Jewish groups are pleased with the decision by Canada Post to stop delivering an east-end Toronto publication that has been slammed as anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi and homophobic.
Judy Foote, the federal minister responsible for Canada Post, issued an order on June 6 against the delivery of Your Ward News, a free, low-budget newspaper devoted to smashing “cultural Marxism.”
The publication has for years been the subject of complaints in its delivery area, roughly the Beaches and East York. It regularly rails against Zionists, feminism, and welfare recipients, and mocks the Holocaust. It has defended itself as satire.
The newsletter says it has been “Aboriginal owned and operated since 2007.”
As of June 7, its website said the paper is delivered by Canada Post to 305,000 homes, business and apartments, “with a readership of over one million.”
In the past year, B’nai Brith Canada has “received literally hundreds of phone calls and emails from people who have felt victimized by the content in this publication,” Amanda Hohmann, national director of BBC’s League for Human Rights, told The CJN. “We are pleased to see that the government has taken appropriate steps to protect Canadians from this kind of hate propaganda.”
Hohmann denied Your Ward News is satirical “and this is not about free speech. This is about protecting the rights of people, such as Holocaust survivors, from receiving unsolicited hate in their mailboxes.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) also hailed Canada Post’s move.
“Freedom of speech – a core Canadian value – is cheapened and corroded when it is cynically used by extremists to justify the dissemination of hate,” said CEO Shimon Koffler Fogel. “The fact that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has supported efforts to ban the delivery of Your Ward News reflects a broad consensus about the nature of the racist propaganda featured in this newsletter.”
Fogel also applauded Ottawa lawyer and human rights advocate Richard Warman, who filed a human rights complaint against Your Ward News in April, calling it “misogynist, racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and homophobic hate propaganda” that Canada Post and the federal government were “regularly and knowingly delivering.”
The publication “has long been a source of deep concern to members of the Toronto Jewish community,” said Berl Nadler, co-chair of CIJA Toronto, noting that his organization has provided to police evidence of the paper’s anti-Semitic content for possible hate speech charges.
“It has been very discouraging to note that our hate speech/hate crime laws have diminished in recent years, and that a paper promoting hatred has already been distributed to thousands of homes over a long period of time,” said Avi Benlolo, president and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a statement. “The paper typically exhibits provocative language and images that are offensive to Jews primarily, but also to other minority groups.
“I am pleased to see that our government has stepped in and stopped further distribution.”
“It took a community to fight this hateful publication,” noted Bernie Farber, former CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, now executive director of the Mosaic institute and one of the founders of Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP). “Faith leaders, human rights advocates, labour leaders and many more…all played a role. Minister Foote heard us and took action. That’s how good advocacy works.”