Ontario attorney general Jim Flaherty said Wednesday that Eminem should be barred from entering Canada because of his violent lyrics.
Eminem is scheduled to perform in Toronto on Thursday as part of the Anger Management Tour, but Flaherty has called upon immigration officials to stop the rapper at Canada's border because he is likely to perform songs that advocate violence against women.
"That's unacceptable to us in Ontario," Flaherty said, according to Canadian press reports.
A spokesperson for Canada's immigration authority did not return a call for comment.
But Dennis Dennehy, a spokesperson for Eminem (born Marshall Mathers III) at his label, Interscope, said that the rapper will not be deterred by his Canadian critics.
"Eminem plans on performing for his fans tomorrow night in Toronto," Dennehy said Wednesday. "Those who aren't his fans don't need to show up."
Michael Bryant, Ontario's attorney general critic
for the opposition Liberal Party, said that rather than stopping Eminem at the border, the government should allow the rapper to perform and then prosecute him for violating Canada's hate-crime laws.
"I understand that [Flaherty] has called on our immigration minister to deny Eminem's entrance into Canada, and I must confess I don't understand that," Bryant said. "I find that position to be extreme."
Detective Rob Cooper, a hate-crimes investigator with the Toronto police, said that he doubted any action will be taken against the rapper because Canada's hate-crime laws don't include women as a protected category.
Activist Valerie Smith had filed a criminal complaint about the lyrics of such Eminem songs as "Kill You" and "Kim" with Cooper, which he forwarded to the attorney general's office.
Smith had asked that Eminem's songs be classified as hate propaganda under Section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which prohibits "communicating statements,
other than in private conversation, [that] willfully [promote] hatred against an identifiable group." In the code, "identifiable group" refers to color, race, religion or ethnic origin (see "Eminem's Lyrics Spark Criminal Complaint").
While Canada's hate-crime laws don't address gender or sexual orientation, Smith claims that another section of the country's criminal code guarantees women equal protection.
If Eminem was successfully prosecuted for hate-crime violations, he could face up to two years in prison for performing his work in public.
Eminem already faces a variety of legal problems in the United States, including criminal charges for allegedly pistol-whipping a man whom he saw kissing his wife outside the Hot Rock Sports Bar and Music Café in Warren, Michigan, on June 4. His estranged wife, Kim Mathers, was sentenced to 11 months' probation and fined $50 on Tuesday after pleading guilty to disorderly
conduct in relation to the incident (see "Kim Mathers Gets Probation On Disorderly Conduct Charge").
In an unrelated case, Eminem is awaiting trial in neighboring Oakland County, Michigan, over an incident involving the same handgun just hours before the altercation at the Hot Rock bar (see Eminem Arraigned In ICP Arrest). Police in Troy, Michigan, said the rapper had the pistol in his hand during an argument with an associate of Insane Clown Posse at a car stereo shop.
The Anger Management Tour also includes Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach and Xzibit. Limp Bizkit postponed the tour's scheduled stop in Albany, New York, on Tuesday after frontman Fred Durst strained his vocal cords, but Durst is expected to recover in time for Thursday's show in Toronto (see "Durst Injures Vocal Cords; 'Anger Management' Date Rescheduled".)