Saturday, November 24, 2007

Does Chandler's Past Matter?

[Update Nov 28]
Since someone has complained that it is "illegal" to post quotes from the actual complaint itself, I have edited out those quotes for the time being while I find alternative sources.
If you were talking about the distant past, I might agree that it doesn't. However, much of Chandler's controversial past isn't that old - the letter that Stephen Boissoin wrote in Red Deer was published in 2002 - not that long ago.

The complaint Rob Wells made to the Canadian Human Rights Commission date to 2005.

Poking around the web today, we find Chandler trying to refute a column in the Edmonton Sun by Neil Waugh. Craig is trying to claim that Waugh is "factually wrong":

The complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission relating to everythng from homosexuals of having a "conspiracy against society," of being "sick, diseased and mentally ill" and of being "linked to paedophilia." come directly from the letter written by Rev Stepen Boisson, not myself.

Strictly speaking, that might be true enough. I have in my possession the unabridged Minutes of Settlement document between Rob Wells and Craig Chandler and Concerned Christians Canada. (It was posted in its unabridged form on the CCC website for several months). The appendixes to the settlement contain copies of some of the statements that Chandler made on his "Freedom Radio Network" program that spawned the complaint.

Chandler is explicitly quoted as saying that homosexuality is "an unhealthy lifestyle", among other things, which covers the "diseased" bits. As well as making some pretty broad implications of the legitimacy of sexual minorities by suggesting that they originate from the Devil. I would argue that going as far as bringing Boissoin onto the radio program and ranting away about the evils being gay is a pretty strong endorsement of what Boissoin wrote in his letter.

[Quotes from Complaint Removed At Reader's Suggestion]

However, we should also bear in mind what Chandler said on air in response to Mr. Wells' complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission:

Win or lose, and I’ll make this promise to Mister [W.], ’cause I know he downloads our shows and listens. I’ll make this promise to ya, [R.]. Win or lose, we’re going to sue you. And here’s why. Because it’s frivolous what you’re doing. We will take our fight to the other courts where you don’t just write a simple letter, [R.]. And then, and you can just get away with, uh, uh, just doing that and not having to have legal counsel. We will go to court. Uh, we will go to court and we will take it as, as far as the Supreme Court. We will get our monies back if we have any fines or anything of the sort. We won’t pay those either. We won’t pay those. This is a battle that you’ve just, uh, you know, it’s, uh, you’ve, you started something which is going to need to be decided at a higher level.

There's more, but that is fundamentally an attempt at what is otherwise known as "libel chill". When your first response to being called on your crap is to threaten lawsuits, that is the act of a bully.

We should note that as far as any of the complaints around the Boissoin issue that have involved Mr. Chandler (all of them that I've heard of), not one has Mr. Chandler been found justified in his actions - which, in my view, makes these threats an attempt to achieve Mr. Wells' silence.

Amusingly, one of Chandler's apparent supporters on "Project Alberta" writes:

This "knuckle dragging Neanderthal" portrayal has spread through many newspapers, internet news outlets & blogs - Craig's personal & business credibility has been destroyed...... No matter what retraction with a small clarification is printed later - the damage has been done...

Politics is all about image - Chandler's own actions today and in the recent past have been a part of forging the image that he projects. If the media is portraying him as a "knuckle dragging neanderthal", it's because his own actions have created that image. Threatening to sue someone for taking legitimate steps to challenge your words makes you a bully, much of what Chandler has said about GLBT people can hardly be called "tolerant", and his recent tirade telling 60% of Albertans to leave because they don't vote his way didn't exactly help matters. You can sue someone for libel, but you better be damn sure that what you are suing about is in fact libel. If there is a reasonable truth to the statements, you don't have a case.

Is it relevant to the Mr. Chandler who is now trying to act as if he is a "changed man"? Yes, I believe it is. If it were decades old, I might be less concerned - it's not - it is recent and ongoing activity on his part. Hardly something that one can merely ignore. Stelmach, as I pointed out earlier, has an ugly choice to make.


Anonymous said...

Notwithstanding Chandler's homophobic bigotry and bullying tactics, Ed Stelmach should be equally concerned with Chandler and his supporters "not so hidden" agenda to infiltrate and take over the PC party.

