Ontario court issues peace bond against white nationalist leader over alleged threats
Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network requested the protection order
A lawyer from a Canadian anti-racism organization has secured a peace bond against a white nationalist leader who allegedly made threats against the group online.
The Ontario Court of Justice on Monday issued the peace bond against Kevin Goudreau, head of the Canadian National Front. It orders him to remain 200 metres away from Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman, a board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, for 12 months.
Goudreau, who resides in Peterborough, Ont., is also prohibited from possessing weapons or making threats against Warman and three of his fellow board members.
"I'm incredibly relieved. It's been a long time coming," Warman told As It Happens guest Nil Köksal.
Goudreau denies making threats or inciting violence.
Why a peace bond?
A peace bond is similar to a restraining order, and allows a court to "impose specific conditions that are designed to prevent the defendant from committing harm to the person."
A person who violates the conditions of a peace bond can face criminal charges.
Warman says he requested the peace bond in June, two months after Peterborough police announced they would not be pressing charges against Goudreau for a Facebook post that promoted gun violence against the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and other organizations, citing a lack of evidence.
Warman says he believes this is the first time a human rights advocate has sought this particular legal remedy against a far-right extremist.
"I think it's the first time in the history of Canada that it's been pursued," he said. "But, unfortunately, I'm afraid that it will not be the last."
The post, which As It Happens has seen screenshots of, gives tips for carrying out a "hypothetical" firearms attack against "priority targets," including human rights organizations and immigration lawyers.
"I think any reasonable person would be concerned for their physical safety," Warman said. "It was really a failure of the criminal justice system that brought us to this point."
Goudreau denies making threats
Goudreau has repeatedly denied that he wrote the post, which was shared on his Facebook page in March after a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, N.Z.
"I have been criminally harassed by the left for about 10 years specifically online, they make fake profiles, infiltrate my accounts and groups, repeatedly make fake cloned profiles of me making statements, screenshot the fake profile comments then delete the profile, they also hack accounts and do the same thing without people being aware," Goudreau told MyKwartha.com in April.
Justice of the Peace Stephanie Goffin-Boyd found there was no evidence to suggest the post was not written by Goudreau.
CBC, Vice and the National Post are also listed as targets in a separate, but similarly worded post shared on Facebook.
Who is Kevin Goudreau?
Goudreau is the self-described chairman of the Canadian Nationalist Front, formerly known as the White Nationalist Front. He has a large tattoo of a swastika and a shotgun on his chest.
The Canadian Nationalist Front's website says it aims to "preserve our heritage, culture and traditional values by reforms to reflect our true Canadian core identity."
Goudreau's Facebook and Twitter accounts were shut down in April as part as a massive crackdown on hate speech.
In September, he organized an anti-immigration rally in Peterborough, but failed to turn up for it. The handful of Canadian Nationalist Front supporters who did show up were met by hundreds of anti-racism counter protesters.
At the peace bond court hearing, Goudreau represented himself and cross-examined Warman.
"What makes you think that I am any particular danger besides these supposed internet postings?" Goudreau asked Warman, reports Global News.
"Because you've engaged in threats of violence, and counselling violence, over the past at least eight years that I've seen communications by you posted online, whether in person, through YouTube videos, or through social media postings," Warman replied.
Warman says he wasn't fazed by facing down Goudreau in court.
"As someone who's litigated 16 cases before the federal civil rights tribunal against neo-Nazis, I've been cross-examined by neo-Nazis on many occasions," he said. "It's kind of like Groundhog Day in that it's very similar each time."
Goudreau declined to testify under oath and left the courthouse soon after the order was handed down, reports Global.
Warman, meanwhile, says it's time for Canadian authorities to crack down on hate speech online.
"I think there's no question that the kind of dissemination of online hate propaganda that we've seen over the past few years, that the evidence is quite solid that it leads and encourages and incites these kind of terrorist attacks that we've seen so recently," he said.
"When you try and clamp down and address the hate propaganda, you're really addressing the source of it before it becomes a problem."
Written by Sheena Goodyear.