Aboriginal - First Nations Accountability Civil liberties Justice Race and ethnicity

The sorry state of Canadian civil liberties: Hate crime up, race primary motive


Hate crimes in Canada: Most violent against gays, black people most targeted racial group
Craig Takeuchi, June 27, 2014

The referenced StatsCan release. As the article notes, the majority of all police-reported hate crimes (704 incidents, or 52 percent) were racially or ethnically motivated. Yet, remarkably, the few stories published focused on sexual orientation, a far less frequent motive (185 incidents, or 13%), albeit one involving greater incidence of violence.

The article references StatsCan’s closing note suggesting  “…higher rates of police-reported hate crime in certain jurisdictions may reflect differences or changes in the recognition, reporting and investigation of these incidents by police…” Which provides a nice segue to an incident reported the same day…

Police not required to speak English: judgment [sic]
CTV Montreal, June 27, 2014

If the headline reflected the underlying story, it would read “Police not required to speak English when harassing racial minorities,” because that’s what it was really about. The kids’ mother states the complaint filed against the officers alleged racism.

Sadly, the bigoted officers’ actions will likely result in a Constitutional challenge. How it will turn out is far from clear. One wouldn’t have expected the Quebec Police Ethics Commission to find as it did. But then again, see previous post re diversity, or rather the lack thereof, in judicial and administrative tribunals.

The article notes “Longueuil police are required to have a working knowledge of English…” For good reason. Montreal’s South Shore (which includes Longueuil) is home to a sizeable English-speaking minority. Numerous English academic institutions, including Champlain College in St-Lambert (enrolment ~2,700) and Centennial Regional High School in Greenfield Park, (enrolment~1,500), are situated on the South Shore.  The Canadian municipal amalgamation frenzy of the late 90’s/early 00’s didn’t escape Montreal. Numerous South Shore municipalities amalgamated under Longueuil, including St-Lambert and Greenfield Park, thus explaining the English-speaking requirement for its amalgamated police force.

While the article mentions neither the race of the Longueuil police officers involved nor of the Commission members who sanctioned their conduct (see Quebec Police Ethics Commission, Quebec Police Ethics Committee org charts for reference), the statistical likelihood is none belonged to a racial minority group. Aside: it’s interesting how such articles specify the race/ethnicity of the victims, but never that of the officers or other officials involved.

Back to the connection between the two articles: It’s more than a bit disingenuous to chalk up the increase in documented racially-motivated hate crimes to “improvements made in the recognition, reporting, and investigation of these incidents by police”. When they’re not busy perpetrating them (for violent/fatal examples, see Anthony Griffin Montreal, Stacy Bonds Ottawa, Sami Yatim Toronto), police officers rarely take an interest in ‘recognising, reporting and investigating’ such hate crimes. If anything, the stats likely belie the extent of racially-motivated hate crimes in Canada.

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