Victoria Times Colonist Nov. 13, 1997
Acid-Tongued Columnist Cleared of Wrong-doing
by Richard Watts
Times Colonist staff
He was “nasty.” He was “mean-spirited.” And he was “insulting.” He was
also “Anti-Semitic, offensive and hurtful to Jewish people.”
But when columnist Doug Collins wrote an article calling the movie
Schindler’s List typical Jewish Holocaust propaganda designed to make
billions of dollars, he was not being hateful or contemptuous.”
Nitya Iyer, a member of the B.C. Human Rights tribunal, has dismissed a
human rights complaint against Collins and the free-distribution North Shore
News of North Vancouver, which published the piece.
Iyer, associate professor of law at UBC, ruled the column was offensive
and hurtful and that Jews are vulnerable to Collins’ type of vitriol.
But the “content of the column is not so extreme, that taken on its own,
it is hateful or contemtuous,” wrote Iyer.
The complaint was lodged by the CJC in 1994 weeks after Collins published
Michael Elterman, chairman of the CJC (Pacific region), said his group is
gratified Iyer ruled the column was anti-Semitic. But the Congress is
disappointed she refused to call the column hate, and recommend a remedy,
namely that he stop publishing his views.
It’s as though the Tribunal said, “It’s got four legs. It’s got hair and
it barks. But I’m not going to call it a dog,” said Elterman.
And Collins, 77 and since retired, is seething that the Jewish Congress
brought the complaint in the first place and that B.C. has a human rights
code which allows it to be heard.
“The Canadian Jewish Congress and the B’nai Brith and similar
organizations that can bring this kind of complaint are the biggest threat
to freedom of speech in this country,” he said.
And he still stands by his column, in which he called Schindler’s List,
Swindler’s List. And he stands by his opinion that Jewish people are using
exaggerated Holocaust facts and figures to extract sympathy and money.
The case attracted a number of other groups who spoke at the hearing on
some aspect of the case, including the B.C. Press Council, which presented
free speech arguments.
The Press Council said the B.C. human Rights tribunal had no right to
deal with the case.