MONTREAL (JTA)— The leader of a far-right political party in Canada has been arrested and charged with willfully promoting hatred against Jews – reportedly a first for a Canadian political party.
Travis Patron, the founder and head of the Canadian Nationalist Party, or CNP, was taken into custody in the Saskatchewan town of Carlyle.
Wednesday’s arrest of Patron, 29-year-old native of that province, stemmed from a 2019 social network video called “Beware the Parasitic Tribe” that news reports said cast Jews as “swindlers” and “snakes.”
Patron also has a social media history of denying the Holocaust, according to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
In his video, Patron claimed that Jewish people “infiltrate the media, they hijack the central bank, and they infect the body politic like a parasite,” and “what we need to do … is remove these people, once-and-for-all, from our country.”
Last year, Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre filed an official complaint against Patron with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Saskatchewan attorney general.
Patron, who founded the Canadian Nationalist Party more than three years ago, is scheduled to appear next in court on April 14. The maximum penalty for the offense is two years in prison.
CNP is registered with Elections Canada as a political party that can run candidates in an election, but it won’t get federal political party status until it has elected members of Parliament. That seems unlikely in the near future since its three candidates in 2019 garnered only a few hundred votes.
Jewish groups including the Wiesenthal Centre, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith Canada praised the news of his arrest.