The Western Jewish Bulletin about uscontact ussearch
Shalom Dancers Dome of the Rock Street in Israel Graffiti Jewish Community Center Kids Wailing Wall
Serving British Columbia Since 1930
homethis week's storiesarchivescommunity calendarsubscribe

home > this week's story


special online features
about judaism
business & community directory
vancouver tourism tips

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter. Enter your e-mail address here:

Search the Jewish Independent:




November 23, 2001

Collins used in ad

Taiga praises late writer's courage.


Members of British Columbia's Jewish community were upset by an insertion in a commercial flyer that has been distributed to households around the Lower Mainland. In an otherwise ordinary advertisement for Taiga Works Wilderness Equipment was a tribute to the late Doug Collins.

Collins passed away recently at the age of 81. He had a long career in journalism and opinion writing, gaining particular notoriety for his columns in the North Shore News, which included Holocaust revisionism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and anti-immigration rhetoric. In the Taiga flyer, a photograph of Collins, wearing a Taiga parka and sitting on Santa's lap, accompanied a brief tribute, which hailed him as a defender of free speech.

"Although many disagreed with his views, he has to be admired, however grudgingly, for his lion's courage in asserting and defending the rights of free opinion and free speech in these wimpy, politically correct times," said the insertion.

Over the course of several weeks, Taiga officials did not respond to the Bulletin's phone calls. However, numerous people contacted the newspaper and Canadian Jewish Congress to alert people about the ad. Marilyn Shore couldn't believe what she was seeing when the flyer came through her door.

"I was shocked," she said. "I was angry. I thought, 'for sure I'm not shopping there anymore.' It was totally out of place. It was totally inappropriate."

She said she called the company and got no satisfaction.

"I wanted to talk to someone to find out who authorized that to be in a flyer," she said. Nobody was willing to comment to her, she said, and one staff member suggested she write a letter because the owner wouldn't answer calls.

Ken Abramson was similarly surprised by the contents of the advertising for a store he had shopped at previously.

"I have bought their product. My friends have bought their products," he said. Although he said he would not shop there again, he stopped short of calling for a boycott. "I think people have to go with their own feelings," he said. "My mother-in-law and her family were through the camps and she's one of the few survivors. There's still strong feelings out there and I think people have to go with their feelings."

Nisson Goldman, chair of Canadian Jewish Congress, Pacific Region, said his group's community relations committee will discuss the ad at a meeting later this month.

"We've seen the ad and we're looking at it very closely," he said. "The first impression is, we're particularly unhappy with it."

Collins was twice brought before the B.C. Human Rights Commission to defend his writing against charges of inciting hatred against an identifiable group. He was successful in one case and unsuccessful in the other.