Hon. Lucienne Robillard,
Minister of Immigration,
House of Commons,
Dear Mme Robillard:
We are writing to express our concerns about intensive lobbying efforts by the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith to pressure you to prevent Minister Louis Farrakhan from entering Canada to address a meeting in Toronto, September 15.
Established in 1981, we are a group dedicated to protecting the freedom of speech and freedom of expression provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Censorship groups like the Canadian Jewish Congress argue that Minister Farrakhan has made statements critical of Jews and others and, therefore, is likely to violate Cnaada’s “hate laws” — Section 319 of the Criminal Code. In fact, mere criticism of another group doesn’t constitute hate. Minister Farrkhan has never been charged, much less convicted in Canada of spreading hate. To ban him entry into Canada would be an affront to our Anglo-Saxon tradition of justice. It would be presuming guilt. Indeed, religious expression is explicitly excluded from the provisions of Section 319.
Additionally, it would be an act of rank discrimination against Minister Farrakhan on the basis of his religious views.
Unfortunately, the enemies of free speech and free thought in this country too often resort to verbal overkill and wild exaggeration in trying to smear those with whom they disagree. Labelling Minister Farrakhan a would-be “hatemonger” is a glaring example of just such extremism in the cause of censorship.
While many of our supporters might part company with Minister Farrakhan on some of his views, we passionately uphold his right to come to Canada and be heard by his followers and by those who are curious about his message.
Sincerely yours, Paul Fromm Director