Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel's 18-month deportation hearing ended on a fiery note yesterday, as his lawyer accused the Federal Court judge hearing the case of actively "embracing" the extraordinary secrecy provisions that surrounded it.
In what was likely Mr. Zundel's final appearance in a Canadian courtroom, defence lawyer Peter Lindsay said he makes no apologies for harshly criticizing Mr. Justice Pierre Blais.
"There is a reason for it," he said. "Your lordship has awesome, extraordinary powers to hear secret evidence without safeguards."
Mr. Lindsay also condemned the security certificate procedure being used to deport Mr. Zundel as a Draconian provision that has no place in a democracy.
"I will say that the emperor has no clothes," Mr. Lindsay said, leaving it vague as to whether he was referring to the legislation or to Judge Blais.
As a former federal solicitor-general, Judge Blais had responsibility for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service -- the agency that furnished the evidence against Mr. Zundel.
Mr. Lindsay also quoted yesterday from a speech given a couple of years ago by Mr. Justice James Hugesson of the Federal Court, who explicitly stated that many of his colleagues despise the security certificate procedure.
In stark contrast, Mr. Lindsay said, Judge Blais went overboard maintaining secrecy.
Mr. Zundel, a landed immigrant since 1958, has no right of appeal if Judge Blais concludes there was nothing "unreasonable" about a deportation order approved in early 2003 by two federal ministers.
He would be deported immediately to Germany to face prosecution for the offence of Holocaust denial.
Mr. Zundel has been in and out of Canadian courtrooms since the early 1980s over his persistent publication of material depicting the Holocaust as a myth propagated to vilify Germans and justify massive war reparations.
Almost all previous attempts to imprison or deport Mr. Zundel or damage his publishing empire have gone down to defeat.
The security certificate describes Mr. Zundel as a danger to Canadian security, alleging that his writing inspires others to violence.
Most of the evidence against him has been given to Judge Blais in strict secrecy.
"While I listened to the submissions of the Crown, this started to sound less and less like a case involving the security of Canada, and more and more about someone who is unpopular and who distributes material that is unpopular and reviled," Mr. Lindsay said.
"Mr. Zundel is not a danger to Canada in any way, shape or form."
CSIS alleges that Mr. Zundel has advised and encouraged about 25 figures on the far right who espouse violence -- including a U.S. writer whose book was found among the possessions of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Mr. Lindsay used the case yesterday to illustrate the tortured connections he accuses the Crown of using to portray Mr. Zundel as a dangerous man.
He drew a parallel with the murderer of former Beatle John Lennon -- John Hinckley Jr. -- who drew inspiration from J.D. Salinger's book, The Catcher in the Rye.
"It is as if the government were saying that somebody who had sporadic contact with J.D. Salinger was linked to the murder of John Lennon," he said.
Mr. Lindsay went through the CSIS list methodically, stating that each of them was either an individual Mr. Zundel didn't know personally, knew very casually, or who he had habitually lectured against espousing violence.
In an interview after the hearing, Mr. Lindsay said he has high hopes for a Federal Court of Appeal motion on Nov. 23.
The hearing is an appeal of Judge Blais's recent decision not to recuse himself on the grounds of apparent bias.