Canadian Association for Free Expression
Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Paul Fromm, B.Ed, M.A. Director
January 18, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Je Suis Brad — Attend Trial of “Citizen Journalist” — Fort McMurray, Monday, January 19, 2015
A week ago, many Canadians joined rallies across the country supporting free speech and showing solidarity with the victims of the radical Islamic terrorists who gunned down 12 people at French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Most Canadians smugly thought free speech as safe in Canada. After all, we have Trudeau’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms with its guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press. Sadly, due to the weasel clauses in the Charter, these rights have been steadily eroded since it took effect in 1982.
A good case in point is inveterate letter writer, Brad Love, a construction worker in Fort McMurray, Alberta. A self taught writer, inveterate reader and opinionated curmudgeon, Mr. Love’s problems began in 2002. Over a 20 year period, he estimates he’d written over 10,000 letters to politicians at all levels, the media and public figures. That year he was charged under Canada’s notorious “hate” law — Section 318 of the Criminal Code — for 20 letters he’s written to politicians and public figures. It must be emphasize that none of these letters contained threats — just his populist opinions. He is critical of foreign aid, immigration and waste of taxpayers’ money.
Mr. Love was sentenced to 18 months in prison — the stiffest sentence ever handed down under the “hate law” — for writing letters. Amnesty International defines a prisoner of conscience or political prisoner as someone punished or jailed for the non-violent expression of his political, religious or cultural views. Yes, Brad Love is a political prisoner and may soon be so again. This situation is a disgrace to Canada.
However, when he was released in 2003, Mr, Love faced a three year parole and increasingly restrictive conditions. At one point, an Ontario judge named Hogg imposed the condition that he could not write to “anyone” without their consent. That condition
In 2012, Mr. Love was convicted of “breach of undertaking” for having sent opinionated information packages to several Toronto Jewish groups, having obtained their oral consent. For this he received 18 months and a further three year gag order. The average sentence for a drug dealing gangbanger for “breach of bail” is 60 days, A non-violent letter writer draws 18 months,
In 2013, Mr. Love was charged in Fort McMurray with “sending scurrilous material through the mail” and “harassment” for repeated communications with the editor of Fort McMurray Today, which advertises that it WANTS its readers’ comments, and a local representative of OXFAM.
When initially charged, Mr. Love’s bail forbade him to “write by e-mail, text or letter” to any person, presumably not even his gravely ill mother in Ontario. Again, this brutal gag was imposed, not in North Korea or Cuba or Saudi Arabia, but in Alberta, Canada.
Last September, just as Mr. Love was completely his “breach” sentence in Ontario, Albert sent two officers to bring him back in handcuffs and leg irons in a wheelchair to Alberta like some murderer, bank robber or drug lord — all for non-violent communication. What did the three airfares, travel expenses and salaries cost the taxpayers of Alberta?
On Monday, January 19 at 9:30, Mr. Love will go on trial in the Provincial Courthouse (9700 Franklin Ave.) in Fort McMurray.
“Free speech is the issue,” says Paul Fromm Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression which has championed Mr. Love’s struggle since 2003.
“In the education system we both grew up in in Etobicoke, Ontario, we were told that citizenship implied certain duties. A good citizen should inform himself, care, take a stand and voice his opinion. Mr. Love’s outspoken populism may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but by any measure, he is a good citizen, a concerned citizen and should be honoured for his commitment not prosecuted,” Mr. Fromm adds.
Contact Paul Fromm — 416-428-5308