TORONTO (Oct. 31)
Jim Keegstra is no longer Mayor of Eckville. The former high school teacher who taught his classes that the Holocaust never occurred and that Jews were behind all evil in the world, was decisively defeated for re-election in the Alberta farming community 65 miles southwest of the provincial capital, Edmonton.
The vote was 278-123 in favor of Keegstra’s challenger, Harold Leach, with 92 percent of the town’s eligible voters casting ballots. While Keegstra’s blatant anti-Semitism was not an issue in the campaign — there are no Jews in Eckville — it definitely hovered in the background. Townspeople resented the adverse publicity generated when Keegstra’s views were exposed to the world media a year ago and felt he had tarnished the reputation of Eckville.
Keegstra, 53, was fired from his teaching job last December after parents complained that he was indoctrinating their children with race hatred. One parent instrumental in his ouster, Margaret Andrews, was one of the five new members elected to the Town Council. She is the first Eckville woman ever to serve on that body.
Keegstra is a member of the Social Credit Party, a populist party once considered anti-Semitic but now said to reject such views. Nevertheless, he has been reinstated as an executive vice president of the party from which he was temporarily dropped last year.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently completed a report following an investigation of Keegstra and he could face criminal proceedings for publicly promoting hatred of Jews if charges against him are pressed. The disciplinary committee of the Alberta Teacher’s Association is considering a recommendation to Alberta’s Minister of Education, David King, to revoke Keegstra’s teachers license.