TORONTO (Aug. 18)
White supremacist John Ross Taylor, whose conviction on charges of running a dial-a-racist-message service was upheld by Canada’s Supreme Court last December, has yet to be arrested and is openly flouting the law against hate propaganda, Jewish groups here charge.
The eight-month delay in enforcing the Supreme Court’s judgment is “completely unnecessary,” according to Mark Sandler, senior counsel of B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights.
Further delay, he said, “undermines the deterrent value of the jail sentence and may encourage hate-mongers to defy the law without fear of repercussions.”
Taylor, 79, was spotted Aug. 13 in Edmonton, Alberta, acting as chief adviser to a colleague of the extreme right, Terry Long, at an inquiry of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Long, the Canadian leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Aryan Nations, has been charged with inciting hatred by burning a cross at an “Aryan Fest” in Provost, Alberta, last September.
In 1989, the Canadian Human Rights Commission ordered Long to cease playing taped hate messages over the telephone.
But it was Taylor who over a decade earlier introduced the phone as a vehicle for preaching racial hatred. In 1979, the Human Rights Commission ordered him to desist from his telephone tirade against Jews, blacks and immigrants.
Taylor was given a one-year jail term in 1981 for ignoring that order, convicted again in 1984 for contempt and fined $4,300. He served 40 days of that 12-month term.
The balance of the sentence was stayed, pending an appeal on grounds that the conviction impinged on his freedom of speech.
A ‘JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTE’
Taylor lost his Ontario provincial court appeal in 1987. His case was ultimately heard by Canada’s highest court in December 1989.
In a 4-3 decision brought down a year later, the Supreme Court justices upheld the constitutionality of the Criminal Code, saying the restriction against taped hate propaganda is a reasonable limitation of free speech.
Taylor was not present in Ottawa on Dec. 13, when the ruling was handed down.
A spokeswoman for the Toronto-based Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, which initially complained about Taylor’s telephone messages in 1978, was stunned when told that he had not yet begun to serve his jail term.
“I just assumed he had been arrested last December,” Helen Smolack said.
Max Yalden, chairman of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said the agency recently requested that the Edmonton Sheriff’s Office track down Taylor and serve him with legal papers. He said jurisdictional disputes between the commission and the Justice Department over who should apprehend Taylor had held up the case.
But in a statement, B’nai Brith Canada questioned whether the Human Rights Commission would have acted without its prodding.
Ian Kagedan, B’nai Brith’s director of government relations, wrote to Yalden on July 5 expressing concern that the commission had not yet taken steps to have Taylor serve his sentence.