Marc Lemire

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Marc Lemire is a figure in the Canadian far right "white nationalist" movement. He works closely with leader Paul Fromm, and is the webmaster of the Hamilton, Ontario-based Freedom-Site which he began in 1996.[1][2][3] He has been called a "bigot" by Jonathan Kay of the National Post.[4] Formerly of Toronto and now living in Hamilton, Lemire was the last president of the often violent Heritage Front organization from January 1, 2001 until the organization folded around 2005.[5][6]

Early career[edit]

In 1997, Lemire ran for school trustee in Toronto Public School Ward P17, but lost after receiving only 2,503 votes (or 12% of the total).[3][7] In the mid-1990s he was a Canadian Armed Forces reservist.[2] In their 1997 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. B'nai Brith Canada wrote, "Marc Lemire, webmaster of the Freedom-Site that hosts the websites of several of Canada’s most virulent antisemitic organizations such as the Heritage Front, The Canadian Patriots Network and the Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform".[8] In 1998, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation called The Canadian Patriots Network a "hate website".[9]

Lemire's involvement with Wolfgang Droege and the neo-Nazi Heritage Front group began while he was a teenager in the early 1990s. When the Heritage Front fell into crisis around 1993, he attempted independent projects on the far right, such as his Canadian Patriots Network before embarking in his online activities.[2] He resumed his activity with the Heritage Front within a few years, and according to the Heritage Front website, Lemire helped organize a Heritage Front flyer campaign in 2001. The flyers were titled in part Immigration can kill you, and claimed that there was a connection between immigration and an outbreak of tuberculosis.[10]

Lemire was briefly a member of the Canadian Alliance, a mainstream conservative Canadian party — along with several other far-right figures, such as Paul Fromm, Doug Christie and Doug Collins — until late 2000 when, according to The Report newsmagazine, they were all expelled from the party.[11][12]

Legal and human rights issues[edit]

In August 2006, a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that postings by Craig Harrison on the Freedom-Site forum (an interactive message forum on Lemire's website) contained violations of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. No liability was found against Lemire, although the Tribunal did issue a decision that "compelled" Lemire to provide evidence during the hearing.[13][14] A total of eight people in Canada viewed the material.[15]

A complaint was also laid against Lemire for allegedly "communicating and/or causing to be communicated" messages in violation of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Hearings before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal began February 2007.[16][17]

On November 25, 2005, Lemire filed a Notice of Constitutional Question with every Attorney General in Canada, against the Canadian Human Rights Act, in which he challenged the constitutionality of sections 13 (Internet hate) and 54(1)(1.1) (Fines) of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Specifically he argued that they are in violation of ss. 2(a) and (b), 7, 26 and 31 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of ss. 1(d) and (f) of the Canadian Bill of Rights is also alleged.[18] As a result of the constitutional challenge, the Canadian Free Speech League, the Canadian Association for Free Expression, the Attorney General of Canada, The Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith Canada and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre have all obtained "Interested Party Status" in the case.[19]

On September 2, 2009, Hadjis found Section 13 of the Canada Human Rights Act unconstitutional, and refused to impose a penalty on Lemire.[20] However, as Hadjis is not a judge and the tribunal is not a court, his decision does not carry sufficient weight to strike down the section as ultra vires.[20] As a result, the ruling is not binding beyond the Lemire case.[21]

Two previous decisions of the CHRT (first by a 2-member panel, and later by Chair Grant Sinclair) considered the same challenges to the amendments by the same respondents in Lemire's case - Paul Fromm in #2 and Douglas Christie / Barbara Kulaszka (and Lemire having applied and been rejected as an intervenor) in #1 - and found them constitutional.[22][23][24]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "The new face of hate" CANOE
  2. ^ a b c "From Marches to Modems" (DOC). The Canadian Jewish Conference. Retrieved 2007-01-03. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Annual Reports > Country > Canada". Stephen Roth Institute: Antisemitism And Racism. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Joseph Brean (March 22, 2008). "Scrutinizing the human rights machine". National Post. Retrieved 2008-03-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ "The New Generation of Organized Racialism in Canada". Canadian Content. Archived from the original on 2003-05-18. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  7. ^ "Canada". Official City of Toronto Elections Website. Last updated: 1997. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  8. ^ "1997 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents". B'nai Brith Canada. Retrieved 2007-01-01. [dead link]
  9. ^ "French arrests point to BC hate website". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 1998-11-13. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  10. ^ "Press Release". The Heritage Front. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  11. ^ M. Lauder (February 28, 2002). "The New Generation of Organised Racialism in Canada". CanCon. Archived from the original on 2003-05-18. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  12. ^ Kevin Michael Grace (November 2000). "Urge to purge returns: the Canadian Alliance, aping Reform, cancels the membership of political dissidents". The Report Newsmagazine. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  13. ^ "Warman v. Harrison". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  14. ^ "Warman v. Harrison (Subpoena of Marc Lemire)". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  15. ^ "Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". Chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  16. ^ "CHRT Hearing Schedule". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  17. ^ "Warman v. Lemire". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  18. ^ "CHRT Ruling". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  19. ^ "CHRT Ruling". Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  20. ^ a b "Tribunal declares Internet hate speech law unconstitutional". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2009-09-02. [dead link]
  21. ^ Krashinsky, Susan (2009-09-02). "Hate-speech law violates Charter rights, tribunal rules unconstitutional". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  22. ^ "Canadian Jewish Congress says Lemire case decision wrong in law". Canadian Jewish Congress. Retrieved 2009-09-03. [dead link]
  23. ^ mgroulx (2007-11-14). "Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". Chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 
  24. ^ mgroulx (2007-11-14). "Canadian Human Rights Tribunal". Chrt-tcdp.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-07-16. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]