Hate is everywhere, these days. How to stop it?
Jew hatred is statistically the worst, of course, with anti-Semitic crimes and incidents happening everywhere on a near-daily basis. But the Islamophobia is bad, as well. For every four anti-Semitic incidents, there is roughly one Islamophobic one.
It’s a bad situation that is getting worse. The country doesn’t resemble the one that existed before October 7. So what can governments do?
There’s plenty. I’ve been researching and reporting on hate for nearly four decades. Here’s my top ten suggestions.
1. Create bias crimes units – federally and provincially. Most people are surprised to hear that Canada’s police agencies are a patchwork when it comes to hate. Some areas don’t even have police officers trained to deal with the problem. So, the feds and the provinces need to fill in the gaps – with community-based policing where that works, and an umbrella organization of trained federal RCMP cops for the rest.
2. Fund the bias crimes units that already exist. In those few places where hate-fighting cops work, resources are minimal to nonexistent. If the Trudeau Liberals and the Premiers are as serious about fighting hate they claim to be, they need to ensure the dollars are there for recruitment, training and deployment.
3. Create dedicated prosecutors and courts for hate prosecutions. Other jurisdictions have done this, and it works. It develops and centers expertise in the justice system, and it speeds up prosecutions of hate crime. We already do it for drug crimes. We clearly need to do it for hate crime, too.
4. Create a law prohibiting willfully promoting terror groups. There are laws against promoting hatred against identifiable groups, promoting anti-Semitism, promoting genocide. Incredibly, Canada does not have a law against promoting listed terrorist organizations like Hamas or Hezbollah. That needs to change, now.
5. Remove the Attorney-General’s approval for hate prosecutions. Police and prosecutors don’t need to get anyone’s permission to charge someone for murder or robbery. But they do for promoting hatred and related crimes. That has resulted in a completely-ridiculous situation where many hate crimes are being treated as simple cases of mischief. That needs to be fixed by the Feds. They have the power to do it.
6. Remove those who promote hate. Canada deports for serious crime, and has done so for decades. Meanwhile, it has become obvious that some who are here on study visas are abusing them – which is also grounds for revocation and deportation. The laws are there. They need to be applied with more rigor.
7. Make mandatory funding and teaching of genocide at the national level. Ontario and British Columbia have recently announced their intention to expand, and make mandatory, teaching about the Holocaust and related genocides. Other provinces need to do likewise – because nothing breeds hate more than ignorance. And, in those provinces that can’t quickly afford to do so on their own, bring in the likes of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center – which has long maintained a fleet of traveling buses to teach students about hate and genocide – to fill the gaps in the curriculum.
8. Defund universities who permit hate on campus. Academic freedom to say whatever you want, if it ever existed, no longer does. There have always been reasonable limits on what can be said on-campus. In the U.S. Congress, some have recently moved to eliminate federal funding for universities and colleges which permit clear expressions of hatred. Canada needs to do likewise.
9. Call a public inquiry. The Trudeau Liberals, in particular, are fond of reviews and inquiries, but not usually when they are the focus. There needs to be an all-party agreement to establish an inquiry to assess federal laws, regulations and programs – aimed, laser-like, at countering the shocking surge in hate crime and activity across the country.
10. Fund public awareness campaigns. Governments also love to launch advocacy campaigns about everything from the environment to public health. But, as noted, nothing breeds hatred better than ignorance. Canadian governments need to do what they can do better than the private sector: communicate some basic truths. Namely, what hate is, and why it is unwelcome here.
There’s ten concrete things the governments can, and should, do. Tweeting opposition to hate isn’t enough. Toothless resolutions do nothing.
We need to do more, and we need to do it now. Because a bad situation is getting worse every single day.