Two guys behind an Toronto novel have been detained for encouraging hatred.
James Nicholas Sears, 54, and Lawrence St. Germaine, 76, were each charged Wednesday with two counts of willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, particularly Jews and women.
Sears is the editor-in-chief and St. Germaine is the publisher/owner of this contentious publication that critics claim targets women, Jews, Muslims and the LGBTQ community.
“We hope to readily beat these politically motivated charges,” Sears said in an e mail to this Star. “Section of our defence will be a constitutional challenge from the hate speech legislation, as it simplifies our right to free expression.”
Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi stated it’s the first time in the state that hate crime charges are laid alleging the intentional promotion of hatred.
“In a multicultural and cosmopolitan state like Ontario, the marketing of hatred stands in direct opposition to our basic values of diversity and equality,” Naqvi said in a declaration. “Hate crimes are, by their very nature, severe offences because their impacts can be catastrophic, spreading from the individual, throughout the social fabric of their communities as a whole.”
Two legal experts contacted by the Star stated that they had been unaware of any prior control of willful promotion of hatred against girls.
The prices follow a hate-crimes investigation that has been underway since earlier this year.
In a press release, Toronto police said they’ve received complaints regarding the publication for the last couple of years.
“We deeply value liberty of speech,” McDonald explained. “it is a core Canadian value. Regrettably it’s cheapened by those who promote hatred under the guise of free speech, people who try to demonize minorities, demonize women, market content that’s sympathetic to Nazism.”
Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress and human rights advocate, said Wednesday’s fees were a “long time coming.”
“I had expected that by the time that my kids were born, so that anti-Semitism could be only a distant memory,” said Farber, that the son of Holocaust survivors. “It brings back horrible, unpleasant memories — and it perpetuates, it gives approval, for people who already find reason to hate Jews, it provides them plenty of motive to do so. And that I’m a central figure so, I simply discovered disgusting.”
The two men are scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 20.
In an email to the Star, if the Toronto authorities Hate Crimes Unit investigated the publication, Sears stated in January that Your Ward News never breached any laws.
“There aren’t any anti-gay slurs in our newspaper and the swastika is an ancient Aryan symbol that should be rehabilitated,” Sears said.
Back in June, a Toronto couple, Lisa and Warren Kinsella, went before a justice of the peace to have costs of uttering threats put from Sears and St. Germaine.
“If you look at this novel, and sadly some people have needed to accomplish this, each and every issue was full of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism and violent expressions of hatred towards women and visible minorities and members of the LGBTQ community,” Warren Kinsella said. “Like each and every page.”
Last year, the federal government purchased Canada Post to stop delivering Your Ward News after the then-minister of public services and procurement discovered it “highly offensive and well away from the standard of values.”
With records from Samantha Beattie, The Canadian and Annie Arnone Press.
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