The federal Human Rights Commission has no jurisdiction over the Zundelsite, a World Wide Web site on the Internet linked to infamous Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, his lawyer told a tribunal yesterday.
The Supreme Court would have to re-think Section 13 (1) of the Human Rights Act since the Internet was not part of ``telephonic communication'', Douglas Christie, Zundel's B.C.-based lawyer, told the three-member Canadian Human Rights Tribunal chaired by its president Claude Pensa.
The Internet is outside that definition, Christie said, adding it only includes telephones or telephone answering machines.
This is the first case the Canadian Human Rights Act has dealt with relating to the Internet and its use as a propaganda tool of hate material.
But Ian Binnie, lawyer for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, argued that the tribunal had the jurisdiction to decide if the act applied to the Internet.
The complaints made against Zundel, 58, by the 21-member Toronto mayor's committee on community and race relations and by Sabina Citron, a founding member of the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, are ``vexatious . . . made in bad faith'' and cannot be included under Section 13 (1) of the Human Rights Act, Christie argued.
Christie said that the mayor's committee and Citron were involved in a ``political campaign . . . to shut up Mr. Zundel.''
He said that Citron had made several complaints against Zundel since 1981, one resulting in a postal ban that was imposed from November, 1981 until November, 1982 when his privileges were restored.
``These people want him criminalized'', Christie said. ``They've got 1,000 ideas on how to get Mr. Zundel. They just don't quit'', he said.
Christie asked for the tribunal to adjourn the hearing pending an application of review at a federal court.
``This is a conflict between Germans and Jews'', Christie said.
He said his client should not spend ``five minutes in court'' since the real Web master, the originator, author, and creator is a woman named Ingrid Rimland, of Carlsbad, Calif.
Zundel has ``no control'' over Rimland and what she sends out on the Internet, Christie said. ``She's an American citizen.''
The tribunal denied oral submissions from either Rimland or from Internet service provider Bernard Klatt, who is from B.C. They both attended yesterday's tribunal.
The mission statement from the Zundelsite denies that Hitler ordered Jews exterminated, denies the existence of gas chambers, and denies Jews were victims of a genocidal policy, despite historical evidence to the contrary.