The editor of a virulently bigoted and misogynistic Canadian publication was just sentenced to a year in prison for promoting hate.
In January, James Sears, 55, and his publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, 77, were found guilty of hate crimes connected to the quarterly publication of Your Ward News —a small newspaper published in Ontario and online. The Canadian Press reports Sears attempted to have a new trial reopened over claims his lawyer had intentionally lost, but the judge denied that bid and instead sentenced him.
Sears and St. Germain were charged with two counts of wilful promotion of hatred against identifiable groups (one against Jewish Canadians and one against women).
Sears has a complicated history that includes being stripped of a medical licence for “sexual impropriety with his patients,” working as a pick-up artist dubbed Dimitri the Lover, and, of course, becoming a professional bigot with Your Ward News. According to reporters in the courtroom, Sears was led away in handcuffs.
Following numerous complaints about its hateful conduct, Canada Post ceased to deliver it in 2016 and in 2018 the federal government made the ban permanent. One anti-racism activist told VICE that Your Ward News was around before Sears joined and it only took a truly hateful turn when the 55-year-old jumped on.
The publication was well known for targeting Canadian minorities and communists. Sears and St. Germain carried on publishing it right up until the guilty verdict, with the last edition coming eight days before Judge Richard Blouin made his decision known. You can read the full decision above.
In his decision, the judge wrote that the two “undeniably” glorified Hitler and celebrated the past persecution of the Jews, who they portrayed as having Satanic horns and drinking the blood of children. The judge wrote that Sears and St. Germaine directed some of their most intense ire towards women, who they portrayed as lesser than men.
“Any position communicated that essentially denies that an entire half of the world's population are human beings is so outrageously reprehensible that the word ‘hate’ is starkly inadequate,” wrote Blouin in his decision.
Political strategist and Your Ward News whistleblower Warren Kinsella told VICE that he and the others who worked against the publication are “grateful” to the judge, saying it took “many years to reach this point, but an important milestone has been achieved.”
“Extreme expressions of hatred against women, against Jews, against gays and lesbians, against persons of colour—all of which Your Ward News did over and over and over—will not be accepted in Canadian society,” Kinsella told VICE. “This judgement is noteworthy because of that.”
Michael Mostyn, the CEO of the Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada, echoed this sentiment and said he was “satisfied” with the sentence.
“The punishment fits the crime, and should help to deter similar hateful publications today and in the future,” said Mostyn.
The filing of the charges and guilty decision were hailed as groundbreaking as they were the first that focused on women as a target of hatred. Lisa Kinsella, a lobbyist who worked against Your Ward News alongside her husband Warren, told VICE that it was a “truly historic decision” at the time of the guilty verdict.
Like others before him, Sears claimed that his paper was satirical and the prosecution against him was politically motivated.
St. Germaine will be sentenced next week.
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