The experiences of the director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc.
|St Patrick's Day (18/03/2002)|
|Fromm's Meeting Cancelled (21/09/1997)|
|Fromm's Public Meeting Disrupted (12/03/1997)|
|Fromm Defends Himself (24/01/1997) — (Update)|
|" Free Speech Is Too Important" (17/01/1997)|
St Patrick's Day Update by Paul Fromm
It's St. Patrick's Day, the time for the wearing of the green, but I'm still seeing red. On March 8, I received word that, after more than 16 months of deliberation, a 3-man arbitration panel had ruled 2-1 against me. My union, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) had grieved my firing, in February. 1997, by the Peel Board of Education. Justice here, is both slow and denied.
Over the past five years, many of you, including many of you who assisted me financially in this battle, have asked me for an update. I've often thought that I sounded, at meetings like a broken record: The hearings are over, but they're still deciding.
Let me offer a brief chronology of events. I was a teacher since 1973, teaching Latin, English, writing and journalism to adolescents and, for the past five years to adults. Robert Lee, a former Director of Education, had called me "an exemplary teacher." I received consistently high praise and evaluations for my work. Furthermore, my work was so in demand that, since 1991, I regularly taught both summer school and night school. I had a really full plate, along with my political and family commitments. I must also point out that I never taught politics in the class. Despite days of testimony, no evidence or allegation was ever brought forward that I had taught inappropriate or partisan material or that I had ever discriminated against a student, despite the fact that many of my classes were made up of 50% or more visible minorities.
1991. The Canadian Jewish Congress and other censorship groups engineer extensive press coverage and demand that the Peel Board fire me. My offence? I had heckled radical Indian leader Rodney Bobiwash at a public meeting. He was demanding a whole series of repressive actions, including denying Toronto meeting halls to "racists". Asking how far would you go, I heckled, "Scalp 'em?" This professional Indian grant chaser and his pro-censorship allies were not amused. The Board reprimanded me.
1992. The CJC and other enemies of free speech had sniffed around for months trying to "get" something on me to press the board to fire me. A sometime police informer sold the CJC a videotape of a talk I gave to the Heritage Front. It wasn't so much my words but the company I was keeping. In the early '90s, Bill Dunphy, now fallen to being the "weather guy" at the Hamilton Spectator, was the Toronto Sun's ace anti-racism reporter. Given the video by the CJC, who circulated it widely to the media and educators behind my back, Dunphy wrote a steamy article headlined: "Teacher addresses neo-Nazi rally." The censorship lobby really cranked up its efforts to pressure the trustees to fire me. Again I was reprimanded and the storm seemed to have passed.
Sadly, the Peel Board kicked the hot potato to the NDP Minister of Education Tony Silipo. There's nothing we can do, they told him, but, if you take away his teaching certificate, then we'll have to fire him. Silipo considered the matter over the summer and then told people like the CJC, Karen Mock of B'nai Brith and Alan Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (that's civil liberties for teachers) that were all lobbying for me to be fired that I had done nothing illegal. Their howls were so loud that he temporized and appointed a one-man investigation in the person of lawyer Jeff Cowan. Cowan sent letters to some 1,500 households in my school area, soliciting information from students, former students or parents. My lawyer and I would not know the name of the accuser and only the generality of the charges. Nevertheless, in tribute to my solid teaching record, virtually no negative information came forward from former students.
1993. Cowan concluded that there was no evidence that I had discriminated or treated students improperly. While I hadn't violated the education Act as written, he proposed a novel interpretation of the requirement that a teacher be a good role model. He suggested that being a good role model of Judeo-Christian virtues should be re-written to mean supporting multiculturalism and ethno-cultural equity. However, in a further twist, he argued that my conduct wasn't sufficiently bad to have me fired. The Peel Board debated his report and transferred me to adult education. I was warned that any repetition of incidents cited in the Cowan Report, including many I disputed as being inoffensive statements of the truth, might result in my being fired. My lawyer asked for clarification, for the Board to spell out just what I could or could not do. They ignored his requests for clarification.
1996. In April, the Supreme Court ruled against Malcolm Ross and upheld his removal from the classroom because a New Brunswick Human Rights Tribunal had found, on the flimsiest of evidence — a Jewish girl, daughter of a CJC executive, who claimed discriminatory remarks made against her at a different school — that Ross's presence had created a "poisoned environment." It now seems apparent that the Board felt free to move against me. By September, they had retained the services of B.C. Professional anti-racist Alan Dutton to spy on me and report on my B.C. activities. Communist David Lethbridge obtained a video of a private symposium held in 1994 to honour the late Prof. Revilo Oliver in Urbana, Illinois. I had spoken there. This video was passed on to B'nai Brith. In December, B'nai Brith shows this video with a written commentary provided by communist Lethbridge. A press statement demanding my firing if issued.
