The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/m/mcvay.ken/press/convergence.9705

May, 1997
The Convergence

Ernst Zundel, Canada's most prolific publisher of hate
literature, is all in a lather. In spite of lawyer Douglas
Christie's best efforts, the Canadian Human Rights
Commission intends to consider the complaint jointly brought
against Zundel's internet website by Sabina Citron and the
Toronto Mayor's Committee on Community and Race Relations.

The complaint alleges a violation of section 13 of the
Canadian Human Rights Act, which holds:

"It is a discriminatory practice for a person or group of
persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or
to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in
part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication
undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament,
any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to
hatred or contemp by reason of the fact that the person or
those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited
ground of discrimination."

Mr. Zundel has tried, and thus far failed, to prevent
Canadians from addressing this issue. He has filed an
action in Federal Court asking the Court to deny the Human
Rights Commission the right to hear the complaint, and has
appealed the Court's rejection of his motion.

The irony is delicious:  Zundel offers himself as a champion
of free speech, and yet he is doing everything he can to
deny the Human Rights Commission their right to discuss the
complaint. While that may come as a surprise to those
unfamiliar with Mr. Zundel's past campaigns to impose
censorship upon the world, it is no surprise to savvy
Internet users who have followed his career.

After all, Mr. Zundel is well represented, and may make his
case before the Commission. If he believes the case outlined
by Mr. Christie, then he must believe that he will prevail.
Why, then, the frantic effort to deny the Commission the
right to explore the issues involved?

Mr. Christie hopes to challenge section 13 of the Act, and
have it declared unconstitutional. The  Supreme Court of
Canada, however, has already ruled that the section is an
acceptable abridgement of our Charter rights to free speech.
This is Canada, after all, where we freely admit that we do
not believe in unrestricted free speech, unlike our southern
neighbors, who loudly proclaim their love of it while
merrily suing each other for libel at the drop of a noun.

The political will to deal with Mr. Zundel has been lacking
in Canada.  Section 319 of our criminal code, for instance,
which prohibits the exposure of an identifiable group to
hatred, has never been invoked against him.

Unlike section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, 319 is a
criminal statute; the authors appear to have taken care to
prevent its use in an abusive or spiteful manner,  requiring
that the charge be laid by the provincial Attorney General
rather than the complaining citizen.

I suspect that Mr. Zundel could, in fact, be convicted under
section 319. Such a conviction would doubtless lead to his
deportation, straight into the arms of the German police,
who would very much like to offer him free room and board
for his violations of German law.

Mr. Zundel would have us believe that he is being persecuted
for his "unpopular views on history." He is, after all, a
Holocaust denier whose propaganda directly targets the
Jewish community.

Critical readers of Mr. Zundel's literature will note that
he does not question the death of the six million non-Jewish
Holocaust victims; he is too engaged in his attack upon the
memory of six million European Jews to bother with the

In this, Zundel holds common cause with nazi organizations
worldwide, who mockingly refer to the "Jewish Holocaust,"
while blithely ignoring the reality of nearly thirteen
million Holocaust dead. It is, in fact, this anti-Jewish
tunnel vision that identifies them as virulent racists
rather than misunderstood historians.

The issue here, however, is not Mr. Zundel and his poisonous

We must either accept the judgement of the Supreme Court of
Canada, which has held that both section 13 of the Canadian
Human Rights Act and section 319 of the Criminal Code of
Canada are acceptable abridgements of our Charter rights, or
reject the Court's judgement and declare subjecting some
Canadians to hatred a perfectly acceptable enterprise.

Many would hold that such statutes have no place in a free
society - that is a commonly held view in the United States,
and on the Internet, perhaps the last bastion of almost
totally unrestricted free speech, where netizens shout
"thought police!" at the drop of a regulatory hat.

Many Canadians, however, find it reassuring to live in a
society which openly advocates the protection of  its
citizens from the sort of overt hatred peddled by the Ernst
Zundels of the world.

Ken McVay
The Nizkor Project

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