Nineteen months after an initial complaint, the RCMP announced that hate crime charges would be laid against Travis Patron. Patron, who resides in Saskatchewan, heads the federally registered Canadian Nationalist Party.
This individual has been on our radar for some time as the self-proclaimed leader of a group described as 'far right and white nationalist'.
In July 2020 CAEF filed a complaint with the police, as did a number of other groups, concerned about his hate-filled rhetoric. This is what we told the RCMP at the time:
The [initial complaint in June 2019] was that Patron had published or caused to be published a video of himself speaking about “that parasitic tribe” filled with canards and other derogatory remarks often used to promote hate against Jewish individuals and the Jewish community. He concludes with a call to “remove these people once and for all from our country”. This video can still be found on the party’s website and social media sites as well as on social media personal to Travis Patron himself.
On July 12, , the video was reposted and a flyer appeared – see (https://www.facebook.com/pg/NationalistCA/posts/). While the flyer repeats much of the hate-laden rhetoric of the video, it adds one telling comment "The people we speak of are not truly 'Jews.' They are liars and deceivers attempting to shield themselves from criticism using a false identity. Let us be aware and expose them for what they are: a tribe of parasites. The flyer ends with the inciting call to “remove these people once and for all from our country”.
More than a year has passed since the initial complaint and Patron has seemingly upped his attacks. Given the status of the Canadian Nationalist Party as a registered political party, and considering the present rise in antisemitism we are witnessing online and across this country, the urgency to take action and to complete the investigation into charges under s. 319(2) of the Criminal Code for the wilful promotion of hatred against the Jewish community is clear.
CAEF also reached out to Elections Canada, concerned about the platform espoused by this party when we were informed that the group had adhered to all formal requirements for registration at that time and that it had no jurisdiction.
This is what EC told us:
"The Canada Elections Act (Act), as drafted and enacted by Parliament, is agnostic when it comes to ideology or platform. There is no mechanism under the Act allowing the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to reject a new party’s application solely based on their ideology. There is also no legal mechanism that allows the CEO to deregister a party for any reason not explicitly listed in the Act. These include the failure to file specific documents and annual updates with Elections Canada.
There are other pieces of legislation and frameworks that regulate the behaviour and discourse of individuals and groups in Canada, including the Criminal Code, but these are outside Elections Canada’s mandate."
Well, it has now come to be that Patron has in fact been charged with a hate crime, specifically, the wilful promotion of hate to an identifiable group, pursuant to section 319(2) of the Canadian Criminal Court. Apparently the charge relates to the initial complaint in 2019 (after the Attorney General of the province consented to the charge as the Criminal Code requires). Meanwhile the RCMP indicate that four additional complaints between April and July 2020 (including CAEF's) regarding additional antisemitic/hate speech videos by Patron are still being investigated.
It is reported that he appeared in court by telephone for his initial hearing, when he questioned the jurisdiction of the Canadian courts over him -- a claim that he has tried to make in other forums but was rejected by the presiding judge here. He was released from custody and is scheduled to appear next in court on April 14, 2021 in his hometown of Carlyle, Saskatchewan.
Patron is also now facing assault related charges in a 2019 incident when he allegedly attacked two women.
Promoting hate is a relatively rare charge in Canada and has proven to be a difficult case to successfully prosecute given the required elements that must be proven. Despite the complaints against Patron, he has continued to make concerning comments that will be relevant as the investigation proceeds. It is important to keep in mind that in recent years there have been convictions for antisemitic hate crimes - a BC man was convicted of hate crimes regarding online antisemitic postings and a Toronto individual was sentenced regarding a printed publication distributed in a number of neighborhoods over many years for example.
We commend the RCMP for moving forward on this case and will continue to monitor and speak out as we demand justice and an end to Jew Hatred!P