Everyone likes a little satire.
John Oliver is brilliant. The Onion and The Beaverton are great time-killers. Frank magazine in its heyday made for a few chuckles, and even the Church of the Subgenius was particularly creative writing.
But a free publication that has recently expanded its reach in eastern Toronto has begun ruffling the feathers of downtown Torontonians this week.
“I’m a little offended, a little scared,” one poster wrote on Reddit. “This really exists?”
Your Ward News, previously limited to Beaches and Scarborough households, now boasts a readership of “over one million” now that it is being delivered by Canada Post to 300,000 homes in eastern Toronto.
The spring edition’s cover features a Roman-themed melange of Justin Trudeau in a bikini swimsuit, Kathleen Wynne clasping a pride flag in her teeth and Arthur Potts with a Nazi-like Liberal armband.
The publisher of Your Ward News is Leroy St. Germaine, and the editor-in-chief is Dr. James Sears, who describes himself as a physician and former Canadian Armed Forces medical officer. The paper promotes the New Constitution Party, an unregistered neo-Nazi party apparently led by Sears.
“I strategically chose to expand into areas full of brainwashed lefties because they especially need our Christian Libertarian National Socialist gospel,” Sears wrote in an editor’s message. “We now have Toronto’s largest newspaper readership and remain the world’s largest anti-Marxist publication.”
What concerns some now receiving this paper is that it appears to push beyond the boundaries of satire into hatred.
Political consultant Warren Kinsella, who is skewered in the latest edition of Your Ward News, has previously pushed to stop the publication.
“My main concern is it’s racist, it’s homophobic, it’s misogynistic, it denies the Holocaust, it’s anti-Semitic,” Kinsella said. “It’s all of these terrible things and it’s landing in people’s mailboxes. And the people who are receiving it are not paying for it.”
And author Elisa Hategan called it “a hateful, xenophobic rag … put together by a network of nutcases and old Heritage Front members.”
But Sears disagrees with those labels.
“It has never been the intention of our satirical community newspaper to ‘promote hate’, and if Your Ward News did inadvertently ‘promote hate’, we would have been arrested by now,” he wrote in an email. “We love all people, and I especially love all of humanity so much, I want them to come to Jesus to be saved (especially my Jewish friends).”
And he dismisses any outrage over the paper’s content.
“The ‘backlash’ you speak of is from thin-skinned cultural Marxist parasites who cannot handle our Trump-like candidness,” Sears wrote.
The paper’s content even caught the eye of the Toronto Police hate crimes unit, after a complaint was filed, but the investigation was dropped.
So perhaps those offended by the Your Ward News’ take on free speech should just take the advice of one poster on Reddit:
“Toss it straight in the trash where it belongs.”