What is a hate crime? Lawyers across Canada define the term

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What is a hate crime? Lawyers across Canada define the term

With the rise in racial attacks against Asian Canadians during the pandemic, many must wonder what recourse is there to the Canadian judicial system.

“If someone happens to be racially fraudulent or tell a joke, it is hard to tell that they are trying to publicize this hatred of another race in the world,” said Balfour Der, Calgary defender.

“Someone standing in front of the courthouse disparaging a race would be a lot easier to prove.”

The, a former prosecutor who has also represented clients in some of Canada’s most prominent criminal cases, said while the public may feel that some crimes should be considered “hate crimes,” they are often not prosecuted this way.

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“The section requires that the behavior that promotes this racial hatred must be willful and willful, and that you must do it on purpose for that purpose,” he said.

The Canadian Criminal Code has three sections that list specific “hate crimes”. This includes hate propaganda advocating genocide, public incitement, or promoting hatred and mischief in connection with certain goods.

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According to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS), charges in these sections are rarely the subject of reports from police officers to the Crown Attorney detailing the police’s findings.

“In BC in 2020, only 11 police reports contained allegations of any of these ‘hate crimes,'” said Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the BC prosecutor’s office. “To put this into perspective, the BCPS receives more than 70,000 reports to the Crown Attorney every year.”

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He said, however, that this does not mean that these crimes go unpunished.


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“You can commit a common crime, an attack, but when the attack is racially motivated it suddenly becomes much more serious,” he said. “The penalty will be much more severe.”

“I think there is a growing appetite to prosecute racially motivated crimes.”

Canada’s largest municipal police force admits that while it pursues hate crimes, it does not collect statistics on other crimes that may be racially motivated.

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Calgary is taking part in rallies across Canada calling for “stopping Asian hatred”.

“One of the things we hear:” Even if racism is not a crime, should we keep this as a database that we can refer to later? “Said Peter Yuen, deputy chief of police of Toronto.” This is something we are seriously considering because we are not currently grasping it. “

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While the system may not be perfect, Yeun underlines the importance of reporting racially motivated attacks to the police.

“I’m here to tell the public that we take these things very seriously.”

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