Canada known to be a quiet nation but in recent years, just like in the United States, Canada has become politically more divided and incidences of hate crimes have skyrocketed reaching its peak in 2017. There has been a significant rise in the occurrence of hate crimes over issues such as migration and religion. In fact, far-right groups have risen in number, leading to a record high hate crime against Muslims in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
Statistics from Canadian police shows incidences of 2,073 hate crimes for 2017, which is an increase of over 600 incidents from the previous year. In a similar manner, the report made public on Thursday by StatisticsCanada shows that when compared with 2016, hate crimes rose up more than 60 percent against the Jewish population,50 percent against the black population and 15 percent targeting sexuality.
Observers believed that the actual cases could be much higher, as the report only captures the incidence of hate crimes reported to authorities. This number is believed to be just a small percentage of the total incidents that happened within the said period. It was estimated that more than 60% of hate crime victims don’t visit the police to report attacks. According to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network monitoring group, the number of victims who may have decided to stay quiet can be a lot higher in communities, given the huge numbers of immigrants recently.
The report covered hate crimes that attracted international attention as well as those that got minimal attention. Although the majority of incidences in the previous years showed a rise in property offenses like vandalism and nonviolent hate crimes than the violent ones, the 2017report reveals more horrific acts of hate violence than ever. One incident that readily comes to mind was in January when a far-right shooter killed six Muslim men at a Quebec City mosque. The two most popular Canadian provinces, Quebec and Ontario have become polarized
politically over issues of migration and religion.
Observers, human rights groups as well as researchers have partly blamed the increase in hate crimesin Canada on the contagious influences of the United States, with President DonaldTrump making regular speeches that encouraged intolerance.
“Hate and intolerance don’t really respect borders,” added Nasr.
For instance, court records show that the Quebec City shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, had obsessively browsed the social media accounts of Trump, Fox News pundits, and far-right conspiracy theorists before launching his attack. According to Bissonette, he carried out the killingsbecause he wanted to deter refugees from settling in Canada.