Canadian Jewish officials have expressed their satisfaction with rulings against two neo-Nazis here.
But Jewish leaders remain frustrated with the federal government’s postponement of a deportation hearing for an accused Nazi war criminal.
The Supreme Court of Canada last week reinstated the 1992 conviction of James Keegstra, which had found him guilty of promoting hatred against Jews.
Keegstra, a former high school teacher in Alberta who now works as a mechanic, taught his students that jews are “treacherous,” “subversive” and “money- loving” and are responsible for most of the evil in the world.
He also taught students that the Holocaust was a hoax.
Proceedings against Keegstra began in 1984.
Legal experts and others said the court’s 9-0 ruling affirms that Canada’s anti-hate legislation is constitutionally valid.
“There is no question that this is a historic decision,” said Mark Sandler, Ontario legal counsel for the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada.
The ruling shows that “Canada is not a haven for hatemongers,” Sandler added.
A lower court in Alberta still needs to determine whether Keegstra should pay the $3,000 he was originally fined.
The maximum penalty for his crime – the willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group – is two years in jail.
Meanwhile, Canadian immigration officials recently detained Oliver Bode, the 29-year-old publisher of a neo-Nazi newspaper in Germany, as he was entering Canada through Pearson International Airport in Toronto.
Bode apparently was carrying a suitcase of racist videos for Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.
At the hearing that followed, at which Bode was represented by Zundel, authorities issued a deportation order against Bode.
“This was a textbook example of how the system is supposed to work,” said Bernie Farber, national director of community relations at the Canadian Jewish Congress.
However, Jewish officials were not so pleased with the federal government when it again postponed the deportation hearing of an accused Nazi war criminal who had already been given six months to prepare for an appearance in court.
Konrad Kalejs, 82, an Australian citizen, is scheduled to appear in court in May to show why he should not be deported from Canada, which he re-entered six months ago.
Kalejs was a key officer in the notorious Arajs Kommando unit of the World War II Latvian Security Police.
Kalejs has already been deported from the United States.
In 1993, a U.S. appeals court upheld a 1985 deportation decision in which he was identified as a high-ranking officer in the mobile killing unit, which murdered tens of thousands of Latvian Jews, Gypsies and Communists during the war.