Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Legal Expert Doubts Anti-Immigration Flyers Could Prompt Criminal Charges

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Legal Expert Doubts Anti-Immigration Flyers Could Prompt Criminal Charges

Article excerpt

Doubt cast on possible charges over flyers

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TORONTO - An anti-immigration flyer has angered Ontario's premier and prompted calls for charges, but a successful prosecution under Canada's hate crime laws faces an uphill climb, a legal expert suggested Sunday.

The flyers targeted the Sikh community in Brampton, a city just west of Toronto. The flyers prompted the head of an Ontario Sikh group to call Sunday for criminal charges against those responsible for distributing them.

Ranjit Dulay said charges might deter others from distributing such literature in future.

"Otherwise... in the future other people are going to start doing that. And they're going to be hard to control," said Dulay, chairman of the Ontario Sikhs & Gurdwara Council.

Another Sikh group, the World Sikh Organization of Canada, also condemned the flyers but expressed doubt on whether they qualify as a hate crime.

The leaflets show a black and white picture of a group of Caucasians above a separate photograph of a group of Sikhs with captions that read "from this...to this..." Underneath the two pictures is a caption: "Is This What You Want?"

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne railed against the flyers, calling them "hateful" in a statement issued late Saturday. She repeated her comments at a Sikh celebration in Toronto on Sunday.

"They can't be tolerated. That kind of divisive action really is not consistent with who we are as Canadians," Wynne said at the Sikh Khalsa day event.

She refused to speculate on whether the flyers could bring hate crime charges, saying she didn't want to interfere in a police investigation that is underway on the matter.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney, who also attended the Sikh celebration, said the flyers are far outside mainstream Canadian opinion.

"The fact that this is a story demonstrates how rare and how unacceptable such expressions are. I think this stuff is on the fringe of the fringe," he said, while also declining comment on their legality.

Brampton has a population of 521,000 people, about 200,000 of whom have a South Asian background, according to 2011 census data on the city's website.

Peel Region police, the force responsible for Brampton, said investigators are trying to determine if the flyers could be considered a hate crime of any sort. …

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