FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 15, 2019
Press Release: CIJA Responds to Delay in Sentencing of James Sears of Your Ward News Publication
TORONTO, ON — Today, the Ontario Court of Justice delayed sentencing of James Sears of Your Ward News to provide Sears the opportunity to argue mistrial or to re-open the proceeding.
Sears was found guilty of willfully promoting hatred against two identifiable groups — Jews and women.
In response, Noah Shack, GTA Vice President, CIJA, issued the following:
“Those who spread antisemitism or any other form of hate must be held accountable. Mr. Sears has a long record of promoting grotesque antisemitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia and racism.
“We appreciate the diligent work of the courts, prosecutors, and police. The evidence against Mr. Sears is overwhelming and we are confident that the guilty verdict will remain.
“Your Ward News is an example of why Canada’s hate speech laws are necessary. We can preserve freedom of expression while taking action, in rare and exceptional cases, to disrupt those who systematically promote hate propaganda.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA
- Your Ward News, a hateful and blatantly antisemitic paper, has long been a source of deep concern to members of the Toronto Jewish community. The paper promotes racist, homophobic, misogynist, and pro-Nazi material.
- It is CIJA’s view that the content of Your Ward News violates Canadian hate speech laws under the Criminal Code, and the organization as previously provided evidence of YWN’s antisemitic content to local law enforcement for the consideration of hate speech charges.
- In 2016, the Minister of Public Services, Judy Foote has issued an order forbidding Canada Post to deliver Your Ward News. The paper’s producer and editor-in-chief, James Sears, appealed the order, prompting the formation of a Board of Review. CIJA, alongside others, intervened at the Board of Review hearings to ensure the concerns of the Jewish community were heard.
- In November of 2018, a final prohibitory order that prevent the delivery of Your Ward News was issued. Under the new order, those behind Your Ward News will not be permitted to use Canada Post’s unaddressed bulk mail services to distribute the paper or any substantially similar material.
- According to Statistics Canada, hate crimes against the Jewish community increased for the second consecutive year in 2017, and accounted for 18% of all hate crimes in Canada.