Tribute by Former Canadian Diplomat Ian V. Macdonald for Doug Christie Memorial, March 23, 2013
Recognizing Doug Christie’s service to Canada: Memorial Meeting, March 23, 2013
Thanks for the suggestion. There will be so many tributes that anything I could add would be redundant, but I have done a short piece (below) based on a letter to Peter Milliken, former Speaker of the House of Commons, suggesting that he would be the appropriate person to nominate Doug for the Order of Canada, an award long overdue for which Doug has shown himself to be better qualified than most recipients to date. Peter Milliken replied that nominations are better made by people who were most familiar with the individual named, and that he did not know Doug Christie (although surely he was familiar with his good works).
I hoped to find a prominent alternative sponsor but unfortunately time had run out, and apparently the Order of Canada is not awarded posthumously. Perhaps we can have an exception made in Doug’s case. In eny event, Doug’s service to the people of Canada deserves national recognition, and it is up to us to argue for it.
My lengthy friendship with Doug Christie began in the late ‘eighties when I had almost run out of hope of finding a lawyer to contest my 1984 dismissal from a Federal Government position and forfeiture of my paid-up pension. I approached all the law firms in Ottawa who advertised competence in “unlawful dismissal” litigation but, after initial enthusiasm, all declined when they ascertained that the Jewish Lobby (which included the Israeli Embassy) was the culprit. In desperation, as the appeal deadline approached, I drew up the appeal myself. I sent a copy to Doug Christie, whom I had heard speak in Ottawa, to vet my handiwork. He replied that he would be glad to represent me, despite the distance from Victoria, if I could find no other.
Since there were no legitimate grounds for dismissal, a favourable outcome at Court seemed assured. However, as Doug began his examination of the Plaintiff, he was interrupted by the Judge who told him he should think twice if he intended to mention “Jews” or raise the subject of a “Jewish conspiracy” since to do so would seriously jeopardize his chance of success. Although clearly the Jewish Lobby was behind the dismissal, Doug felt obliged to comply and made a case that, even without the Jews, was more than adequate, especially since the Department of Justice lawyers presented no evidence. Nevertheless, the Appeal failed.
I asked an old friend, who had specialized in Public Service law, how it was possible that I could lose. He asked the name of the Judge. When I told him, he said the Judge was an “old Liberal hack who knows how the game is played”. Shortly after, by chance, I ran into a former neighbour, the renowned Judge John Matheson, at an Alumni Reunion at Queen’s and put to him the same question. He asked the name of my lawyer. When I replied “Doug Christie” he said “Well, that’s your answer – there’s no way they were going to let him win the case”.
More recently, I retained Doug in a defamation claim against the CBC for permitting the egregious Warren Kinsella to state on national TV that I was one of the main sources of finance for extreme right-wing terrorism in Canada. The Judge found, in her “Reasons for Judgement” that would have been no different had they been written by the Canadian Jewish Congress, that the comments were not defamatory, even to the slightest degree and, falsely, that in any event I was out of time, giving credibility to Kinsella’s ludicrous story and forcing me to pay the Defendants’ substantial legal fees. The decision was upheld on appeal. A Supreme Court application was denied. Such is the quality of justice in Canada.
Aside from my own cases, I have followed Doug Christie’s fortunes and misfortunes for many years and recognize him as being without par as the epitome of all that is honourable and equitable in the practice of his profession, combined with an empathy for ostracized victims of our Politically Correct society who are shunned, condemned and punished, however worthy and valid their opinions. He is virtually unique in Canada in his self-sacrifice on behalf of his victimized clients and in his willingness share their distress, although it has cost him the public esteem he might have earned in law and politics, and an otherwise very profitable legal career.
It has cost him also his health, as he has been struck down in his prime by a cancer that doubtless was aggravated, if not induced, by the stress and frustration of appearing before a hostile judiciary and facing the wrath of venal law society zealots, covering their shamelessness with invective, ad hominems and baseless condemnation of an ultra-respectable man whose Christian rectitude and respect for tradition are beyond their comprehension.
He has many admirers who now seek to memorialize him for all his good works as an outstanding Canadian, selfless Good Samaritan and proud Scot who dedicated his life to the struggle for truth, freedom and justice to a degree equaled by few if any others. He deserves formal recognition by the people of Canada. It is up to his friends and admirers to ensure his place in the history of the struggle for freedom of speech and an honest judiciary in Canada.