REGINA — RCMP in Saskatchewan have charged the leader of the Canadian Nationalist Party with wilfully promoting hate against Jewish people.
Police say officers began investigating Travis Patron after a report in June 2019 from the Canadian Anti-Hate Network about an alleged anti-Semitic video posted on YouTube.
Police say the video, called "Beware the Parasitic Tribe," featured the party leader from Redvers, Sask., in the province's southeast.
A video under the same name posted on the party website contains a rant about Jews being "inside manipulators" who control the banks and media and need to be removed from the country.
The website says its mandate is to keep a "European-descended demographic majority" in Canada. It is registered as a political party by Elections Canada.
In the 2019 federal election, Patron appeared on the ballot for the party in the rural Saskatchewan riding of Souris-Moose Mountain and earned less than one per cent of the vote.
RCMP say their investigation into Patron was forwarded to the province's attorney general, as is required, who directed the charge.
Police say the 29-year-old was arrested Monday. He appeared by phone in Regina provincial court on Wednesday while in RCMP custody in Carlyle, Sask.
Before court ordered him to be released, Patron asked what jurisdiction the Queen had to police his speech.
A spokeswoman for Elections Canada said Patron's charge doesn't change the status of the party, but legislation does prohibit a candidate from running while behind bars.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs commended the RCMP for the arrest.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies also applauded the arrest and the laying of the charge. The organization said last summer it filed a hate speech complaint with RCMP about an anti-Semitic flyer posted by Patron's party on social media.
Mounties say they are investigating four more reports received between last April and June of alleged anti-Semitic videos and hate speech by Patron.
The party's website says it was founded in 2017 when Patron was 25. He had studied at the University of Saskatchewan from 2010 to 2013.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2021.
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press