Alleged hate crimes rarely investigated by police, report claims

Of note:

Nearly a quarter million Canadians say they were victims of hate-motivated incidents during a single year, but police across the country investigated fewer than one per cent of these events as hate crimes, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The federal agency’s latest General Social Survey results on victimization show approximately 223,000 incidents were reported in 2019 in which victims felt hatred was a motivating factor for the suspect. Of those illegal or nearly-criminal events, 130,000 were deemed violent by the person reporting them.

About 21 per cent of the total victims – 48,000 – said they called local police, but official statistics from that same year show Canadian officers only reported 1,946 criminal incidents motivated by hate nationwide.

Statscan collects this information on victims of hate crimes every five years within a 12-month period. Experts say, even though it is immediately dated upon its release, the statistics offer the best snapshot of the state of hate in Canada.

Academics and non-profits that support victims say the scale of incidents captured by the pre-pandemic survey, released last week, are a wake-up call to the massive harms being done to the country’s marginalized communities.

“We are in denial, it’s not just complacency – for a lot, it is outright denial that there’s a problem,” said Barbara Perry, director of Ontario Tech University’s Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism who began studying hate crimes in the country almost two decades ago.

This summer, Statistics Canada released crime data from last year that showed police across the country reported a record 2,669 hate crimes cases last year – a 37 per cent spike from the year prior – even as overall crime trended downward while society slowed down during the pandemic.

The relatively small number of cases flagged by police in 2019 as being motivated by hate also indicates the criminal justice system is doing a poor job of combatting hate crimes or other incidents where people are targeted over their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender, Dr. Perry said.

“That’s really disturbing, what’s happening is that the hate motivation is being funnelled out very early, police are not reporting or recording it as a hate crime or people have reported and it hasn’t been followed up,” Dr. Perry said.

Last year, Dr. Perry’s own study of hate crimes investigators she interviewed in Ontario showed they were often frustrated by a lack of institutional support to investigate these cases properly and many were unclear on what constitutes a hate crime, with their confusion exacerbated by the difficulty of determining the hate motivation in criminal acts.

The Criminal Code only identifies four actual hate crimes: three hate propaganda offences and mischief relating to religious or cultural sites. The rest of so-called hate crimes are incidents where a suspect is charged for a core crime and then prosecutors may argue hate motivation at the end of a trial to secure a heavier sentence.

The federal Liberal government recently told The Globe and Mail that it has no plans to update the code, as recommended by National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and policing experts, to add new provisions that would single out hate-motivated assault, murder, threats, and mischief to include specific new penalties for each infraction.

Statistics Canada said it could not comment on the survey because the bureaucracy is in caretaker mode during the federal election campaign. A spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which includes the leaders of most police forces in the country, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Mustafa Farooq, CEO of NCCM, said his group has its own reporting line that he says logs at least one call a day about a violent threat or incident, said a major challenge is everyday people also have trouble separating a hate-motivated incident from a criminal act that meets the threshold of police securing a charge. That is why Canada needs to create a new system to better support these victims, whether a criminal offence is involved or not, he said.

But, Mr. Farooq said, even when people do report to their local police, the indifference they are often met with stops them from pursuing justice.

“When people come and tell their stories it is an often uphill battle to have police take those claims taken seriously,” he said, noting his organization frequently liaises with victims and officers.

Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-partisan non-profit, said the last General Social Survey on victimization in 2014 showed that people were slightly more likely to report these incidents to police, with 31 per cent of all hate-motivated incidents compared to 21 per cent in the new survey.

The new data shows victims attributed more than half the incidents (119,000) in part to a suspect being motivated by a hatred of their race or ethnicity, followed next by the language they were using (72,000) and then their sex (54,000). Multiple factors could be attributed by to a single incident, the agency said. The number of incidents were estimates rounded to the nearest thousand and based on a survey of 22,000 Canadians across the country, with roughly two-thirds choosing the option of responding online, the agency said.

More than half the incidents were reported in Ontario (74,000) and Quebec (62,000), followed by Alberta (31,000) and then British Columbia (29,000).

