WestViking wrote:<center>A TRIBUTE TO THE FOURNIERS</center>
When Mark Fournier told us almost a decade ago that one day the government would try to shut down Free Dominion and stifle our voices, we thought he was a bit paranoid.
When Mark insisted on hosting Free Dominion on an American server we felt we should humour him.
The day has come - the day that Mark Fournier predicted seven years ago when he and Connie put Free Dominion on an American server to make life more difficult for the government agency he was sure would eventually move to shut down his conservative web site.
Around the turn of the century, and millennium, Mark Fournier from Edmonton, Alberta had a dream. He felt that there was insufficient political dialogue in Canada, and that the MSM stifled open discourse and criticism of our governments and their policies. Mark felt that in particular, conservative views and commentary lacked any real outlet.
Mark spent two years posting at Free Republic, an American conservative political web site, and paid particular attention to how the website was run and why it was so successful. He felt that he could apply what he had learned by creating a Canadian version of Free Republic, and with some luck and effort, create a place for Canadian conservatives to gather to share views, debate issues, teach and learn from one another. The site might eventually become influential in political circles if he could attract enough people to participate in freewheeling political discussion.
While at Free Republic, Mark happened across Connie Wilkins, a lady who shared his political principles, and who had the computer and web site skills Mark lacked. They colluded to bring Free Dominion into being. When EdS came up with the name ‘Free Dominion’ Mark recognized it as a winner and he and Connie set about branding it as the place to go for principled conservatism.
From the outset, Mark understood that he was shaking up a cosy relationship between politicians and the mainstream media. He was also giving voice to a political group that had been effectively stifled for decades. He expected that eventually political strategists would move to stifle his web site and shut down unfettered political debate.
While Mark and Connie struggled to bring Free Dominion into existence, they kept their site on American servers in part to avoid loss of their dream if our government should move against them as they anticipated. From the outset, the freedom of expression and the need to bolster democracy with open dialogue and unfettered debate were driving forces behind the formation of Free Dominion.
For the same reason that they used American servers, Mark and Connie have refused to align themselves with any political party or movement. While it seems strange that a conservative web site would not endorse conservative political parties, there is more to conservatism than adopting a name. It was important that Free Dominion members be allowed to freely criticize their representatives. Free Dominion remains a conservative grass roots site today and it is the largest and most widely read political forum in Canada.
Political parties, including conservative parties claim to be grass-roots and to listen to their members, but the reality is that member voices are quickly lost in practice. Free Dominion gives principled conservatives a voice that is heard.
Free Dominion has remained a bastion of free speech for years, and it is with great reluctance that Mark and Connie have banished belligerents, trolls and those who refuse to adhere to site rules and objectives. Without the occasional purging of those intent on disruption, the forums would sink into oblivion.
Members who criticize Free Dominion, its web site, operations and format forget that for the initial few years Mark and Connie carried the entire cost of operating Free Dominion. They used up cash on hand, their savings, all of their credit and came close to personal bankruptcy without ever once complaining or letting anyone know how dire their situation was. They still contribute thousands of hours and every penny they can lay their hand on to fighting to keep their dream alive, to promote conservatism and to fight for our freedom of speech, unedited and uncensored by politically correct bureaucrats.
We have done fund raising for Free Dominion with limited success. We have managed to keep the servers running and improvements made to the site format. However, when our government came knocking costs soared as we had to undertake a legal defence and costs thereof. Mark and Connie chose to sell Free Dominion to a Panamanian organization to keep Free Dominion and our members safe from our government.
HRCs that target an Internet web site routinely demand access to all of the data on the web site servers. That data includes all of our sign up information and other relevant information that would allow an HRC to track individual posters. The Fourniers have carefully protected our identities for all of the time that Free Dominion has been in operation and continued protection of our members was the major factor in the decision to sell Free Dominion. The sale has protected our butts from potential HRC harassment.
When you see odd additions to the Free Dominion forums, it is because we are trying various schemes to add a revenue stream through advertising to offset some of the site operational costs. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but rude posts are just that – unjustified rudeness. Site features may come and go, but bear in mind the objective is to help pay the bills.
Mark and Connie have done their best to protect this site and most importantly to protect the anonymity of Free Dominion members – even those ungrateful users of the free speech they have fought so hard to protect.
When THE CHRC announced it was investigating a complaint against Free Dominion and Mark and Connie made it very clear the CHRC was in for a fight to the finish, Richard Warman was unable to entice the CHRC to attack Free Dominion again. Undaunted, Warman filed libel actions instead, trying to financially hurt the Fourniers and close down Free Dominion through economic pressure.
Mark and Connie have been able to protect the Free Dominion web site and protect Free Dominion member anonymity. They have not been able to protect themselves, however, and are defendants in at least two actions by self-proclaimed Nazi hunter and human rights activist Richard Warman. His is, in my opinion, an egotistical snot trying vainly to establish a reputation as a defender of political correctness and champion of offensive, thin-skinned snivellers who are themselves easily offended.
If we value our freedom of expression, if we believe that Mark and Connie should not be subjected to frivolous and vexatious legal actions for providing us with a venue in which to speak our minds, we have to get off our haunches and contribute to their defence fund. Until they can get Warman into court and expose his actions, all of us live with the threat of having the CHRC knock on our door, accusing us of hate speech and ready, willing and able to railroad us through a kangaroo court and destroy us financially without the benefit of due process or an opportunity to defend ourselves.
If you value your freedoms, join in this battle. Click on the donate button and send along whatever you can afford. We cannot watch Mark and Connie fight this travesty alone. Mark and Connie are true leaders with principles worthy of support. We cannot allow our freedoms to be taken from us without a fight.
Now there is a though worth pursuing. Let's get togethr and make it happen. I can see the fixed smiles and gritted teeth if wecan accomlish that goal.T.G. wrote:The Fourniers for the Order of Canada ... for upholding and fighting beyond the call of duty, in the face of corruption, for key constitutional principles such as freedom of expression.
WestViking wrote:Does anyone remember thisthread? If not, please re-read the first post.
Tory_canuck wrote:I would like to thank the Fourniers for standing their ground and providing us with a place to freely debate.
Heck, under the current 'Rules of Engagement', refined over a decade ago against Doug Collins, the complaints will not stop coming in until the means are abolished.Mark Fournier wrote: The CHRC has been sitting for a long time on another complaint against us, a complaint that they still refuse to let us see,
True, but that doesn't mean there aren't an increasing number of people reading here.Mark Fournier wrote:The trouble is is that our opponents understand that too so they are engaging in a campaign of fear to make people too afraid to post here.
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