1997. January 10, the Peel Board announces a staff recommendation that I be fired. The grounds are that I organized a free speech conference in Vancouver in 1996, with such notables as Doug Collins and Pat Burns as speakers and that I attended the Revilo Oliver Memorial Symposium in 1994. I retain Doug Christie who mounts a superb case before three meetings of the Peel Board of Trustees. February 27, after a 24 year career, I'm fired with no severance pay or benefits. In April, I apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits and am turned down as I was fired for cause — this despite the fact that my union had already grieved the firing. A federal judge later upholds the decision to deny me the benefits I'd contributed toward since I was a teenager.
1998. April 1, April Fool's Day, the arbitration hearing opens before a 3-man panel.
2000. Final submissions are due at the end of October, after three years of on again, off again hearings. Among the witnesses against me is the CJC's Bernie Farber.
Where do we go from here? My union is considering seeking judicial review of this decision in the Ontario courts. A decision there could be appealed to the Court of Appeals and thence to the Supreme Court. Thus, if seems, that I and my family must wait more years for a final decision in this case.
Needless to say, the forces of repression are delighted. "This does raise the bar for teachers," Bernie Farber of the CJC exulted. He's right. As Doug Christie warned the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990 in the Keegstra case, they had set out on a slippery slope Keegstra was condemned for what he taught in the classroom. Next came Malcolm Ross. Ross wrote his religious views in books and letters to newspapers. A popular and much-loved teacher, he never taught his views in class. Nonetheless, a tribunal decided that his mere presence created a "poisoned environment." Now comes my case. I too never taught politics in the classroom or tried to recruit students. There was no finding that I had created a poisoned environment. The mere expression of my views on my own time was sufficient to get me fired. Unless and until this ruling is overturned, teachers will be much less free. Those who might dissent from this country's suicidal immigration or multicultural policies had best keep their opinions to themselves. Instead of teaching our youth to think and debate, this decision teaches them to shut up and get with the agenda. Those who prattle most about "tolerance" practise it by silencing any who disagree with them.
Free Speech Is Too Important by Ezra Levant Calgary Sun(1/17/97)
To get a job as a public school teacher, should you have to
swear allegiance to liberal notions of multiculturalism and immigration?
Should you have to subscribe to an official, government-approved set of
political beliefs? And should the government be able to stop you from participating in political activities in your private life, even if they don't affect your teaching?
Of course not. But that's what's happening in Ontario's Peel Board of Education, in the case of teacher Paul Fromm. I've never met Fromm nor heard him speak. I have no idea what he stands for — except newspapers like the Globe and Mail call him "controversial." Well, controversial can be good, and it can be bad. According to charges from his school board, Fromm has "continued to participate in conferences and meetings sponsored by organizations which advocate white supremacy and anti-Semitism." That's why his contract isn't being renewed.
Needless to say, to a columnist named Ezra Isaac Levant, this is the bad kind of controversy. I get worried when someone's linked to anti-Semitism. But I am far more worried about a government that thinks it can hire or fire teachers based on their personal political beliefs.
Three years ago, Fromm was investigated to see whether he was infecting his classrooms with his own ideologies. He was exonerated. Its sole condemnation: that Fromm's political activities outside of school "were inconsistent with the fundamental or 'core values' " that a teacher was supposed to teach.
Who's the greater threat? On the one hand, we have a teacher who is accused of having "links" with racist groups. His classroom conduct has been found to be in compliance with his teaching duties. On the other hand, we have a government bureaucracy that has arrogated unto itself the right to investigate its employees' home life. To prowl around what teachers do on their free time. Worst of all, the subject of these inquiries is the political leanings of these teachers.
Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. Imagine if, say, Mike Harris or Ralph Klein started investigating teachers with alleged links to left-wing groups, firing these leftists for their"links." How long would such an inquisition last? Not a minute, knowing Canada's media.
Apparently, though, the laws of political correctness trump the laws of natural justice. Your rights as a citizen now depend on what your personal political views are. If the racist allegations against Fromm are true, then I have no time for the man personally. But in this country, we allow political dissenters. Fromm is not using his classroom as a pulpit. According to Fromm's employers, Fromm had "demonstrated a profound disrespect for the principles of multiculturalism and ethnocultural equity."
But it is the Peel educrats, not Fromm, who have demonstrated a profound disrespect for our traditions of free speech and political association.
