Canadian Nationalist Party leader charged with wilful promotion of hate
Travis Patron charged by police after alleged anti-Semitic video posted on YouTube
The RCMP have charged the leader of the Canadian Nationalist Party after he posted an allegedly anti-Semitic video on YouTube.
Travis Patron, 29, of Redvers, Sask., has been charged with wilful promotion of hate in connection with a video titled Beware the Parasitic Tribe. The video refers to "inside manipulators" who infiltrate the media and the central bank.
The RCMP began investigating after the video was flagged by the Canadian Anti-Hate Network in June 2019.
Since then, police have received four additional reports of new videos and flyers issued by Patron. Police are still investigating those reports.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center had raised alarms about Patron's videos, stating that the language he was using was dangerous and hateful.
"He's promoting some of the most vile and dangerous anti-Semitic tropes in history," said Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Kirzner-Roberts said Patron "refers to Jews as parasites. He accuses Jews of being invaders, of controlling the media, the banking system."
"He has called for the removal of Jews from Canada. This is ethnic cleansing he is calling for, it's a crime against humanity," she said.
"We are pleased the RCMP have finally decided to lay charges against Mr. Patron."
Kirzner-Roberts said she hopes the charges will send a message.
"If you promote hatred or genocide against Jews or any other people in our country, you will face justice."
She said there is "unparalleled growth of anti-Semitic hate online" and that there is evidence of "escalating numbers of hate crimes being committed against the Jewish community."
Patron appears in court via phone
Patron was arrested by the RCMP on Monday and made his first court appearance on Tuesday via telephone at the provincial court in Weyburn, Sask.
He appeared in a Regina court on Wednesday afternoon, also via telephone. His next court appearance will be on April 14 in the town of Carlyle, Sask.
Patron posed a question to Provincial Court Judge James Rybchuk on Wednesday.
"I am respectfully asking if charges have been formally laid and if so under what authority. Your administration does not have the authority to proceed on these matters," Patron told the court.
"I feel otherwise," Rybchuk said.
The executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Evan Balgord, said the charges should have come sooner.
Taking "601 days to lay charges for this offence ... is far too many," he said.
"We have rang the bell at every level. It is past time he's charged."
Balgord's group filed the criminal complaint against Patron. He alleged that since then, Patron has continued to promote hate.
"It's about time he's rotting in a jail cell."
Criminal charges don't affect party's status
Patron founded the Canadian Nationalist Party in 2017, and it became an officially registered party in 2019.
A spokesperson for Elections Canada said a party's status is not affected if its leader is charged or convicted of a crime. However, a person who is incarcerated cannot run for office.
Balgord called it the first "Neo-Nazi party" in Canada since the 1930s and said being a registered party gives Patron access to donations and voter information.
"It means that, in part, federal public funds were going to support his party as part of a contribution rebate program. It also means Elections Canada handed him a copy of the voters' list, which means Travis Patron had access to the name, address and date of birth of every Canadian."
The president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) commended the RCMP for "responding to Travis Patron's use of social media to promote hate against Jewish Canadians."
"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 anti-Semitic agenda crystal clear," Shimon Koffler Fogel said.
Fogel said the CIJA and others reached out to Saskatchewan's justice minister last July "urging him" to provide the required consent for Patron's prosecution.
Meanwhile, Patron is facing a separate charge of assault causing bodily harm. He is scheduled to appear in court in Regina next month.
And on Feb. 9, Patron lost an appeal against the City of Saskatoon. He argued that he should be able to represent the Canadian Nationalist Party in court. The party now owes the city $1,500.
- A previous version of this story said the Canadian Nationalist Party had official party status in Canada. It does not. In fact, it is registered as a party, but does not have official party status, which requires sitting MPs.Feb 18, 2021 9:24 AM CT
With files from Heidi Atter and Adam Hunter