Patron led the Canadian Nationalist Party, which was de-registered for failure to comply with a section under the Canada Elections Act in 2022. He continues to identify as the leader of the group.
Rob O’Flanagan, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Prior to being sentenced Friday morning on two counts each of impersonating a peace officer and criminal harassment, far-right ideology proponent Travis Mitchell Patron made a lengthy statement.
He tried to justify his actions not only as a defence of Canada, but an act of God.
Justice John Morrall gave him time to speak in the Saskatoon King’s Bench courtroom, but said he heard nothing from Patron that justified his harassment of a man and his girlfriend last summer.
Patron, 32, was convicted of the charges on Jan. 18. In July 2023, he confronted, followed and insulted a man of Arabic descent and his girlfriend in Saskatoon’s Midtown Plaza shopping mall.
Patron was previously convicted of promoting hatred against Jewish people in October 2022, for which he was sentenced to a year in jail. He was sentenced Friday morning to another term in jail, although it will be a short one.
Morrall ordered him to serve “200 actual days.” However, Patron has been in custody for 185 days, leaving him just 15 more days behind bars. He is due back in court in November and again in December, to answer to two separate charges for similar incidents.
Crown Prosecutor Lana Morelli sought an 18-month sentence, saying the incident was racially motivated and had a significant impact on the victims. Impact statements read in court stated Patron had a look of “pure hatred” in his eyes, and that his behaviour was so unpredictable that the public safety was jeopardized.
One of the victims said in his impact statement that the incident “has taken away my sense of safety and security,” and made him question whether he would be targeted again in such a manner. His statement, read by Morelli, concluded that “racism and hatred should have no place in our society.”
Patron, who founded the far-right political group Canadian Nationalist Party, continues to identify as the leader of the group, according to his statement Friday in court.
His ankles were shackled in court, his hair matted and beard unkempt. Having represented himself during the trial, he was alone at the defence table.
Patron said he had “lawful authority to do what I did.”
He argued that the victims were acting in a disrespectful manner by being together in a public place, and that the man refused to answer when asked why he was in a relationship with “a nationalized Canadian” woman.
Patron said he acted out of “spiritual piety” in the interests of Canadian nationalism, and that his conviction was a form of persecution for defending the country.
Morrall said there is no justification in Canadian law for bias, prejudice or hate. Canada is a multicultural nation and its laws protect that identity and prevent “bigots spewing racism,” he added.
Morrall said he could only come to the “inescapable conclusion” that Patron “still holds racist views,” and the words he used against the victims were “clearly racist and demeaning.”
“In a tolerant society, this is intolerable,” he remarked, adding that if Patron continues to “make trouble for others, he will only make trouble for himself.”