Hate crimes increase in Canada, StatsCan reports

Katherine Laidlaw June 14, 2010 – 9:13 am The National Post

Hate crimes increased 35% between 2007 and 2008, according to a report from Statistics Canada released on Monday, with Jewish and black people the most targeted groups for attacks. The data shows hate crimes are on the rise in each motivation grouping: race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Canadian police services reported 1,036 hate crimes in 2008, with 55% of those reported motivated by race or ethnicity.

Of all race-based attacks, blacks were targeted four out of 10 times; Jews were the subject of 165 attacks, or about two-thirds of all religious hate crimes.

Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said that while the numbers are “disturbing,” he can pinpoint the political factors contributing to spikes in hate-crime incidents against Jews. “When there is a situation that has developed in the Middle East, dealing with the Jewish state of Israel, it is a truism to say hate crimes against Jews rise,” he said. “In the timeline that you’ve seen this increase, we’ve had the Lebanese incursion and the Gaza war. It’s a tense time when these things happen, and people’s most base and hateful qualities come out.”

Mr. Farber says he thinks the spike can also be attributed to more victims reporting hate crimes in the last five years. “There’s also good news here. While there’s been a spike, the number of crimes is still not huge. It’s still correct to say that Canada is one of the safest places for Jews to live anywhere in the world,” he said. “We work very closely with the police to ensure that hate crimes are reported.”

The largest jump in the statistics was in the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation category, where there were twice as many reports in 2008 as in 2007. The report said those hate crimes were also the most violent. Three-quarters of those attacks were violent — meaning an assault, uttering a threat, or worse — compared with 38% of those based on race and 25% based on religion.

Forty-two percent of the total reported crimes were violent. Mischief offences, such as vandalism to property, amounted to 47% and other non-violent offences totaled 11%.

Vancouver and Hamilton topped the list in number of incidents for the 10 largest metropolitan areas surveyed, each reporting 6.3 hate crimes per 100,000 people. Vancouver’s rate, 143, was nearly double its 2007 total.
Toronto reported 271 hate crimes in 2008, falling near the middle of the 10 largest metropolitan areas surveyed at 5.4 hate crimes for every 100,000 people. Montreal had the lowest rate, at 1 per 100,000.

The report noted that the number of hate crimes reported by police could be influenced by various hate crime initiatives, or lack thereof, in the regions assessed.


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

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