Fromm Defends Himself — Zgram Report
(1/24/97) Paul Fromm continues to stockpile sympathy on his behalf against the Canadian Censorship Crowd in general and the Peel Board of Education in particular — and well he should. What a disgrace for Canada! And, boy, will those keen-on-Political-Correctness board members ever regret having done the obligatory knee-bend!
On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Fromm was a phone-in guest on "Alberta Tonight" with Leslie Primeau, a popular radio host. He spent a half hour explaining how he'd been blindsided by the lies and innuendo purveyed by B'nai Brith Canada and how now, as a result, he was facing the possibility of his employer, the Peel School Board (in the Toronto area), tearing up his teaching contract on the flimsy pretext that he was a critic of official multiculturalism and opposed to ethnocultural equity.
Writes our Canadian correspondent:
". . . The host, Leslie Primeau, seemed to be very much on the same side as Paul; and two of the three callers likewise sided with Paul; it was the flimsiness of the reasons for seeking to fire Paul that appeared to be what triggered alarms bells in the host and her callers.
The one dissenting caller, funny enough, was clearly frustrated by Paul's sweetly reasonable manner and kept groping for negative things to say. He all but complained that Paul was sounding too nice for someone who was said by B'nai Brith to be have been a bad boy.
Ernst Zundel's name came up early in the show, specifically in connection with Paul Fromm's delicate situation with his employer first being made public in a Zundelgram posted at the Zundelsite. Paul said nothing, and Leslie refrained from delving into the link, saying only that Ernst Zundel had been on her show several times in the past. . . "
Update — The Fromm Case — January 28, 1997
Today the Peel Board met in camera to consider a recommendation to fire Paul Fromm, an English teacher with 23 years experience. Fromm is Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and has come under attack from the self-styled League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith.
Fromm is represented by Doug Christie of Victoria. Mr. Christie represented New Brunswick teacher Malcolm Ross who also came under attack by the enemies of freedom. He was eventually ordered removed from the classroom by a human rights tribunal. Although the ruling was overturned on appeal, it was reinstated by the Supreme Court of Canada in April, 1996.
Christie immediately challenged the Board's procedure and pointed out that the staff recommendation of termination for "cause" was a violation of Mr. Fromm's natural rights under the Charter of Rights to due process. He accused Board personnel of judging Mr. Fromm guilty, without ever offering him an opportunity to refute the charges or confront the accusers — B'nai Brith and Alan Dutton, a professional grant chaser from Vancouver who heads up the Canadian Anti-Racism Education Research Society (CAERS).
The Board rejected Mr. Christie's submission requesting a full hearing, with right to cross-examine Dutton and call witnesses. The Board staff presented a long video of the Revilo P. Oliver memorial gathering in Urbana, Illinois, in November, 1994, where Mr. Fromm spoke briefly.
Indicating that Mr. Fromm wishes to challenge and confront all the accusations fully, Mr. Christie obtained a postponement of the hearing until Monday, February 10. Mr. Fromm remains suspended with pay until that time.
The case has attracted considerable media interest. The Globe and Mail (January 28, 1997) reported: "Mr. Fromm, who denies that he is a white supremacist, said he has hired British Columbia lawyer Douglas Christie.... Mr. Christie ... wrote to the board accusing it of 'a fundamental breach of justice' in notifying Mr. Fromm of the intent to fire him before any hearing was held."
Mr. Christie explained to the Board his expertise in the Ross case and indicated that Mr. Fromm's situation was entirely different. There has been no finding of wrongdoing or of a "poisoned environment."
Anti-Whites Disrupt Fromm's Public Meeting by Ingrid A. Rimland March 12, 1997
Good Morning from the Zundelsite:
Here is an interesting personal account on the techniques of intimidation for political ends. It was written by a guest who had attended a small meeting put on by Ontario teacher, Paul Fromm.
As mentioned in several previous ZGrams, Fromm lost his job thanks to B'nai Brith's leaning on the local Board of Education, urging them to fire him because he was a "racist" for his activism on Third World out-of-control immigration to Canada.
The account below is unedited except for light copy editing/tightening and words inserted in brackets for clarification. I substituted "inducement" for a term used, in my judgement, speculatively.
How Anarchists Tried to Disrupt Free Speech Meeting in Vancouver
QUESTION: When is Freedom of Speech NOT free?
ANSWER: When the speaker challenges one of the sacred cows of liberalism.
QUESTION: How do you deprive him of his right to speak?
ANSWER: The preferred method is intimidation through violent confrontation.
However, since violence can lead to legal problems, it is essential to insulate oneself against any liability.
