OTTAWA (Mar. 3)
A Canadian Jewish Congress delegation, citing the growing incidence of racial and religious strife in North America and other parts of the world, has urged a committee of the Canadian Senate to approve a bill that would outlaw hate propaganda in Canada. The bill had been submitted to two sessions of Parliament since 1966 but was never made law. There was opposition to it in the committee on constitutional and legal affairs when the delegation appeared.
The CJC delegation said that anti-Semitism in Canada was a sporadic but minor problem and claimed that its decline in recent years was attributable in large measure to anti-hate legislation adopted by nine of Canada’s 10 provinces. But it cited the religious conflict that erupted recently in Northern Ireland, the deteriorating Negro-white and Negro-Jewish relationships in New York City, and signs of “turbulence” in Canada as reasons why a strong measure should be enacted on a national level.
Saul Hayes, executive vice president of the CJC, warned that there was an imminently explosive situation involving Negroes and Indians and that hate propaganda unless outlawed, would add fuel to the eventual conflict. An example of that kind of propaganda was contained in anti-Semitic, anti-Negro tapes played for committee members by officials of the Bell Canada telephone company. The tapes, known as code-a-phone messages, can be dialed by any phone user. Bell Canada said it could not refuse the service to hate-mongers unless there was a law outlawing the dissemination of such propaganda. One member of the committee, Sen. David Walker, suggested that the proposed bill was “oppressive.” Louis Herman, national chairman of the CJC-B’nai B’rith community relations committee, said the bill had numerous safeguards to assure freedom of expression.
In a related matter, the Quebec Provincial Government has been urged to take action to combat hate propaganda and the activities of fascist and neo-Nazi parties in the province whose aim is to promote discrimination. The action was urged in a brief submitted by the United Council for Human Rights to Armand Maltais, Quebec Solicitor-General. The brief recommended measures to eliminate discrimination in employment, housing, public places and in other fields. It said, regarding hate propaganda, that “it is inconceivable that the Quebec Government would do nothing to combat publicity or propaganda meant to promote or inspire discrimination.” It referred specifically to such allegedly fascist parties as the Unite National and the neo-Nazi Guy de la Riviere group which operate in Quebec and which “may without the least trouble mislead the population of Quebec through hateful and false statements.”