MONTREAL (Jul. 27)
The Canadian Jewish Congress urged Canadian authorities today to either prosecute distributors of hate material under present law or act to strengthen existing laws to make such prosecution possible.
The statement was issued by Sydney M. Harris and J. S. Midanik for the National and Central Region Community Relations Committees of the Canadian Jewish Congress. It summarized the outcome of meetings of CJC leaders with such Canadian authorities as Attorney General Wishart and Justice Minister Guy Favreau following the flooding of major Canadian cities with anti-Jewish and anti-Negro material.
The CJC officials said that a meeting with the Attorney General had buttressed a long-standing belief, "confirmed by eminent legal counsel," that present laws were insufficient "to prevent the distribution of hate literature, a view also affirmed by Magistrate C. O. Bick, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Commission;"
The CJC leaders added that they had been informed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had investigated the problem and submitted a report on their findings to the Justice Minister. "We feel strongly that it is now up to the Minister of Justice, on the basis of the facts received, either himself to authorize prosecutions, if in his judgment the present laws are adequate, or to proceed to introduce amendments to the Criminal Code," the CJC leaders said.
They drew attention to the fact that such amendments had been proposed "by broadly based and representative organizations throughout Canada, including the Canadian Legion, the National Council of Women, the Canadian Labor Congress, the United Church, and others."
The statement recalled that there had been a recent public "outcry" against the publication of crime comics and that such publication was outlawed by legislation. The Jewish leaders asserted that "we and many others regard hate propaganda as at least as injurious and offensive as crime comics, if not more so, and certainly as properly subject to similar sanctions."
The CJC officials also said that the statements by Magistrate Bick, and by the Attorney General "have only emphasized the need for legislation, for police authorities are powerless to act without proper legislative authority. The next move is up to the Federal Government and Parliament."