CAFE Backs Freedom of the Press & Free Speech As YOUR WARD NEWS Hearing Opens in Toronto

CAFE Backs Freedom of the Press & Free Speech As YOUR WARD NEWS Hearing Opens in Toronto

Temporary ban on delivery of controversial newspaper under review

BY NEWS STAFF

POSTED APR 25, 2017 4:48 PM EDT

LAST UPDATED APR 25, 2017 AT 5:04 PM EDT

Procedures have begun for Board of Review hearings over a controversial newspaper that began appearing in mailboxes across Toronto last year.

In June 2016, Canada Post was ordered by the federal government to prohibit delivery of Your Ward News, a publication that sparked allegations of racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and hate. Judy Foote, the minister responsible for Canada Post, issued the interim prohibitory order under the Canada Post Corporation Act.

James Sears, the publication’s editor-in-chief appealed that order and, as procedure under the Act dictates, Foote appointed a Board of Review consisting of three members to consider whether Canada Post should legally distribute the paper.

Over the last few months, members of the public had the opportunity to make submissions in the hopes of participating in the review.

It has been a divided issue encompassing a debate between proponents of freedom of speech and opponents of alleged hate speech. Here’s what some players on both sides had to say as the proceedings began Tuesday.

 

IN SUPPORT OF DISTRIBUTION:

Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression:

Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression, on April 25, 2017. CITYNEWS

“This is an incredibly arbitrary and ruthless power all because some politically-correct people didn’t like what’s in Your Ward News. Tough. People should have the right to publish what they want. If people don’t want to read, there’s a garbage can. There’s a blue box. There’s the bottom of the birdcage. What we are seeing is an effort by people who don’t like the content for whatever reason to say, ‘I don’t like it and you can’t read it and you can’t send it out.’ And that’s what this battle is all about…..We used to be a country where we said, ‘Look, I don’t agree with you. But you’ve got a right to your opinion. You’ve got a right to say it. That’s what Your Ward News is.”

 

AGAINST DISTRIBUTION:

Sara Lefton, vice president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Sara Lefton, vice president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, in Toronto on April 25, 2017. CITYNEWS

“This is pure and simple hate. When people are getting Your Ward News in the mail and they’re getting it at their doorstep, they feel unsafe, they feel targeted in their homes. There’s no place for hate like this in Canada, and we need the decision to stand so hate like this will not continue … When there are pieces of clear discrimination and hate speech that are being disseminated en masse to people’s doorsteps there should be no place for that, and that shouldn’t be allowed.”

 

IN SUPPORT OF DISTRIBUTION:

Raychyl Whyte, Board of Review applicant

CTCN_CONTROVERSIAL_PAPER_RAYCHYL_WHYTE_PIC_2017APR24-

“Someone should still have the right to freedom of speech. I myself know what it is like to have public humiliation, public shame due to libelous comments and presumptions made about me. I know all too well what that is like. However, I still support people’s rights to have their own independent free speech.”

 

AGAINST DISTRIBUTION:

Warren Kinsella, founding member, Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice

Warren Kinsella talks to CityNews in Toronto on April 25, 2017. CITYNEWS

“For the people that have been victimized by this so-called newspaper, that’s a problem. There’s Holocaust denial, there’s propagation of rape, there’s use of the N-word. There’s racism on every single page. It is the most disgusting thing. I’ve been doing this stuff for 30 years. I’ve never seen a publication like this distributed in Canada as widely as this one is and certainly not one distributed by Canada Post … We need to say Canada Post should not be distributing hatred.”

 

IN SUPPORT OF DISTRIBUTION:

Emilie Taman, co-counsel for James Sears

Emilie Taman, co-counsel for James Sears, is seen during an interview in Toronto on April 25, 2017. CITYNEWS

“It’s not something that I’m necessarily per se excited to be reading about, but I do believe in the constitutional right to free speech, and it’s one that I think is very important to be defended at every opportunity.”

 

AGAINST DISTRIBUTION:

Derek Richmond, Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Derek Richmond, of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, is seen during an interview in Toronto on April 25, 2017. CITYNEWS

“Me, personally, I didn’t deliver [Your Ward News] but many of our letter carriers did. A lot of them are very diverse and had to go through the whole day viewing swastikas, viewing hate, viewing sexist material, rape culture. It really affected a lot of our letter carriers.”