Canadian justice imploding? Suddenly lying is an offence in trial where truth is no defence!

Paul Fromm  Reports


TORONTO. December 10, 2003.


Mr. Justice Pierre Blais has granted a request from federal cabinet
ministers for yet another secret hearing in the detention or bail hearing
of jailed German-born publisher Ernst Zundel. Returning from the afternoon
break, Blais announced:


 "The Registrar informs me that the Ministers have
requested a private session for new evidence. Therefore, I will not
reserve" judgement this afternoon.

The 38 free speech supporters who packed the small seventh floor courtroom
in support of Mr. Zundel were stunned. The afternoon session had been taken
up with Crown Attorney Donald MacIntosh's arguments against granting Mr.
Zundel bail after nearly 10 months in solitary confinement. Perhaps,
chastened by Doug Christie's strong submissions in the morning session that
he recuse himself for an apprehension of bias having been Solicitor-General
in charge of CSIS, Blais repeatedly interrupted MacIntosh and challenged
and dismissed many of his arguments.

It seemed that Mr. Justice Blais was on the verge of releasing the
dissident pacifist on bail. Shortly before the mid-afternoon break, several
observers saw Lorne Rudner of the Canadian Jewish Congress leave the room,
apparently to make a phone call. He returned about 15 minutes later. After
the break, the atmosphere had changed and grown distinctly frosty toward
the jailed publisher. The earliest Mr. Blais can hold the secret hearings
is next week. If he chooses to release any information, he may solicit
further submissions from counsel before he decides, thus making Mr.
Zundel's release before Christmas all but impossible.

If Blais's pre-break questioning had seemed to favour Mr. Zundel, his
demeanour after the break again raised the spectre of holding Canada's most
famous political prisoner hostage for the shutting down or curtailing of
the Zundelsite.

Repeating that he was still "exploring options" about granting bail, but
"I'm not there yet," Mr. Justice Blais pointed out that people are often
restricted from doing things they have a legal right to do -- such as
drinking or frequenting certain places --  as conditions of release. He
seemed to hint that Mr. Zundel might be restricted from publishing his
views on the Internet or somehow have to remove items ordered removed by
the January, 2002 order of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Mr. Zundel
has repeatedly pointed out that Ingrid Rimland, not he, owns, edits and
controls the Zundelsite.

"Never before in the history of national security certificates have
Internet communications been considered a factor," Douglas H. Christie, Mr.
Zundel's lead counsel countered.

"The only justification for incarceration is being a threat to national
security," Mr. Christie continued. "The Zundelsite is not a threat to
national security and should not be held as a bail condition. The Canadian
Human Rights Tribunal has adequate means to enforce its order."

"It's very dangerous to hold a man's freedom hostage to a website," Mr.
Christie warned. "It's dangerous to detain people on national security
grounds for communicating ideas that are legal in other countries. To do so
is to put us on the road to national thought control," the Victoria-based
civil libertarian insisted.

"There must be objective, real suspicion, not paranoid worries or
political feelings, of a substantive threat to national security," to keep
a man in jail, Mr. Christie argued. "We must give some value to the liberty
of the individual, if we are not to become a police state."

"The Crown must prove that Mr. Zundel is  a real danger to national
security, not just a nuisance or political dissident," Mr. Christie
insisted. Referring to Crown Attorney Donald MacIntosh, Mr. Christie
observed: "The greatest vehemence of my colleague is reserved for 'hate'.
My colleague throws this term around. However, Mr. Zundel has never been
charged or convicted of promoting hate."

Earlier Crown Attorney MacIntosh had insisted: "If Mr. Zundel were
released, he'd continue to associate with Mr. McAleer and other purveyors
of hate. All these associations give us to believe that Mr. Zundel is a
threat to national security."

Knowledgeable observers of Canada's populist movement report that Mr.
McAleer has been politically inactive for about eight years.

Mr. MacIntosh repeatedly called Mr. Zundel "untruthful" and accused him of

In the morning, Mr. Christie spoke forcefully to his motion that Mr.
Justice Blais recuse himself. As Solicitor-General in 1989, Pierre Blais
issued a directive that no human source should be used to surveil
legitimate political parties. However, apparently disobeying him, the
Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) had agent Grant Bristow spy on
Reform Party leader Preston Manning.

"It was your directive not to do something (spy on Preston Manning) that
they did. The Solicitor-General-CSIS relationship is one of officially
sanctioned secrecy which we cannot penetrate," Mr. Christie said. CSIS
agent Grant Bristow's role in the Heritage Front "was not just to spy but
to incite," Mr. Christie explained. "Mr. Zundel's contention will be that
his role was to incite violence. CSIS was used for political purposes. A
directive was initiated by Your Lordship that such spying not be done, but
CSIS did. Now CSIS appears before you and it would be hard not to agree
with them."

"Our defence comes head to head with the credibility of CSIS," Mr.
Christie argued. "We're saying that, as Solicitor-General, you must have
known what was going on. CSIS wasn't acting in a rogue capacity and wasn't
operating without ministerial consent."

"We have reason to believe that a bomb Mr. Zundel was sent [in 1995] was
delivered with the foreknowledge of CSIS. When events take place like this,
the integrity of the Parliamentary system is involved," Mr. Christie

Mr. Justice Blais reserved on his decision, saying that he would try to
announce his conclusions next week.

In his arguments against granting bail for Mr. Zundel. Donald MacIntosh
said: "I rely on a large and liberal interpretation to the term 'a danger
to the security of Canada.' Canada's international relations are an
important part of Canada's security. Certain activities could give rise to
deleterious effects on our international relations. Canada has an
international obligation to take steps to see that hate propaganda is not
disseminated," he said.

Intervening at that point, Mr. Justice Blais said: "Playing devil's
advocate, it's no secret that these international conventions are not part
of the legal framework of Canada" and are, therefore, not binding.

The hearing continues Thursday.

Paul Fromm

Top of Page | Home Page

©-free 2003 Adelaide Institute