On Monday, incumbent Greater Sudbury mayoral candidate Brian Bigger called for fellow mayoral candidate David Popescu to be banned from all further campaign events during the 2018 election.
However, Bill Crumplin, also a Greater Sudbury mayoral candidate, said that's not the right approach.
He said it's the role of the Greater Sudbury Police to monitor Popescu for hate speech, and prosecute him if necessary.
“I am sure as the mayor he could simply ask our police service to investigate the recent alleged prior offense(s) and ask that the police to be in attendance at future debates to monitor, deter and if necessary take action against anyone violating the Criminal Code of Canada,” Crumplin said.
He said he does not agree with Bigger that debate organizers be put in a position where they are policing the debate by telling Popescu he cannot participate.
A perennial candidate for the past few election cycles, Popescu uses the campaign trail to spread his extreme brand of Christianity that is intolerant of, in particular, the LGBTQ community.
Popescu has been sanctioned before for hateful comments, and charged for hate crimes in 2015 (charges that were dropped by the Crown) for offensive campaign material.
He was convicted of similar crimes during a 2008 campaign.
On Sept. 27 at the all-candidates event hosted by the Laurentian University Political Science Association, Popescu was cut off by the moderator a couple of times for comments that were dismissive of Indigenous culture.
Full text of Crumplin's media release:
Media Release: Mayoral Candidate Bill Crumplin “Lets ask our Police Service to address hate crimes and not expect debate organizers to do our policing!”
Bill Crumplin agrees that hate speech has no place in our society but does not agree with Brian Bigger in asking debate organizers to be put in a position where they are policing the debate by telling perennial candidate David Popescu that he cannot participate.
Crumplin says “I am sure as the Mayor he could simply ask our police service to investigate the recent alleged prior offense(s) and ask that the police to be in attendance at future debates to monitor, deter and if necessary take action against anyone violating the Criminal Code of Canada.
Bill Crumplin observes that, “our Charter of Rights allows freedom of speech however, the Criminal Code of Canada has provisions that address what is often referred to as hate speech.”
Crumplin is dismayed that “Bigger would put the responsibility on well meaning organisers of public debate to intervene rather than ask our police service.”
Mayoral Candidate Crumplin says “it reminds me of the saying, “I am taking my puck and going home and the rest of you should follow me.” Crumplin observes, “this is what has defined Brian Bigger's time in office, instead of standing up and leading he asks others to act for him while he follows.”
Crumplin points out, “Canada’s Criminal Code lists three offences associated with “hate propaganda,” they being: advocating genocide, public incitement of hatred and the willful promotion of hatred.
Crumplin says, “If it is determined that anyone commits or has committed these crimes I would expect our very capable police service to address the matter. I would further expect that the police knowing that this individual has been convicted of these offenses in the past will do something about it and in doing so allow our justice system to determine if someone should be band from attending a public debate, I would not ask well meaning citizens to address what is a matter for our police service.”
Learn more about Crumplin's candidacy by visiting his election page on Sudbury.com.