Podcasts broadcasting hate, mayoral candidate arrested at U.S. border

A failed politician, as a court in Ontario said, issued hate speech online and was due to begin serving an 18-month prison sentence for contempt, was arrested Tuesday morning after illegally crossing the Montana border from Saskatchewan, authorities say.

Kevin Johnston, whose contempt judgment stemmed from his refusal to comply with a judge’s order to stop slandering a Mississauga restaurateur and pay him compensation, is now being held in Plentywood, Mont.

“Plentywood Station Border Patrol agents were contacted by the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office to request assistance in searching for a missing person lost near the Montana / North Dakota state line,” a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman said in an e-mail. -mail.

“A supervising border patrol agent encountered a subject that matched the description of the lost subject walking on foot.”

Agents found out it was Johnston while questioning him. Calgary police also confirmed the arrest.

Johnston – who had run for mayor of Calgary last year and of Mississauga in 2014 and 2018 – was convicted on Oct. 4 and was due to sign up to begin his sentence in Ontario on Tuesday, after ending another for civil contempt in Alberta.

In 2019, he was ordered to stop making defamatory statements about Mohamad Fakih and sentenced to pay $ 2.5 million in damages. He had not paid at the time of his verdict in October and was continuing to slander Fakih.

In its 2019 summary judgment, Ontario Superior Court Justice Jane E. Ferguson called Johnston’s behavior “a heinous example of hate speech, at its worst, directed at people solely because of their religion.”

In videos posted between 2017 and 2019, Johnston accused Fakih’s restaurant chain, Paramount Fine Foods, of being a “front” and said anyone who enters them should be a “jihadist.” The videos also ran with an altered photograph of Fakih depicting him with blood on his hands and face.

Johnston had just completed 40 days in prison served on weekends for violating court rulings in another lawsuit involving defamatory statements against Alberta Health Services.

Calgary police said authorities are working to get Johnston back to Canada.

Featuring files from The Canadian Press, Gilbert Ngabo and Alexandra Heck

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