VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Dec. 24)
Police in Winnipeg, Manitoba, say they have broken the back of a growing Ku Klux Kian chapter in the Canadian province after arresting two of its leaders.
The two men — William James Harcus, 21, and Theron Maurice Skryba, 25 — were charged under Section 318 of the Canadian Criminal Code with advocating and promoting genocide, between August and December of this year.
The arrests were the result of a yearlong investigation that had as many as 20 undercover detectives infiltrate three Klan cells.
“The KKK is insidious. Its presence must be eradicated,” said Joseph Wilder, chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Praising the work of the police and the Manitoba attorney general, Wilder added, “The dogged determination of the Winnipeg police in investigating the KKK’s activities should serve as an example for other law-enforcement agencies in Canada.”
This is the first time that Section 318 has been used under Canadian law. It reads, in part: “Everyone who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offense.”
“Genocide is defined as an attempt to destroy an identifiable group,” Wilder explained. “They have to advocate killing members of a group or deliberately inflicting on them conditions of life apt to bring about its destruction.”
He said the maximum term of imprisonment after conviction is five years.
Wilder believes that it is very important for Jews and other minorities to see that the actions of hatemongers are taken seriously in Canada.
“We consider Section 318 important and serious, particularly in light of the Nazi Holocaust,” he said. “All minority groups must be protected from vilification, especially from those who advocate their destruction.”
The CJC in Winnipeg knew for some time about this KKK cell, its activities and one of the men arrested. Two months ago, the CJC met with the authorities regarding this particular KKK group.
The Winnipeg police said that statements by Klan members were aimed at Jews, blacks, Indians, Eskimos and gays. The Manitoba government has shut down a Klan hotline located in Winnipeg that played a variety of messages attacking members of these groups.