By Paul Fromm
TORONTO, Canada—The decade-long saga of state persecution of inveterate Canadian letter-writer Brad Love reached a new low November 28 when he was criminally charged for writing a letter to his own lawyer.
While many of his fellow prisoners were passing the time watching TV or semi-comatose on the medications freely ladled out by the authorities, Love prefers to read and write. But America’s neighbor to the north can’t have that. It’s better to be a compliant zombie than a dissident thinker in politically-correct Canada. Love’s incoming mail was held up for more than a month, and he has been informed he is not allowed to write to anyone.
Years after his conviction in 2002 under Canada’s notorious “hate law” for writing non-threatening letters to public officials criticizing Canada’s immigration mess, Love is still mired in the toils of repression.
In March 2009, Love was arrested by eight armed detectives at a Toronto free speech meeting for sending some information packages to four Toronto Jewish groups. In July 2012, after 10 court appearances, requiring travel from Alberta, time off work and loss of wages, Love was sentenced to a further 18 months in prison, plus a further three-year gag order from writing letters to the media or politicians. He has called his ordeal “an abuse by process.”
He has applied for bail, pending an appeal. In July 2013, his bail was arbitrarily revoked, so for the past five months he has languished in jail, again for nothing more than the non-violent expression of his populist, no-nonsense, working-guy views.
Love had been employed in a lucrative job in Alberta’s tar sands in Fort McMurray. The arbitrary imprisonment punished him for his views, denied him an income and, ironically, denied the state a hefty hunk of his pay in taxes.
On November 28, Love reported that police arrived at the prison in Lindsay, Ontario. He was charged with violating his bail, a condition forbidding him to write to, text or email any person.
Yes, this is a condition for his “freedom” pending his trial in Alberta, Canada—not North Korea.
This was not correct, though. His conditions had been amended in July so that he could write to anyone except the parties to whom he was charged with sending “scurrilous” political material. But that didn’t stop Canadian authorities from going after him anyway.
“The cops are just bullies,” Love said. “They arrest the free-speech guy in jail for writing to his own lawyer about free speech. It’s crazy. I told them to check the paperwork. I’m allowed to write to my own lawyer, Peter Lindsay, and, indeed, anyone other than certain politicians and media people in Fort McMurray.”
Love reported that a fellow inmate who had sent out some letters for Love was warned: “You could be getting out of here soon. You’d better have nothing to do with Brad.”
Anyone interested in corresponding with Love must call Kevin Nesbit, the deputy superintendent of operations at the prison, and give your name, address and verbal consent for Love to send you letters. The phone number is (705) 328-6000.
You can write to political prisoner Brad Love, one of our “men behind the wire” at Brad Love , C.E.C.C., 541 Highway 36, Box 4500, Lindsay, Ontario, K9V 4S6, Canada.
Paul Fromm is the director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression.