http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030221/EZUND/TPComment/Editorials Hasn't Canada seen the last of Zundel? Friday, February 21, 2003 - Page A14 Ernst Zundel, stateless. Imagine that. A nomad, a wanderer, a rootless cosmopolitan. It's almost enough to make the fellow identify with the Jews! Not Mr. Zundel, whose life has been dedicated to vilifying Jewish people. Having made a very big mistake -- not realizing how lucky he was to possess something called "permanent-resident status" in Canada -- this professional anti-Semite foolishly left to ply his hateful trade in the United States. In short, he snubbed Canada. He said Canada considered him a Holocaust-denier and tried through the Canadian Human Rights Commission to shut down his Web site. "Well, now I'm in Canada-denial. I've put Canada behind me," he said last year from his new home in Tennessee. Lo and behold, the Americans did not like him any better than we did. After overstaying his visa and failing to appear for a meeting with immigration authorities, he was kicked out for the next 20 years. So he's back here, knocking at the door. There are reports that he wishes to claim refugee status. He apparently fears that Germany, his birthplace, which has strong anti-hate and Holocaust-denial laws, would persecute him on the basis of his beliefs if he were deported there and pursued his vocation. Mr. Zundel appears not to understand the difference between a persecution and a prosecution in a democratic country that respects human rights. And weren't Canada's liberal refugee laws designed with the memory of the Jews in mind -- the shameful period of the 1930s and 40s when Canada turned its back on those who sought to flee for their lives? What a grotesque irony. But he might decide instead to argue that he is still a permanent resident of this country. Under a Canadian law that took effect last summer, individuals who have been out of Canada for more than three of the past five years may be stripped of permanent-resident status. (The old law said permanent status could be lost if the person were out of the country for more than half the previous year.) Canada should do what it lawfully can to ensure that this country never again becomes this man's home. Ernst Zundel does not deserve such a home. His Web site was described by the human rights commission as a place where Jews are described in the most rabid manner. Before the Internet, he was a major publisher of anti-Semitic tracts. Canada does not deserve him, either. If Mr. Zundel seeks permanent residency, this country should fight it. If he seeks refugee status, it should promptly deport him when, inevitably, he loses. It is unpleasant to contemplate having this clown prince of bigotry inside this country's borders once more; but above all, Canada values due process and the rule of law, even for those who mock those values. Canada should not do Mr. Zundel the honour of turning its laws and procedures inside out to prevent future Ernst Zundels from making a mockery of our system. In particular, the government should not concoct some means of declaring him a threat to national security, as reports say it might, to deprive him of a day in court. He is not the first to try to exploit the refugee system. Accused torturers, terrorists and war criminals have already done that, and the federal government has quite properly taken steps to streamline the appeals process, while maintaining due process. This is a tolerant land. Its highest court once struck down a conviction against Mr. Zundel for spreading false news, arguing that such a crime should not exist in a free and democratic society. And we agreed with that ruling. But enough is enough. Ernst Zundel has taken up far too much of this country's time and attention, and should claim no more of it beyond the legal hearing to which our rules entitle him. When he left, he said it was forever. So it should be. Canada should not become a haven for the hateful.
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