Archive/File: people/c/collins.doub/press/faces-new-tribunal.971203 Last-Modified: 1997/12/07 VANCOUVER SUN: Wednesday 3 December 1997 FRONT PAGE Doug Collins to face new tribunal Tom Barrett Vancouver Sun Former North Shore News columnist Doug Collins will face another human rights tribunal, likely in the spring, for his writings about ethnic minorities. Harry Abrams, B.C. representative for B'nai B'rith, claims a series of columns by Collins in the North Shore News and the now-defunct Daily Victorian created hatred against a number of minorities. Last month, a human rights tribunal dismissed a complaint against Collins by the Canadian Jewish Congress. But while the CJC complaint was based on a single column -- about the Holocaust movie Schindler's List -- Abrams' complaint covers a number of Collins writings. Abrams, who is bringing the complaint as an individual rather than as a representative of B'nai Brith, said Collins' columns are likely to cause hatred against groups including Jews, Sikhs, Iranians, Chinese and Japanese. He said he hopes the broader scope of the complaint will allow him to succeed where the CJC failed in making a case that Collins' work fits the definition of hatred under B.C. human- rights legislation. Lawyers for the parties involved will discuss the case in mid-December, when a date for a hearing is likely to be set. Abrams' lawyer, Tom Bulmer, said Tuesday he expects the hearing will take place in the spring. Last month, human rights tribunal chair Nitya Iyer found Collins' Schindler's List column was anti-Semitic and "likely to make it more acceptable for others to express hatred or contempt against Jewish people. . . ." The tone of Collins' column was "nasty," "deliberately provocative and insulting" and "mean-spirited," she found. But she ruled it was not sufficiently vitriolic to warrant action under the B.C. Human Rights Code. Her decision, which upheld the constitutionality of the code while rejecting the CJC complaint, upset all parties to the matter. Groups including the B.C. Civil Liberties Association called it a threat to freedom of speech. Abrams said Tuesday in an interview that he would not have pressed his complaint if the B.C. Press Council had taken a tougher line against Collins in the past. The council, which is the B.C. newspaper industry's professional ethics body, did require the North Shore News in 1995 to publish its ruling that Collins misled readers and misrepresented source material on the number of Jews who were exterminated in the Holocaust. But the council also ruled it was inappropriate to ask the North Shore News to publish an apology for an "opinion column the complainant does not like or approve of." Abrams said his complaints "wouldn't have happened if the press council had showed some leadership." The CJC wanted only two things when it brought its complaint, he said. "They wanted an apology and they wanted a good-faith undertaking to refrain from vilification of people because of their ethnicity." If the press council had shown a willingness to order such an apology, no one would need to complain against Collins under the Human Rights Code, Abrams said. Collins and officials of the North Shore News could not be reached to comment Tuesday. Collins, 77, retired from the paper in September.
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