Do this by turning the dirty work over to a young left wing activist named Jaz who is able to mobilize street people with words of hate and promises of free food and (other inducements) when the job is done . . . Oh yes, an anonymous call to the TV NEWS notifying them of a possible riot is a good idea, since (media) can be relied upon to edit their tape in such a way as to make it look like it was the speaker's fault.
So it was when Paul Fromm came to Vancouver to tell the story of his dismissal from his teaching job in Ontario. After years of being targeted by B'nai Brith, his school board decided to throw him to the wolves.
I had never met or communicated in any way with Mr. Fromm prior to the meeting at the Croatian Cultural Centre on Feb. 28th, 1997. I decided to attend the meeting after reading about his difficulties in Doug Collins's column.
I attended alone and paid $5.00 admission at the door. I expected a speech, a question period and maybe (a) cup of coffee. I certainly was not prepared for the violent events that followed.
7:40 PM. I arrive early for scheduled 8:00 PM start. I pay my $5.00 at the door where Mr. Fromm introduces himself to me.
7:50 PM. I take a seat in second row of room set up for about 50 people. Three young people sit in the front row directly in front of me. They are conspicuous because of their appearance. Coloured hair, body rings and clothes reminiscent of the Hippie era. They sit quietly, staring straight ahead.
8:00 PM. Paul Fromm approaches the trio and politely asks them for their $5.00 admission fees. They had apparently walked past him at the door while he was engaged with someone else. One of the three, an Indo-Canadian, states that they have no money but intend to stay anyway. At this point I look back at the open door and see that several other similarly attired people are being prevented from entering. It is plain that there is a problem.
8:10 PM. Paul Fromm and others are unable to reason with the intruders. They won't pay and they won't leave.
One man gets up and offers to pay the $15.00 himself, so that the meeting could proceed. Several people object to the idea of appeasing the intruders. The man sits down.
(The intruders) are told the police would be called. They refuse to pay. The call is made.
8:25 PM. The young Indian, seemingly emboldened by the passive attitude in the room, ((becomes) very vocal. He calls us 'racist white trash' The others being held back at the door start to chant. 'White trash, white trash!'
One of the trio within the room prefers to call us 'f-----g honkies!' He is black himself. The East Indian shouts that his people are 'the doctors, the lawyers, the engineers. We are the future. Get out of my country, you white trash!'
More chanting. No sign of police.
8:35 PM. Guests are losing patience. Some want to forcibly eject the trio. Others think this unwise.
Where are the police? Most people are on their feet now. An elderly lady who has come with her daughter is frightened. The only escape is through the lobby to the front door. The lobby is occupied by the intruders.
Others are in the parking lot now. They pound on the curtained glass windows that form one wall of our room while they shout insults and chant incessantly.
The East Indian man walks to a table and grabs some papers and attempts to pocket them. He is seized by both arms and pushed through the door into the lobby. The other two are also ejected after a teenage girl carrying an infant is persuaded to step aside from the point position she had taken at the doorway after the first ejection.
Still no police.
8:45 PM. The intruders are now restricted to the lobby and the parking lot, but the pounding and the shouting grows worse. The noise is making it impossible for Paul Fromm to speak. There is also a real possibility that the large plate glass windows will break and injure someone inside.
Paul Fromm and a couple of others decide to go to the front door to warn the mob that the windows are in danger of breaking and what the consequences could be. It is then Paul Formm is seized by a number of mob members and thrown to the ground.
He is quickly rescued and pulled back inside the building but not before his suit had been virtually torn to shreds.
Two bike patrolmen finally arrive. They are told of the assault. They will take no action but they will stay to keep the peace.
9:00 PM The meeting gets underway but must be shortened because of lost time. We are told how a web of misinformation and blatant untruths have led to (Fromm's) dismissal after 27 years on the job.
The pounding on the windows has started again. The police must have left.
Paul Fromm tries to continue over the din but it is hopeless. A look through the curtains indicates even more goons than before. The police are called again.
9:45 PM Police arrive within 10 minutes, this time several constables and a sergeant. They tell us to finish our meeting and then leave as a group. They will lead us through the gauntlet to our cars.
This is done, and we venture through the lobby, only to be met by a news camera pointed at the front door.
I make it to my car safely and back out of the stall as several of the goons start to beat on the roof and windows. One tries to open my driver's door. He foolishly grabs the top of my slightly open window. I quickly close it, trapping his fingers.
I am so angry by this time that I fantasize momentarily about dragging him along for a few blocks but quickly dismiss the idea. I release him and head for home. It's 10:30 PM.
