Transcript: Defining Hate Crimes in Ontario | Sep 10, 2021

Jeyan Jeganathan sits at the Agenda news desk. He wears a dark suit and a patterned red tie. In front of him lay papers and a cell phone.

Monitors behind him read, “Ontario Hubs”

Text reads, “Jeyan Jeganathan, @JeyanTVO @theagenda. Defining hate crimes in Ontario.”

Jeyan begins,
WHILE SOME ONTARIO
POLICE DEPARTMENTS HAVE REPORTED
AN INCREASE IN HATE CRIMES OVER
THE COURSE OF THE LAST YEAR,
SOME ARE REPORTING A DECREASE.
THE DISPARITY RAISES NOT ONLY
QUESTIONS ABOUT REPORTING, BUT
CALLS FOR A CONSISTENT
DEFINITION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A
HATE CRIME.
JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON THAT
FROM THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL:
ASHLEY OKWUOSA, TVO.ORG'S
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
REPORTER. HI, ASHLEY

Ashley Okwuosa appears in front of a blank white wall. She wears eyeglasses and red lipstick.

Ashley replies,
HI, JEYAN. HOW ARE YOU?

Jeyan answers,
NOT TOO BAD.
LET'S GET INTO THIS.
YOU'VE BEEN DOING SOME
INVESTIGATION.
HOW EXACTLY DO POLICE DETERMINE
WHAT IS A HATE CRIME?

Text reads, “Ashley Okwuosa, Diversity and Inclusion Journalist, TVO.org”

Ashley responds,
SO POLICE SERVICES
OR POLICE DEPARTMENTS HAVE
DIFFERENT DEFINITIONS OF WHAT A
HATE CRIME IS.
I'LL USE HAMILTON, FOR EXAMPLE.
THEY ACTUALLY DIFFERENTIATE
BETWEEN A HATE-MOTIVATED CRIME
AND A HATE-MOTIVATED INCIDENT.
A HATE-MOTIVATED CRIME IS LIKE A
CRIMINAL OFFENCE.
AN EXAMPLE COULD INCLUDE
ASSAULT, DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OR
UTTERING THREATS.
FOR IT TO MEET THAT STANDARD OF
A HATE-MOTIVATED CRIME THERE HAS
TO BE EVIDENCE THAT THE OFFENCE
WAS MOTIVATED SOLELY OR IN PART
BECAUSE OF A BIAS OR PREJUDICE
BASED ON A VICTIM'S RACE,
NATIONAL OR ETHNIC ORIGIN,
SEXUAL ORIENTATION, PHYSICAL
DISABILITY, OR SO TO SPEAK.
WHILE FOR A HATE-MOTIVATED
INCIDENT, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE
INCIDENTS WHERE IT CANNOT BE
PROVEN TO HAVE BEEN MOTIVATED
SOLELY OR IN PART BECAUSE OF A
PERSON'S BIAS OR PREJUDICE
TOWARDS THE VICTIMS BUT INCLUDES
SOME KIND OF RACIAL OVERTONES.
DIFFERENT POLICE SERVICES HAVE
DIFFERENT WAYS OF CATEGORIZING
THIS AND THEN RESPONDING TO
THESE INCIDENTS.
AND EXPERTS ARE SAYING THAT THIS
AFFECTS DATA COLLECTION AND
TRUST IN COMMUNITY MEMBERS
BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SURE HOW A
POLICE DEPARTMENT IS GOING TO
RESPOND WHEN THEY REPORT
SOMETHING TO THEM.

Jeyan says,
LET'S TALK DATA.
YOU DID SOME CALLING TO SOME
POLICE SERVICES.
LET'S HAVE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE
NUMBERS.

Text reads, “Hate Crimes in Ontario, Increase over 2019”

Jeyan continues,
HERE WE SEE IN HALTON, HATE
CRIMES HAVE INCREASED BY 160%
OVER 2019. IN OTTAWA, 56.9%.
AND THEN MOVING ON TO TORONTO,
THERE'S BEEN A 51% INCREASE.
AND IN LONDON, HATE CRIMES HAVE
RISEN BY 46%.
SOME VIEWERS THERE WILL REMEMBER
THE TRAGIC ATTACK LAST JUNE
WHERE A MUSLIM FAMILY WAS GOING
OUT FOR A WALK AND RUN DOWN.
POLICE SAY IN THAT ATTACK, IT
WAS MOTIVATED BY HATE.
AND THEN LASTLY IN HAMILTON,
SURPRISE THERE A LITTLE BIT,
SLIGHT DECREASE.
SO I WANT TO GET THE STORY
BEHIND THESE NUMBERS.
WE'LL START WITH HALTON.
FAIRLY HIGH INCREASE, 160%.
WHAT'S GOING ON THERE?

