Hate Speech And The Misnomer Of ‘The Marketplace Of Ideas’ : NPR

Good long read by David Shih on some of the weaknesses in the free speech arguments:

Critical race theorists Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic addressed this possibility in a 1992 Cornell Law Review article entitled “Images of the Outsider in American Law and Culture: Can Free Expression Remedy Systemic Social Ills.” They coin a term for the erroneous belief that “good” antiracist speech is the best remedy for “bad” racist speech: the “empathic fallacy.” The empathic fallacy is the conviction “that we can somehow control our consciousness despite limitations of time and positionality … and that we can enlarge our sympathies through linguistic means alone.”

In other words, the empathic fallacy leads us to believe that “good” speech begets racial justice and that we will be able to tell the difference between it and racist hate speech because we are distanced, objective arbiters…

In the meantime, racist hate speech flows unabated because of our faith in a flawed metaphor.

The marketplace is further gamed by “dog whistles” — code word replacements for overtly racist speech that still aim to stoke white resentment over the social mobility of people of color. When the sitting attorney general dismisses the ruling of a court because it resides on “an island in the Pacific,” he invents yet another way to signal which groups count in America and which ones don’t. And if a racist idea like this one ever flops in the marketplace, its author simply recalls it by saying he was joking.

A quarter-century ago when Delgado and Stefancic published their theory of the empathic fallacy, they speculated that the infamous Willie Horton ad tipped a presidential election because voters could not view the ad objectively. We now know that racism was the primary motivation for voters who put Donald Trump in the White House. We know that the best ideas of Gold Star father Khizr Khan at the Democratic National Convention were no match for fearmongering rumors about refugees from Syria and immigrants from Mexico. We know that after almost 100 days of Trump’s presidency, only two percent of those who voted for him regret it. This might mean they don’t see his speech as racist or don’t care if it is.

If we argue that racist hate speech must be protected, we have to account for the empathic fallacy.

We can start by admitting that this position is based on the troubling belief that it is one’s right to be hateful — and not on the comforting belief that hate is a catalyst for racial justice in a “marketplace of ideas.” Better than ever, we know how specious that logic is. We can understand that student protesters may not, in fact, long for their First Amendment rights should the tables turn on them. Law professor Charles Lawrence has argued that civil rights activists in the sixties achieved substantive gains only when they exceeded the acceptable bounds of the First Amendment, only when they disrupted “business as usual.”

Racist hate speech has come to emblemize free speech protections because the parties it injures lack social power. Students of color are expected to endure insults to their identities at the same time that celebrities win multi-million dollar defamation settlements and media companies scrupulously guard their intellectual property against plagiarism.

The belief that more speech is the remedy for “bad” speech can be a principled stance. But for the stance to be principled, it must account for why the target of racist hate speech is less deserving of exemption than, say, the millionaire with a reputation to protect from libel, or the community flooded with sexually-explicit material, or the deep state with a dark secret. Some exemptions make good sense. But does an obscene photograph of an adult that “lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value” (as defined in Miller v. California, the current law of the land regarding obscenity) really do more harm than a lecture promoting white supremacy?

American society fixates on antiracist protest when debating the First Amendment for the same reason it fixates on race when debating affirmative action: because of the perception that people of color are somehow undeserving of special privileges.

Yet it was supporting the rights of people of color that got Desiree Fairooz arrested in January for laughing during the Senate confirmation hearingof then-attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. This week, the Department of Justice moved forward with her prosecution, along with those of two men who had mocked Sessions with fake Ku Klux Klan robes. In March, the Human Rights Council of the UN published a letter expressing alarm at the number of legislative efforts criminalizing peaceful assembly and expression in the US.

Powerful interests will find their way around the First Amendment to protect the status quo against antiracist protest. Asking student protesters to tolerate racist hate speech is to ask them to trust in free speech laws that have historically exempted the powerful and punished the vulnerable. When it comes to racism, the “marketplace of ideas” is not laissez-faire and never was.

