This is why I have long opposed “hate crime” legislation. It criminalises thought. Who decides what’s good and what’s forbidden? The government? CAIR? Your Muslim neighbour with hair-trigger sensibilities?
KEVIN J. JOHNSTON RELEASED ON BAIL, SET TO APPEAR IN COURT AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER.
Earlier this year, Johnston, who runs an online publication called Freedom Report, posted a YouTube video offering a $1,000 reward for recordings of Muslim students at Peel Region schools “spewing hate speech during Friday prayers.”
The video sparked concern among Muslim families and led the Peel District School Board, which serves Mississauga, and the Peel Region communities of Brampton and Caledon, to issue a memo to its administrators, cautioning them to be “extra vigilant” and reminding them that personal recording devices can only be used in schools for educational purposes, as directed by staff.
CBC Toronto has been unable to reach Johnston for comment. His voicemail message states that both his YouTube channel and Twitter account have been “suspended.”
“Yes, you heard correctly. My YouTube channel was taken down,” Johnston says in a video posted on July 18 to the YouTube channel “Freedom Report.”
THE CHARGE COMES AFTER A LENGTHY INVESTIGATION INTO NUMEROUS INCIDENTS REGARDING JOHNSTON’S ACTIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Peel police say they have charged a Mississauga man with one count of wilful promotion of hatred.
Kevin J. Johnston, 45, has been associated with a number of websites, including the Mississauga Gazette. He is scheduled to appear at Brampton court on Monday.
Peel police said the charge “stems from a lengthy investigation into numerous incidents reported to police, involving Kevin J. Johnston and concerns information published on various social media sites.”
KEVIN JOHNSTON CHARGED WITH HATE CRIME
Last year, a story published on the Mississauga Gazette site resulted in Mayor Bonnie Crombie filing a hate-crime complaint with Peel police. It was not immediately clear if that complaint prompted Monday’s charges.
For police to lay a hate-related criminal charge, a criminal offence must have occurred – such as an assault, damage to property — and hate or bias toward a victim must have motivated the criminal offence.
At Queen’s Park, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said the government “takes allegations of hate crime very seriously. Ontario prosecutes these cases vigorously, where there is a reasonable prospect of conviction.
“In a multicultural and inclusive province like Ontario, the promotion of hatred stands in direct opposition to our fundamental values of equality and diversity. Hate divides people and communities,” Naqvi said Monday.
The consent of the attorney general is required to lay hate-crime charges.
His office confirmed he received a formal request from Peel police to lay the charge of wilful promotion of hatred.
“Hate crimes are, by their very nature, serious offences because their impacts can be devastating, spreading from the individual, through the social fabric of our communities and society as a whole,” he said.