Do the proponents of these ridiculous ideas have to all die out to be forgotten? Maybe, at least I hope this diminishes Holocaust denial.
James ‘Jim’ Keegstra, a prominent Canadian holocaust denier and former high school teacher in Eckville, Alta., is dead at the age of 80, CBC News learned late Thursday night.
Keegstra made international headlines in 1983 when he was accused of teaching students that the history of the Holocaust was fraudulent, and that a Jewish conspiracy was responsible for many of the world’s problems.
It was alleged that Keegstra had been teaching his anti-Semitic views to his social studies class for 14 years before a parent complained to the local school board about his lessons.
Keegstra was convicted at his original trial and fined $5,000. His lawyers appealed the decision, arguing that the law was unconstitutional and that it violated provisions on freedom of expression in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
After multiple trials and appeals the case eventually reached the Supreme Court of Canada, who in 1990 and again in 1996 upheld Keegstra’s conviction in a landmark ruling that found that the Criminal Code section on public incitement of hatred did infringe on Charter rights, but that infringement was justified.
He lost his teaching certificate in 1984 and after his 1996 conviction he got a one-year suspended sentence, one year of probation, and community service.
He died June 2 this year.
Some people get bent out of shape because they think we “speak ill” of the dead. No. Ideas can be poisonous, just like those of Sylvia Brown or faith healers or any other purveyors of nonsense. I do not revel in the death of a person but I am relieved that their ideas lose some of their power.
Tip: Bob Blaskiwicz