Source: Hate Speech And The Misnomer Of ‘The Marketplace Of Ideas’ : Code Switch : NPR

Canadian antisemitism statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt – The Jewish Chronicle

The StatsCan annual reports do separate out “mischief” (“non-violent offences,” about two-thirds of the total) from more serious hate crimes:

Here in Montreal, extremist imams can be seen on YouTube calling for the death of Jews at mosques, and chants of “death to the Jews” can be heard in Arabic at anti-Israel rallies.

The issue is also pretty cut and dried when synagogues are defaced with large swastikas, Jewish school libraries are burned down (as happened in Montreal in 2004), or small pipe bombs go off at Jewish institutions, such as happened in Montreal in 2007.

But what makes the issue murkier is whether real antisemitism is always involved, and a recent police report released report in Toronto bears that out.

According to the city’s Hate Crimes Unit, for the 12thconsecutive year – 12th! – Jews were the main victims in almost 30 per cent of hate-motivated crimes against minority groups, significantly ahead of black, Muslim, and the LGBTQ communities.

To me, this makes no real sense. Why should Jews be more targeted than other minorities, and for so many years in a row?

I got no help in answering this question from the unit itself. As a matter of policy, I was told, it does not publicly disclose who reports a “hate crimes” incident, other than to acknowledge that it might come from any individual or organisation.

That latter part resonated with me since it’s kind of an open secret that certain Jewish organisations have a vested interest in creating the public impression that antisemitism in Canada is perpetually “on the rise.”

So anything, in a way, can be seen and reported as a “hate crime”: from a swastika finger-painted in the snow by a stupid teenage kid to an idiot making a bigoted comment at a supermarket.

And if they are designated as “hate crimes,” those numbers can really add up! For the Jews, 12 years in a row, it appears.

It’s not irrelevant, in that context, to recall that in 2010, Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay criticised one Jewish org, B’nai Brith Canada, for its “absurd contention” that antisemitism is a growing problem in Canada.

In other words, “hate crimes” stats are pretty broad, open-to-interpretation – and dubious. The numbers should be taken with a big pinch of salt.

Of course there are serious antisemitic incidents in Canada. Of course there are. But the call as to what is truly a hate crime seems too often open to interpretation and involves too many vested community interests to get a truly accurate picture of the reality on the ground.

Source: Canadian antisemitism statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt – The Jewish Chronicle

Douglas Todd: Exaggerating extent of racism is all too easy

While polling data is important, I find blind cv tests (Applying for a job in Canada with an Asian name: Policy Options) and hate crime stats (StatsCan police reported as per the above charts) to be better indicators of racism and discrimination.

Under-estimating racism and discrimination is as much a risk as over-estimating:

It’s virtually impossible in a lifetime to avoid interaction with an extremist — including the activist that Hiebert says regularly shows up at Vancouver anti-racism events, where he eagerly hands out xenophobic leaflets.

When Hiebert conducted a survey years ago that tried to identify Canadians hostile to others, he found only two to three per cent fit the bill as out-and-out racists.

Even though the Vancity report tries to go further and advise British Columbians to “combat” their own “subconscious bias,” the credit union’s officials seem unaware the concept of “unconscious racism” has been criticized even by psychologist Mahzarin Banaji, who invented the term.

Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh is among those worried about the exaggeration of racism. Even though B.C. was home to some racism decades ago, Dosanjh said many now trot out the label to make themselves look good or to stifle debate.

Ethnic Chinese leaders in B.C., including Albert Lo, Justin Fung and Clarence Cheng, have also warned about the divisiveness of inaccurately claiming racism, particularly in a province struggling with unaffordable housing, foreign capital and unequal wealth.

Could the world really be so wrong about Canada and B. C.? A Gallup poll conducted in more than 50 countries discovered 84 per cent believe Canadians are “tolerant of others who are different,” the highest ranking of any country.

China, Russia and India were at the bottom of the list. Fewer than 34 per cent of global respondents rated residents of those major immigrant-source countries as tolerant.

Indeed, discrimination cuts unpredictably across cultures. A 2016 Angus Reid survey found recent immigrants to Canada were slightly less likely than native-born people to accept homosexuals, or approve of “marrying someone from a different cultural or religious background.”

