Justice Served

James Sears, the so-called editor of the disgraceful Your Ward News, was smug as he came out of the courtroom yesterday to meet reporters. He told the media, “I find it hard to believe that what we publish against Jews and women – which a lot of it is out of the Bible – is hate speech in Canada, and it’s a very dark day for Christianity…I feel like I was being crucified…I do feel the pain that Jesus felt in his wrist.”

But no matter his pretend to be oblivious to his hate crime demeanor in the public eye – which appeals to his white supremacist following – justice was eloquently served by Judge Richard Blouin. The gauntlet came down on Sears and his partner in crime, LeRoy St. Germaine with a clear and concise guilty verdict. After years of distributing this hateful “newsletter” to thousands of homes across the Greater Toronto Area, both were found guilty as charged on each count of promotion of hatred against Jewish people and women.

In Judge Blouin’s concise and thoughtful judgement: …examples of vilification and detestation leapt off the page. “Women were represented as immoral, inferior, and not human. Mr. Sears celebrated sexual and physical violations towards them. Jews were consistently blamed, demonized, and maligned. In my view, YWN repeatedly and consistently dehumanized Jews and women, and I conclude both men intended to publish hate. No other intent can be inferred from a complete reading of this newspaper.”

Judge Blouin’s argument that “hate propaganda could contribute to violence” and that it is “starkly relevant today” as seen in the Toronto van attack, the Quebec mosque attack and the Pittsburgh synagogue attack a few months ago opens up new possibilities for authorities to go after other hateful actors in our communities. This precedent should put white supremacists on notice across the country. But more importantly, it should put antisemitic Islamists on notice – such as the ones who are advocating for a genocide against Jewish people living in Israel yearly in Toronto at Al Quds Day.

With this finding, the court has made it clear that hate speech is still a criminal offence in Ontario and in Canada. We were beginning to doubt that law enforcement and more importantly the Attorney General had the willpower to enforce the law of the land when it comes to hate crime. In this case, the Crown worked diligently on this file, brought forth expert witnesses, compiled evidence and community information – and won the day. A guilty finding is not just a win for the Jewish community and women in this case, it’s a win for all victimized groups who are discriminated upon.

What took place in a small Toronto courtroom this week was historic and from our perspective reset possible exposure for antisemitic movements like the “BDS” and “Israel Apartheid” campaigns on university campuses. They are now fully exposed with the awareness that their hate speech and vilification of the Jewish community is subject to criminal charges and possible jail time.

Sears and his white supremacist cabal will be back. They will likely appeal this sentence to try and garner more media attention and funding and support for their evil cause. We at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center will continue to meet them every step of the way and look them in the eye – for we are not afraid. Our obsessive conviction to ensure that Never Again stands – in memory of the Holocaust survivors and their families who we serve every day – will guide us to another and another win again evil in our time.

About the Author
Avi Benlolo is the President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC), a Jewish non-profit human rights organization. Avi is a prominent Canadian human rights activist dedicated to promoting tolerance, freedom, democracy and human rights.
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