Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Calgary Sun" Supports Scherger Being Fired

We posted a link to an article regarding the firing of Rene Scherger, a City of Calgary worker who was responsible for a number of rabid anti-Semitic websites, last week. We also mentioned that he had originally been outed by three conservative blogs.

Yesterday, the "Calgary Sun" which leans just a wee bit towards the conservative side of the political spectrum chimed in supporting the firing of Mr. Scherger:

City right to fire bigot

Last Updated: March 17, 2010 10:18pm

He’s right, there is a conspiracy — a conspiracy to keep venomous bigots from being paid on the public dime.

And so a Parks Department foreman finds himself looking for work after being fired by the City of Calgary for planting seeds of a different sort in his spare time — namely the seeds of hate.

The 56-year-old foreman is accused by the city of running an anti-Jewish website and affiliating himself with other anti-Semitic sites, all while clearly identifying himself as a city employee.

A letter, purported to be the official letter of termination given to the foreman last month, reads “You were the owner and creator of an anti-Semitic website in the public domain.”

It goes on to say, “The content (including linked content) on these websites was abhorrent and contrary to the values the City promotes.”

City sources confirm the man was fired following an investigation by the city’s legal department into websites directly linked to the employee, which railed against Judaism and Zionism.

Officially, being a personnel matter, the city can only say an investigation of some sort took place and the matter was dealt with.

“An issue was brought to our attention that we took very seriously,” said Anne Charlton, director of parks.

“It was a matter of an employee-employer relationship and we have dealt with the issue.”

The termination letter offers more clues as to the city’s case against the foreman, which was put together under the guidance of the city’s top solicitor, Paul Tolley.

Tolley was placed on the case in January, after an anti-racist blog exposed the employee and his handiwork, describing him as the “Canadian Jew Hating Freak of the Day.”

It took a matter of weeks to decide the foreman must be fired.

The termination letter explains to the former employee, whom the Sun has chosen not to name, exactly why a pink slip was included with his final paycheque.

“Your conduct was harmful to interests of the City and incompatible with your duties as a City employee and public servant,” it reads.

“Amongst other things, the City has an obligation to provide a workplace and services to the public free of discrimination. It can not knowingly employ someone who has repeatedly published anti-Semitic material.”

The sites in question, once open to the public, are now restricted or shut down — suffice to say, they were filled with bile for all things Jewish, and their disappearance is a victory for all but a narrow-minded few.

Still, the Internet is rife with the kind of racist vitriol that would make a sewer feel dirty — the discovery of another stash of hatred is no big surprise.

Where the city foreman really messed up is to boast about his job in the public service, while promoting intolerance based on race and religion.

Obviously, it wasn’t a very bright thing to do. It’s a decision that cost the parks worker a career spanning more than three decades, and while he’s become something of a folk-hero among white power groups littering the Internet, that won’t pay his rent.

The former foreman wouldn’t speak to the Sun Wednesday, but has in the past denied ownership of at least one of the blogs written under his name.

He did have noted Caucasian-purist Paul Fromm call in his stead — an interesting choice, given Fromm’s association with the white power movement.

Fromm, the head of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, calls the firing by a blow to free speech.

“I think it’s atrocious — he expressed his views on his own time,” said Fromm.

“If he doesn’t have the right to his non-violent political views and at the same time have a job, I think a lot of people are in peril.”

If that means firing people who promote hatred while collecting a public paycheque, it’s the kind of peril the City of Calgary should promote.

We never took a position on whether we believed Scherger should have been fired, but we're not about to cry crocodile tears that he has been removed from his job.

UPDATE: It's the "Calgary Sun" and not the "Calgary Herald." Stupid and careless mistake.


Anonymous said...

Better re check this article.

Its an piece in the Calgary SUN.

Anonymous said...

That's the Sun, not the herald.

Anonymous said...

You mean the Sun. I'm surprised the Herald's editorial board isn't lamenting this 'blow to free speech' ala Boissoin.

Anonymous said...

according to his facebook profile reitmeier is in court today i wonder who he'll be ratting on this time