So, are British Columbians accepting of diversity?

There is no simple answer. It appears the vast majority are highly respectful of difference, while a relative few are not.

Environics Institute pollster Keith Neuman answers the question about a region’s acceptance levels by quoting the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has become known for warning of the “danger of a single story.”

And it’s hard to think of a more treacherous single story about B.C. than the one alleging racism is alive and well.

Source: Douglas Todd: Exaggerating extent of racism is all too easy | Vancouver Sun

Anti-Islam Protesters Rip Qur’an At Ontario School Board Meeting

Certainly qualifies as Islamophobia under any definition. Image the outrage if the Torah or Bible was ripped apart:

Anti-Islam protesters ripped a Qur’an and walked over its torn pages during an Ontario school board meeting Wednesday evening, as they demanded that Muslim students be banned from praying at school.

At the meeting — held by Peel District School Board in Mississauga, Ont. — a group of enraged parents pressed the board to end religious accommodation. They presented a petition signed by 600 people that wants to stop students from gathering at school for about 15 minutes each Friday for Jummah prayers.

The meeting derailed when the school board, which must provide accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code, said they would not address the issue at this meeting.

A spokesman from the school board, Brian Woodland, told The Globe and Mail about 80 people attended the meeting and shouted some “fairly horrific” Islamophobic comments.

“I was actually deeply shaken by what I heard. I’m not sure I’ve ever in my life seen this level of hatred,” he said.

In a Twitter video posted by a Vice News reporter Tamara Khandaker, protesters can be heard yelling across the room.

“Islam will kill you,” a man shouts at one point.

Police eventually intervened, and the trustees proceeded with a closed-door meeting.

The Ontario government, which unanimously passed an anti-Islamophobia motion last month, spoke out against the hate speech Thursday.

“Ontario schools are places that must be beacons of equity and inclusivity. All students must feel that they belong in school and that they feel safe when they are there,” Education Minister Mitzie Hunter said, according to CBC News.

Source: Anti-Islam Protesters Rip Qur’an At Ontario School Board Meeting

And equally disturbing, from the other side of the divide:

A Montreal mosque is facing a police complaint and rebukes from the larger Muslim community after a video of an imam delivering a sermon in which he asks for Jews to be killed surfaced online.

The sermon took place at the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque in the city’s Saint-Michel neighbourhood on Dec. 23, 2016.

The video was posted to the mosque’s YouTube channel three days later. The imam in the video is Jordanian cleric Sheikh Muhammad bin Musa Al Nasr — he was reportedly an invited guest of the mosque.

In the video, the imam says in Arabic, “O Muslim, O servant of Allah, O Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.”

Part of the phrase references an Islamic hadith, which interprets the words and actions by the Prophet Muhammad.

CBC independently verified the speech and its translation.

CBC Montreal has reached out to the Dar Al-Arqam mosque for comment and was told no one was available.

Accused of inciting violence

The video was brought to the attention of B’nai Brith Canada, which filed a complaint with Montreal police on Monday.

The organization said it is totally unacceptable that a mosque would allow this to go on.

“This is inciting violence, and this is inciting radicalization,” said Harvey Levine, regional director of B’nai Brith in Quebec.

“It’s against the law and has to be stopped,” he said, adding that the complaint was filed with the Montreal hate crimes unit.

Montreal police confirmed they received a complaint, but would not provide any more information.

Mosque should apologize, says Muslim council

The president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, wants to know why the imam was invited. He says the mosque should apologize.

He added that the Dar Al-Arqam Mosque is not one of the more than 40 institutions the council represents.

Imam Ziad Asali of the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak Thursday that he was also mystified as to why the cleric was invited to preach.

“I do not understand how this person was invited to come and give a sermon and spread this hatred in Montreal against any community,” he said.

The hadith is one of more than 100,000 that are written in many books, some of which are considered authentic, while others are not, said Asali.

“To use the themes of the Prophet to spread hatred is actually something that is disrespectful towards the Prophet himself,” Asali said.

There are mosques in Montreal, the imam said, that embrace a more extremist message.