On Projectalberta blog, Chandler wrote on Jun 22, 2007

QUOTE - "Has the party become arrogant? Yes. We need to TAKE OUT THE TRASH AND CLEAN HOUSE"

QUOTE - "This new party should focus their candidates on RED TORIES, not people like me"


The PC Party will want to know if the Premier is part of the RED TORY TRASH that the Craig Chandler Clan wants to TAKE OUT in their house cleaning.

And who are all these RED TORIES that Chandler is yapping about??

I doubt that Chandlers Fists-Up pose, and his rifle packing photos are doing much to enhance the PC image as an inclusive party .

I would suggest that Chandler grow a little moustache and wear a brown shirt to emphasize that he is NOT one of those "Red Tories".

Perhaps Chandler thinks that the Aryan Guard are the only "REAL CONSERVATIVES".

On December 1st, (the day after the scheduled release of the Alberta Human Rights Panel's decision on the complaint against Chandler's Concerned Christians Canada's hate letter from Boission), Stelmach will decide if he will approve Chandler as a PC candidate.


Will our Premier be a man? or a mouse?

Anonymous said...

Chandler is dead in the water, as dead as a whale on the beach.

The Tories are just trying to figure out the best way to dispose of this rotting pile of blubber before the stench becomes unbearable..

It's too big to bury!

Does anyone else smell that aweful odor coming from Calgary Egmont???

Anonymous said...

If we the public wish to have our say on this issue, whether you're a Tory, NDP, Liberal, Green or Independent you can always issue your dismay about Chandler to Stelmach and/or your local MLA. For every level headed letter or email they receive, each one will technically count about 500 or so individuals (apologies if my numbers are wrong, but you get the idea) who may share the same opinion. They're not likely to dismiss that if about 100 people contact Ed Stelmach with the same negative opinion about Chandler, which by the number supplied about would count for about 50,000 people.

As for Chandler, the only way he may stay in position is if he's got something on Stelmach or he's got very deep pockets or like minded people with the same. That may make his removal much harder, given that the PCs chances are looking somewhat slim of keeping their dominant position in the legislature. That and the tendencies of the people to still vote right wing and the albatross/history that the Liberal party has hanging around it's collective neck can ultimately put individuals like Chandler into power, to the detriment of us all.


Anonymous said...

I think that we should actually be writing to Ed S. encouraging him to accept the nomination of Chandler. After all, Chandler is probably one of the better things that could ever happen to the opposition parties. (Unless of course you actually want another Con government elected again)

Anonymous said...

Actually, I find it hard to care about who really gets into power, the real 'power' belongs to those with the deepest pockets these days. Regardless of which party comes into power they'll end up getting co-opted by the corporations or stonewalled/litigated into submitting to the corporate will(s).

Cynical of me? Have a hard look at our recent history.


Anonymous said...

Are you aware it is illegal to post the info on your website?

Expect to be fined.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

What's illegal about it? It's free speech and quoting something that is in the public domain. Does it threaten you?

Or are you just resorting to the very same Chandlerlike bully tactics that we were discussing in the post?

Anonymous said...

I don't think that it's illegal to post quotes on this blog... unless, as described in section 13 (1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the material,taken in context, "is likely to expose" any protected group to hatred or contempt. I don't think anything posted here, taken in context, exposes anyone to hatred or contempt. However, if certain of the Chandler or Boission quotations were used in a hateful context, they could be the subject of a complaint.

You don't have anything to worry about.

dragon said...

What I find to be most interesting is that Boissoin testified that CCC's CEO Craig Chandler was aware of the letter and was in support of it.

Strangely enough we have Craig hiding behind Boissoin when he claims that the complaints "come directly from the letter written by Rev Stephen Boissoin, not myself" DESPITE the fact that "Mr. Boissoin did state on cross examination that Mr. Craig Chandler was aware and supported what he was doing." (page 79 of the Human Rights Commission Judgement). I guess since it wasn't his ink on the pen he thinks that the commission's judgement doesn't relate to him. Sprry Craig - you can't sidestep this one conveniently.

I have a major problem with Craig's claim "I've Changed!". I don't accept that change comes quite this quickly to someone who has been spewing hatred for this long - no more than I would believe the false claims of a murderer being lead from the courthouse after a conviction. Sorry, you've done the crime, now you have to do the time.

The burden of proof is on Craig to show that he has changed - and I doubt he is up to the challenge.