The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Ethnocultural Groups
The Justice System in Canada
A Review of the Issues

Hate Crimes, Hate Material
Hate Groups


The Minority Advocacy Rights Council (MARC) study identifies "hate crimes" as a key issue of concern to ethnocultural groups in Canada.<293> Specifically, respondents to the survey emphasized that hate crimes and other hate-motivated acts profoundly disturb the sense of personal security of members of minority groups. A hate-motivated crime or act is not simply an individual event. Such crimes or acts impact significantly on the way minorities integrate into the society and the degree of social conflict between groups. Canada's commitment to multiculturalism as an element of public policy,<294> gives added importance to addressing hate crimes and other hate-motivated activities.

As evident from the responses given in the MARC study, however, ethnocultural groups in Canada see hate crimes as including much more than those behaviours which are now considered criminal offences. Provisions in Canada's Criminal Code to combat hate propaganda<295> outlaw advocating or promoting genocide as well as communications that incite and or promote hatred.<296> The responses to the study of the justice issues of concern to ethnocultural and minority groups included not only hate propaganda but also the existence and activities of hate groups as well as acts of violence motivated by racism and/or hatred. As such, the issue of hate crimes includes a concern with at least three interrelated aspects of the problem of hatred: hate materials, offensive behaviours motivated by hatred, and the existence and activities of hate groups.

These concerns, and the fact that the problem encompasses the three aspects of materials, behaviours, and groups, is also reflected in media's coverage of hate crimes.

Many recent articles<297> show the public's perception of the seriousness of the problem, and indicate that the three aspects of materials, behaviours, and groups are not distinct but inter-related aspects of the larger problem of hate crimes. A sampling of these articles covers the following topics:

* Minorities are shown as the targets of violence and there is a reference to the "current eruption of hate" in Canada and around the globe.<298>

* A full-page story shows the existence and activities of hate groups in Canada -- the Aryan Nations, Heritage Front, the Klu Klux Klan, Canadian Liberty Net, and Church of the Creator are named and briefly described_and warns that "police, human rights activists and other observers are expressing alarm over the systematic pattern of activity by Canada's extreme right as it targets gays, Jews and visible minorities;"<299> and the ready and widespread availability, in most areas in Canada, of hate hot- lines (telephone services with pre-recorded hate messages which will also return calls if the caller leaves a name and telephone number) run by groups like Heritage Front, Canadian Liberty Net, and the Ku Klux Klan, and a wide variety of published materials produced by groups like the Church of the Creator which carry hate hot-line phone numbers, include lists of available materials, and contain messages such as: "White man! Rise and let them feel the weight of your boot upon their necks, let them cower before you. The faithful are urged to take action against Jews, Blacks and other mud races." <300>

* The recruitment of youths into the ranks of white- supremacist groups such as the Toronto-based group Heritage Front and the United States-based group Church of the Creator is discussed.<301>

* Acts, including property and personal offences, against the Jewish Community are outlined and there is a call for a legislative response to the problem of hate crimes including the provision of sentencing guidelines and the collection of hate crime statistics.<302>

* A story on the creation of a music company, Resistance Records, to produce and distribute hate music (bands creating music with titles such as Coon Hunt, Race Riot, and White Revolution) to spread hate messages and "attract a new generation of recruits." The record company has a Detroit address which, since "tapes are...easily shipped over the border and are rarely checked by customs agents...[which] allows the free flow of materials that, if produced here, would likely be banned under Canadian laws."<303>

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