“These people, not only do they show hatred towards non-Muslims, they even show hatred to us Muslims,” he said.

Source: Imam calling for Jews to be killed in sermon at Montreal mosque draws police complaint

Montreal mosque facing calls for investigation after imam preaches on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Disturbing.

Prayer leader in question has been suspended and his remarks denounced by NCCM but local mosque authorities, like any local religious authorities, need to ensure that prayer leaders do not engage in hate speech:

A Montreal mosque where an imam had prayed for Jews to be killed “one by one” is facing fresh calls for an investigation after more videos surfaced online showing anti-Semitic preaching.

The Middle East Media Research Institute released a video on Tuesday of sermons in which an imam at the Al Andalous Islamic Centre conveyed conspiracy theories about Jews, their history and their origins.

Sheikh Wael Al-Ghitawi is shown in the video clips claiming that Jews were “people who slayed the prophets, shed their blood and cursed the Lord,” reported MEMRI, which translated the Friday sermons.

MEMRI

MEMRI

The imam went on to say Jews were the descendants of “Turkish mongols” and had been “punished by Allah,” who made them “wander in the land.” He further said that Jews had no historical ties to Jerusalem or Palestine.

The view conveyed by the imam has typically been used to deny that Jews have a connection to the land of Israel, said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of the Quebec branch of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

 “This is a bizarre strain of radical propaganda. It appears in the writings of Hamas and other groups like it and claims to debunk Jewish history,” said the rabbi, who said it was “unseemly” to use a religious service to propagate hate.

He said he did not believe such views, as well as the “deeply troubling” earlier calls to violence, were supported by the broader Muslim community “but its presence in this mosque needs to be investigated.”

The videos were posted on YouTube in November 2014. The centre was already in the spotlight over an August 2014 video that showed an imam asking Allah to “destroy the accursed Jews,” and “kill them one by one.”

In a press release last week concerning the August 2014 video, the mosque administration blamed “clumsy and unacceptable phrasing” by a substitute imam, whose wording was “tainted by an abusive generalization.” The mosque could not be reached for comment about the most recent video.

“If you examine the annals of history you will see that the Jews do not have any historical right to Palestine,” Al-Ghitawi said in the latest video. He claimed there was “not a single Jew in Jerusalem and Palestine” for lengthy periods.

“Jerusalem is Arabic and Islamic,” he said at a separate sermon. “It is our land, the land of our fathers and forefathers. We are the people most entitled to it. We will not forsake a single inch of this land.”

On Monday the National Council of Canadian Muslims denounced the “incendiary speech” in the earlier Al-Andalous video, as well as a 2016 sermon at a Toronto mosque about the “filth of the Jews.”

The Muslim Association of Canada, which is affiliated with the Toronto mosque, has apologized and said it had suspended the prayer leader in question and launched an internal investigation into the incident.

Liberal Jewish and Muslim MPs condemn imams who called for the death of Jews [and anti-Muslim hate]

Great initiative and statement:

….So right now, the Parliamentary record shows Liberals voting down a motion condemning racism and intolerance even as Conservatives, New Democrats, and Bloc Quebecois MPs, along with the lone Green Party MP, voted in favour of condemning all racism and religious intolerance. (Conservatives, it should be noted, vowed not to vote for M-103 when that motion comes to the floor, preferring, instead the one voted on Tuesday.)

It’s in that context — the reports of the imams calling for death to Jews and the Liberal rejection of a motion condemning, in part, discrimination against Jews —  that a group of Liberal Jewish and Muslim MPs issued this statement Wednesday:

“As Canadians, we rise and fall together. Polarization doesn’t only hurt targeted groups, it hurts all Canadians.

As Parliamentarians, we feel it is our responsibility to rally Canadians around our shared values of human rights, equality and respect for each other. It is our duty to speak out and set an example for Canadians in confronting stereotypes and prejudice, and advancing understanding and education.

We are horrified by reports that two Imams in Montreal and Toronto called for the death of Jews during sermons. We condemn such behaviour and call on the mosques’ administration to take appropriate action.

