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Queen's University


Do newspapers and magazines have the right to expose protected groups to hatred or contempt in the name of religion, or on the basis of religion?


In the October 13th 1997 edition of the Alberta Report, Michael Byfield wrote an article about failed business deal between Mr. Flanzbaum, an  American promotor and Mr. Schickedanz, a Canadian builder. Harvey Kane, executive director of the Jewish Defence Lague of Canada took offence to two parts of the article. In the first, Byfield contrasted the American's excessive display of rings and golden chains with the Canadian's low-key , "one of the guys", image. At the end of the article, Byfield cited a professional planner's complaint that North American real estate and retail sectors are dominated by Jews, like Mr. Flanzbaum, who tend to exclude Non-Jews, like Mr. Schickedanz, from business deals. In response to Kane's complaint, the Alberta Report offered him no apology, but rather a page of space in the magazine in which Kane could present his argument. Kane refused the offer and filed a human rights complaint that was dismissed in 2001 by the Court of the Queen's Bench by special case. It was appealed to the Alberta Human Rights Panel in 2002.  [Kane v. Alberta Report (2002), 43 C.H.R.R. D/112 (Alta. H.R.P)]


  1. Did the article expose Jewish people to hatred or contempt because of the religious beliefs of that person?
  2. Did the article indicate discrimination or an intention to discriminate against Jewish people because of the religious beliefs of that person?


  1. No
  2. Yes


  1. S (1a)  of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act, prohibits the publication of material exposing religious groups to hatred of contempt. The Alberta Human Rights Panel found that the information in the Alberta Report article exposed Jewish people neither to hate (extreme ill-will) or contempt (malevolent degradation).
  2. S (1b) of the Act, prohibits the publication of material that indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs. The Panel found that although there had been no convincing proof that the Alberta Report intended to discriminate against Jewish people, it did indicate discrimination when it presented two negative stereotypes (Jews as rich and greedy, Jews as conspirators) in its article.  It found, however, that the remedy offered by the magazine in the form of space in the magazine to present the concerns of the Jewish Defence League is a sufficient resolution.

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