Irfan Chaudhry, director of MacEwan University’s office of Human Rights, Diversity and Equity in Edmonton, said one reason people don’t report a hate-motivated incident to police is that certain communities feel shame, don’t want to feel re-victimized when talking to the authorities and would rather deal with the aftermath, such as cleaning up offensive graffiti, on their own. More commonly, victims simply don’t feel officers can do anything, said Prof. Chaudhry, who founded and oversees Alberta’s Stop Hate independent reporting line for such incidents.

Mr. Balgord, whose group monitors, exposes and counters hate-promoting movements, groups and people, said Statistics Canada needs to do a much better job of tracking these hate incidents by doing this survey every year.

“The General Social Survey takes forever, it’s like a dinosaur – we’re halfway through 2021 and we’re just getting the 2019 results,” he said. “The hate ecosystem moves and shifts so quickly and we don’t even have pandemic-related hate crime data yet.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-alleged-hate-crimes-rarely-investigated-by-police-report-claims/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Morning%20Update&utm_content=2021-8-30_7&utm_term=Morning%20Update:%20Ukrainian%20troops%20rescue%20Canada-bound%20Afghans%20in%20daring%20operation&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=%2BTx9qGuxCF9REU6kNldjGJtpVUGIVB3Y

Canada is in the midst of a ‘hate crime crisis.’ Why aren’t federal leaders talking about it?

To be fair, the NDP platform does while the Conservative platform does not (still waiting for the official Liberal and Green platforms, will go through the PPC platform in the next few days):

New data shows that in 2019 Canadians self-reported an estimated 223,000 incidents they felt were motivated by hate — an extreme contrast to the number of incidents reported to police that same year.

According to data pulled from Statistics Canada’s 2019 General Social Survey, around 130,000 of the self-reported incidents were deemed violent by the person reporting the event, while reports of non-violent acts, including vandalism and theft of household and personal property, accounted for around 94,000 incidents.

The self-reported numbers dwarf the 1,951 incidents that police investigated as hate crimes in 2019, with the discrepancy between the numbers raising questions about how much is being reported to officials and the magnitude of hate in Canada.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network, the organization that first requested the data from Statistics Canada and shared it with the Star, attributes the gap partly to communities which may be fearful of police, as well as a failure to properly label incidents as ones motivated by hate.

The organization has called on all federal parties to put in place an action plan to address what it calls the “hate crime crisis.”

And on the campaign trail itself, political leaders criss-crossing the country and candidates canvassing the streets aren’t immune.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who encountered racist remarks during the 2019 campaign and faced them again in recent days, said Wednesday that the “climate of hate” in Canada makes people feel like they don’t belong.

“I don’t focus on myself when it comes to those moments. But I do think about the rise of hate that a lot of people have to face. I think about kids growing up with a rise in anti-Asian hate,” said Singh, sharing the story of a Chinese constituent who warned her mother to stop going on evening walks.

“I’m worried about people from the Muslim community, who are worried because of the attacks on Muslims,” he said. “I’m worried about anti-Semitism. We’ve seen attacks on synagogues, attacking and targeting Jewish people.”

On Thursday, Liberal candidate François-Philippe Champagne tweeted several images of his campaign vehicle and election signs after they were vandalized that morning. Two swastikas were spray-painted on one sign, which features images of Champagne and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Fellow Liberal candidate Anthony Housefather also shared a photo of his defaced election signs earlier this week.

“Each day of the last week, Nazi symbols have been drawn on my posters. This antisemitism will not stop me but it can easily deter good people from entering politics,” Housefather tweeted, denouncing similar acts of vandalism that have appeared on other candidates’ campaign materials.

Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Muslim Canadians (NCCM), called the incidents “atrocious” and “disturbing”.

But he also questioned why political leaders have yet to materially address Canada’s “influx of hate” during their election events.

“It’s incredibly odd to me that this has not become a major question on the campaign trail,” he said.

In the wake of the London, Ont. attack that left four members of a Muslim family dead, the national council released more than 60 policy recommendations aimed at tackling hate, including the creation of a hate crime accountability unit in each province that would improve the way incidents are processed, investigated and monitored.

Source: Canada is in the midst of a ‘hate crime crisis.’ Why aren’t federal leaders talking about it?

‘Pandemic of hate’: Leaders, experts warn anti-lockdown protests linked to far right

Of note:

Online conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and protests against public health orders are helping to spread dangerous ideas laden with racism and bigotry, says a network monitoring hate groups in Canada.

The executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network said since last year people espousing hateful beliefs have linked themselves to conspiracy and anti-lockdown movements around the novel coronavirus.

“We have two pandemics: We have the actual pandemic and then we have this pandemic of hate,” Evan Balgord said.

“Things are kind of getting worse both online and offline … with maybe one pandemic, we have kind of a solution for, but the hate thing, we don’t have a vaccine for that.

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh was the latest on Monday to note a connection between anti-mask and anti-lockdown protests and far-right extremism.

His comments came as rallies against COVID-19 health orders are being staged across the country while many provincial doctors battle a deadly third wave of the pandemic.

“To brazenly not follow public-health guidelines puts people at risk and that is something that we’ve seen with extreme right-wing ideology, ” he told reporters.

These demonstrations have been met with frustration from some in the public over what they say appears to be a lack of police enforcement, and a few premiers have promised stiffer fines for COVID-19 rule-breakers.

The far right has become adept at integrating populist grievances into its own narratives and exploiting them to enhance membership, said Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at Ontario Tech University, in a recent interview.

As a result, members of the far right have turned up at virtually all of the recent anti-lockdown gatherings, “trying to lend their support to that movement, and thereby garner support and sympathy, or solidarity, with their more extreme movement,” she said.

Mr. Balgord said such events make for “fertile hunting” for new recruits because hateful ideas are not being policed, and once someone believes in one conspiracy theory, it’s easy to believe in others.

“We now have a greatly increased number of people who are coming into close contact with racists and bigots of all stripes with more conspiracy theories,” he said.

And more than a year into the pandemic, Mr. Balgord said, organizers behind anti-lockdown protests in Vancouver, Toronto and the Prairies know figures from the country’s “racist right” are involved in their movement.

More recently, he said, some protesters have started showing up with Nazi imagery to depict themselves as being persecuted by the government.

“The racist right that we monitor and the COVID conspiracy movement are inseparable from each other at this point. We monitor them as if they are the same thing because they involve all the same people,” Mr. Balgord.

He said the network’s information is based on what it observes and the far-right figures it follows, but there is a lack of data tracking how conspiratorial thinking around COVID-19 has moved across Canada.

After Mr. Singh’s comments, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet played down the idea of a connection between the protests and far-right extremism, saying arguments suggesting a correlation were politically motivated.

“I am absolutely certain — absolutely certain — that people which have been involved in such discussions in the last hours and days know very well that there could be no link between … two things that should not be what they are, but are not related,” he said.

The NDP leader said he sees a link between those refusing to follow public-health advice and the ideologies of the extreme right because both show a disregard for the well-being of others and put people at risk.

“There is a connection, certainly.”

Mr. Singh said declining to listen to COVID-19 health orders is dangerous and needs to be called out.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi earlier called such demonstrations “thinly veiled white nationalist, supremacist anti-government protests” on Global’s “The West Block.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-pandemic-of-hate-leaders-experts-warn-anti-lockdown-protests-linked-to/

RCMP launch hate crime probe of leader of nationalist group vying for party status in federal election

We have always had some extremist parties running in elections:

RCMP in Saskatchewan have launched an investigation into an online video featuring the head of an extremist group that’s poised to become Canada’s next official political party.

The Canadian Nationalist Party, which promotes anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ views — and calls for the removal of “globalists” from the country “once and for all” — is in the final stages of applying to be able to collect tax-deductible political donations and run a slate of candidates in the upcoming federal election.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-profit watchdog group, has filed a formal complaint with both the RCMP and Elections Canada to try to derail the effort.

“This is a group that is pure and simple a hate group,” said Bernie M. Farber, the anti-hate network’s chair and a human rights consultant. “The way our laws stand today, there is nothing standing in their way save, right now, maybe 37 signatures to become an official political party here in Canada.”

Canadian Nationalist Party leader Travis Patron told CBC News there are no grounds to bar his group from official party status and that his members have not violated hate speech laws.

“To date, our party has not said a hateful word, we’ve caused no violence, and we’ve done nothing illegal,” he said in an email from Redvers, Sask., where he plans to run as a CNP candidate in October’s federal election.

