But the obits I've read have been pretty mush-mouthed, a few downright fawning. Most suggest that Christie defended his clients from some higher commitment to freedom of expression, and not because they were ideological fellow travelers. It might be worth challenging this assumption.
To that end its worth taking a read of Tom Hawthorn's against-the-grain Doug Christie: The Unauthorized Obituary. Here is a particularly enlightening excerpt. It describes the one occasion Hawthorn and Christie met in court:
My time on the stand was a farce. I was ordered to surrender a notebook, which was then entered into evidence. It was placed in a plastic bag like a dagger from a murder scene. At one point, Christie caused a fuss because the stated number of pages on the front of the notebook did not match the number of pages he counted in the notebook. He made allegations of perfidy until a lawyer for the other defendant pointed out the notebook had lines on both sides of the page.
We were nearing the conclusion of my testimony when Christie barked, "Are you a Jew?"
Hawthorn also discusses the several occasions where Christie used the court system in an attempt to silence those who criticized the various Western separatist groups he founded or otherwise became involved in. As with many free-speech proponents, Christie's commitment to unfettered expression was absolute right up until the moment it wasn't.
One of these separatist groups, incidentally, was the Western Canada Concept, which wiki describes as:
...a Western Canadian political party founded in 1980 to promote the separation of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and the Yukon and Northwest Territories from Canada in order to create a new nation.
Most of the pieces on Christie's career have said very little about the WCC, so it is worth noting some of its political positions beyond Western Separatism (or at least the positions of its B.C. branch, which Christie led for awhile). Here's a newspaper ad he ran in the late 1990s:
I'm not sure you would even say that points four and five are in "code"; they are, quite simply, race-baiting. And its worth pointing out that this ad dates to several years before 9/11. So while the targets change, the language never seems to. Here's another passage from the " Western Separatist Papers":
In any case, and in conclusion, for many years Christie ran his law office out of "Christy Towers" on 810 Courtney Street, Victoria B.C. It's an odd little building, looking more like a toll-booth than a business. That's a picture of it below:
And, strangely enough, the building will continue in use after Christie's death. Apparently, another lawyer works out of it these days, whose practice is quite different from Christie's, and who deserves none of the man's baggage going.
PS. I deleted the original of this by accident while weeding out unfinished drafts. As you can see its been reconstructed but, unfortunately, the comments are gone for good.