Tag Archives: Toronto

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.”

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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.

Toronto: Jews most targeted group in hate crimes

Toronto, Canada – While Toronto witnessed a drop in the number of hate crimes in 2015, the Jewish community continued to be the single-most targeted victim group. However, the total number of instances were fewer than the previous year.

2016-03-21-22-06-07-1819106207According to the Toronto Police Service 2015 Annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report, 31 occurrences involved Jews – plus one that targeted an Israeli.

Altogether 134 incidents were reported to police in 2015, a drop of 8.2 per cent from the 146 occurrences the year before.

In 2014, Jews, were also the single most targeted group, with 44 occurrences reported. The 31 incidents in 2015 represent a 29.5 per cent drop from the number in 2014.

The Jewish community makes up 3.8 per cent of the city’s population, as measured by religious affiliation, yet in 2015 were victimized in nearly 24 per cent of the religiously motivated incidents.

Most of the incidents involved mischief to property, such as anti-Semitic graffiti or vandalism. Apartment buildings, schools and public places, such as laneways, were the most common location for mischief offences.

Only 21 charges were laid against 19 persons in 2015, and only three of them were related to mischief offences.

Joel Reitman, co-chair of Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Toronto, said, “Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that the Jewish community finds itself once again disproportionately targeted in reported hate-crimes in Toronto. This is hardly an anomaly, which is why the security of our community is CIJA’s top priority. We offer a wide range of free services to ensure that Jewish institutions, their staff, and our community members are well protected. These services include security assessments, security briefings and tailored training sessions for security personnel.

“We strongly encourage staff and volunteers in the Jewish community who hold security-related responsibilities at their institutions to go to our website to learn more about the resources that are available,” Reitman added.

Read more here.

Toronto Jews top of an unfortunate list

There are lists we may rightly aspire to top while there are others that are less appealing. In a sad mirror of an increasing number of global regions the release of the 2014 Toronto Police Service’s annual Hate/Bias Crime Statistical Report found that hate crimes reported to police went up by 11 per cent over 2013 and that Jews were the single most targeted group in Toronto. Though comprising only 3.8 per cent of the city’s population, Jews were the victims in 30 per cent of all reported occurrences.

Len Rudner, director of community relations and outreach for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said the findings should be seen in context.

“The report speaks to a fundamental truth. Canada is a great country to live in and Toronto is a great city to live in. But the fact hate crimes occur in Toronto should be of concern to everybody. The fact the numbers are up is a concern. The fact that Jews were the most targeted is a concern,” he said.

“I think if we remember that every incident represents a school, a synagogue or an individual that has been told they did not belong, and even if it happens once, it is significant and it is worth noting,” he added.

Of the incidents involving Jews as victim, 38 involved mischief, including three that involved a religious property, two were assaults, one was described as criminal harassment and three incidents involved death threats.