Welcome to the official website of Canadian human rights lawyer Richard Warman.
1. Congratulations to University of Ottawa professor Joanne St. Lewis on her Internet libel action victory. St. Lewis was awarded $350,000 in damages by the civil jury in Ottawa and an injunction by Justice Charbonneau against any continuation of the defamation by the defendant. Kudos as well to the University of Ottawa for standing behind Prof. St. Lewis and her legal counsel Rick Dearden.
2. I note that Justice William Grant of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench has invalidated the bequest of antiquities and cash worth more than $225,000 by Canadian Robert McCorkill to US neo-Nazi group the National Alliance on the grounds that it would be contrary to public policy. Decision here. The application was brought by Isabelle McCorkill, Robert’s surviving sister and she has my undying respect for her courage.
Justice Grant’s decision is precedent-setting in this field. The decision is clear and direct about the destructive nature of the hate propaganda spread by the National Alliance and other hate groups. Justice Grant tears the mask off of efforts by the National Alliance and similar groups to falsely portray themselves as white cultural or heritage groups instead of hate mongers advocating violence against their targets. Justice Grant says the writings of the National Alliance submitted in evidence in this case “can only be described as racist, white supremacist and hate inspired. They are disgusting, repugnant and revolting.”
At paragraph 76, Justice Grant continues his condemnation of the National Alliance in no uncertain terms – “The evidence before the court convinces me that in the case of the NA [National Alliance] the purpose for which it exists is to promote white supremacy through the dissemination of propaganda which incites hatred of various identifiable groups which they deem to be non-white and therefore unworthy. These purposes and the means they advocate to achieve them are criminal in Canada and that is what makes this bequest repugnant.”
I think that Justice Grant’s collective use of provincial human rights law, federal criminal law, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canada’s obligations under numerous international treaties to block the bequest to the National Alliance shows on how many levels it was contrary to public policy. The welcome intervention of the Attorney-General of New Brunswick through counsel Richard Williams to stop the bequest cleary carried great weight with the court on this issue and they deserve a great vote of thanks for their efforts to defend the public interest.
Also deserving of a ‘chapeau’ are Marc-Antoine Chiasson and his colleagues with law firm McInnes Cooper, Anita Bromberg of the B’nai Brith League for Human Rights and their counsel Catherine Fawcett, Shimon Fogel and Richard Marceau of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs represented by lawyer Danys Delaquis. Pam MacEachern of Nelligans in Ottawa deserves praise for her initial work on the case when it was thought the estate might be in Ontario. The assistance of Mark Potok and friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center in exposing the true nature of the National Alliance was obviously invaluable. They may all sleep the sleep of the just this evening.
Play that Funky Music:
The Melodians – Last Train to Expo 67 (Way Cool!)