We are fallen beings, living in a fallen world. Created with free will in the image of God, we were given the choice of obedience and everlasting life on the one hand and sin and death on the other. We chose sin and death – and were exiled from Paradise. God, in His mercy and grace, promised to send a Redeemer Who would lift the curse of sin and death and restore us to Paradise. He gave us that Redeemer in Jesus Christ and one day, through Christ’s redemptive work, we will be restored to Paradise in the New Heaven and New Earth. Before that happens, men will be called upon to give account at the Final Judgement before the throne of God. There, they will find perfect, uncorrupted, justice, tempered, we hope and pray, by mercy and grace.
Until that day, men look for justice upon earth. Such justice as they find will be impure - mixed with injustice and corruption. Often what they will find cannot be counted as justice at all.
We have just received a most unfortunate reminder of this fact. After several years of legal battles, the defamation lawsuit Richard Warman launched against Mark and Connie Fournier of Free Dominion and several members of the conservative message board identified as “John Does” because they posted under online screen names, came to trial a couple of weeks ago. After several days of deliberation, the jury found in favour of Warman, who was awarded $42, 000 in damages plus costs. He is also seeking an injunction from the judge against Free Dominion, which would mean instant jail time for the Fourniers if anything negative were ever posted about him there again.
This decision is a travesty of justice.
The complainant in this case, Richard Warman, is a serial complainant. He launched several complaints under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 13 was the portion of the CHRA that declared it an act of discrimination to communicate electronically any words that are “likely to” expose a member of a group protected against discrimination by the CHRA to “hatred or contempt.” Section 13 was itself bad law. All laws against acts of private discrimination are bad laws for that matter, but Section 13 was particularly bad both because it forbade words and thoughts, and because it did so in such a way that virtually anything negative or critical of a protected group or its members might be considered to be grounds for a complaint. Warman is not himself, as far as I can tell, a member of any of the protected groups. Nevertheless, he launched the majority of the Section 13 complaints filed in the last ten to fifteen years before it was repealed.
He has also launched multiple defamation lawsuits. He sued British, New Age, conspiracy theorist David Icke for defamation over remarks the author made about him in his book Children of the Matrix. He sued Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression for libel, for remarks he had made about Warman on the internet. He was awarded $30,000 in damages, a ruling that was upheld in every appeal, with the Supreme Court refusing to even hear the case. When the National Post's Jonathan Kay reported on Warman v. Lemire, the last Section 13 case ever heard, Warman sued the newspaper and columnist for defamation. Named as co-defendents were conservative bloggers Kathy Shaidle, Kate McMillan and Ezra Levant, as well as the Fourniers and Free Dominion, all because they had reposted the assertion made in the original article about Warman, that he claimed was defamatory.
When the same person launches so many lawsuits against so many people surely it is appropriate to question whether or not he is acting in good faith. Indeed, to this writer and many others it seems obvious that he is not acting in good faith, that these are vexatious lawsuits initiated for the purpose of harassment and that they should have been tossed out of court ages ago.
Consider the merits of these suits. In his suit against the National Post and assorted co-defendants, the basis of the complaint was that the column in question had reported a claim, made by Bernard Klatt, an expert for the defence in Warman v. Lemire, that Richard Warman was himself the author of a post on Marc Lemire’s Freedomsite (not to be confused with the Fourniers’ FreeDominion) that referred to Senator Anne Cools using extremely derogatory, racist, and misogynistic language. This post – removed by Lemire from the site before anyone else ever saw it – was part of the complaint Warman filed against Lemire.
Warman denies being the author of this post. Whether he was or was not I do not profess to know. The allegation was originally made by an expert witness in a courtroom. Mr. Klatt offered reasons for why he thought the post had originated with Warman. Surely a better method for protecting his reputation, if that is truly Warman’s concern, would be to rebut Mr. Klatt’s reasoning rather than to sue everyone in sight who repeats the allegation.
Let us assume that Warman is telling the truth when he says that he is not the author of the post in question. For words to be defamatory they must have the effect of lowering a person’s reputation or esteem in the eyes of others. Would repeating the allegation that Warman is the author of the Cools post have that effect?
To answer that, let me put another question to you. If you had robbed the Bank of Montreal, Scotia Bank, and the Royal Bank of Canada, would a false accusation that you had also robbed Toronto Dominion lower your esteem in the eyes of others?