We are equally troubled by reports of hate notes posted outside identifiable Jewish homes in Toronto this past weekend, as well as deeply concerning accounts from university campuses of Jewish students being targeted and vilified. Anti-Semitism is real and we must stand together against it.

We are also united in condemning Islamophobia and supporting Motion 103. Three weeks ago, six Muslim Canadians were killed during their prayer service at a Quebec mosque. Since the attack, there have been troubling incidents of mosque vandalism and a protest with hateful slogans outside a Toronto mosque. As Parliamentarians we recognize this rise in Anti-Muslim sentiment as Islamophobia.

We respect and defend Canadians’ right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest, and Motion 103 does nothing to change speech laws in Canada, contrary to falsehoods being circulated. We believe the best way to counter hate is through free and open dialogue and as such we also want to exercise our right to speak out against intimidating Canadians, including children, when they’re visiting their place of worship.

Motion 103 sends a message of solidarity to all those affected by religious and other forms of systemic discrimination and calls on the Heritage Committee to study and make recommendations to respond to them.

Religious, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation discrimination is a threat to our diversity and social cohesion. We call on all Canadians to lead by example. Words matter.

The overwhelming majority of Canadians reject guilt by association and stigmatization. That is why we must redouble our efforts to promote education and understanding.

We take pride in the countless Canadian stories of interfaith groups coming together to make our communities better.

We must continue to defend a Canada that is based on our Charter of Rights and Freedoms respecting the rights and responsibilities of all. Diversity is our strength.

Members :
Hon. Jim Carr, Winnipeg South Centre
Hon. Karina Gould, Burlington.
Hon. Ahmed Hussen, York South — Weston
Hon. Maryam Monsef, Peterborough — Kawartha.
Omar Alghabra, Mississauga Centre
Julie Dabrusin, Toronto — Danforth.
Ali Ehsassi, Willowdale.
David Graham, Laurentides — Labelle.
Anthony Housefather, Mount Royal
Majid Jowhari, Richmond Hill.
Iqra Khalid, Mississauga — Erin Mills.
Michael Levitt, York Centre
Yasmin Ratansi, Don Valley East
Dan Ruimy, Pitt Meadows — Maple Ridge.
Marwan Tabbara, Kitchener South — Hespeler
Arif Virani, Parkdale — High Park.
Salma Zahid, Scarborough Centre”

La haine se propage au Québec – L’actualité

Latest provincially-collected data (last StatsCan provincial data shows 184 in Quebec – 2013 Police-Reported Hate Crimes by Province), with particular attention to extreme right motivated crimes:

Selon un rapport daté de 2015 du ministère québécois de la Sécurité publique, le nombre de crimes haineux enregistrés par la police — ce qui peut aller du vandalisme aux voies de fait en passant par les menaces — est passé de 176 en 2009 à 257 en 2014, un bond de 46 %.

Ce sont les crimes motivés par la haine d’une religion qui ont connu l’augmentation la plus marquée, tout particulièrement entre 2013 et 2014. Entre ces deux années-là, qui correspondent à l’époque où le projet de charte des valeurs du Parti québécois faisait débat, le nombre de délits haineux de nature religieuse a presque doublé, passant de 48 à 93. C’est le type de haine la plus répandue dans la province, devant les infractions liées à la race ou à l’origine ethnique, à l’orientation sexuelle, au sexe, à la langue, au handicap ou à l’âge.

Un mouvement morcelé

La mouvance d’extrême droite au Québec est tout aussi morcelée et volatile que celle du reste du pays. Mais elle a aussi ses caractéristiques propres. Samuel Tanner, de l’École de criminologie de l’Université de Montréal, et Aurélie Campana, du Département de science politique de l’Université Laval, en ont tracé les contours dans un rapport publié en 2014.

On retrouve dans la province une concentration particulièrement forte de skinheads d’extrême droite parfois violents. Figurent dans ce cercle des groupes comme Dead Boys Crew, Légion nationaliste, Québec Radical, Ragnarok ou Vinland Front. Certains de leurs membres ont été condamnés pour des agressions à l’arme blanche envers des personnes noires ou d’origine arabe, notamment.

