Zundel Case

The Zundel case (1992) centred on the constitutional validity of section 181 of the Criminal Code which prohibits the wilful dissemination of false news. Zundel had published a brochure entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?".

The Zundel case (1992) centred on the constitutional validity of section 181 of the Criminal Code which prohibits the wilful dissemination of false news. Zundel had published a brochure entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?". He claimed that the Holocaust was a myth emanating from a Jewish world conspiracy. Judge McLachlin delivered the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada holding that Zundel's publication fell under the protection of the subsection 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; it was certainly communicative in character. All communications were protected, moreover, save those that were sullied by violence. The Court majority (4 to 3), however, held that section 181 denied Zundel's freedom of expression. Judge McLachlin held for the majority that section 181 was not justified in a free and democratic society. Judges Cory and Iacobucci drafted the minority judgment. According to the dissenting judges, section 181 was a reasonable limit on freedom of expression in a free and democratic society. A majority of the Supreme Court held, nevertheless, that section 181 of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional.