Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Live blogging at the CHRT

Kady O'Malley of Maclean's is doing some live blogging at the Canadian "human rights" tribunal in Ottawa. Part 1; Part 2
2:15:23 PM
Under questioning, Steacy remains adamant that he *had* to join the various sites, including freedominion.ca, in order to use the search engine and access the full site. He also claims that there were "security concerns" about the safety of CHRC staffers working on "hate files," which is why he logged in to see what had been posted about JadeWarr's identity.

2:18:27 PM
So why *was* he on freedominion.ca before there was a complaint? Because there was the *potential* for a complaint to come in, he says - prompting muffled gasps from the group beside me, which includes the two founders of Free Dominion.

Now Doug Christie is on his feet, and expressing grave concern over the fact that a CHRC representative was investigating the site before a complaint has been made. Barbara K wants to know *who* - othe than Gentes - was considering making a complaint, and Steacy refuses to answer. Well, that was dramatic, at least.
The CHRC can only investigate complaints; it can't start it's own. Were they thus encouraging someone to lay a complaint against Free Dominion?

Deborah Gyapong has a lunch-hour update:
The most common answer during today's proceedings has been:

"I don't recall." or "I don't remember" or some variation thereof.
Part 3:
4:45:33 PM
Christie keeps pressing Steacy on information sharing between the CHRC and the cops - the Winnipeg police, in this instance - but he maintains that there is no such arrangement - at least, not one of which he's aware.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, CSIS has come up: doesn't it bother Steacy "as a human being" that CSIS - Canada's secret spy agency - is involved in regulating hate on the internet. He seems as confused as, well, everyone else by this tangent. "It doesn't trouble you?" Christie asks him. No. That's the answer.

That was unsettling.
5:09:19 PM
Are we back to Free Dominion? Apparently. Christie reiterates the question posed by Barbara K earlier: why *was* he investigating the site "half a year" before any complaint was filed. Answer: he wasn't. He may have logged in, but only because of previous inquiries.
According to the signs plastered all over the courtroom, this case is "Warman vs Lemire" - ie, it was Richard Warman who brought the suit against Marc Lemire, no doubt thinking it would be another easy-peasy tax-free 35-grand Christmas bonus for him. Instead, Mr Lemire fought back, since when Mr Warman has been conspicuous by his absence. Today was the 20th successive day in court when the supposed complainant was a no-show. Evidently, Warman's moved on: places to go, people to sue.

This is why the system is fundamentally unfair. As David Warren says, the process is the punishment. Richard Warman is off sunning himself at Malibu or checking out the latest collections in Paris or seeing his tailor in Hong Kong, while Marc Lemire expends vast amounts of his own time and money. I emerged from the CHRT with total contempt for a system so openly gamed.
See also Marc Lemire's blogging.