Ontario court imposes peace bond against far-right figure over online threats
[Richard Warman is the fair-haired boy of the incestuous Ottawa court system. Today it granted him a peace bond against a controversial person, Kevin Goudreau, whom he’d never met and who had never e-mailed or written to him. “I’m so afraid” is a now common posture of anti-racists who devote themselves to ruining the lives of people whose politics are contrary to theirs. — Paul Fromm]
An Ontario court has imposed a peace bond against a far-right figure, in what is believed to be the first instance in which activists have sought such a peace bond in response to right-wing extremism in Canada.
Justice of the Peace Stephanie Goffin-Boyd on Monday ordered Kevin Goudreau, head of the Canadian National Front, to enter into the peace bond and abide by four conditions for 12 months, including not making violent threats online or otherwise towards Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman, and other board members with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Goudreau is also prohibited from possessing any weapons.
In June, Warman asked the court to issue a peace bond that would order Goudreau, who resides in Peterborough, Ont., to cease making threats online against him. Warman, who a board member with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said police had repeatedly declined to lay charges against Goudreau, and so he pursued a peace bond, which is like a restraining order.
The Crown took over the matter for Warman, who served as the only witness at the hearing on Monday.
“I had no expectations, but I am absolutely relieved,” Warman told Global News after the decision was rendered. He said he wished that police had pursued criminal charges, but that the peace bond sets a positive precedent for human rights activists who are targeted online and looking for possible remedies.
After the Christchurch, New Zealand attacks in March, a post was shared on a Facebook page belonging to Goudreau. The post encouraged violence against “priority targets” including the Canadian Anti Hate Network, other anti-racist groups and government agencies.
It also mentioned media outlets including VICE, the National Post and CBC.
Goudreau, who represented himself at court, said at the hearing that the social media posts aren’t his. Goudreau previously told Global News that his website states his group does not “promote, advocate or incite hatred or violence by our members or anyone else.”
The court said there was no evidence to suggest that the social media posts were not Goudreau’s.
Warman, who has monitored far-right and neo-Nazi movements in Canada for decades, told the court that Goudreau’s posts made him fear for his safety.
“It’s not just the potential for Mr. Goudreau … it’s for the fellow neo-Nazis who are actually reading the post. Because we know that there is a long history of violence involved in the neo-Nazi movement in Canada,” Warman told the court. He added that the posts disputed by Goudreau are consistent with other written and video content posted by him over the years.
Goudreau, chairman of the Canadian Nationalist Front (formerly the White Nationalist Front) who has a large swastika tattooed on his chest, was banned from Facebook and Twitter in April as part of a crackdown on extremist content and “organized hate” that followed the New Zealand mosque attack that left 51 people dead. The blog for Goudreau’s group, however, is still online and active.
In a brief cross-examination of Warman, Goudreau asked whether they had ever communicated directly or indirectly. Warman responded that they had not spoken directly or met in person, but that he felt the posts were an indirect form of communication between them — and that the posts were threatening.
“What makes you think that I am any particular danger besides these supposed internet postings?” Goudreau asked Warman.
“Because you’ve engaged in threats of violence, and counselling violence, over the past at least eight years that I’ve seen communications by you posted online, whether in person, through Youtube videos, or through social media postings,” Warman replied.
“If I go to the posting itself, you openly advocate shooting high-value targets, as you describe them, in the wake of a terrorist attack that left 51 people dead. So, if I think that there is the likelihood of copycat violence taking place in the wake of those kinds of attacks and then you go and advocate that specific thing, including shooting me and my colleagues twice in the head to ensure that we’re dead, that makes me reasonably fearful for my safety.”