Jan. 8, 2021
Burlington, Ont. – Following advocacy and testimony by B’nai Brith Canada, Rabbi Stephen Wise, and Dennis Scott of the Halton Black History Awareness Society, two Ontario men have been sentenced to conditional sentences of imprisonment for six months, followed by probation for two years, for wilful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group.
On June 2, 2019, Matthew Wasikiewicz and Kyle Kroeplin violated section 319(2) of the Criminal Code when they spread posters around the city of Burlington featuring hateful anti-Jewish and anti-Black messages. In addition to dehumanizing imagery and racist depictions of Blacks and Jews, the posters encouraged direct physical violence – calling for Jews to be killed.
In November, representatives from B’nai Brith testified in court about the impact that the spread of hatred has on the Jewish community. In a lengthy community impact statement, we explained the concerns that so many of you contact us about every day – that the spreading of hateful propaganda and lies about the Jewish community and other minorities creates an atmosphere of fear, incites people to hateful and violent beliefs, and ultimately jeopardizes the safety of all Jews in the country.
This statement was cited by the judge as having effectively demonstrated the impact of antisemitic acts on Canada’s Jewish community, which played a role in his determining of an appropriate sentence. He noted: “The message must go out loud and clear that conduct such as that engaged in by these young men will not be tolerated in Canadian society, and if it is engaged in, it will be met with a severe penalty.”
“Today’s ruling is another positive step in the fight against antisemitism and anti-Black racism,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We are encouraged to see that the Canadian justice system is working as it should in cases of this nature. The dangers posed by the kind of activity seen in this case should always be taken very seriously and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This result follows last year’s sentencing of B.C. hatemonger Arthur Topham to a 30-day conditional sentence for violating the terms of his probation in another case related to wilful promotion of hatred against Jews.
B’nai Brith extends its thanks and gratitude to both Halton Regional Police and the Crown prosecutors for helping to bring about justice in this case.