Last month, a parliamentary committee invited Jennifer Lynch, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to answer questions about her agency's conduct. She refused to attend, sending in her place a deputy who could not answer key questions put to him by MP Russ Hiebert.
Now that Parliament is safely on summer holidays, Lynch has bravely emerged from her bunker -- the CHRC office actually is a bulletproof bunker -- to accuse Hiebert of getting his facts wrong.
But it's Lynch's version that's false.
In her July 11 letter to the National Post, Lynch denies that CHRC staff hacked into the Internet account of a private citizen to cover their tracks as they logged into their memberships in neo-Nazi websites. Lynch says both the Privacy Commissioner and the RCMP "found no evidence to support this allegation."
But that's not true. The Privacy Commissioner's staff did not investigate the hacking -- that is not within their jurisdiction. They only examined "whether the CHRC improperly collected, used, disclosed or retained personal information about the complainant," a different and irrelevant question.
And neither did the RCMP declare that there was "no evidence" to the accusation. They investigated for months. Only when the case led them to a U. S.-based Internet server did they drop their investigation rather than pursue it internationally. That's quite a different thing from exonerating the CHRC.
There was a hearing into the matter, though, at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on March 25, 2008. Alain Monfette, Bell Canada's security officer, testified that the CHRC accessed the Internet using that private citizen's Bell account. Lynch's lawyers sat in embarrassed silence -- they did not rebut Monfette's evidence nor even bother to cross-examine him.
As Nelly Hechme, the hacking victim, told reporters, "I merely wanted some answers and maybe a little justice, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I feel like I'm basically being told to just accept it."
Lynch is pretending that Hechme doesn't even exist. But that pales in comparison to Lynch's statement that CHRC staff did not "post hateful messages on the Internet."
In fact, CHRC employees have been active members of neo-Nazi organizations for years, and have published countless anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-black comments online. CHRC employees have admitted to this under oath. On the same day Monfette testified about the hacking, CHRC investigator Dean Steacy testified there were no guidelines about what CHRC staff could do using their online Nazi memberships.
Steacy, for example, used his Nazi membership to write encouraging words to a racist group called B. C. White Pride. He praised them, told them their racist posters were "great" and promised to distribute their literature. Your tax dollars at work.
Other CHRC investigators went further. One praised Nazi leaders ( "I still say [Adrien] Arcand is our man!"); called for Canadian police to discriminate against blacks ( "exactly when will white cops understand that they should stand by THEIR race?!"); and trashed a Jewish youth group ( "if people spent the time building fellow WNs [White Nationalists] up rather than tearing them down we'd be dangerous. Unless your goal is to tear people down in which case go join Hillel or something.")
At least 12 CHRC prosecutions have been tainted by CHRC staff or witnesses using agent provocateur tactics like that. They've even written Nazi shorthand for "Heil Hitler".
Steacy testified that at least seven CHRC staff have access to Nazi membership accounts: Steacy himself, his two personal assistants, investigator Sandy Kozak, lawyer Giacomo Vigna, manager John Chamberlin, and former CHRC investigator and current serial witness and complainant Richard Warman.
By sheer numbers, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has more Nazi members than the tiny Canadian Nazi Party did when it briefly existed in the 1960s.
If real police and prosecutors behaved this way, they would be suspended and any criminal charges tainted by such misconduct would be stayed. Not so at the CHRC, which lacks an internal affairs office or written operational policies. It doesn't even have a code of ethics.
It's become so embarrassing that even the tribunal -- the kangaroo court that rubber-stamps CHRC censorship prosecutions -- has ended its silence. Four months ago, the tribunal examined some of these comments, including one denouncing Jewish politicians as "scum."
"I do not see any acceptable reason for [Richard] Warman to have participated on the Stormfront or Vanguard [neo-Nazi] sites," wrote the tribunal. "It is possible that his activity in this regard could have precipitated further hate messages in response ... The evidence in this case of his participating on Internet sites similar to the Northern Alliance [neo-Nazi] site is both disappointing and disturbing."
It's a scandal that the CHRC joins Nazi groups on the taxpayers' dime. But instead of recognizing the problem and fixing it, Lynch is trying to cover it up.
The Prime Minister needs to intervene. It's time Stephen Harper fired everyone with a Nazi membership at the CHRC, along with the woman who is permitting their bigotry.