Cancer strikes the man who defended Canada’s hate-mongers

Nick Taylor-Vaisey on the stories making news this morning


Geoff Howe/CP

In case you didn’t know, Douglas Christie spent most of the last three decades defending some of Canada’s most hated hate-mongers. Christie went to the barricades, repeatedly and loudly, and proudly, in defence of a holocaust denier, various anti-Semites, and a former Nazi SS guard, to name a few. Not many Canadians can say they defend the tenets of free speech more passionately than Christie. He made plenty of enemies along the way, and he’s well aware that his detractors associate him with his defendants’ views of the world. Today, the National Post reports that Christie is dying of terminal cancer.

That kind of news silences people, even those who revile the man’s clientèle. And Christie’s death could silence, in some respects, those who deserve at least a committed lawyer while they face heinous charges. From his bedroom, Christie told the Post he didn’t know who would take up the mantle of defending those charged with hate speech. “It certainly is a costly process, in time, in effort, and in reputation,” he told the paper. The depth chart is apparently quite shallow. And that, for now, is all there is to say.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the potential privatization of Ontario’s billion-dollar lottery business. The National Post fronts the involvement of a “notorious” lobbyist in the shady business dealings of a Calgary energy company in Chad. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Senator Pamela Wallin’s possession of an Ontario health card. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Wallin and Senator Mike Duffy cracking the Top 10 list of top-spending Senators in 2012. iPolitics fronts undesirable records of some of the Cardinals who will elect the next Pope. CBC.ca leads with Argo winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. National Newswatch showcases the Star‘s story about Wallin’s Ontario health card.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Quebec tuition. A year after mass student protests in Quebec, the PQ government hopes to sit down with students and forge a consensus on the future of tuition fees. 2. Canadian Cardinal. Marc Ouellet might be close a household name in Canada, but Toronto’s Archbishop, Thomas Collins, is also heading to Rome to help select the next Pope.
3. RCMP faith. The National Post published a raft of letters to the editor that illustrate plainly just how divided Canadians are on the competence of the national police force. 4. Tanning beds. Health Canada will soon mandate that tanning salons post warnings next to their beds about the risks involved in the practice, including skin cancer.

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Cancer strikes the man who defended Canada’s hate-mongers

  1. Where there’s $ there will be counsel. On the other hand, very few lawyers have also engaged in fundraising for their clients the way Christie did (though apparently mostly to help with legal fees, so there’s some self-interest there). And although like may he kept repeating ‘freedom of speech, freedom of speech’, did he ever in his life go on record denouncing the white supremacist movement? I wonder if he will do so on his death bed.

  2. “heinous” charges? Really?

    • Perhaps he meant to say that the crimes of these holocaust-deniers are heinous? Time for a grammar check from Nick, perhaps.

      • yes, that sounds like it fits better.

  3. Doug Christie has upheld the law as the foundation of our society for years. Everyone gets a defence, no matter what they’re accused of. It is a cornerstone of western society.

    What he’s like as a person I have no idea, but we should never confuse a lawyer with his client. I had thought we were brighter than that, but Stock Day proved me wrong.

    The western gear makes him colourful, although I doubt it helped his province’s image. I always expected him to come out of court, and hop on a horse! It would never have worked in Ont or Que but it made him memorable….stand out…. which I gather was the point.

    Western separatism was something I assume he took seriously, although I don’t know if he still thinks that way.

    But he certainly did his job.

    • Actually, you should confuse the lawyer with the cause, in this case. He’s been rebuked by the Law Society of Upper Canada and others for his antisemitic views. He’s a pretty twisted, evil guy and Canada as a society will be better off without him.

      • Lots of lawyers have been rebuked….but in a country of free speech you don’t have to agree with someone in order to see a principle.

        • It’s been painfully clear, to anyone paying attention, that Christie holds those views, or at the very least, takes a twisted pleasure in spreading the message that the Holocaust was a fraud.

          • Well Canada made a complete botch of the Ernst Zundel thing, and ended up spreading neo-nazism all over the world, so we can’t preach.

