact that the government carried out
          at least one study of alternatives to a total ban
          on advertising before enacting the total ban.  The
          government has deprived the courts of the results
          of that study.  The Attorney General of Canada
          refused to disclose this document and
          approximately 500 others demanded at the trial by
          invoking s. 39 of the Canada Evidence Act,
          R.S.B.C. 1985, C. c-5, thereby circumventing an
          application by the tobacco companies for
          disclosure since the courts lack authority to
          review the documents for which the privilege is
          claimed under s. 39.  References to the study were
          blanked out of such documents as were produced:
          Reasons at Trial, at p. 516.  In the face of this
          behaviour, one is hard-pressed not to infer that
          the results of the studies must undercut the
          government's claim that a less invasive ban would
          not have produced an equally salutary result.
          
          
          
          [168]  ..Even on difficult social issues where the
          stakes are high, Parliament does not have the
          right to determine unilaterally the limits of its
          intrusion on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by
          the Charter.  The Constitution, as interpreted by
          the courts, determines those limits.  Section 1
          specifically stipulates that the infringement may
          not exceed what is reasonable and "demonstrably
          justified in a free and democratic society", a
          test which embraces the requirement of minimal
          impairment, and places on the government the
          burden of demonstrating the Parliament has
          respected that limit.  This the government has
          failed to do, notwithstanding that it had at least
          one study on the comparative effectiveness of a
          partial and complete ban.  In the fact of this
          omission, the fact that full bans have been
          imposed in certain other countries and the fact
          that opinion favouring total bans can be found,
          fall short of establishing the minimal
          impairment."

306.      In the same case, Iacobucci J. stated at page 352:
          
          [186] Minimal impairment analysis requires this
          Court to consider whether the legislature turned
          its mind to alternative and less rights-impairing
          means to promote the legislative goal in question.
          In these appeals, I am concerned by the fact that
          the Attorney General of Canada chose to withhold
          from the factual record evidence related to the
          options it had considered as alternatives to the
          total ban it chose to put is place.  it is no
          answer to this conduct to suggest, as my colleague
          La Forest J does, that part of the responsibility
          for this incomplete factual record lies with the
          appellants, purportedly owing to the fact that
          their counsel did not pursue every conceivable
          legal avenue in order to attempt to secure the
          publication of the undisclosed documents.  I am
          reluctant to permit the justification of a
          conceded constitutional violation because of the
          inability of a party to the litigation to have
          pursued all possible avenues to obtain the non-
          disclosed information.  These cases are of wide
          public interest constitutional litigation in which
          the government should remain non-adversarial and
          make full disclosure.  Without this requirement,
          courts will be constrained to decide the
          constitutionality of legislation without full
          information.  In any event, the burden of proof at
          the s. 1 stage lies solely with the government.

307.      Accordingly, the Press Council respectfully submits
that this Tribunal should draw an inference adverse to the
government on all section 1 issues, in view of the government's
clear refusal to disclose all relevant information.  Rather than
candidly disclose the government's complete basis for introducing
section 7(1) of the Human Rights Code in 1993, the Ministry of
the Attorney General and the Ministry of Multiculturalism
expunged huge sections of their records and have successfully
sought shelter behind the exemptions in sections 12, 13 and 14 of
the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

308.      It will be readily seen that the documents sought by
Mr. Porter were highly germane to each stage of the step 2
analysis.  Accordingly,  there should be a strong presumption
that the non-disclosed documents would not support the
government's position.

309. The only records disclosed to Mr. Porter  which on their
face purport to identify actual factual incidents involving
discrimination against minorities are the records number-stamped
[Documents numbered 75, 76, 141, 142, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170,
171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183,
184, 230, 245-246].

310.      Pages 75,.76, 141, 142, 166, and 245-246 essentially
are duplicates of one listing of incidents.  In this submission,
they are hereinafter referred to as "The Multiculturalism BC
Incident List."

311.      For the purpose of this aspect of the argument, the
British Columbia Press Council asks this Tribunal to ignore bare,
unsupported assertions in the other records that hate activity is
on the rise.  They are merely conclusory statements unsupported
by evidence.

312.      The examples of hate activity mentioned in The
Multiculturalism B.C. Incident List are as follows:
          
          Some Recent Examples of Hate Activity in
          British Columbia
          
               October,1991)   Pro-cult Institute
          distributed 500 pp. book, Stop Apologizing,
          to federal M.P.'s  Book was a diatribe
          against visible minorities, gays and
          immigrants. (Nanaimo Times, Dec. 91)
     
          [Press Council: the provincial
     government has no jurisdiction, even under
     section 7(1), to prevent the dissemination of
     the book outside British Columbia to federal
     Members of Parliament.  Further, there is no
     explanation given why the Criminal Code was
     not employed to prosecute the author or
     distributor.  It is not clear whether the
     author of this document ever saw or read a
     copy of this book.  A copy was not provided
     to this Tribunal.  The Criminal Code is
     operative throughout Canada.  It is not even
     stated whether a complaint was laid with
     police or crown counsel.  With respect, even
     if this book offended new section 7, it would
     have been prevented or remedied by the Human
     Rights Code]
          
               November, 1991 Cross burned on lawn of Iranian
          household in North Vancouver.  Residents moved, fearing for
          their safety.
     
