R. v. Keegstra

James Keegstra was charged with the promotion of hatred under Section 281(2) of the Criminal Code for teaching high school students social theory based on hatred of Jews and Judaism. Keegstra argued that the Charter guaranteed his freedom of expression. The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the Criminal Code did not violate freedom of expression and Keegstra was then convicted. He appealed to the Alberta Court of Appeal, which reversed the conviction and section 281(2) was struck down.

Donald Andrews and Robert Smith of the Nationalist Party of Canada regularly published in the Nationalist Reporter white supremacist views. In 1985, they were each convicted under Section 281(2) of the criminal code. They launched a constitutional challenge in the Ontario Court of Appeal and their appeal was dismissed. In 1989, the Supreme Court of Canada heard their appeals.

LEAF, as well as the League for the Human Rights of B’Nai Brith; the Canadian Jewish Congress; Inter-Amicus; and Attorneys General of Canada, intervened to defend the constitutionality of the laws prohibiting the promotion of hate. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed that, since hate propaganda violates equality rights, criminalizing expressions of hate was constitutional.

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