Heritage Front Founder Convicted of Contempt

© Copyright The Globe and Mail June 3, 1994 (A2B)

Defied order to end hotline messages

By Rudy Platiel
The Globe and Mail

TORONTO - Wolfgang Droege and the white-supremacist Heritage Front he founded were found guilty of contempt of court yesterday, along with two other men, in a Canadian Human Rights Commission complaint case that once sparked a violent courthouse clash between demonstrators and police.

Mr. Droege, 44, Gary Schipper, 42, and Ken Barker, 32, will be in the Federal Court of Canada again this morning for submissions on sentencing.

They each face a maximum prison sentence of one year, and the organization a $5,000 fine, for defying a previous Federal Court order to stop telephone hotline messages that expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt on the grounds of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.

The original complaints case that led to the contempt citation was settled last March at a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing.

Madam Justice Danielle Tremlay-Lamer of the Federal Court said Mr. Droege's claim of fighting for freedom of speech did not give him the right to 'deliberately disobey' a valid order of the court.

Rejecting one lawyer's submission asking her to protect his client's right to be 'politically incorrect,' Judge Tremblay-Lamer said flatly: "This is not a case involving the right to free speech or the right to be politically incorrect."

She said evidence showed that Mr. Droege and the Heritage Front deliberately attempted to disregard the judge's order to stop using telephone hotline messages and that Mr. Schipper and Mr. Barker "interfered in the administration of justice by aiding and abetting" Mr. Droege, thus making them also guilty of contempt of court.

"I have no sympathy for unscrupulous fanatics who deliberately attempt to subvert that authority," the judge said.

The case arose out of a complaint by the Native Canadian Centre over Front hotline messages about natives. The complaint eventually led to the human rights commission obtaining a Federal Court injunction against the hotline.

Last fall the commission charged the three with attempting to circumvent the court order by conspiring to have Mr. Barker resign from the Front and start up a second hotline. Messages, some of them recorded by Mr. Schipper, also a member of the Front, were played on Equal Rights for Whites hotline.


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