Human rights ruling `a slap on the wrist'
LISA TALLYN Staff Writer A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision to impose a $1,000 fine on local man Craig Harrison, who was found responsible for posting hate propaganda on the Internet, is a "slap on the wrist", says a member of a group that promotes racial harmony. "I'm truly disappointed," said Elizabeth Carmichael, chair of the North Halton Cultural Awareness Council. "This is a shame." In his decision released yesterday (Tuesday), Michel Doucet, chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Council, found complainant Richard Warman's rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act were contravened by Harrison, 40, of Georgetown. Along with the fine, Harrison was ordered to stop posting hate propaganda on the Internet after finding he authored several discriminatory messages posted on websites. "Who is going to control him? Who is going to police him? We have to look at tougher laws for hate on the Internet," said Carmichael. "Hate can destroy." Doucet said in his decision that, based on evidence, "I find that Craig Harrison is the author of the messages posted on the Freedomsite and of those posted in the Yoderanium forum under the login names "realcanadianson", "rump" and "realamericanson". At a hearing held in Toronto in June, Harrison was accused of posting hate propaganda on a Toronto website calling for the murder of the family of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, blacks, non-whites, francophones and aboriginals. See HUMAN, pg. 4
Harrison postings `promoted hatred'
Continued from pg. 1 Doucet said Harrison's postings "go beyond the legal parameters of public debate." "The call for violence toward aboriginals, francophones, blacks and other non-whites, as well as attacks on other groups and individuals based on their religion, colour, national or ethnic origin using racial slurs and degrading stereotypes does not constitute legitimate political debate. It promotes hatred and contempt." Doucet said the tribunal found Harrison "repeatedly communicated messages regarding persons who are nonChristian, non-Caucasian and non-English in origin that were nasty, vicious and extreme. These persons were open to ridicule, ill feelings, hostility and violence creating the right conditions for hatred or contempt against them....Statements exhorting violence and death suggest that the victims lack any redeeming qualities, thereby dehumanizing them." One website posting read: "I'm the guy who got 2 years for thumpin that nigger on main street." Harrison spent two years in jail when he was convicted in 1996 of assault causing bodily harm after attacking a black man, a Georgetown shopkeeper, while shouting racial slurs. In his decision, Doucet said the posted messages show Harrison is "being led by his ill-conceived views of society and his incapacity to accept others." In determining the penalty, he said the messages were posted in a relatively short period of time and there seems to have been no new postings since 2004. "Also, I note that the respondent is not responsible for the websites, he is but a participant to these various websites," said Doucet. Doucet said the order to pay the penalty is imposed "essentially by the reason of the violent nature of the postings." "Society cannot take lightly calls for the murder of pesons because of their race, religion or ethnic origin," said Doucet. Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman, the complainant in the hearing, was also disappointed with the $1,000 fine and said he doesn't believe "it has a great deal of deterrent value." Harrison faced a penalty of up to $10,000 if he was found responsible for the hate propaganda. "I'm certainly satisfied for the finding that Mr. Harrison was responsible for the postings," said Warman Tuesday. "I have my reservations about the penalty that was imposed." He said Harrison was found responsible for postings containing repeated calls for genocide against several groups of people but the chairman only imposed "one-tenth of the maximum penalty." "I'm unable to reconcile that. I don't understand that at all." He said previous penalties for similar findings ranged from $1,000 to $7,500 and he and the Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer at the hearing called for the maximum fine in the Harrison case. Warman said he will be encouraging the Canadian Human Rights Commission to seek a judicial review of the penalty from the Federal Court of Canada. At press time Harrison could not be reached for comment. (Lisa Tallyn can be reached at ltallyn @independentfreepress.com)