A Toronto-based publication which repeatedly denied the Holocaust, praised Adolf Hitler and derided Jews as well as Muslims has been permanently banned from distribution through Canada Post, the CBC reported on Thursday.
In 2016, the federal government issued a temporary order banning the publication, Your Ward News, from using Canada Post following a number of complaints about its discriminatory content.
A board of review was struck to review the decision; it held 11 public hearings between April of last year and February 2018, according to the CBC.
The final report of the review board recommended issuing a final order that would have the effect of prohibiting the publishers — or any agent of the publishers, or any other company publishing Your Ward News under a different name — from distributing hate propaganda through the mail.
"After having carefully considered the recommendations of the independent board of review, I have decided to issue a final prohibitory order that will prevent the delivery of the publication Your Ward News, or any substantially similar material developed by its authors, through Canada Post's unaddressed bulk mail," Carla Qualtrough, the minister responsible for Canada Post, said in a statement.
"My decision is consistent with the applicable legislation and the government's values and stance on inclusiveness and diversity."
Prior to 2016, Your Ward News had been distributed for free by Canada Post to a purported 305,000 homes and businesses in Toronto, despite objections from residents and postal workers.
In one incident in 2015, the newspaper displayed several images mocking religious Jews (including one with a long nose), with one of them saying, "Here the Holocaust is repeating itself."
The newspaper also claimed that the media are controlled by "Zionist Marxists," and implied that Israel was responsible for not only the September 11 attacks but also the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings in France.
The newspaper is the brainchild of editor-in-chief James Sears who, along with publisher Leroy St. Germaine, were arrested and charged in November 2017 with the willful promotion of hatred against women and Jews.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), which filed a formal complaint with the Toronto Police against Your Ward News several years ago, welcomed Thursday’s decision.
“We commend Minister Qualtrough for her principled decision. Your Ward News promotes disgusting antisemitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia, and racism. Our taxpayer-funded mail service should not be used to distribute such hateful content to hundreds of thousands of households,” said Noah Shack, CIJA’s Vice President for the Greater Toronto Area, in a statement.
“It is shocking that such vile messages are being peddled here in Canada in 2018. Just think about a Holocaust Survivor picking up their mail only to find neo-Nazi propaganda on their doorstep. This is totally unacceptable,” continued Shack.
“Although Your Ward News reflects the twisted views of a small, marginal group, we must remain vigilant and not allow anti-Semitism and hate to gain any traction in our society,” he concluded.
B’nai Brith Canada also applauded Qualtrough’s decision, describing Your Ward News in a statement on Twitter as “an anti-Semitic, homophobic, and misogynistic hate rag.”
“B'nai Brith was happy to provide oral submissions in support of the review process,” the organization added.
There was a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2017, according to the B’nai Brith Canada annual audit released this past April.
The audit found that there were 752 incidents of harassment, vandalism and violence in 2017.
The vast majority of the incidents took place in Canada’s two largest provinces: Ontario recorded nearly half the total, with 808, while Quebec had 474. The rest were scattered among the nation’s eight other provinces.
Though Jews represent 3.8% of Toronto's population, 28% of all hate crimes in Toronto are targeted at the Jewish community, making it the city's most frequently targeted minority.
Thursday’s decision came one day after Toronto Police charged a 17-year-old boy in connection with an incident in which four Jewish teenagers were victimized in an alleged hate crime in Toronto’s North York district.