One summer day, three years ago, I found Your Ward News, a thin tabloid published quarterly in Toronto, stuffed into my mailbox. As I flipped through its pages, I was horrified and disgusted. It was filled with crude antisemitic articles and drawings.
I complained to the postman, realizing he was not responsible for its contents and was simply performing his job in delivering this rag. He may have even shared my opinion of it.
The real question was why Canada Post, a Canadian government body, had agreed to deliver it to hundreds of thousands of homes in the city. In effect, Canada Post was aiding and abetting vile antisemites.
How could this be?
Several days ago, much to my satisfaction, I learned that its editor, James Sears, 55, a convicted sexual offender, had been sentenced to 12 months in prison for promoting hate, the maximum penalty under the law. His publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, 77, will be sentenced on August 29, and faces the prospect of six months in prison.
The pair were found guilty of hate crimes in January, charged with two counts of wilful promotion of hatred against two identifiable groups — Jewish Canadians and women.
Sears, who promotes his newspaper as “the world’s largest anti-Marxist publication,” now has the dubious distinction of being the latest professional antisemite in Canada to face jail time for his nefarious activities.
James Keegstra, an Alberta high school teacher who demonized Jews in his classroom, was convicted of hate speech in 1984, fined $5,000 and given a one-year suspended sentence.
Ernst Zundel, a German national who lived in Toronto, was a neo-Nazi Holocaust denier, the author of The Hitler We Loved and Why, and a follower of Quebec fascist Adrien Arcand. Convicted in the mid-1980s of inciting racial hatred, Zundel was imprisoned in Canada, the United States and Germany.
Sears, a physician, is an ethnic Greek whose real name is Dimitious Sarafapolous. Sears’ medical licence was revoked by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 1992 after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault.
Although he has not acquired the notoriety of either Keegstra or Zundel, his views are just as toxic.
The presiding judge in his trial, Richard Blouin, categorically rejected Sears’ lame argument that Your Ward News, which is also published online, is a satirical newspaper, and that the case against him was politically motivated.
Due to complaints that were lodged against his newspaper, Canada Post stopped delivering it three years ago. Last year, the federal government made the ban permanent.
In his verdict, which was released on August 22, Blouin wrote that “the publication glorified Nazism and Adolf Hitler, and denied the Holocaust. It consistently blamed, demonized and maligned Jews. Women were represented as inferior, immoral, and less than human. Physical and sexual violations against them were counselled and celebrated.”
Blouin added that Sears had “promoted hate to a vast audience in an era where online exposure to this material inexorably leads to extremism and the potential of mass casualties.”
Blouin, however, did not ban Your Ward News, which is distributed free of charge to more than 300,000 homes and businesses. He said that Sears “should be free to publish whatever he wishes, even if unpopular and objectionable, as long as his words do not offend the Criminal Code.”
This means he may no longer publish the antisemitic filth that defines his hate sheet.
It’s a small victory for common sense and decency, but Sears and his ilk will not be deterred by this setback. Antisemitism is in their DNA.