Cancer strikes the man who defended Canada's hate-mongers

Nick Taylor-Vaisey on the stories making news this morning

Geoff Howe/CP

In case you didn’t know, Douglas Christie spent most of the last three decades defending some of Canada’s most hated hate-mongers. Christie went to the barricades, repeatedly and loudly, and proudly, in defence of a holocaust denier, various anti-Semites, and a former Nazi SS guard, to name a few. Not many Canadians can say they defend the tenets of free speech more passionately than Christie. He made plenty of enemies along the way, and he’s well aware that his detractors associate him with his defendants’ views of the world. Today, the National Post reports that Christie is dying of terminal cancer.

That kind of news silences people, even those who revile the man’s clientèle. And Christie’s death could silence, in some respects, those who deserve at least a committed lawyer while they face heinous charges. From his bedroom, Christie told the Post he didn’t know who would take up the mantle of defending those charged with hate speech. “It certainly is a costly process, in time, in effort, and in reputation,” he told the paper. The depth chart is apparently quite shallow. And that, for now, is all there is to say.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the potential privatization of Ontario’s billion-dollar lottery business. The National Post fronts the involvement of a “notorious” lobbyist in the shady business dealings of a Calgary energy company in Chad. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Senator Pamela Wallin’s possession of an Ontario health card. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Wallin and Senator Mike Duffy cracking the Top 10 list of top-spending Senators in 2012. iPolitics fronts undesirable records of some of the Cardinals who will elect the next Pope. leads with Argo winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. National Newswatch showcases the Star‘s story about Wallin’s Ontario health card.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Quebec tuition. A year after mass student protests in Quebec, the PQ government hopes to sit down with students and forge a consensus on the future of tuition fees. 2. Canadian Cardinal. Marc Ouellet might be close a household name in Canada, but Toronto’s Archbishop, Thomas Collins, is also heading to Rome to help select the next Pope.
3. RCMP faith. The National Post published a raft of letters to the editor that illustrate plainly just how divided Canadians are on the competence of the national police force. 4. Tanning beds. Health Canada will soon mandate that tanning salons post warnings next to their beds about the risks involved in the practice, including skin cancer.

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