Hate crimes in Trudeau’s Canada

According to Western media, Canada has experienced a sharp rise in hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation, and race since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019. According to details, Canada has witnessed a 72 percent jump in the hate crime rate between 2019 to 2021. The reports suggest that the upsurge was partly due to the pandemic, which exposed and exacerbated safety and discrimination issues. The Chinese Canadian reported increased discrimination mainly due to COVID-19 origin in Wuhan, China, While Muslims and other Asian Canadians are also the recurrent targets of racial discrimination in recent years. According to Statistic Canada, the hate-motivated crimes targeting religion jumped 67 percent, while crimes relating to sexual orientation, targeting race or ethnicity climbed 64 percent in 2021.

Canada, a moderate democracy, and diverse society had been witnessing a gradual spike in hate crimes over the recent decades. As per available data, the number of hate crimes reported in 2013 we’re 1,167, which grew to 2,073 in 2017. The reports suggest that hate crime decreased by 13% in 2018, however, the emergence of COVID-19 in China, further intensified the hate sentiment of native Canadians against immigrants, particularly Asian Canadians during 2020 and 2021.

According to the reports, a large bulk of Canada’s workforce is comprised of foreign immigrants while hundreds of thousands of foreign laborers got Canadian work permits and citizenship each year. Presently, immigrants constitute 84% of the Canadian workforce, which plays a crucial role in the development of the Canadian economy, and had become an inevitable segment of society. The recurrent acts of hate crimes had created utmost fear in different communities including Asian Canadians, people of color or African Canadians, Muslims, and Sikhs, who had been the target of racism due to their physical appearance, and beliefs in the western society of Canada.

Currently, human rights groups, NGOs, and community associations are calling on the federal government to pass an Anti-Racism Act to collect specific information about the culprits and identify the causes and circumstances that lead to the occurrence of these heinous crimes.

Interestingly, Canada is a signatory to the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination dating back to 1970, while the Canadian Human Rights Act also provides sufficient guidance and legal tools to snub the culprits involved in spreading hate and fear in the country. But, the Canadian Strategists had struck the quandary between the rights of victims and the entitlements of the culprits because nationalists are using freedom of expression as a plea to hurt others, while Canadian lawmakers are considering the means to create a balance between the hate speech and freedom of expression to address the repeated problem.

In fact, the ever-rising hate crimes had created a great challenge for the Canadian government, the legislature as well as the judiciary, because it undermined the dignity and self-worth of targeted individuals and community groups, widenened the gap, and created distrust between different racial, cultural and religious segments of the society, besides hindering the pace of development in the country. The Canadian Supreme Court has denounced hate speech and racial crimes and called on the government to pass a law to tackle the issue. Hence, it is time for Trudeau and his colleagues to protect their legacy of diversity, inclusiveness, and pluralism in Canada.