Richard Warman is a Canadian human rights lawyer.
After completing a degree in Drama from Queen’s University, Richard worked at the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto for several years and traveled abroad before returning to law school for his LL.B. (Windsor) and LL.M. (McGill).
Following his law degrees, Richard clerked at the Federal Court of Canada and has subsequently worked at a number of federal government departments including the Solicitor General, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the Department of Justice.
Richard is perhaps best known for having dedicated an enormous amount of his time, energy, and resources over the past 20 years to monitoring and countering the efforts of those who seek to poison our communal well with hate. This work has predominantly focused on the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements, particularly the spread of hate propaganda through the Internet.
Under Canadian Human Rights Law, it was until recently illegal to spread hate propaganda through the Internet. People could file complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and if their investigation of the complaint supports further enquiry, the complaint is referred to the independent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. After a hearing where all parties may submit evidence and make arguments on the facts and the law, the Tribunal renders its decision on the merits of the complaint. If the complaint is upheld, the Tribunal can issue a permanent order that the person/group stop spreading hate on the Internet, a penalty of up to $10,000, and up to $20,000 in damages if someone is personally named in the hate propaganda or if the complainant is retaliated against.
Since 2001, he has been the successful complainant in sixteen consecutive Internet hate cases. These cases have resulted in:
- the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) issuing permanent cease and desist orders (injunctions) in every case, and penalties and damages totaling $95,000;
- the first-ever finding of liability on the part of an Internet Service Provider (failure to remove hate propaganda despite knowledge of its presence); and,
- the Federal Court handing down the first-ever injunction dealing with Internet hate followed by successful proceedings for contempt of court that resulted in a sentence of imprisonment (again, the first ever in Canada for Internet hate).
Richard’s efforts with regard to hate speech have dealt with attacks and frequently calls for genocide against (in no particular order), the Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Rastafarian, Hindu, First Nations, Arabic, Roma, South and East Asian, African, Caribbean, South and Latin American, Hispanic, gay and lesbian, physically and mentally disabled, and francophone communities as well as women.
Richard has lectured widely on hate propaganda and hate group activity in Canada to law enforcement, universities, and NGO groups. In 2005, he received a certificate of appreciation from the Law Society of Upper Canada and the B’nai Brith League for Human Rights for his “tireless efforts to counter hate and discrimination in Canada.” In 2007, Richard was selected by the Canadian Jewish Congress to receive the Saul Hayes Human Dignity Award for distinguished contributions to the field of human rights. In 2012, he was also awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.