Friday, July 08, 2005

Ahenakew says he will appeal guilty verdict

I wrote about John Gibson earlier today. On an ironic note, I just saw that Daniel Ahenakew was convicted of promoting hatred today in Saskatchewan.

Read the news story here

Basically, Ahenakew is the former head of the Assembly of First Nations and a member of the Order of Canada (he was notified recently that he is being stripped of the honor, something which has only occured once before). Since the Order of Canada was created, only one other person has ever been stripped of the honour. (Allan Eagleson for Fraud).

In 2002 he started making speeches wherein he stated that he believed that Jews were the cause of the Second World War. His statements were wild, and filled with hatred. During the trial he was asked:

"So you still believe today, in 2005, that the Jewish people started the Second World War?" Crown prosecutor Brent Klause asked Ahenakew.

"Yes," he responded.

Ahenakew was charged under the Criminal Code with wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group.

The other person of note I can immediately recall being tried under this law was Ernst Zundel, who was eventually extradited to Germany.

Sadly, his punishment was merely a fine of $1000.00. He's now 71 years old, and hopefully being totally discredited and exposed will bring some sort of punishment as well. From what I understand, he has largely been ostracized by the First Nations community.

It's not a law which is often used in Canada. Freedom of speech is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights. But hatred is not a form of protected speech.