Doug Collins (journalist)

Doug Collins (September 8, 1920 – September 29, 2001) was a British-born Canadian journalist, known for his editorials in a small community paper in British Columbia, Canada. He was also a figure of Canada's far-right and a Holocaust denier[1].

Contents

Military service

At the start of World War II he joined the British Army. He was captured in the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, later being awarded the Military Medal for bravery during this campaign.

During his four years as a prisoner of war, he made no fewer than ten escape attempts. He was able to escape from a German POW camp in Silesia and stealthily made his way to Hungary. After being captured there, he made another daring escape, this time making his way to Romania. There he was imprisoned once again, but when Romania capitulated in 1944, he was freed and returned to Britain, serving in combat with British forces in northwest Europe during the war's final months.[2]

The exact nature of his exploits while a POW have not been without controversy, however, with some questioning the veracity of his numerous escapes from Nazi-controlled prisons.[3]

From 1946-1950, Collins worked as a political intelligence officer with the British Control Commission's de-nazification department in Germany.

Journalist

Collins immigrated to Canada in 1952 and worked for several decades as a reporter or columnist for several Western Canadian newspapers including the Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province.[4]

In November, 1953, Collins, while working for the Calgary Herald, exposed George Dupre's claims of being a war-time spy as a hoax.[5] The disclosure came soon after publication of The Man Who Wouldn't Talk, a book about Dupre by American journalist, Quentin Reynolds.[6]

The following spring, in 1954, Collins testified on behalf of Westbrook Pegler in the case of Reynolds v. Pegler, a defamation case arising from comments written in 1949 by Pegler against Reynolds. Collins gave evidence as to Reynolds reputation as a writer, arising from Reynold's book about Dupre. Reynold's counsel, Louis Nizer, attacked Collins's credibility during cross examination for his failure to give credit to other sources of evidence that exposed Dupre. Another witness from Calgary felt compelled to testify on behalf of Reynolds to counter Collins testimony.[7]

In 1960 eight trade unions sued Collins for libel when he was the Vancouver Sun's labour reporter. The same year, the newspaper's managing editor, Erwin Swangard, fired Collins for doing outside freelance work. Collins successfully sued for wrongful dismissal. He was reinstated and returned to work after four months. He collected his back pay, walked into the editor's office and quit and then went to personnel to demand holiday pay. In 1963, he sued Reader's Digest for libel and won.

Collins returned to the Sun in the 1970s. He quit for the last time when then-publisher Clark Davey tried to restrict his freelancing.[8]

Collins worked as an interviewer/editorialist for CBC Television in Vancouver from 1958 to 1968. From 1981 to 1985 he was the news director/talk show host for CJOR radio in Vancouver.[9]

1980, Collins wrote a story claiming Terry Fox drove through Quebec instead of running. (Coupland, D. 2005, "Terry")

Since last leaving The Sun, Collins also worked for the Vancouver Courier, the Columbian (a newspaper formerly published in New Westminster, B.C.), and CKVU-TV. Between 1983 and 1997, Collins wrote a column for the North Shore News, a small weekly community paper in North Vancouver, B.C.

Awards

Collins was the recipient of two awards for journalism. He received the National Newspaper Award (1953) for his report on Dupre. He received the MacMillan Bloedel Award (1975) for reports on alleged corruption at UBC.

In 1993 he was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of Canada's Confederation, given to persons "who have made a significant contribution to their fellow citizens, their community, or to Canada."[10]

Politics

Collins was acclaimed on October 18, 1988, as the Reform Party of Canada's candidate for the Capilano—Howe Sound riding in the 1988 federal election.

The party leader, Preston Manning, had vowed not to sign Collins' nomination papers unless he first agreed to sign a pledge that he supported the party's position against racism. Collins refused to sign the pledge.[11] Manning rejected Collin's nomination papers, saying he was concerned Collins's candidacy might have a negative effect on the party's fortunes in other ridings.[12]

Accusations of racism and anti-Semitism

During his 14-year association with the North Shore News, Collins, was also a naturalized Canadian who had come to Canada as an immigrant, wrote regular columns against immigration and ethnic minorities in Canada. His writings became increasingly controversial and led to accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. In 1997, a complaint against him was brought before the British Columbia Human Rights Commission for a column in which Collins questioned the Holocaust and denounced "Schindler's List," which he derided as "Swindler's List," as propaganda. The case was dismissed.

A further complaint was laid in 1999 citing four of his columns, including the column raised in the previous complaint. This one was upheld, and Collins and his publisher were ordered to pay $2,000 in damages.[13][14] The complaint was upheld upon appeal.[15]

Author

Collins first book, "P.O.W.", published in 1968, was his account of his experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II.

Beginning in 1979 he wrote several more books, primarily dealing with his views on immigration, culture and society, and later on his fight over the human rights complaint against him.

Bibliography

  • The best and worst of Doug Collins, Whitecap Books, 1987
  • Here we go again!, Colpress, 1998
  • Immigration: the destruction of English Canada, BMG Pub., 1979
  • Immigration: Parliament versus the people, Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform, 1987, c1984
  • P.O.W.: A Soldier's Story of His Ten Escapes from Nazi Prison Camps, Simon & Schuster of Canada, 1969, c1968

References

  1. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=M9Uj6u6b-ZIC&pg=PA203
  2. ^ Ex-columnist Doug Collins dead at 81, North Shore News, Oct 3, 2001
  3. ^ Explain War Exploits, North Shore News, May 12, 1997
  4. ^ Robert Fulford column, National Post, November 3, 2001
  5. ^ The Man Who Talked, Time magazine, Nov. 23, 1953
  6. ^ Mitgang, H.; Quiet Hero; The Man Who Wouldn't Talk; New York Times, Nov. 1, 1953
  7. ^ Nizer, L., My Life in Court, New York, Doubleday & Co., 1961, pp. 104 - 110
  8. ^ Boyd, D., Doug Collins' hide up for grabs again, so what else is new? Vancouver Sun, May 27, 1992, pg. B.1
  9. ^ Vancouver Broadcasters, Doug Collins
  10. ^ Doug Collins dies at 81, The Institute for Historical Review
  11. ^ Bellett, G., Collins nomination defies Reform Party leader, Vancouver Sun, Oct 19, 1988. pg. A.1
  12. ^ Bellett, G., Decision to reject Collins made for party, Reform chief says, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 20, 1988, pg. A1
  13. ^ Abrams v. North Shore Press and Doug Collins, BC Human Rights Commission Reasons for Decision
  14. ^ Doug Collins' final case Dead writer is still the subject of a human rights decision, December 21, 2002, Jewish Independent
  15. ^ Collins loses human rights case, Canadian Jewish News, February 11, 1999

External links


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