Friday, July 08, 2005

Ahenakew found guilty

Member of the Order of Canada (for the moment)David Ahenakew has been found guilty of promoting hatred.

In 2002 he described Jews as a disease and justified the holocaust while speaking to a reporter.

"I'm innocent of the charges brought against me and I will be appealing the court's decision," Ahenakew told reporters. "I have learned that native people will never get good, solid justice in this country."

Ahenakew also said he would fight a plan by Order of Canada officials to strip him of the honour he earned in 1978.

"I'm telling you I will not throw this back at them," he said.

A council that admits people into the Order of Canada said it has given Ahenakew until Saturday to turn in the award or defend why he shouldn't.


After the verdict Ahenakew lashed out, proclaiming it to be another example of the justice system being skewed against First Nations people.

"My case was as much about racism against First Nations as it was about alleged racism against Jewish people," said Ahenakew, wearing his controversial Order of Canada pin. He called the charges "ridiculous."


My question is, at what point does free speech end and hate crimes begin? Should we be censoring the mouths of people in the name of human rights, or remember that free speech is a founding principle of democracy, whether what a person says is absolutely abhorrent or not.

Leader Post

SASKATOON -- A furious David Ahenakew vowed Friday to fight back after he was found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred and fined $1,000 for justifying the Holocaust, and saying Jewish people are a "disease."

"I'm innocent of the charges brought against me and I will be appealing the court's decision," said the former head of the Assembly of First Nations in an emotional news conference following the court's decision.

"I have learned that native people will never get good, solid justice in this country. My case was as much about racism against First Nations as it was about alleged racism against Jewish people."

Lashing out at the courts, Ahenakew said: "First Nations people have never received a fair trial in Canada's judicial system since the first so-called white settlers arrived here more than 400 years ago.

"The jails in this country are full of our people. We are more likely to be victims of crime, more likely to be convicted, less likely to receive either lenient sentences or parole.

"Our ways of life have been nearly eradicated, our languages have been taken away, and we've suffered under deliberate genocidal policies designed to rid the world of us."

Visibly angry, Ahenakew continued his tirade, in a voice quavering with emotion.

"Our children have been brutalized and raped at the hands of foreigners. Our people have been murdered by law enforcement agencies set up to protect us and infected with diseases by the people who saw this as a way to gain our lands," he said.


Not to say that Natives haven't been victims of racism, but they aren't doing themselves many favours as far as advancing their cause goes, and tirades like that aren't going to help, nor will Anti-Semetic remarks.