Les skinheads québécois gravitent par ailleurs autour d’une scène musicale fort active, qui constitue un puissant outil de recrutement. Certains de ces groupes ont donné leurs concerts (et craché leur xénophobie) jusqu’en Amérique du Sud et en Europe.

Les chercheurs reconnaissent une autre frange de l’extrême droite québécoise: une frange ultranationaliste, animée par la conviction que la population québécoise de souche canadienne-française doit protéger sa langue, sa culture et son identité contre la menace que représentent à ses yeux les immigrants. Ces groupes sont de plus en plus visibles depuis quelques années: ils organisent des marches, des campagnes de distribution de tracts ou d’autocollants, des conférences et d’autres activités dont la rhétorique ne laisse planer aucun doute sur le sentiment islamophobe qui les motive. En font partie notamment la Fédération des Québécois de souche, Atalante Québec ou encore Pégida Québec.

Source: La haine se propage au Québec – L’actualité

Canada sees ‘dramatic’ spike in online hate — here’s what you can do about it

Useful to have this tracking of trends given that police-reported hate crime statistics, while needed and useful, only tell part of the story:

The internet can be a pretty intolerant place, and it may be getting worse.

An analysis of Canada’s online behaviour commissioned by CBC’s Marketplace shows a 600 per cent jump in the past year in how often Canadians use language online that’s racist, Islamophobic, sexist or otherwise intolerant.

“That’s a dramatic increase in the number of people feeling comfortable to make those comments,” James Rubec, content strategist for media marketing company Cision, told Marketplace.

Cision scanned social media, blogs and comments threads between November 2015 and November 2016 for slurs and intolerant phrases like “ban Muslims,” “sieg heil” or “white genocide.” They found that terms related to white supremacy jumped 300 per cent, while terms related to Islamophobia increased 200 per cent.

“It might not be that there are more racists in Canada than there used to be, but they feel more emboldened. And maybe that’s because of the larger racist sentiments that are coming out of the United States,” Rubec said.

So when you see hateful speech online, what can you do about it?

Marketplace‘s Asha Tomlinson joined journalist and cultural critic Septembre Anderson and University of Ontario Institute of Technology sociologist Barbara Perry, whose work focuses on hate crimes, to share strategies and tips for confronting intolerance online.

Reach out

If the person making hurtful comments is a friend, message them privately about it. Calling them out publicly can backfire.

The Canadian government must do more to combat hate crimes in Canada: Fogal, Godoy and Ansong

Surprising – or perhaps not – that this commentary by Shimon Fogel of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Carlos A. Godoy of Ga’ava, a Quebec-based LGBTQ organization and Tobin Ansong is of the Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario is virtually silent on hate directed at Muslim Canadians.

They propose strengthened measures against hate crimes: two general in nature that apply to all groups, one specific to radicalization, targeted largely at Muslim Canadians.

While I have no general issue with measures that focus on specific communities where needed (as is the case with respect to Al-Qaeda/ISIS inspired radicalization), it would have been a stronger statement had it more explicitly acknowledged anti-Muslim sentiment and had been a joint statement with a Canadian Muslim group:

In this same vein, federal officials should consider three more initiatives that could have significant impact in countering hate crime.

First, every MP should support Bill C-305 proposed by Nepean MP Chandra Arya. Currently, vandalism targeting a religious site—such as a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or cemetery—is a specific offence with substantial penalties. But this designation does not apply to schools or community centres associated with an identifiable minority group. C-305 is an essential, common sense bill to close this clear gap in the Criminal Code.

Second, there is a need for greater federal leadership to aid local police in enforcing hate crime provisions of the Criminal Code by offering more training, uniform guidelines, and resources. This is especially crucial given that this is an issue far beyond Canada’s largest cities. In 2013, the four most frequently affected cities per capita were Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Moncton, and Peterborough. Federal authorities can play a central role in identifying and sharing best practices. British Columbia, for example, is in many ways a model for a successful approach, with police agencies maintaining dedicated hate crime units providing experience and systems required to respond effectively to such incidents.

