A prominent Ottawa human rights lawyer is after Canada Post to drop distribution of a newsletter that he says contains misogynist, homophobic, anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish hate propaganda.
Richard Warman wrote Public Works Minister Judy Foote and Canada Post president Deepak Chopra in early March to ask for a halt to the postal distribution of a Toronto publication called Your Ward News.
Warman told National Observer that the newsletter was something he was aware of that was floating around the Toronto area.
“It had sort of a bad smell. When I finally had the chance to look at it closely, I was shocked to see the kind of bigotry that was being disseminated through Canada Post.”
In an email response to National Observer Tuesday, Foote said, "I have reviewed some of the material in question and I too find it highly offensive and well outside the norm of Canadian values. I have reached out to my colleagues to determine the best way forward in addressing this issue.
"This includes whether the material constitutes an offense under the Criminal Code."
Your Ward News claims distribution of 300,000 and a readership of one million within Toronto. Canada Post delivers the publication unwrapped, meaning anyone is able to see the content.
The most recent issue of the quarterly publication (it was previously monthly) shows on its cover a bizarre collage of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau surrounded by women in bikinis. Beside him, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne waves a gay pride flag.
Two men are depicted on crosses, one of them clearly meant to be Christ; the other sprays blood on former advisor to Jean Chretien, Warren Kinsella, and in a word balloon says, “See you in hell, Kinsella!”
The entire spectacle is headlined “Marxist Lackeys Attack.”
Inside, the paper contains a number of racist slurs directed mostly against Jews and Muslims. The back page invites people to attend “The 1st Annual Old-Fashioned Toronto Anti-Marxist Book-Burning.”
The purported ad states that among books welcome to be burned are “FemiMarxist garbage by authors like Margaret Atwood; EnviroMarxist Agenda 21 propaganda by scientific sellouts like David Suzuki, etc.”
The publication is the work of editor-in-chief James Sears and owner-publisher, Leroy St. Germaine. Sears or Germaine could not be reached for comment.
Sears was subject to a disciplinary hearing from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons in the early 1990s for professional misconduct related to charges of sexual impropriety.
The college revoked Sears’ licence to practice medicine.
The college’s decision also noted that as a third year medical student in the Armed Forces Medical Officer Training Plan Sears’ room was searched following an “incident” and a can of Mace, several knives, two empty smoke grenade canisters and an electronic stun gun were found.
Sears was made to repeat one year of medical school because of “behavioural problems.”
A link off the Your Ward News website goes to an online site for The New Constitution Party of Canada (NCP). The NCP describes itself as “an all-inclusive federal party based on Libertarian doctrine, Christian values, and National Socialist ideology.
“Our political movement incorporates the intellect of Dr. Ron Paul, the heart of Chancellor Adolf Hitler, and the soul of Jesus Christ, into one powerful political Chimera that will crush the Marxist beast.”
Sears identifies himself as the founder of the NCP and as a retired captain and medical officer from the Canadian Armed Forces.
Your Ward News has attracted previous complaints
While Warman’s letter is the most recent attempt to have Canada Post stop delivery of Your Ward News, it’s not the first time.
In May 2015, Arthur Potts, the Ontario MPP for Toronto’s Beaches-East York riding sent a letter to Canada Post’s Chopra asking the Crown corporation to reconsider its delivery of the newsletter.
In his letter, Potts noted that Toronto’s Hate Crimes Unit was probing a complaint about the then-current issue of Your Ward News, which featured “several offensive and anti-Semitic articles and caricatures.”
The Toronto Hate Crimes Unit could not be reached for comment. It’s not known whether the paper is still under investigation at this time.
Potts wrote that he was not only deeply concerned by the paper’s content and his constituents’ complaints, but added the fact that Canada Post delivered the paper, despite repeated complaints, “suggests that the Crown corporation may endorse its content.”
Canada Post did not respond to National Observer’s queries. The Crown corporation operates at arm's-length from the government.
Megan Whitfield, the president of the Toronto Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, told National Observer that a number of postal workers have complained about having to deliver the publication.
However, Whitfield said Canada Post has threatened to discipline any workers who refuse to carry the newsletter.
“Both on the cover and inside they’ve had some very offensive material,” Whitfield said of the publication. At the very least the Toronto Local wants to see the publication shrink-wrapped in dark plastic so that the contents can’t be seen in the mail.
Of Canada Post, Whitfield said: “They just continue to allow it to go through.”
"All they do is promote hatred...."
Kelly Fairchild, who lives in the Beaches - the Toronto area where Your Ward News originally first began distribution - started a petition titled 'Stop infiltrating our homes with hate' on change.org, signed by about 1,000 people.
For her trouble, Fairchild found herself the subject of corrosive articles and cartoons in the most recent issue of Your Ward News.
“Ideally, I would like to see Your Ward News shut down,” Fairchild said. “I think all they do is promote hatred and just extremely dangerous viewpoints on other ethnicities and genders.”
Fairchild said if the paper can’t be shuttered, then at the very least it should be subscription-based so that people who don’t wish to be subjected to its content won’t receive it.
Back in Ottawa, on his own time and using his own resources, Warman has successfully co-litigated a number of human rights complaints dealing with Internet hate.
In his letter, Warman tells Canada Post that he is concerned the Crown corporation’s distribution of the newsletter might constitute a breach of the Canadian Human Rights Act as the agency is “party to the dissemination of discriminatory material to the general public.”
Warman warns the Crown corporation that if it persists in distribution of the paper, “I will pursue the matter accordingly,” and cites, among other things, an example of defamatory libel in the newsletter against Warren and Lisa Kinsella.
The Kinsellas run the Daisy Group, a strategic communications firm in Toronto.
Warman notez a previous precedent to stop postal distribution exists in the case of Ernst Zundel. Zundel, a Holocaust denier, was subject to a mail ban from the Canadian government from 1981 to 1982 over the distribution of hate propaganda.
Warman says he can’t believe Canada Post hasn’t halted distribution of the paper. “I think it’s something that quite clearly should not be disseminated by Canada Post.”