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Paul Fromm and Alexan Kulbashian Banned from Parliament for Criticism of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

 

 

 

 

 

Free Speech Advocates Banned from House of Commons

 

OTTAWA ,  October 17, 2007. This afternoon, by unanimous consent, the House of Commons past a motion banning free speech activists Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm. Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression from the House of Commons. The ban was put in place to thwart a press conference scheduled for Friday at 1:30 in the Charles Lynch Room of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

 

Hansard records: “By unanimous consent, it was ordered, ‘That this House order that Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during the present Session to preserve the dignity and integrity of the House.’”

 

Mr. Kulbashian is acting as agent for Melissa Guille and Mr. Fromm as agent for the Canadian Heritage Alliance, both defendants against a complaint made by  chronic complainer Richard Warman under Sec. 13.1, the Internet censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

 

The press conference has been called to air concerns about spy activities by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its witnesses against Canadians using the Internet. “There’s been a wholesale abuse of power,” Mr. Fromm commented.

 

“The ban against us is ironic,” Mr. Fromm added. “This was the same day Parliament recognized the struggle in Myanmar ( Burma ) for freedom and democratic rights and voted unanimously to make pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi an honourary Canadian citizens,” he said. “Yet, the same MPs seem reluctant to grant Canadians the same right to peacefully express their views that they support in Myanmar .”

 

Any group or individual may apply to the Parliamentary Press Gallery to book a half hour slot in the facilities of the Charles Lynch Room (located inside the Parliament Buildings) to hold a press conference open to the members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

 

“MPs have acted with stunning arrogance and disregard for free speech,” Fromm charged. “After all, it’s we taxpayers who foot the bill for this place. It’s not their private little club. ‘Parliament’ from the French parler (to talk) should be a place of talk and free exchange of ideas, not of the sort of suppression more in keeping with the thuggish generals of Burma,” he added.

 

“Our research shows that only five people have ever been banned from the House of Commons,” Mr. Fromm explained. “The first was Louis Riel who led an armed rebellion against the Dominion Government in the 19th century. The other four were critics of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Controversial publisher Ernst Zundel and his lawyer Doug Christie were banned from the precincts of the House of Commons in 1998 when they sought to hold a press conference to complain that the Canadian Human Rights Commission does not consider truth a defence against charges of hate.”

 

“The planned press conference will go ahead at another Ottawa location,” said Mr. Kulbashian.

 

**********************************  

 

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION
CHAMBRE DES COMMUNES DU CANADA
39e LÉGISLATURE, 2e SESSION

 

Journals

No. 2 (Unrevised)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

2:00 p.m.

 

 

Motions

By unanimous consent, it was ordered, — That this House order that Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during the present Session to preserve the dignity and integrity of the House.

 

 


 

39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 002

CONTENTS

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

 

------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Precincts of the House of Commons

 

 

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe there have been consultations among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

 

 

    That this House order that Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during the present session to preserve the dignity and integrity of the House.

 

 

 
    Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

 

 

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

 

 

    The Deputy Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

 

 

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

 

    (Motion agreed to)

*   *   *

 

From Hansard

 

 


Paul Fromm on the Parliament Ban

 

 

 

 


Commons ban on right-wing extremists raises freedom of speech questions

OTTAWA - A vote by MPs to bar two right-wing extremists from holding a news conference in a Parliament Hill press theatre has raised concerns about freedom of speech.

Wayne Sumner, a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto , said the decision smacks of prior restraint - of banning people for what they might say.

"If people utter hate messages in public then that's a criminal offence and they can rightly be charged under the Criminal Code with that offence," he said.

"But you've got to wait for them to do it first. You don't pre-empt them by saying, 'Well we think you might do something like that, we've got to stop you in advance."'

MPs unanimously approved the ban with this motion:

"That this House order that Alexan Kulbashian and Paul Fromm be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during the present session to preserve the dignity and integrity of the House."

Ernst Zundel, the notorious Holocaust denier, is the only other person to be similarly banned. The Commons passed a motion against him in 1998.

Fromm and Kulbashian had been scheduled to speak to reporters Thursday in the Charles Lynch Press Theatre in the Centre Block. They wanted to outline their complaints about what they see as the excessive powers of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

They claim human rights legislation is being used to stifle political dissent.

Fromm and Kulbashian have been the subject of commission investigations. They are also associated with a long list of far-right groups.

A human rights tribunal last year fined Kulbashian over a racist website.

"Black persons and people of the Jewish faith are particularly laid open to ridicule, ill feelings or hostility, creating the right conditions for hatred or contempt against them to flourish," the ruling said.

Fromm, a teacher, was fired from his Toronto-area classroom over his views.

He is a former member of the Western Guard and a self-styled director of other right-wing groups, including the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee and the Canadian Association for Free Expression.

Normally, the press theatre is open to any group wanting to speak to reporters on a topic linked to the federal government.

Richard Brennan, a reporter for The Toronto Star and president of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, was disappointed by the motion.

He said free speech is a given for journalists.

"That's what we're all about, that's what our job is, that's what the whole parliamentary process is about."

He said people have a right to criticize the rights commission.

"We aren't arbiters of what people can say and what they can't say."

Jason Kenney, the secretary of state for multiculturalism who moved the motion, said the two can find another venue.

"If they want to get a soapbox and go out in front of the Parliament Buildings in this free country, they're welcome to do so, but this House isn't going to let them use public, taxpayer-funded resources," he said.

Sumner, author of a 2004 book entitled The Hateful and the Obscene: Studies in the Limits of Free Expression, didn't buy that argument.

"These guys pay taxes too, don't they? If it's public space in that respect, then you would think it should be open to any point of view, however repugnant that point of view might be."

 


http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/10/18/parliament-ban.html





MPs unite to ban 2 speakers from Parliament Buildings


Last Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2007 | 8:23 AM ET
CBC News


MPs from all parties have teamed up to ban two controversial speakers from holding a news conference in the Parliament Buildings on Friday.

Paul Fromm and Alexan Kulbashian, who are often criticized by human rights advocates, had booked the parliamentary media centre to discuss their grievances about the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a federal body that investigates allegations of discrimination.

The commission's human rights tribunal fined Kulbashian in March 2006 for posting hate messages about blacks, Jews, Muslims and other minorities on the internet.

Fromm has come under fire for supporting people accused of racism.

MPs passed a motion Wednesday night to prevent the two men from entering the Parliament Buildings.

Conservative MP Jason Kenney said the move does not hinder the men's freedom of expression.

"If they want to get a soapbox and go out in front of the Parliament Buildings in this free country, they're welcome to do so, but this House isn't going to let them use public, taxpayer-funded resources."

NDP MP Joe Comartin said MPs did the same thing when Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel wanted to speak in Parliament in 1998.

"While we recognize the broad scope of free speech in this country, you're not allowed to libel and slander anyone, you're not allowed to use hate literature."

Fromm learned of the motion banning him and Kulbashian from Parliament when contacted by CBC News Wednesday night.

"We operate on the basis of a system where you're presumed innocent until you're proven guilty," he said. "The press conference hasn't even occurred yet. Nothing has been said.

"All it is is an opportunity for an interested party to have access to the press, if they're interested in coming. To prevent that, to my way of thinking, is horrific."

 

 

 

 


 

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Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.

 -- Alfred Whitney Griswold


Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself.

-- Potter Stewart