          [Press Council comment:  If the
     perpetrators were unknown, Bill 33 could have
     no greater remedial effect than the federal
     Criminal Code.  If the perpetrators were
     known, did anyone lay a complaint with the
     police or with crown counsel.  If so, were
     they told that a prosecution was not possible
     under the federal Criminal Code.  The
     evidence submitted by the North Shore News
     suggests that this incident had nothing to do
     with racist speech [see hearing exhibit
     ......If it was racist speech, it could not
     have been prevented or remedied by section
     7(1)]
          
               January,1992   American fugitive, G.A. Waddell, who has
          been linked to the ultra-violent white supremacist group
          Posse Comitatus, was arrested by Golden RCMP.  Wadell awaits
          extradition on firearms offenses in Arizona.
          
               Dep. U.S. Marshal Engstrand is
          investigating possibility that Waddell was
          hidden by white supremacist sympathizers in
          Alberta and B.C. (Van.Sun., Jan. 92)
     
          [Press Council comment:  The federal
     Criminal Code and federal Extradition Act
     appear to be operating here.  Criminal law is
     within the exclusive legislative jurisdiction
     of the federal Parliament.  Section 7(1)
     appears to have no potential application to
     this incident.  It is inconceivable that
     section 7 of the Human Rights Code could have
     prevented or applied to Waddell's successful
     border crossing and concealment in Alberta
     and B.C.]
          
               March,1992     Federal Court bans Canadian Liberty Net
          from operating in Canada. It is a hate hotline promoting
          anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner statements.  Liberty Net
          linked to hate groups operating out of Toronto: Heritage
          Front and the Aryan Nations.
     
          [Press Council comment:  This federal
     Canadian Human Rights Act applies to this
     incident.  The Human Rights Code has no
     application to telephonic communications, a
     federal undertaking.  In any event, the Human
     Rights Code has no application to the
     Heritage Front or Aryan nations in Toronto.
     It is clear that this incident would have
     been prevented or remedied by Section 7(1)]
          
               May 1992  Council of Public Affairs (CPA) organizes
          "hatefest", inviting renowned hate propagandist and
          holocaust-deniers to Vernon for a conference on May 15-17
          Included on the list of intended guest:  Jim Keegstra,
          Malcolm Ross and Doug Christie.  This conference was
          promoted by Canadian Liberty Net.
          
               Another hate meeting scheduled to take
          place in Salmon Arm was met with 150 local
          protesters .  It was organized by the Council
          on Public Affairs and was attended by a
          representative from the Canadian League of
          Rights.  (Vernon Daily News, May 1992)
          
               Vancouver Sun (May 14, 92) reports that
          the Vernon Conference took place without
          incident.
     
     [Applicant's comment:  The Human Rights Code specifically
     exempts private communications.  (Now Attorney General)
     Dosanjh told the Legislature "that members of a so-called
     hate group, members of a group that promotes supremacy of
     one group over the other, members of a racist group, can
     share among themselves, and mail their own newsletter to
     each other.  that is my reading of that particular expressed
     protection for private communications..."
     
     Further, the affidavit of Gordon Priestman [Exhibit 61]
     makes it clear that this annotation is inaccurate.
     
     The Human Rights Code would in any event appear to have no
     application.
     
     If the meetings were indeed "hate fests" or "hate meetings",
     and advertised and presented as such, there is no
     explanation why complaints were not filed with the police or
     crown counsel under the federal Criminal Code?
     
     There is no explanation how this alleged incident could
     possibly justify applying the Human Rights Code to news
     stories and editorials, unless the government's intention is
     to prevent the news media from reporting such incidents, as
     the Vancouver Sun and Vernon Daily News did in this case.
     It seems obvious that suppression of such news stories would
     be a notorious violation of  free speech rights.]
          
               July,1992 Canadian Liberty Net operators found in
          contempt of Court for re-routing hotline through Bellingham
          phone number.  The Vancouver number still operates to refer
          Bellingham number and to solicit funds to support their
          legal defense.
     
          [Press Council's comment: The federal
     Canadian Human Rights Act applies to
     telephonic communications of hate propaganda.
     The Human Rights Code  no application to
     telephonic communications, a federal
     undertaking.  Nor would the Code have any
     application to the Bellingham number, because
     British Columbia cannot legislate for
     Washington state.  It is clear that this
     incident would not have been prevented or
     remedied by the Human Rights Code.  Nor would
     the Human Rights Code apply to prevent the
     Canadian Liberty Net from soliciting funds to
     support their legal defense of charges of
     contempt of court]
          
               July, 1992     Pro-cult Institute opens
          an office on Water Street, Vancouver.  They
          are in the process of organizing a provincial
          party.
     