          • That doesn’t even make sense. Christie’s client Zundel was prosecuted to the extent that Canadian law allowed, and eventually deported. You now seem to be arguing we should have been even tougher on Zundel, somehow, extra-legally, than our laws (as opposed to Germany’s) allow, despite your statements above how law is the cornerstone of Canadian society etc.

            I’m not going to pursue this with you.

          • Good, because you shouldn’t be making up things and then arguing against them. I said nothing remotely like that.

            Ernst Zundel should never have been prosecuted. He wanted attention and we foolishly gave it to him. For years he promoted UFOs and everyone ignored him. At one point he even ran for the Liberal leadership and everyone ignored him.

            Then one day he discovered that being a Holocaust denier made people go berserk…..and he was well away.

            He now has his spot in jail, and his place in history…..and a lot of followers who wouldn’t otherwise have heard of him until we played bull in a china shop.

            Had we ignored Zundal again he’d have probably gone on to be a birther or some other demented conspiracy….which while dumb hasn’t revived neo-nazis.

          • ///

      • It is oblivious that you didn’t know the man and are parroting the views of his detractors. Canada is a better society with people like Doug who could have been a parasitical criminal lawyer defending murderers and pedophiles like so many in the profession, but he chose to defend actual free speech and not what is defined as free speech by the Orwellian doublethinkers of today.

        One day Mr. Goldwater you will face the same end, but I doubt with so much hate in your words you will be able to do so with a clear conscious as Doug will when he meets Jesus.

        • I don’t think Mr. Christie saw his colleagues as “parasitical criminal lawyers defending murderers and pedophiles”….not if he truly believed everyone deserved a defense. As for free speech, it is well and good BUT remember the case of Jim Keegstra, a school teacher who taught his students that the holocaust was a hoax and then failed them if they didn’t spew the information back in tests and papers. It isn’t exactly “free” speech when you hold university entrances over the heads of young people who you are brain-washing. Keegstra did such a good job on some of those kids that the community he taught in had to send them to see the ovens that still exist at the concentration camps in Europe because they refused to believe that Mr. Keegstra lied and that the holocaust was real.

          • I said they were “parasitical criminal lawyers defending murderers and pedophiles” not Doug. I’ve been around lawyers long enough to know one when I see one and Doug was the exception to the rule. The very same argument can be made about the religion of evolution being forced fed to Christian children in schools. Where is the ‘free speech’ of Christians in schools to believe what the Bible says and not what atheists preach?

          • Oh dear…

          • Yeah, I’m not even gonna bother on that one….too far gone.

  4. “The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Senator Pamela Wallin’s possession of an Ontario health card.”

    That’s easily explainable. Ms Wallin simply has two primary residences… (Ditto for The Duff…)

    • You should look up the definition of “primary”.

      • I was attempting to be ironic. Wallin has an ON health card which is only issued to people whose primary residence is in ON. Therefore the only way Wallin’s home province is SK is if a person can have two primary residences (which is a contradiction.)

  5. Admire the man free speech is about defending those whose opinion you dont agree with too

  6. there may be a higher court that sentences this defender and advocate of hate to a painfull end of a short life! there may be a special place in hell for him as well! in my opinion that is real justice!

    • I don’t know all of Doug Christie’s ideas, and I am certainly not defending anti-Semetic ideas (for which there are many advocates today among so-called intellectuals). But your comment Mr. 215, sounds like hate to me.

    • What is wonderful about Doug is he fought for your right to have such a hateful opinion even if nobody cares about them.

  7. All the talk about him representing people with dubious records like Jim Keegstra and others of that ilk don’t take away from the good work he did. By this I am referring to his defending the Baynes from the MCFD and their fabricated evidence. I know that defending Doug Christie leaves me open for attack, but I had to respond to people that saw him as advocating for Nazi’s. There are usually two sides to a coin yet this article gives no mention to the positives. It just attacks the negatives rather than praising the positives.

  8. I have no regard for the lawyer of Zundel. Let him think about the pain he put
    survivors of the Holocaust through.

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