The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   Mr. James Keegstra was a high school teacher in Eckville,  
Alberta, from the early 1970's until his dismissal in 1982.  
In 1984, Mr. Keegstra was charged under s. 319(2) (then  
281.2(2)) of the Criminal Code with unlawfully promoting  
hatred against an identifiable group by communicating  
anti-Semitic statements to his students. He was convicted by  
a jury in a trial before McKenzie J. of the Alberta Court of  
Queen's Bench. 
  
   Mr. Keegstra's teachings attributed various evil  
qualities to Jews. He thus described Jews to his pupils as  
''treacherous'', ''subversive'', ''sadistic'',  
''money-loving'', ''power hungry'' and ''child killers''. He  
taught his classes that Jewish people seek to destroy  
Christianity and are responsible for depressions, anarchy,  
chaos, wars and revolution. According to Mr. Keegstra, Jews  
''created the Holocaust to gain sympathy'' and, in contrast  
to the open and honest Christians, were said to be  
deceptive, secretive and inherently evil. Mr. Keegstra  
expected his students to reproduce his teachings in class  
and on exams. If they failed to do so, their marks suffered. 
  
   Prior to his trial, Mr. Keegstra applied to the Court of  
Queen's Bench in Alberta for an order quashing the charge on  
a number of grounds, the primary one being that s. 319(2) of  
the Criminal Code unjustifiably infringed his freedom of  
expression as guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Charter. Among  
the other grounds of appeal was the allegation that the  
defence of truth found in s. 319(3)(a) of the Code violates  
the Charter's presumption of innocence. The application was  
dismissed by Quigley J., and Mr. Keegstra was thereafter  
tried and convicted. He then appealed his conviction to the  
Alberta Court of Appeal, raising the same Charter issues.  
The Court of Appeal unanimously accepted his argument, and  
it is from this judgment that the Crown appeals. 
  
   The Attorneys-General of Canada, Quebec, Ontario,  
Manitoba and New Brunswick, the Canadian Jewish Congress,  
Interamicus, the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith,  
Canada, and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund  
(L.E.A.F.) have intervened in this appeal in support of the  
Crown. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has  
intervened in support of striking down the impugned  
legislation. 
  

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