The Wrong Christie
I don't think I mentioned this on my blog, however I did discuss this with a couple of other people and it seems a recent death needs some clarification. Doug Christie - defence lawyer for Holocaust deniers, Klansman and neo-Nazis in Canada - is not dead. The WWII veteran, who escaped a POW camp and hid in Romania with the Roma people (aka Gypsies), has defended the likes of Ernst Zundell, James Keegstra, David Ahenakew and Lady Jane Birdwood (a follower of British Fascist Oswald Mosley) and was the founder of the far right separatist parties Western Canada Concept and Western Block Party.
Sadly it was Dugald Christie who died on the 31st of July, 2006. Dugald Christie was also a lawyer and a political activist, but who worked to provide fair legal assistance of low-income persons instead. He offered free legal services and helped set up pro-bono clinics in Western Canada, via the Western Canada Society to Access Justice.
Christie started a fight with the BC Provincial Government in 1992 when, then NDP finance minister and later to be ex-Premier, Glen Clark had decided it would be a good idea to apply the Provincial Sales Tax to legal services. In 2005, the B.C. Supreme Court finally found that the law was unconstitutional in that it limited the "fundamental right of access to the court of low-income persons." The CBC story I am largely plagiarizing here goes on to state that "Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg ruled that British Columbians with annual incomes below $29,000 would no longer have to pay sales tax on their lawyers' bills. The judge also ordered the B.C. government to reimburse, with interest, more than $6,200 seized from Christie for unpaid sales tax."Christie was killed in Northern Ontario near Sault Ste. Marie while cycling across Canada to raise awareness of access to legal assistance. Sadly, this unfortunately dead lawyer really was a good lawyer.
I don't wish Doug Christie any ill, despite his despicable clients and politics. And while I realise that in a mostly democratic society even racist holocaust deniers, fascists and far-right lunatics deserve fair and equal representation in court, I do wish that Doug Christie could be more like Dugland Christie and devote himself to more worthwhile and noble endeavours.