But what about this guy Jaz and the free food (and other inducements) that I mentioned in the first paragraph? Well, if you remember, there was the third member of the original trio that has not been mentioned so far. He was a Caucasian male about 18 years old.
During the period when the three were occupying the meeting room together, he was observed talking to a fiftyish man at some length. It seemed that the man was trying to reason with the boy in a fatherly way. At one point, I overheard him say: "You mean to say that you came down here to cause trouble because someone told you we were racists?"
(The boy) would not point Jaz out and declined to say if he was even at the scene. When asked where Jaz would get the money for the burgers (and the inducement) the boy said: 'I don't know, but he said he would have it for sure.'
One thing was obvious throughout the incident. They had absolutely no fear of the police. On the other hand, we were warned by the sergeant immediately prior to leaving the room that
'. . . the first person who pushes, shoves or uses any kind of physical force will be arrested and will be going to jail. I'm telling you that right now.'
If anything surprised me about the incident, it was the arrogance and hatred displayed by some of the non-whites. One Chinese who wore a red kerchief around his forehead pushed an elderly man to the ground while screaming, 'go back to Europe, you f-----g honky.' A policeman intervened but he let it go at that. . . " (end of report)
Rights Councils Are Stifling Our Freedoms — The North Shore News
IT had to come. The Human Rights Gestapo has now got around to telling hotels what meetings may or may not be held on their premises.
In Edmonton, a group calling itself The Third Option was to have held a conference Oct. 18, 19 and 20 on the future of Canada. Constitutional reform was to have been on the agenda, plus national unity. Two hundred people had signed to attend.
But leftists and pressure groups disapproved of some of the speakers and the Alberta Human Rights Commission "advised" the Coast Terrace Inn to cancel. Which it did.
Here we see the war on words being conducted once again by David Lethbridge, the Okanagan college instructor who is a self-proclaimed communist and founder of head of the Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism.
Lethbridge wrote a 10-page letter to the hotel management denouncing some of the speakers as "racists and anti-Semites."
They had not yet spoken so no one knew what was going to be said or how constitutional reform could assume sinister proportions.
It was enough, however, that the wrong people were speaking. In this case, Lethbridge stated that The Third Option is a "sub-branch" of the Canadian League of Rights, which is headed by Ron Gostick, who fights for traditional Canada and has broken no laws.
In 1992 Lethbridge showed his intellectual capacities by "mooning" a Gostick meeting in Salmon Arm at a demonstration he had persuaded simple-minded students to attend.
What matters here is not nincompoopery and censorship dressed up as political morality, but the role of taxpayer-supported thought police in the field of public discussion.
Nazi Germany had it. Soviet Russia had it. And now we've got it. In lesser form, it is true. So far.
The story hit the Edmonton Journal on Sept. 21 and is a sample of how twisted the words "human rights" have become.
"Commission chair Charlach MacKintosh said he advised hotel manager Werner Simm to cancel the booking because of some of the speakers involved."
"He said he didn't know who else would be attending and said he had no information about planned racist activities."
Read that again. He didn't know and he had no information. But he "advised" anyway. Some speakers weren't of the right ilk, you see.
It shouldn't have mattered if he did know. We used to have something called free speech; we also accepted that people were innocent until they are proved guilty. But the human rights mob thinks otherwise.
MacKintosh said he had been informed there was "the possibility of demonstrations which might easily lead to violence."
Who informed him? Those who didn't want the meeting? And since when has violence been the responsibility of our misnamed Human Rights Commissions?
And who would organize the violence? The people at the conference? Of course not. It would be the same kind of leftist rabble who have rioted in Toronto. But the last time I looked, the regular police were supposed to ensure that public meetings are held without interference.
It used to be that peaceable assembly was a Canadian right. The Alberta Human Rights Commission disagrees.
The manager of the hotel underlined the role of the commission.
In a letter to Paul Fromm of the Toronto-based Canadian Association for Free Expression he claimed that the cancellation was due
"not to David Lethbridge but to the information provided by the Alberta Human Rights Commission after their investigation."
He had sent Lethbridge's letter to them, however.
A University of Alberta philosophy professor, Roger Shiner, had the grace to say that "even bigots have a right to meet and discuss constitutional reform." Watch it, Shiner.
Prior restraint is not allowed, he went on.
"You can't say this is what these people are going to say even before they say it and so we're going to haul them into court and stop them saying it."
Don't be so sure. That's the way things are going.
Here in B.C. a bigger and better Human Rights Council gets into action January 1 with a mandate to initiate complaints on behalf of people who have made no complaints. And to walk into offices looking for incriminating material.
Meanwhile, if I go to Edmonton remind me not to stay at the Coast Terrace Inn.