Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here: Ryan Scrivens

Good overview by Scrivens:

A key turning point, in fact, was during the latter months of 2015. Two important events created a perfect storm for the movement.

First was Justin Trudeau’s pledge, as part of the Liberal party’s election platform, to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015. The second was the terrorist attack on concert-goers in Paris, inspired by the so-called “Islamic State,” on Nov. 13, 2015.

Each of these events were distinct in nature, yet Canada’s radical right wing treated them as interconnected, arguing that Canada’s newly elected prime minister was not only allowing Muslims into the country who would impose Sharia law on Canadian citizens, but that they too could be “radical Islamic terrorists.”

It all sparked a flurry of anti-Muslim discourse in Canada.

The day after the Paris attack, a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was deliberately set ablaze, causing significant damage to the interior of the building.

The next day, a Muslim woman picking up her children from a Toronto school was robbed and her hijab torn off. The perpetrators called her a “terrorist” and told her to “go back to your country.”

Days later, an anti-Muslim video was posted on YouTube in which a man from Montreal, wearing a Joker mask and wielding a firearm, threatened to kill one Muslim or Arab each week.

Similar events continued to unfold in 2016 — all, of course, well before Trump’s election victory. A school in Calgary, for example, was spray-painted with hate messages against Syrians and Trudeau: “Syrians go home and die” and “Kill the traitor Trudeau.”

Edmonton residents were also faced with a series of anti-Islamic flyer campaigns, hateful messages were spray-painted on a Muslim elementary school in Ottawa and man in Abbotsford, B.C. went on a racist tirade and was caught on video.

Canadian chapters of Soldiers of Odin first made their presence known in the early part of 2016 by patrolling communities and “protecting” Canadians from the threat of Islam, and the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), an anti-Islam group who first appeared in Canada in 2015, continued to rally in Montreal and Toronto in 2016.

And so it would be impulsive and short-sighted for us to attribute our spike in hatred solely to Trump and his divisive politics.

Instead, the instances listed above serve as an important reminder that prior to Trump’s election victory Canada was experiencing a rise in hatred.

In responding to hatred in Canada, we must first acknowledge that it exists in Canada, and it becomes ever more present during times of social and economic uncertainty. We must also acknowledge that the foundations of hatred are complex and multi-faceted, grounded in both individual and social conditions.

So too, then, must counter-extremist initiatives be multi-dimensional, building on the strengths and expertise of diverse sectors, including but not limited to community organizations, police officers, policy-makers and the media. Multi-agency efforts are needed to coordinate the acknowledgement and response to right-wing extremism in Canada.

I see signs of us moving in the right direction in building resilience against hatred in Canada. But in the months and years ahead, there’s still much to do.

via Trump may have emboldened hate in Canada, but it was already here

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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