A human-rights complaint has been filed against Canada Post and the federal government for the delivery of a tabloid that critics say prints hate speech to an east Toronto neighbourhood.
The complaint was filed with the office of the Canadian Human Rights Commission on Friday by Ottawa-based lawyer Richard Warman, who alleges Canada Post is in violation of human-rights law by refusing to cancel Your Ward News, a Beaches-based tabloid he says prints racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic content.
Mr. Warman initially sent written complaints to Public Services Minister Judy Foote and Canada Post president Deepak Chopra in March, but says distribution continued.
He referred to the publication as “racist, Holocaust-denying, misogynistic garbage” and said it was “disgraceful and disgusting” that Canada Post continues to expose residents and Canada Post employees to the offensive content.
According to the publication’s website, the tabloid is delivered to 300,000 residences and is read by more than one million people.
Jill Fairbrother lives at one of those residences, and has been receiving the publication for nearly two years. She says she initially just threw them out. Now, she is one of several community members and activists who have formed a coalition to try to have the delivery stopped.
The spring 2016 issue of Your Ward News includes content such as, “Communist Jews murdered over 50 million Christians in the Soviet Union,” and features an illustration of Bernie Farber, the executive director of the Mosaic Institute, on its cover dropping silver coins into the palm of Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts, who is illustrated as a Roman giving the Nazi salute.
A spokesperson for Canada Post said it takes the matter seriously. “We will consider the contents once we have had a chance to review the formal complaint.”
Canada Post has previously said it is responsible for delivering the mail, not for the mail’s content.
Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), says union members should not be subjected to material of this kind in the workplace, yet Canada Post continues to let it circulate.
“They seem to be worried about infringing on the rights of racists,” he said. “There are a lot of things that could be done, like covering the material up with an envelope. Or better yet, calling it what it is – hate material – and stop letting it circulate.”
The CUPW filed a grievance with Canada Post earlier this month for being forced to deliver the publication.
Your Ward News editor James Sears says he stands by the publication and critics that don’t agree can “toss our paper in the trash.”