Warman has admitted to posing as a racist online under various assumed names. He posted under “axetogrind” at Vanguard News Network and under “Pogue Mahone” at Stormfront, for example. In an affidavit, quoted by Joseph Brean of the National Post, he wrote the following:
I signed up and posted to the neo-Nazi website forums vnnforum.com and stormfront.org as another means of collecting intelligence about the neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements and information about the identities of individuals in Canada that it was my intention to file federal human rights complaints against. (1)
If he has admitted to posing as a racist at Vanguard and Stormfront, how can the allegation that he did the same thing at Freedomsite possibly damage his reputation?
Then there was his defamation suit against Paul Fromm. Here is how the decision in the case summarizes Warman’s complaint:
Mr. Warman pleads that the defendants are responsible for libelling him in nine posting on various Internet websites. These postings characterize him as, among other things, an enemy of free speech, a member of the thought police, a high priest of censorship, and an employee who abused his position at the CHRC in order to limit freedom of expression and pursue his own ideological agenda. (2)
So Warman’s complaint basically was that Mr. Fromm accused him of trying to censor or limit other people’s verbal expressions of their thoughts. His response to this accusation was to ask a court to force Mr. Fromm to retract this accusation and apologize for it (and pay a ridiculously large amount in “damages”)?
Do you see the absurdity in that?
Even if you don’t see the defamation suit as being itself a form of censorship or limitation of freedom of speech, think of the kind of behaviour that Mr. Fromm was commenting on. Warman had filed numerous complaints against people over remarks they made on the internet. How can describing that kind of behaviour as censorship possibly be defamatory?
Warman’s progressive defenders seem to reason that because Warman was acting in accordance with the law at the time, his actions should be above reproach, and criticism, condemnation, or ridicule of those actions should be considered defamation.
So in one defamation suit against multiple defendants, Warman complained that he was falsely accused of making a racist post on Freedomsite when he had acknowledged having posed as a neo-nazi on Vanguard News Network and Stormfront, and in another defamation suit he complained that he was accused of censorship for filing Section 13 complaints against people. These seem to be frivolous grounds for defamation suits. Yet Warman, a public figure who should surely be held to a higher standard of proof than an ordinary person in making defamation complaints, won his case against Mr. Fromm, and the National Post settled out of court. In the latter case, Warman obtained the legal copyright to the article he had complained about, and then filed a copyright infringement suit against the Fourniers! How can anyone in their right mind think that this is being done in good faith?
If the ruling against the Fourniers had been made by a judge it could be blamed on the abysmally low quality of the magistrates currently sitting on Canadian benches. It was a jury that rendered this verdict however. That speaks of an even greater problem.
The problem is that Warman is an anti-racist crusader and for decades now Canadians have been bombarded by left-wing anti-racist propaganda in the schools, from the pulpit, and in the new electronic media, both “news” and “entertainment”. In the classroom, year after year children have video footage of the Nazi concentration camps shoved down their throats. If an equivalent amount of time were spent teaching them about the GULAG and the horrors of officially egalitarian communism, perhaps a valuable lesson could be taught about how when man bows the knee to the idol of technology, he becomes like a machine himself, (3) and treats people accordingly. This is the appropriate lesson to be gleaned from the history of Twentieth Century totalitarianism in all its varieties. Instead the message attached to the Holocaust footage is “this is where racism leads to” – a message that obliterates the difference between the racial views of Sir Winston Churchill and those of Adolf Hitler and which makes the virtue of pietas – at least when practiced by white people – into a cardinal sin.
Mark and Connie Fournier are not racists. In their stand against Section 13, however, they took the position that racists should have freedom of speech like anyone else, and that a law that allows people to be sued and silenced merely because their words were deemed to be racist is a bad law. This conflicts with the antiracist programming, in which racism is the greatest of all evils, and everything done to stop racism is good. When confronted with evidence that injustice was being done in the name of fighting racism, and that those who stood up for the freedom of speech even of racists were being unfairly persecuted, some people appear to be simply unable to cope with this conflict between reality and what they have been programmed to think.
Only thus can the idiotic jury decision in this case be explained.
Mark and Connie, my prayers are with you.
(3) Psalm 135:18