Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION Tribunal ruling much too soft
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 18 Aug 2006, p. 6

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We're puzzled by what message the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal was trying to send with its ruling Tuesday concerning Halton Hills resident Craig Harrison and his Internet posting of hate propaganda? Harrison, 40, was found responsible by the Tribunal for authoring messages on the Internet that can best be described as hateful garbage. Appalled and disgusted by Harrison's virulence, Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman decided to take the case to the Tribunal. He wanted this man stopped. Obviously, the Tribunal shared the same concerns as the complainant. "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," wrote Michel Doucet, chair of the Tribunal hearing. 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." But despite the seriousness of his findings, Doucet levied a mere $1,000 fine (one-tenth of the maximum fine Harrison could have received), noting that there had been no new postings since 2004 and that most of the messages were written in a relatively short period of time. "Also, I note that the respondent is not responsible for the websites, he is but a participant to these various websites," said Doucet. But really, a $1,000 fine? That is no deterrent. Harrison is no stranger to controversy. He 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. This man and his beliefs are frightening, especially when Doucet notes that Harrison "repeatedly communicated messages regarding persons who are non-Christian, non-Caucasian and non-English in origin that were nasty, vicious and extreme." We need to do far more as a country than hand out $1,000 fines to those who insist on spreading such venomous material. Homegrown intolerance is something that should not be dealt with so lightly.

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18 Aug 2006
Personal Name(s):
Harrison, Craig ; Warman, Richard ; Doucet, Michael
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Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
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OPINION Tribunal ruling much too soft