Pankiw Loses Latest Round In Mailout Controversy

Monday, January 29, 2007 at 13:19



A former constituent in Jim Pankiw’s riding says she’s happy a human rights complaint against the former politician has been upheld.


Alisa Watkinson is one of nine people who filed a complaint against the former Canadian Alliance MP in 2003.


She did so after opening her mailbox to find pamphlets he had mailed out through his political office.


In them he argued against so-called “race-based” hiring practices and lenient sentencing for Aboriginal offenders.


Watkinson says she still can’t believe Pankiw used taxpayers’ dollars to spread those views.


Last week, a judge rejected an attempt by Pankiw to have the complaints thrown out on an argument of freedom of speech.


Pankiw had hoped that parliamentary privilege would shield him from the complaints.


But the judge ruled that privilege did not extend to handouts.


The House of Commons is defending Pankiw in the case, arguing the commission shouldn’t be able to censor free speech between MPs and their constituents.


A lawyer for the House of Commons told reporters they have already filed an appeal.


(with files from CanWest News Service)