Canada Post and the government of Canada have been named in a complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act for distributing a monthly Toronto tabloid newspaper that is allegedly laced with hate propaganda.
Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman, who has a track record of successful actions before human rights commissions, claims in a four-page complaint that Your Ward News is “misogynist, racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and homophobic hate propaganda.”
“The government of Canada has the legal obligation to stop the dissemination of hate propaganda, not profit from its distribution through Canada Post.”
Warman goes on to assert that by continuing to distribute Your Ward News, the government and post office are not only in violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act, but also of international legal obligations that prohibit the dissemination of hate propaganda.
“By knowingly distributing hate propaganda and profiting from it, [Canada Post and the government of Canada] have engaged in discriminatory conduct,” Warman asserts.
On April 28, Judy Foote, the minister of public services and procurement, issued a statement saying, “I have reviewed some of the material published in the tabloid Your Ward News, and find it highly offensive and well outside the norm of Canadian values. Many residents of the Greater Toronto Area have raised significant objections with the distribution of the tabloid in their region by Canada Post. As minister responsible for Canada Post, I have asked its board of directors to review and consider appropriate measures within their authority to address the distribution of this material.”
James Sears, editor-in-chief of Your Ward News, replied to The CJN’s request for comment with a series of extracts from the paper’s most recent edition.
He rejected allegations the paper is anti-Semitic or homophobic: “These are slogans spewed out by ZioMarxists to attack the purveyors of the truth. If you criticize Israel for murdering Palestinians or if you disagree with the Hollywood narrative of the ‘Jewish Holocaust,’ then ‘Social Justice Warriors’ call you an ‘anti-Semite.’”
Sears said he’d fight any move to prevent delivery. “We have made it clear to Canada Post that if they interfere in any way with the delivery of our paper, we will sue them for access to apartment buildings,” he said.
Your Ward News has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since its first copy was delivered by Canada Post in March 2015. At the time, a Jewish postal worker objected to delivering what he called hate propaganda.
The paper proclaims itself “the world’s largest anti-Marxist publication” and a “Christian Libertarian National Socialist gospel.” The spring 2016 issue features a Liberal party banner under a menorah, photo-shopped pictures of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Bernie Farber, the former CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, wearing a tallit and tfillin and handing Ontario MPP Arthur Potts, dressed as a Roman centurion, 30 pieces of silver.
In 2015, Your Ward News claimed it was delivered to 48,000 homes and was read by 300,000 people. The paper’s website today claimed it is delivered by Canada Post to 300,000 homes and businesses, in an area bounded broadly by Highway 401 to the north, Lake Ontario to the south, and from Victoria Park in the east to as far west as Lansdowne Avenue. It boasts more than one million readers.
Its website lists its editor-in-chief as James Sears and its publisher/owner as Leroy St. Germaine. It also claims to be “Metis owned and operated since 2007.”
Warman’s complaint refers specifically to its four most recent issues, dating back to December 2015. In only its most recent edition, the spring 2016 issue, Warman alleges the paper advocates Nazism, refers to opponents as “faggy,” described someone as a “boy-hungry faggot,” engages in Holocaust denial and anti-Jewish bigotry and mocks sexual assault victims.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers welcomed Warman’s complaint.
“Postal workers don’t pick and choose which materials to carry. If Canada Post accepts it, we deliver,” said CUPW national president Mike Palecek. “But many of us are fed up with being part of the distribution network for hateful material like Your Ward News.”
Warman also received support from a anti-racist coalition that includes such prominent voices as Judy Csillag of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, Liberal political consultant and lawyer Warren Kinsella, and Farber.
The Toronto Police Service’s hate crimes unit opened an investigation into the paper in March 2015, following complaints it violated the Criminal Code provisions against publishing hate literature. No charges were laid.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), along with Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, initiated the 2015 police complaint. CIJA’s chief executive Shimon Fogel said police never explained why they declined to lay charges.
As to whether they should renew their investigation, Fogel said, “In any given issue of Your Ward News, there are sufficient reasons to warrant the laying of charges. Some issues are more egregious than others, but the publication is inherently offensive and replete with various examples of hate speech, whether directed against Jews or others.”
Farber believes there are sufficient grounds for a criminal prosecution. “If the hate laws were written for anything, they were written for this kind of garbage,” he said.
Farber said he had asked police to explain why they did not lay hate crimes charges. His request of police has gone unanswered, he said.
Farber supports Warman’s efforts, saying Canada Post should not be in the business of delivering hate propaganda.
Referring to the front cover of the current edition, Farber said the Photoshopped image of him handing Potts 30 pieces of silver “is classical anti-Semitism – a Jew paying off a politician to do his will.”
“It is outrageous that Canada Post and those responsible in government have turned a blind eye to the hatred that is found on every page of Your Ward News,” said Kinsella, a resident of the Beach who wrote the book Web of Hate. “We have tried repeatedly to get them to act, but they have refused. We are hopeful that Richard’s formal human rights complaint will help change that.”
Warman told The CJN he chose to target Canada Post and the government of Canada because both are subject to the CHRA and both are “morally and legally wrong” for distributing the material.
They are discriminating against their employees at Canada Post by introducing hate propaganda in the workplace and requiring them to deliver it, Warman said.
Mouktar Abdillahi, a spokesperson for Canada Post, said, “We take this matter seriously. We will consider the contents once we have had a chance to review the formal complaint.”
Your Ward News did not respond to a request for a comment, but in an earlier edition of the publication, Sears stated in a message to readers, “I am a fearless, obsessed man with very deep pockets who is loved and admired by many wealthy sympathizers. Canada Post, a multi-billion dollar Crown corporation, submitted to me. Attack us and my wrath will be swift, unyielding and decisive. I will crush you like a cockroach.”