Dr. James Sears Arrested At Gunpoint & Sent Back to Prison for Accepting Free Speech Award
VANCOUVER, February 23, 2022. Dr. James Sears, editor of the satirical Toronto tabloid YOUR WARD NEWS, was convicted on two counts of “wilfully spreading hate” against two privileged groups — women and Jews — under Canada’s notorious “hate law”, Section 319 of the Criminal Code. He was convicted for writing satire — telling witty jokes about the privileged groups — and, although a first time offender, was sentenced to the maximum — a year in jail.
He was released on early parole, having served four months of his sentence, on October 14. Now, he’s back in prison for having accepted the George Orwell Free Speech Award, on November 18, from the Canadian Association for Free Expression.
“I received a phone call this morning from Dr. Sears,” says Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Experience. He was arrested at gunpoint by three Toronto policemen in the parking lot behind the office of his parole officer whom he had just visited for his regular report. “He was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant, ” he told me. “This is certainly legal overkill and drama for a non-violent offender.”
Because he would not take the COVID test, Dr. Sears was kept in solitary isolation for three weeks. He had substantial funds on him when arrested and wanted to get a phone card to make calls. The prison took over two weeks to process the paperwork to get him the phone card.
His charge was “breach of probation.” Dr. Sears appeared by phone before the parole board on February 17. His offence was failure “to be of good behaviour.” He was informed by a very hostile female member of the board that his offence was “having accepted the George Orwell Free Speech Award from a known White supremacist — me!” [I’m not.] Furthermore, “the award had been started by Doug Christie, a far right lawyer, he was told.”
He’ll be released on April 24. The Canadian Association for Free Expression has already held one protest outside the prison, on February 13 and will be holding more. “It’s important that we rub this hypocritical country’s nose in the mud for holding dissident writers as political prisoners, while smugly preaching freedom to countries like Russia,” Mr. Fromm explains.
“What has been done to Dr. Sears is vindictive and a disgrace,” Mr. Fromm adds. “Doug Christie warned back in the 1980s that the ‘hate law’ wasn’t about ‘hate’ it was about suppressing political or religious opinions. That’s CAFE’s view too. Parliament passed the censorship law in 1971 after four decades of lobbying by the old Canadian Jewish Congress. It has never been used against anyone on the left side of the political spectrum. It has only once been used against a non-White, Chief David Ahenakew and his alleged crime was reporting comments critical of Jews, It’s purely political and it’s censorship or silencing of political dissent disliked by powerful minorities.”
Not surprisingly, two of Canada’s fiercest supporters of censorship, the partially government-funded Canadian Anti-Hate Network, headed up by former Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber, and the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith have applauded Dr. Sears’ being returned to prison.
The Toronto Sun (February 23, 2022) reported: ” ‘We were highly concerned about Sears’ early release on parole when we saw no evidence of rehabilitation or any remorse on his part,’ CEO Michael Mostyn said. ‘It therefore comes as no surprise that he is alleged to have breached the terms of his parole and was reincarcerated. Sears should have served out his full sentence if we really mean to promote the objectives of sentencing, which in this case is deterring horrific hate speech.”
“Horrific hate speech?” Paul Fromm scoffs. “Dr. Sears is a gifted writer. He was writing satire. However, history shows us, that it is writers, not thugs, whom totalitarian minded regime and thought control freaks fear the most,” he added.
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