CJC seeks funds for court battles
Cost of mounting legal action turning into thousands
Brock MacDonald, Staff Reporter
The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) Pacific Region Legal Defence Fund (LDF) is the war chest for a fight against racism and anti-Semitism. The battlefield is the Canadian legal system.
To date, the CJC has fought successful skirmishes against Tony McAleer's Canadian Liberty Net and revisionist historian David Irving.
But according to CJC Pacific Region legal committee chair Neal Steinman, the victories did not come cheap. He said the costs of mounting legal actions can run into the tens of thousands. As it now stands, there are only a few thousand dollars in the fund.
And in the CJC's next campaign before the B.C. Human Rights Council (BCHRC), against the North Shore News and its columnist Doug Collins, the cost could be high.
Mr. Steinman explained that before the case even gets to the BCHRC, Mr. Collins' lawyer has launched a constitutional challenge based on the right to free speech in the Canadian Charter. That challenge will be heard in B.C. Supreme Court.
To fund the campaign CJC has contacted lawyers and other professionals in the Jewish community seeking tax-deductable donations to supplement the Legal Defence Fund.
In a recent fundraising letter, CJC explained that it has charged Mr. Collins and the NSN under section two of the B.C. Human Rights Act for subjecting the Jewish community to contempt and ridicule in his columns.
The columns in question, said the letter, alleges a Jewish Hollywood conspiracy in connection with the film Schindler's List, which Mr. Collins refers to as Swindler's List, and calls the Holocaust a propaganda exercise, exaggerated by Jews to promote hate and prosper financially.
Lawyers who belong to CJC would be in a conflict position, according to Mr. Steinman, so legal counsel not involved with the Congress must be hired.
Mr. Steinman noted that the committee has until the middle of September to run its fundraising campaign so as not to interfere with other groups seeking donations from the community.
Asked what he would say to anyone who asked why they should donate, Mr. Steinman simply replied, "Remember the Holocaust."
For more information, call the CJC office, 257-5101.
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