Third, as the federal government implements its counter-radicalization program, we must recognize the link between radicalization and hateful views toward minorities, whether they manifest as antisemitism, homophobia, or racism. There is ample research and tragic evidence—whether at a kosher supermarket in Paris, or an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, or a church in Charleston—these forms of hatred often go together with violent extremism.

Identifying early warning signs, in the form of hate and propaganda against these communities, must be an integral part of the government’s overall anti-terrorism strategy. Likewise, countering these hateful ideologies is essential in reclaiming a psychologically vulnerable person from the path of radicalization.

While these suggestions are relatively modest, taken together, they would represent a significant step forward in the effort to ensure Canada remains a safe home for all minorities.

Source: The Canadian government must do more to combat hate crimes in Canada – The Hill Times – The Hill Times

ICYMI: Nepean MP Arya aims to boost maximum sentences for hate-based graffiti

I would expect this to proceed given both the history of such proposals, the number of incidents, and the post-Trump context:

As ugly and unsettling as the recent spate of racist graffiti in Ottawa and across the country may be, it could ultimately help rookie Nepean Liberal MP Chandra Arya in his campaign to crack down on hate-based property damage, vandalism and other acts of criminal mischief.

Under the current law, hate-based mischief against places of worship can result in a sentence of up to 10 years, compared to just two years for general mischief. (There are also special provisions for longer sentences for mischief relating to war memorials and cenotaphs, as well as cultural property.)

Later this week, Arya will get his first chance to convince his House of Commons colleagues to back his private member’s bid to allow similar sentences to be imposed in all cases where public property is targeted for such attacks.

Specifically, he wants to broaden the law’s provisions to include schools, universities, community centres, day cares, sports arenas, seniors’ residences and any other building or structure used for educational, social, cultural or sports-related activities or events.

His bill would also add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of criteria used to determine whether an offence is motivated by “bias, prejudice or hate.”

He tabled C-305 shortly after the House returned in September, and on Tuesday, he’ll rise in the House to kick off the first round of debate.

Although he is wisely unwilling to declare it a done deal, at least as far as making it through a critical second-reading vote to send it to committee, he told the Ottawa Citizen he’s “cautiously optimistic” that it will garner the support of both the House and the government itself.

In order to increase the likelihood of that outcome, which would virtually guarantee the bill’s passage through the Commons, he says he’s been “working closely” with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and her staff on possible changes to the wording, which could be done at committee.

Among the potential edits: Adding “gender expression” as well as gender identity to the list of identifiable characteristics, and tweaking the section on property damage to make sure the new rules would cover all public facilities, not just those associated with a religious groups.

As Arya points out, currently, the offices of the Ottawa Catholic School Board would be included under the hate mischief provisions, but he wants to make sure the same protections would be in place for the non-Catholic school board headquarters as well.

A spokeswoman for Wilson-Raybould was unwilling to say whether the minister would be encouraging Liberal MPs to vote in favour of the bill. “The government’s position will be public at second reading,” Valerie Gervais told the Citizen.

Arya isn’t the first to propose expanding the reach of hate mischief laws.

Similar private members’ bills have been introduced in previous parliaments since 2000, sponsored by a series of Quebec MPs from both the Bloc Québécois and Liberal caucuses.

Most recently, then-opposition Liberal MP Marc Garneau put forward a virtually identical bill in 2013, although his proposal didn’t include the addition of “gender identity.”

Historically, the initiative has found support within all parties, but ultimately failed to make it to the legislative finish line before dissolution.

Last week, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs launched a letter drive calling on all parties to support Arya’s bill.

“In the past week alone, a spike in antisemitic, racist, and anti-Muslim vandalism was reported in Ottawa, including at three synagogues and other religious sites in our nation’s capital,” it notes.

“Antisemitic graffiti was also reported in Montreal and Toronto. This shocking series of events should remind us of the dangers of hate and the need to ensure our laws are effective in protecting at-risk communities.”

Bill C-305 would “close the gap” and “ensure the law better addresses these terrible crimes,” it concludes.

Source: Nepean MP Arya aims to boost maximum sentences for hate-based graffiti | Ottawa Citizen