     [Press Council's comment:   The Press Council has never
     heard of the pro-cult incident.  No facts are provided.
     This entry does not allege that it distributes hate
     propaganda.  If it does, there is no explanation whether a
     complaint was filed with the police or with crown counsel.
     It seems clear that this incident, about which no detail is
     provide, could not have been prevented or remedied by the
     Human Rights Code.]

313.      None of incidents in The Multiculturalism B.C. List
occurred in the nearly year-long period leading up to the
enactment of section 7(1) on June 22, 1993.  The last alleged
incident on the List occurred in July, 1992.

314.      The various photocopied flyers [number-stamped
pages168, 169,170, 73174,175, 76] appear to have been anonymously
distributed.  Certainly, they are not newspaper extracts.  Most
appear to originate in the United States, which is beyond the
reach of provincial statute.  No explanation is given about their
significance or why the federal Criminal Code would not be
effective if the perpetrators could be identified.

315.      Newspaper stories are copied [ number stamped pages
177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 82, 183, 184, 185].  It seems obvious
that the Human Rights Code would not prevent or remedy the events
reported in those documents.  For example, 178 reports that "hate-
message line back in operation in Surrey."  As noted above, that
is a matter within the jurisdiction of the federal Human Rights
Council under s. 13(1) of the federal statute.  It is also
obvious that if the Human Rights Code is designed to prevent
newspapers from publishing such articles, that would be
unconstitutional.

316.      The government's factual case in the FOI materials
seems to consist almost exclusively of newspaper clippings or
annotations prepared by the Multicultural Division.  This puts
the government records, as disclosed, on a par with an elementary
school research project.

317.      The government did not provide any evidence of
consideration of other options.  The Attorney General should have
made complete disclosure to this Tribunal of all options
considered for the amendment to the Human Rights Code; all advice
concerning the need for an amendment with the particular
attributes and defects complained of in this submission; and all
reservations about the constitutionality of this legislation.
Instead, as may be seen from Exhibit 57, tab D, pages 49-51, the
government specifically refused even to identify the "Options to
Amend bill 33 Re: "Freedom of Expression" prepared by the Legal
Services Branch.

318.      It is appalling that the government did not strike a
Special Committee of the Legislature to review the parameters of
this legislation and to hear submissions from the public,
including the news media, concerning the potential impact on the
public's free speech rights.

(CC) The Press Council Complaints Procedure Which Is Available To
     the Public Is A Preferred Alternative, In A Free And
     Democratic Society, To Government Censorship Of The News
     Media

319.      Gerry Porter, the Executive Secretary of the Press
Council, testified by affidavit [Exhibit 56] that the Press
Council is a non-profit society duly incorporated under the
Societies Act of British Columbia to defend freedom of the press
and to provide the public with a no-cost, non-judicial method of
hearing complaints against the press.

320.      The current mandate of the Press Council is to serve as
a medium of understanding between the public and the press; to
consider complaints from the public about the conduct of the
press in gathering of news and opinion; to encourage high ethical
and professional journalism standards; to preserve the
established freedom of the press, and to review and report to its
members concerning any attempts to restrict access to information
of public interest.

321.      Press Council hearings are conducted by a panel drawn
from the Board of Directors of the Press Council.  A majority of
the Press Council's directors are public members with no
connection to the press.  Moreover, it is a panel of public
members only which has the sole authority to determine if a
complaint should be summarily rejected before hearing.  The Press
Council sits as a panel of the whole four times a year to hear
complaints.

322.      The complaint system administered by the Press Council
is cost-free to complainants.  It is a system which allows the
public to know what has occurred in a particular complaint, and
the newspaper and journalist in question to correct or modify, if
necessary, their reporting methods without fear of retribution.

323.      The Press Council has adopted a Code of Practice which
is the principal guideline used by the Press Council in
considering complaints from the public about the conduct of the
press in gathering and publication of news and opinion.

324.      The Press Council has the authority, by contract with
its member newspapers, to require that its adjudication of a
complaint be published by the newspaper which is the subject of a
complaint together with any recommendations or observations by
the Press Council.  This authority exceeds that conferred by the
Human Rights Code on this Tribunal.

325.      The Press Council fulfills a useful function for
society in that complaints can be discussed in an open manner
without the fear of penalty for either the complainant or the
newspaper.  For the most part, publishers and editors of member
newspapers have been conscientious in publishing adjudications,
along with the Press Council's reservations, recommendations, and
observations.  It is a simple and efficient system.

326.      The Press Council's Code of Practice, stipulates in
part: " Discrimination 13. Unless the information is directly
relevant to the story, newspapers should not publish material
likely to encourage discrimination on grounds of race, colour,
sex, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability and
should avoid reference to the above in prejudicial or pejorative
contexts."

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.