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Canadian Jewish Congress Submits Proposals to Govt. on Hate Propaganda

September 21, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Amendments to the Canadian criminal code, intended to put teeth into Canadian laws outlawing oral or written dissemination of hate statements or literature directed against any “class of persons,” were proposed to Minister of Justice Davie Fulton today by the Canadian Jewish Congress.

A delegation representing the Congress, led by Monroe Abbey, chairman of the national executive, met with Mr. Fulton, and submitted the proposed amendments in writing.

One of the clauses would authorize courts to sentence to two years’ imprisonment any one found guilty who “publishes or circulates, or causes to be published or circulated, orally or in writing, any statement, tale or news, intended or calculated to incite violence or provoke disorder against any class of persons or against any person as a member of any class in Canada.”

A section of the newly amended criminal code would read, according to the Congress proposal, as follows: “Injury or mischief to a public interest shall include promoting disaffection among or ill-will or hostility between different classes of persons in Canada.”

The Congress memorandum given to the Minister of Justice expresses “our concern with the provisions (of the Criminal Code) with regard to resort to statements or allegations, whether true or false, designed to incite to violence against any class of persons or to provoke disorders against them.” The memorandum emphasizes:

“Such statements can find no justification in any belief in their truth or validity by the speaker or writer. If his design is to provoke disorder, he can find no protection in any of the freedoms which we are all sworn to uphold.”

The Congress memorandum pointed out that the Dominion of Canada, by ratifying the United Nations Genocide Convention, had determined to “have a look at its criminal law so as to determine whether it can deal effectively even with such ‘loose talk’ about future needs for concentration camps in Canada in which one man engaged over the medium of a national television network and which might well be repeated by someone who would have to be taken more seriously.”

The memorandum also pointed out that the Canadian Bill of Rights “seeks to guarantee inter alia the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of person, etc., without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, color or religion.”

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