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January 20, 1998
Mr. Ujjal Dosanjh
Province of British Columbia
Re: Fairview Technology, Bernard Klatt
It has come to my attention that a complaint was lodged with your department concerning the above by Sol Littman on behalf of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
I lived in New Brunswick when Malcolm Ross was attacked for his views. No one had heard of him, or his writings before. As a result, he became a public figure, gained supporters and caused many hard feelings against Jews and the government.
I am a third generation Western Canadian. I am also Jewish. [ .. s.22 censored .. ] I am against hate. I lost many great uncles and aunts in the holocaust and my father was almost killed by the Nazis. I also grew up with the pain of antisemitism.
As reprehensible as hate is, there is something much worse. That is the loss of freedom of speech. Sol Littman, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and other Jewish organizations do not speak for all Jews. In fact, they have caused a rift in the Jewish community. A growing number of us do not agree with their tactics that only serve to punish everyone by limiting free speech and also have the effect of causing hatred toward Jews for attacking this sacred right. This, I have experienced also.
The way to battle hatred is through education. By prosecuting Klatt and others like him, we do not extinguish hate. Instead.. we validate their writings that Jews and their government cronies are out to take away personal freedom and liberty. Look at Ernst Zundel. He now has supporters in more than 50 countries and his U.S. based web site gets over one million hits a month. Do we want to do the same for Klatt and others like him that may be born out of such prosecutions?
In the book of Isaiah, (42:7) God says that he appointed the Jews to be "a light to all peoples and a beacon for the nations". Freedom of speech is a foundation of practically all religions as well as a cornerstone of our society. We sent soldiers in two world wars and other actions to protect freedoms of people who have no say in their respective government. The history of the Jews is one of fighting against those that would oppress their freedom of religion and yes, speech. Therefore, it scares many of us when the heavy hand of government is solicited in taking away freedoms in a move that has always proven to be ineffective, damaging and harmful to the rights that so many Canadians hold so dear and rights for which so many have chosen this country to be their homeland.
I thank you for your consideration in this matter. I felt it was my duty as a Canadian and as a member of the Jewish faith to inform your office that the complaint by Mr. Littman does not have the support that he may lead you to believe and many of us find his manner of dealing with hate just as reprehensible as those who choose to produce it.
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May 27 1998
Dear [ .. s.22 censored .. ]
Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to your letter of January 20, 1998, regarding the issues of hate propaganda and freedom of expression.
Your views clearly show a great deal of wisdom and I am pleased that you were willing to share them with me.
I. too, recognize that controls on hateful speech must be balanced by the need to protect freedom of expression. As you are probably aware,, the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code reflect this balance and, as a result, very few cases of hate propaganda have met the evidentiary criteria necessary to pursue the cases through criminal prosecutions. When prosecutions have occurred, as in the Zundel case you mentioned, serious issues regarding the resulting publicity have been raised. In fact, the charge approval standard applied by Crown Counsel in these cases includes serious consideration of the public interest in proceeding with cases and providing a forum for these views.
This Ministry is taking a broad approach to problems of hatred in British Columbia; the Hate Crime Team is addressing criminal behaviour, including hate propaganda and other crimes motivated by hatred; Multiculturalism BC provides education and community programs to address racism and bigotry; and we have a number of officials addressing human rights issues across British Columbia. In my view,
It is only through a combination of approaches in which the consequence of each are carefully considered that we can address the spread of hatred.
I appreciate your taking the time to write to me on this issue.
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