Anti-racism groups say Canadian government must do more to address systemic issues

Executive director of the Canadian Congress for Inclusive Diversity and Equity in the Workplace says police refusal to use force to break up convoy occupation and border blockades stands in stark contrast to how Black Lives Matter or native land defenders were treated.

Canadian human rights and anti-racism groups are calling on the federal government to do more to tackle white supremacy and systemic racism.

Fareed Khan, the founder of Canadians United Against Hate, says the government must start by recognizing that the country and its institutions were built on Indigenous genocide, slavery and white supremacy.

Alex Ihama, executive director of the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity and Equity in the Workplace, says he encourages countries to welcome Ukrainians as they flee the “despicable” war started by Russia, but asks them to provide the same support to non-European refugees.

Nur Watad, media director of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, says Canada is not doing enough to support the Palestinians.

Why have we not been able to provide the same support to refugees outside of Europe, notably in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Palestine? asked Watad. “We certainly have the capacity to accommodate all asylum seekers fleeing conflict and unrest, regardless of their origin.”

But their appeal was not limited to foreign affairs. Ihama said the police’s refusal to use force to break up trucker protests stands in stark contrast to how Black Lives Matter or Indigenous land defenders have been treated.

“We….see the force that is used when the Black Lives Matter movement advances its cause. They’re not asking for free money. They’re not asking for anything for free. They’re just asking to be recognized as human. Just to be recognized as citizens,” Ilhama said.

Khan says he doesn’t trust politicians to solve the problem – Canadians need to stand up and ask why our government is saying one thing and doing another.

The speakers made their announcement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

It comes as a Statistics Canada report released on Friday found that hate crimes had increased by 37%.

A day later, an attack on a Toronto-area mosque in which a man armed with a hatchet and bear spray attacked worshipers was heroically stopped inside the Dar Islamic Center Al-Tawheed. A 24-year-old man is facing multiple charges and police are treating the incident as motivated by hate. Another occurred in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The report indicates that Jewish and Muslim communities continue to be the most common targets of religion-based hate crimes.

Hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asians increased by more than 300%, while hate against Indigenous peoples increased by 152%. Those for the black community increased by 92% and South Asian populations saw a 38% increase.

“The need to draw attention to hate and racism in Canada is reinforced by news this weekend of attacks on two mosques,” Khan said.

“We have to be aware that the vast majority of hate crimes are not reported to the police, so that number is, in fact, much higher,” Khan added of the hate crime statistics. .

Canadians United Against Hate calls on the federal government to implement an anti-hate strategy in coordination with provincial governments, Khan said. It would target all forms of hatred and racism in society, including on media platforms and systemic racism within institutions.

“Let’s all work together to build the kind of diverse, inclusive and tolerant Canada we all want,” he said.