Far-right Leader Travis Patron Charged Over Video Calling for Jews to be Removed

The leader of a Canadian far-right party has been charged over an anti-Semitic video in which he called for the Jewish community to be removed "once and for all" from the country.

The video of Travis Patron, leader of the fringe white nationalist Canadian Nationalist Party, was first reported to authorities in June 2019 by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN) over a video in which he called Jewish people a "parasitic tribe" and expressed a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

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, perhaps more than anything, is remove these people, once and for all, from our country."

After the initial report, the Carlyle Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) launched an investigation with the help of the Saskatchewan RCMP major crimes unit, the Saskatchewan RCMP National Security Section and the British Columbia RCMP hate crimes unit.

The Carlyle RCMP have now charged Patron with willfully promoting hatred to an identifiable group. RCMP said they are continuing to investigate four additional reports of anti-Semitic videos alleged to involve Patron which they received in April and July 2020.

Speaking to Global News, Evan Balgord Executive director of CAHN, expressed concerns that a charge was finally brought against the far-right figurehead more than 600 days after they made a criminal complaint.

"We're grateful it happened. It's ridiculous it took this long," Balgord said.

"Between now and then, Travis has continued to do anti-Semitic posts, make videos where he's giving a Roman salute, what you and I would recognize and call a Nazi salute."

During his first court appearance, Patron questioned the legitimacy of the allegations against him.

"I do not understand what right Her Majesty the Queen has to police my speech in this matter" he said, reports Regina Leader-Post. "Your administration does not have the authority to proceed in these matters."

Patron is due to appear in court on March 11 over an unrelated assault charge. He is scheduled to next face the promotion of hate charge at a court in Carlyle on April 14.

Jewish groups have praised the decision to bring a criminal charge against Patron.

"Canadians are one step closer to seeing justice being served," Michael Levitt, President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) said in a statement to Newsweek.

"This is an especially big win for the Jewish community, which has year after year remained the most victimized group when it comes to hate crimes and the target of a growing number of hate groups in Canada and around the world."

"It is unacceptable for any individual, let alone the leader of a so-called political party, to promote such hatred against a minority group and call for their removal from a country."

The FSWC also filed a criminal hate speech complaint with the RCMP and attorney general in Saskatchewan over a flier posted on the Canadian Nationalist Party social media pages which quotes the video and refers to Jewish people as "liars and deceivers."

Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), said: "We commend the RCMP for responding to Travis Patron's use of social media to promote hate against Jewish Canadians.

"We also commend our colleagues at the Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal who have been working on this issue for some time. Patron's lengthy rant about 'swindlers,' 'snakes,' and 'inside manipulators'—as well as a subsequent reference to Jews and 'the synagogue of Satan'—make his antisemitic agenda crystal clear."

CIJA added it has registered its concerns about the Canadian Nationalist Party with Elections Canada.

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(File photo) Some 2,000 people attend a rally to support religious tolerance after a series of recent anti-Semitic attacks struck synagogues and homes March 24, 2004 at the Lipa Green Centre in Toronto, Canada. Travis Patron, leader of the far-right Canadian Nationalist Party, has been charged wilful promotion of hatred over alleged anti-Semitic videos posted online. Donald Weber