TORONTO (Jan. 15)
Jim Keegstra, a high school teacher and former Mayor of Eckville, Alberta, who taught his classes that the Holocaust was a hoax, has been charged by Alberta’s Attorney General with wilfull dissemination of racial hatred. He was summoned last week to appear in court in Red Deer Alberta on February I to choose trial by judge or by jury.
Keegstra was dismissed from from his teaching post last year after parents complained that he was indoctrinating their children with racism. He contended that Jews were the root of all evil and were conspiring to control nations and the world economy.
Charges of violating Canada’s anti-hate laws were brought against Keegstra as the result of an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police force, begun last August. He was charged under Section 231, subsection 2 of the criminal code. The law is on the books since 1970 but there have been no convictions to date. Keegstra faces a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Keegstra was defeated in a re-election bid in Eckville last year. Although his anti-Semitism was not made a campaign issue in the town where there are no Jews, voters clearly resented the notoriety which tarnished the image of Eckville. Keegstra, however, remains an official of the Social Credit Party, a populist movement that once espoused anti-Semitic views but is said to have renounced them in recent years.