Tag Archives: The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Canada Post stops delivery of crude anti-Semitic newspaper

Canada’s post office says it will no longer deliver a crude Toronto-area newspaper that repeatedly denied the Holocaust, praised Adolf Hitler and derided Jews, Muslims, women and the LGBT community.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote, who oversees Canada Post, issued an order on June 6 against the future delivery of Your Ward News, a free, low-budget newspaper sent to 350,000 homes in the east end of Toronto. The publication claims an online readership of over 1 million.

The publication has been the subject of complaints for years, the Canadian Jewish News reported. B’nai Brith Canada said it has received “literally hundreds of phone calls and emails from people who have felt victimized by the content in this publication.”

images-1

The newspaper has defended itself as satire protected by free speech.

Amanda Hohmann, national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights, said her group was pleased to see that the government “has taken appropriate steps to protect Canadians from this kind of hate propaganda.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs also hailed Canada Post’s move.

“Freedom of speech – a core Canadian value – is cheapened and corroded when it is cynically used by extremists to justify the dissemination of hate,” said CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. “The fact that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has supported efforts to ban the delivery of Your Ward News reflects a broad consensus about the nature of the racist propaganda featured in this newsletter.”

Your Ward News editor James Sears has filed a request for a review of Canada Post’s decision. An appeal would consist of a panel appointed by the minister. He called the Canada Post move an “Orwellian order”.

“We’re just a satirical, offensive newspaper,” Sears told CBC News. “It has been found multiple times by Canada Post lawyers that we’re not breaking any hate-speech laws.”

Sears is a former Toronto medical doctor who was stripped of his license in 1992 after a court found him guilty of sexually assaulting female patients.

Canada under pressure to refuse entry to French ‘comedian’ Dieudonné

His material and actions have earned him a string of convictions in Europe for racial hatred. Now the French performer known as Dieudonné, who bills himself as a comedian, faces calls for him to be barred from entering Canada, where he has a series of shows next month in Montreal.

220px-DieudoDescribing himself as a comedian is an interesting take on someone who has mocked the Holocaust on stage, called Hitler a “good boy,” and popularized a controversial hand gesture known as the “quenelle” that resembles a downward Nazi salute. Not particularly funny really.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has said flatly that Dieudonné, whose real name is Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, is persona non grata in the city. “Someone who incites racial hatred and foments social tensions in Europe isn’t welcome in Montreal,” he tweeted.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on Ottawa to keep the comedian out.

“Canada should not let a convicted offender of hate speech laws into the country,” said spokesman David Ouellette. “He has crossed the line into incitement to violence. When you’re calling on people to unite to kill Jews, it is surely a red line, where freedom of expression is no excuse.”

Those involved in Mr. M’bala M’bala’s tour in Quebec insist the performer has tempered his material and authorities should not be trying to silence him. “This is about freedom of expression. That is my fight,” said Gino Ste-Marie, a Quebec City-based organizer involved in the tour.

Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum’s office says it is following the case closely, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says it will be left to Canadian border-services agents to rule on Mr. M’bala M’bala’s admissibility once he arrives at a port of entry. Mr. M’bala M’bala’s prior criminality will be taken into account.

Court convictions in Europe have started to pile up on Mr. M’bala M’bala. Last year, the European Court of Human Rights upheld a French court conviction of inciting racial hatred for a show in which Mr. M’bala M’bala invited a Holocaust denier onstage to receive a prize from an actor dressed in striped pyjamas, evoking a concentration camp uniform. A French court last year also gave him a suspended sentence for inciting terrorism after a Facebook post appearing sympathetic with one of the gunmen in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Mayors of several cities in France have banned his shows as threats to public order. Britain and Hong Kong have denied him entry.

Yet France’s efforts to rein him in are also fuelling a debate over free speech. Despite the efforts to clamp down on him – or perhaps because of them – Mr. M’bala M’bala enjoys considerable popularity, particularly among alienated youth from Africa and North Africa.

Mr. M’bala M’Bala, who was born in Paris, has a connection to Quebec. He used to appear at major venues and as a guest on talk shows in the province, even as he became a source of controversy in Europe. Eventually, Quebec began to keep its distance.

The owner of the Montreal venue where Mr. M’bala M’bala is to perform said he reviewed the comedian’s material for the coming show and has also received “guarantees” it would not contain hateful or racist material. “I cannot be responsible for what this man has said in the past,” said Mushagalusa Chigoho.

Toronto immigration lawyer Barbara Jackman says Canada has legal grounds for denying entry to Mr. M’bala M’bala because of his prior convictions for hate speech. Canada has equivalent laws.

“It would have a strong case against letting him in,” Ms. Jackman says. If he showed up, Canada could detain him and order him deported, she added.

Read more here.