Oh Canada: Comedian Fined $42,000 For Joke

Mike Ward, a Canadian stand-up comedian, was fined $42,000 by Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal for jokes he made about a disabled boy.

The child, who suffers from Treacher Collins Syndrome, is a bit of a national celebrity in Canada after he sung for the pope in 2006 essentially because everyone thought he did not have long to live. Ward’s joke was about how the child was supposed to die, and he “stole a wish.”

Though the comedian’s joke was televised, he spoke about the bit in an interview, and the child’s parents found out and took Ward to the Human Rights Tribunal last month. He fought the fine, but lost in court.

In an interview with Spiked, Ward said he plans to appeal the decision, and if that fails, will try to bring the case to the Supreme Court. “If I lose that I’ll just move to Syria or Saudi Arabia, or some other country that respects free speech as much as Canada does,” he said.