Categories for Musings

CJN on Judge Dan Moore’s willingness to let the death-threat neo-Nazis go free

Facts unreported to date:

  • this judge let the taxpayer-funded neo-Nazis’ lawyers cross-examine Lisa about her views on abortion
  • this judge let the neo-Nazis’ lawyers question me about the name of my band
  • this judge set free the publisher of the hate rag because there was “no evidence” he’d approved the death threat made against us – even though the cops/Crown/courts possessed a videotape of the publisher saying nothing got into his hate sheet without his knowledge and approval
  • this judge sniffed that Lisa and I were “biased” against Your Ward News – the same publication, you know, that had urged that we be “bludgeoned to death”
  • the neo-Nazis’ lawyer, Chris Murphy, encountered me in the washroom during the trial, and said he couldn’t wait to be rid of “this shit” – but Murphy is still defending the Holocaust-denying editor in other cases

The CJN story is here.

Key parts below:

An Ontario court has found James Sears, the editor-in-chief of Your Ward News, not guilty of uttering death threats against anti-racism activists Warren and Lisa Kinsella.

“Having considered all of the evidence, I am unable to find that the threat to kill interpretation … is even the most likely interpretation, let alone the only reasonable interpretation,” Ontario Superior Court Judge Dan Moore wrote.

The finding comes about six weeks after Judge Moore heard allegations that Sears had written an article that was a call to violence against the Kinsellas. Charges against LeRoy St. Germaine, the publisher of Your Ward News, were dropped in October.

Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP), an organization founded by the Kinsellas to fight Your Ward News, slammed the court ruling.

“STAMP is appalled that Sears has been allowed to get away with uttering death threats,” said Lisa Kinsella.

“This same judge previously dismissed an uttering death threats charge against the publisher of Your Ward News, Leroy St. Germaine – even though the courts had videotape evidence of St. Germaine confirming that nothing got into that hate rag without his approval,” said Warren Kinsella, the author of several books on organized racism.

“When that decision was made, we were expecting today’s unfortunate decision to set free a neo-Nazi with a history of advocating violence. Despite our disappointment, however, we will not relent in fighting this vile hate group. The fight goes on,” Warren Kinsella added.

…Testifying at the trial, Kinsella said that, “We regarded the article as a call to action, that we should be bludgeoned to death.”

Lisa Kinsella told the court that she felt that statement was a threat against “me, my husband, our six children and my grandchild.”

However, Sears’s lawyer, Chris Murphy, suggested to Warren Kinsella that the case was a “battle for publicity” and that the alleged death threat was not serious.

The case was only heard after the Kinsellas launched a private prosecution when police refused to lay charges. The Crown later agreed to take over the prosecution of it.

By-elections, by the numbers

The morning after the by-election in Leeds-Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, I know what Gordie and I would have been doing.

We would have been going through the numbers.

Look at that NDP result, he might have said. Three per cent! They only got three per cent! Same as the Green Party!

Over the phone, for years, we’d do that: go through the numbers in a by-election or a general. He encouraged me when I lost in North Vancouver in 1997, and I encouraged him when he lost the first time he ran in 2000, against our mutual friend Joe Jordan. He only lost by 55 votes, that time.

Next time he ran, in 2004, Gordie won – this time by a margin of 9,035 votes. He’d win every time after that, too, by bigger and bigger margins.

The morning after the December 3, 2018 by-election in Leeds-Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Gordie and I would have been on the phone again, laughing. The Conservative vote – Gordie’s vote, really – went up by nearly 11 percentage points. The Liberal vote went down, by five per cent.

Gordie – who was a great admirer of my former boss, Jean Chretien, but unlikely ever to advertise the fact publicly – knew what that result may mean. Not good for Justin Trudeau, he would have said. Not good.

The winningest Prime Minister, when it came to by-elections, was the Rt. Hon. Jean Chretien, Gordie and I knew. In his decade in power, Chretien led his party in the 29 by-elections. Over that decade, Chretien’s share of the vote increased. (Robert Borden, Lester Pearson and Wilfrid Laurier came next, in that order.)

Justin Trudeau? Justin Trudeau was in the middle of the prime Ministerial pack, Gordie and I might have noted. Brian Mulroney – the former Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the most – was at the very bottom, number seventeen. His vote share actually dropped in those contests, by more than 25 per cent.

“Your guy Chretien knows how to win,” Gordie used to say, and I sure wouldn’t disagree. “Harper really admired him, you know?”

I knew. (Harper ranks number ten on the by-election winner list, by the by.)

Now, Gordie and I would always preface these discussions about numbers with a rote acknowledgement of immutable electoral realties. Like, a by-election is not a general election. Like, governments (with the exception of Chretien’s governments) often lose them. Like, they are interesting – but not always a reliable portent of future events.

But. But, but, but, Gordie would have said. But, sometimes, by-elections do matter a lot. Did you see what that Eric Grenier guy wrote on the CBC web site?

I did, Gordie. Here’s what Grenier, another numbers guy, wrote the same week as the by-election in Leeds-Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

“In fact, there does seem to be a relationship between by-election performance and how a government does in a subsequent general election,” Grenier wrote. “This is where things get complicated for Trudeau. Of 15 prime ministers who saw an average increase in their share of the vote in by-elections during a single term, only one of them went on to defeat. That was King in 1930, when the country was in the grips of the Great Depression.”

So what, I might’ve said to Gordie. Keep reading, Gordie would’ve said. So I did.

Grenier’s conclusion: “[Justin Trudeau] sits in the murky middle when it comes to how his party has fared in the popular vote. Those above him in the rankings were nearly all re-elected. Those at the bottom of the rankings were nearly all defeated. Trudeau’s spot puts him in mixed company.”

Mixed company. Not necessarily all bad. But not all good, either.

My guy, Jean Chretien, remains a giant in this country. He’s in his eighties, now, but he’d win big if he was still leading the Liberal of Party of Canada. That’s what Gordie used to say.

“We Conservatives were never happier than we were when Jean Chretien retired, Warren,” he’d say, and we’d laugh.

Gordie Brown, of course, didn’t get a chance to retire. He was felled by a heart attack in his office on Parliament Hill back in May. That by-election in Leeds-Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes was held to replace him – although he can never be replaced, to me. He’s still a giant, to me. In Leeds-Grenville, Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, too.

I had no one to talk about the numbers with, the morning after the by-election in Gordie’s beloved home riding. No one to talk about Chretien’s by-election record, or to compare it to Trudeau’s.

So, this column will have to do.

Christ, I miss you, brother.

38 years ago tonight

My girlfriend Paula Christison had been over, and we’d been studying, then watching something on the little black and white TV we had. My Carleton roommate, Lee G. Hill, was there too. Lee and I had been great friends in Calgary. In junior high, we’d started a couple fanzines with Beatles-centric themes. In our shared room on Second Russell, we had a couple John Lennon posters up amongst the punk rock stuff.

Paula left for her place downtown, so Lee and I were studying when the phone rang. It was Paula. “John Lennon’s been shot, babe,” she said. “It’s on the radio.”

His assassination, on December 8, 1980, was of course a terrible tragedy – and so, to me, was the fact that his last album (before the inevitable avalanche of ham-fisted compilations and retrospectives) was a piece of self-indulgent, saccharine shite like Double Fantasy.

Generally, he always needed Paul as an editor, and vice-versa. But his best album – and one of the best albums of all time, in my view – was Plastic Ono Band. It was like him: it was stark, and raw, and different, and deeply, deeply personal. Some say the LP was the product of his dalliance with primal scream therapy, or his response to the (necessary, and overdue) collapse of the Beatles. To me, it was instead an actual piece of art and great rock’n’roll, improbably found under the same piece of shrink wrap. Like listening to someone’s soul, without having received an invite to do so.  You should listen to it today.

The next morning, exams weren’t cancelled, though it felt to me like they should have been. When I walked into Carleton’s gym, there was a guy sitting there, already wearing a John Lennon T-shirt. I wanted to punch him. Instead, I just took my seat and wrote the stupid exam.

Thirty eight years. I can’t believe he’s been gone that long; I can’t believe I’m way older than he ever got a chance to be. It sucks.

Here’s my favourite picture of him, the one I used to use on posters I’d make up for Hot Nasties shows.  I liked it because he looked like a punk. That’s Stu in the background, I think.  Also long gone.

We miss you, John.  Hardly knew you.

Fourteen reasons

…why we still need effective gun safety laws, and why we need to stop violence against women.

29 years ago.

  1. Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  2. Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  3. Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  4. Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  5. Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  6. Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  7. Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
  8. Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  9. Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  10. Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  11. Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  12. Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  13. Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  14. Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student