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CHRC: Abrams v Radical Press Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Foreign Lobbyists
February 13th, 2009
In one of the correspondences from Arthur Topham, Publisher/Editor of the Radical Press, to Nancy Lafontant and Gregory M. Smith, Registrars at the CHRC, Topham raises the thought that Harry Abrams (complainant) is an agent for IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mossad. I think this is rather far fetched, especially after reading that Abrams is a business man in Victoria, who specializes in elevator advertising media. I haven’t seen any of his adverts in any elevators, so unless the Mossad is engaged in subliminal messaging to elevator guests, I would tend to heavily discount this theory.
This does raise a different issue, though. Part of the complaint claim is that the material Topham published at the Radical Press is likely to cause hatred towards Citizens of Israel. A poster on FD raised the question a while back as to what status does the State of Israel or its citizens have in Canadian judicial processes. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a very good question. It is not only the State of Israel, that is in question, but a bigger question pertaining to any foreign government. I understand there are diplomatic channels, procedures and protocols, and these are conducted through Foreign Affairs Canada and its diplomatic staff.
But what of this case?
There seem to be two complainants; Harry Abrams and BÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nai Brith. How can they be complainants on behalf of Israeli citizens, which is the State of Israel? Are they registered lobbyists for a foreign government ?
There were changes to the Lobbying Act recently. These took effect in 2008.
The Lobbying Act
The Lobbying Act and its related Regulations came into force simultaneously on July 2, 2008 (TR/2007-0075). For all purposes of interpreting and applying the law, users should consult:
” The full text of the Lobbying Act (1985, c. 44 (4th Supp.)),
” the Acts as passed by Parliament, which are published in the “Assented to” Acts service, Part III of the Canada Gazette and the annual Statutes of Canada, and
” the regulations, as registered by the Clerk of the Privy Council and published on April 30, 2008, in Part II of the Canada Gazette.
I read through some of this, and admittedly, it is somewhat difficult to follow with reference to lobbyists for foreign governments. It does seem though, that lobbyists must file monthly reports if they contact Public Office Holders in Canada, thus:
Public Office Holders
Lobbying involves communication by individuals who are paid to attempt to influence government decisions through its public office holders.
A public office holder is defined broadly as “any officer or employee of Her Majesty in right of Canada.” This includes:
” members of the Senate or the House of Commons (Senators, Members of Parliament, Ministers) and their staffs;
” persons appointed to office by a Minister of the Crown or the Governor in Council;
Ã‚Â ” an officer director or employee of any federal board, commission or other tribunal;
” members of the Canadian Armed Forces;
” members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and
” employees of federal departments.
The government of CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s website goes further and explain the purpose of the changes to the Lobbying Act:
Purpose Of The Lobbyists Registration Act
The Lobbyists Registration Act was enacted in 1988 and amended in 1995. The amended Act strengthens the disclosure requirements to make more information about lobbyists and what they do available to Canadians. Separately, it provides for the development of a code of conduct for lobbyists.
Four basic principles are set out in the preamble to the Act:
” Free and open access to government is an important matter of public interest.
” Lobbying public office holders is a legitimate activity.
” It is desirable that public office holders and the public be able to know who is attempting to influence government.
” The system for the registration of paid lobbyists should not impede free and open access to government.
The reporting requirements (LLR) Whether the entity in question receives funding from a domestic or foreign government or government agency, the amounts, etc. The Act further details who must register and who may be exempt.
Registration is required for Consultant lobbyists, In-House Lobbyists (corporate) and In-House Lobbyists (organizations). Exemption includes diplomatic agents, consular officers, or official representatives in Canada of foreign governments; and officials of a specialized agency of the United Nations or officials of any other international organization granted privileges and immunities by Parliament.
Further, the objective of the public registry of lobbyists, is to ensure that the general public and public office holders know who is attempting to influence the governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s decisions. Certain activities do not require registration as lobbyists. These include:
” (1) oral or written submissions to parliamentary committees where there is a public record;
” (2) oral or written submissions made to any person or body which has jurisdiction or powers under a federal statute, in proceedings that are a matter of public record;
” (3) oral or written submissions made to a public official with respect to the enforcement, interpretation or application of any federal statute or regulation by that official (for example, routine dealings with government inspectors and other regulatory authorities; other law enforcement officers; licensing authorities; taxation, legal, and customs officials); or
” (4) oral or written submissions made to a public office holder in direct response to a written request from that public office holder; for advice or comment in respect of any matter referred to in the Act.
Looking at (3) aboveÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ oral or written submissions regarding enforcement of a federal statute or regulation, – Does filing a complaint on behalf of a foreign state fall under this exemption? How about when that complaint tries to influence the current statute or regulation to broaden its scope to specifically include a foreign state as gaining special status? Commentary on these issues- perhaps. But to be the complainant and/or applicant to lobby for special status, would seem to be beyond the exemption capture of routine dealings.
So then we come back to the question of whether the complainants in this case are registered as foreign lobbyists and whether they indeed need to be. If they are foreign lobbyists, then have they disclosed that to the CHRC and CHRT? Have they filed their LLRs as required under the Act. Are they entitled to file a complaint with the CHRC as lobbying agents for a foreign government? Does the Human Rights Act not specifically define Canadian citizens as those who can file complaints?
If they are not lobbyists for a foreign government, then what status does that foreign government (State of Israel) have in this case?
Wide reaching implications
There are a considerable implications arising from this case:
(1) Under this case scenario, a foreign government would get status under our Human Rights Act;
(2) A foreign governmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s status could preclude our inherent Right of Free Speech
(3) Individuals or organizations could circumvent our lobbying laws and act as agents for foreign interests;
What frightens me, is not that Harry Abrams or BÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nai Brith are acting on their interests in protecting Israeli citizens and/or the Israeli government from criticism, but that lowly and mid level bureaucrats have deemed it their mandate to determine who are and arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lobbyists, what foreign governments will get special status in Canada against criticism.
What frightens me the most is that these government hacks have now usurped the role of Foreign Affairs, the Justice Department, Parliament, the Prime MinisterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Office and the will of the people. These human rights trough feeders are not only deciding upon Canadian foreign policy, they are rewriting legislation without parliament.
I guess it is a big F.U. Stephen Harper and Citizens of Canada, from the folks at the CHRC -
The same department that has its employees join and post online hate with the neo-nazis.
The doors have just been opened wide for Crazy Mo and his ilk.
Up next – Sharia Law
Freedom really does not evolve, it revolts.