Musings —04.13.2018 01:17 PM—
A smart CBC Winnipeg reporter contacted me this week about a fascinating story. It’s here:
Kinsella, who is a Toronto-based lawyer and author, said businesses have the right to exclude anyone from their establishments.
“That right exists … [but] they’re not allowed to do that on the basis of race or religion or disability or something like that,” said Kinsella.
Kinsella had never heard of a criminal organization banding together to give businesses one-star reviews on social media. He said while that might appear almost comical, it’s not.
“This is not just a bad review, it’s a bad review on steroids. It has a menacing overtone,” he said.
He said words have different meanings coming out of different mouths, recalling an incident several years ago outside an Ottawa courthouse.
Kinsella had testified at a hate trial. As he was walking out of the courthouse with police, a skinhead walked by and said Kinsella’s home address.
“That’s all he said — he didn’t say anything else.”
Kinsella said police phoned him that night and told him they were arresting the skinhead because his words amounted to a threat.
He wonders if the Hells Angels’ social media attacks on the Manitoba businesses could also be considered a crime.
“I think the emotional and psychological impact of hundreds of Hells Angels members going after your business, even if they’re not standing there in the lobby — you know, wearing their leather jackets and looking threatening — even if they’re not doing that, I would imagine for these businesses it is quite intimidating and quite upsetting,” said Kinsella.
He said police in Winnipeg should take a hard look at Kelland and the other Hells Angels who posted reviews, because if they did it to threaten or intimidate a business, their actions won’t be protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“What if this is not just a one off? What if this is the beginning of a strategy for these guys? It’s a strategy that could have an impact on a lot of people’s bottom line,” Kinsella said.
“If it’s the beginning of a trend, it’s something that people in politics, and bureaucrats and police and the Crown need to look at, to see if this is the start of something far more sinister.”