‘Parasitic tribe’

RCMP in Saskatchewan confirmed they opened an investigation Wednesday into a video featuring Patron posted on the CNP website.

In it, Patron denounces what he describes as “the parasitic tribe” or “black sheep,” who he claims control the media and the central bank in Canada.

“What we need to do, perhaps more than anything, is remove these people once and for all from our country,” Patron says, speaking directly to the camera.

Farber acknowledged Patron makes no explicit reference to Jews but called the video hateful and “clearly” anti-Semitic.

“The kind of tropes that Jews have been subject to for much of our collective lives have been exactly the words used by Mr. Patron in this video — controlling the media, controlling the entertainment business,” said Farber, who is a former chief executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

“So, instead of using the word ‘Jews,’ which would immediately not just raise the ire of Canadians but would, I think, shine a spotlight for law enforcement … they’re trying to walk this fine line. They just don’t, in my view, do a very good job about it.”

Patron told CBC News his statements are directed at “globalists.”

“They go by many different names,” he said. “We refer to them simply as the globalists because they conduct their business everywhere while simultaneously calling no place in particular home. We would remove [them] from our country. We have no use for them.”

The RCMP say they are consulting hate crime specialists to determine whether Patron’s comments in the video contravene criminal laws against advocating genocide or hatred against an identifiable group.

Tax-supported party funding

Elections Canada has given the CNP until July 15 to provide 250 signed declarations from its members to become officially eligible as a federal political party.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network filed a complaint with Elections Canada last week denouncing the CNP as a hate group.

“For obvious reasons, we don’t want to see the CNP become a tax-supported (via contribution reimbursements) and officially recognized party,” the network’s complaint says.

“What can be done to prevent this neo-Nazi party from becoming an official party?”

Under the existing laws, not much.

Farber says Canada should follow countries like Germany that bar groups promoting anti-democratic views from registering in the political process.

“We have to be very careful in between finding that balance of our rights in a free and democratic society to gather and to create political parties and then balance that with hate speech and hate groups that are out there who are trying to destroy society.”

Pauline Beange, an Elections Canada expert at the University of Toronto, believes Canadian governments would be “very reluctant” to pass legislation restricting access to political participation.

“Basically anybody can apply to be registered,” she said. “They have to choose a name. They have to have a certain number of signatures. But after that, it is not Elections Canada’s job to decide who should or who should not become a political party.”

There is always a risk of extreme views on the left or right, she said, but whether the groups that espouse those views actually gain a political foothold is another matter.

“We have had parties on the extreme left like the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Communist Party of Canada. So, we have tolerated those. They have not hijacked democracy in any way, shape or form. And again, I rely on Canadian voters and their judgment.”

Anti-Pride

Members of the CNP, and supporters wearing party T-shirts, appeared at recent Pride celebrations in Hamilton and Toronto.

Patron says he’s reviewed numerous videos of violent clashes between protesters at those events and insists his supporters adhered to his party’s code of conduct, which prohibits incitement of violence and use of hateful language.

“Taking a look at the video footage [from Pride events], at least what has been released, I’m happy to see that our members acted with professionalism, and they stood by, and they did not cause any violence,” he told CBC News.

However, one video being circulated on social media from Toronto last weekend shows two men wearing CNP shirts taking part in the violence.

The clip, shot inside the Eaton Centre mall in downtown Toronto, shows one of the men pummelling a downed protester with a bike helmet.

Moments later, a different man wearing a CNP shirt is seen shoving a security guard.

In a video on the party’s YouTube channel, Patron calls for the defunding of Pride parades across the country. He criticizes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “normalizing homosexuality” by appearing at Pride events.

When asked by CBC to explain his views on LGBTQ issues, he replied that homosexuality “leads to self-destruction.”

“A prerequisite for the continuity of our nationhood is that of future generations, progeny and fertility … In regards to same-sex couples, there is no biological progeny, and therefore, a nationalist government would not support such a lifestyle choice by publicly financing it.”

In a statement to CBC News, Elections Canada says the Canada Elections Act has no restrictions to bar political parties with extreme views, nor can it bar candidates or parties that are under police investigation or have a criminal record.

Only prisoners are prohibited from running for office.

Source: RCMP launch hate crime probe of leader of nationalist group vying for party status in federal election