My Memories of Douglas Hewson Christie
I remember when I first met Doug Christie. In was in late January or February, 1986 at a meeting in Toronto. At the time the Zundel and Keegstra cases were still in the news. I had read about Doug in both the mainstream press and in the “underground right-wing” newsletters. What immediately struck me about him as he spoke was his air of authority. By “air of authority” I do not mean that Doug was arrogant, in fact far from that. When he spoke, either to a formal audience or when he spoke informally to you one could tell that he was someone who knew what he was talking about. His warnings about the threats to free speech were very convincing and prophetic. His answers to people’s questions were always precise and to the point. Friends and relatives who I later brought to these meetings, some of whom had little knowledge about Doug, also made this same observation. I can only regret that I never got to witness him at first hand in the courtrooms. I can only guess that the opposition were shaking in their boots each time he would get up to speak.
When I moved out to Victoria, BC, in the early 1990s I would see more of Doug Christie. I joined the work party group who often gathered at his house on Townsend Road in Saanich. After we stuffed the envelopes with The Friends of Freedom and The Western Separatist Papers newsletters we would sit down for drinks and snacks and to listen to Doug’s latest situation reports. As with my first impressions, Doug continued to display his grasp of the situations whether concerning his court cases, or about provincial, national and international politics and even local Victoria politics. The group that gathered monthly at the Christie homestead were varied in their ethnic and religious backgrounds. There were Germans and eastern and central Europeans as well as those of English and Scots and Irish background like myself. There were Roman Catholics like Doug and Protestants like myself. Some were members of the Western Canada Concept and others might have been called “soft separatists.” Whatever our differences we were united in our convictions for free speech and for integrity in government.
There were occasions when taking our stands meant violent opposition and adverse press coverage. I well remember the night at the 1992 Orwell Dinner when the Victoria Police raided the downtown Chinese restaurant and arrested English historian David Irving. We all followed Doug to the police station and held an impromptu protest which made the front page of The [Victoria] Times-Colonist the next morning. When driving along Blanchard Street I would look at Doug’s vandalized downtown office with the graffiti: KILL CAUSE! In the late 1990s I remember those meetings where gangs of leftists harassed people and tried to obstruct them from entering public libraries to hear Paul Fromm, Doug Christie and/or that other Doug, Doug Collins. Our little group persevered.
Doug’s activism involved more than just the courtroom and the political soapbox. During the Christmas season of 1996 an unexpected blanket of snow covered Victoria, which put the city (not used to such weather), in a standstill. One day I was making my way through the slush around the James Bay area and I saw a van with Western Canada Concept posted on the side. I knew that it was Doug Christie. I waved and Doug took me along with him to help others whose vehicles were stuck or whose walk-ways needed to be shovelled.
I’ve read that at Doug’s funeral Fr. Lucian Larre asked the valid question (based on a country music song) about as to “who is going to fill his boots.” There is another valid question. Are we all going to continue to uphold the legacy Doug fought for? Not all of us can be lawyers to fight the battles in the courtroom, but we all had some talent to contribute to the fight. Doug was aided by many of us in giving him moral and financial support over the years. Many of us wrote letters in support of him and of the freedom for his clients to state their views. Will we keep up our end of the fight against the tyranny of political correctness in whatever way we can? Will the Doug Christie we knew be remembered for posterity, or will the libellous view from the opposition be trumped?
May God give us strength?
Alexander David (“Alex”) Greer