Ashley answers,
UMM, SO A LOT OF POLICE
DEPARTMENTS ACTUALLY PUT OUT
THESE, YOU KNOW, HATE CRIME
REPORTS OR IN THEIR MORE GENERAL
REPORTS KIND OF INDICATE WHAT'S
GOING ON IN RELATION TO HATE
CRIME. NOT A LOT OF POLICE
DEPARTMENTS DO THIS.
BUT A GOOD NUMBER DO.
AND IN HALTON, IN THEIR REPORT
THEY ACTUALLY NOTED THAT THEY
HAD ABOUT 66 REPORTED INCIDENTS
OVER THE LAST YEAR, WHICH IS A
RISE FROM 25 FROM THE PREVIOUS
YEAR. SO THAT'S KIND OF WHERE
YOU GET THAT PERCENTAGE.
AND IN THE LOCAL PAPER THE
POLICE CHIEF POINTED TO
ANTI-ASIAN RACISM BECAUSE OF
CoVID-19 AND THEY PUSHED BACK
AGAINST THE BLACK LIVES MATTER
MOVEMENT WHICH REALLY
SKYROCKETED LAST SUMMER.
WHAT WAS REALLY INTERESTING IS
THEY SAID EVEN WITH THE
SIGNIFICANT INCREASE, THEY DO
BELIEVE THAT THERE'S STILL SOME
UNDERREPORTING HAPPENING.
SOME OF THIS REPORTING MIGHT NOT
INCLUDE SOME OF THE LESS OVERT
HATE OR BIAS-MOTIVATED
INCIDENTS.

Jeyan replies,
VERY INTERESTING.
I'M CURIOUS ABOUT THE CITY OF
LONDON.
DO YOU THINK THAT SPIKE HAS
ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE ATTACK
LAST JUNE?

Ashley replies,
I MEAN, YOU KNOW, IT'S POSSIBLE.
EXPERTS DIDN'T REALLY POINT TO
THAT. I THINK A LOT OF THE
EXPERTS THAT I SPOKE TO WHO
HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT THIS ISSUE
FOR A WHILE SAY HATE CRIMES HAVE
BEEN CONSISTENTLY ON THE RISE
FOR A VERY LONG TIME. WHAT THEY
WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, KIND OF CAME
OUT OF THE UNFORTUNATE ATTACK
IN LONDON WAS JUST A LOUDER CALL
FOR REFORM. YOU KNOW, THE
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CANADIAN
MUSLIMS ACTUALLY RELEASED A
REALLY LENGTHY RECOMMENDATION
LIST FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT,
THE PROVINCIAL, AND MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENTS AND A LOT OF OTHER
GROUPS HAVE FOLLOWED SUIT.

Jeyan asks,
IS THERE ANY INFORMATION ON THE
SPECIFIC TARGETS OF THESE
CRIMES? DO POLICE RELEASE THAT
DATA AS WELL?

Ashley says,
YEAH. SO I THINK IN OTTAWA, YOU
KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, I THINK THEY
POINTED TO RACE AND ETHNICITY,
YOU KNOW, BEING LIKE 90% OF THE
MOTIVATION FOR SOME OF THE HATE
CRIMES. IN TORONTO WHERE YOU
MENTIONED, HATE CRIME HAD RISEN
BY 51%, THEY IDENTIFIED JEWISH,
BLACK, THE LGBTQ2S, AND ASIAN
COMMUNITIES AS THE MOST
VICTIMIZED GROUPS.

Jeyan responds,
OK, SO, LOOKING BACK AT THAT
BOARD WITH THE STATS, HAMILTON,
I HAVE TO SAY I'M VERY SURPRISED BY
THAT ONLY BECAUSE A FEW YEARS
AGO THIS WAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST
IN THE COUNTRY WHEN IT COMES TO
HATE CRIMES. WHAT'S GOING ON THERE?

Ashley answers,
SO ADVOCATES ARE
ACTUALLY SAYING THAT THERE
HASN'T BEEN A DECREASE.
THEY'RE JUST MORE WORRIED ABOUT
UNDERREPORTING.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, I THINK LAST
MARCH IT WAS THE HAMILTON POLICE
SERVICE LAUNCHED THIS ONLINE
REPORTING TOOL THAT WOULD
ENCOURAGE CITIZENS TO REPORT
HATE CRIMES ONLINE.
SO BETWEEN MARCH AND DECEMBER,
THEY HAD ABOUT 108, YOU KNOW,
REPORTS THAT WERE SUBMITTED BUT
THEY HAD ONLY CATEGORIZED 22 AS
MEETING THE REQUIREMENT OR THE
CRITERIA FOR HATE OR BIASED
REPORTING.
I THINK THAT'S WHAT ADVOCATES
ARE AFRAID ABOUT, IS PEOPLE ARE
REPORTING THESE CRIMES OR
INCIDENTS BUT THEY AREN'T BEING
CATEGORIZED AS HATE CRIMES AND
THAT, IN TURN, HAS BEEN
DISCOURAGING PEOPLE FROM
REPORTING.

Jeyan replies,
UMM, YOU HAD MENTIONED TALKING
TO ADVOCATES. SOLUTIONS? I
KNOW THIS IS QUITE A BIG PROBLEM.
NOT SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE
FIXED OVERNIGHT. BUT WHAT HAVE
YOU BEEN HEARING?

Ashley says,
SO A LOT OF THE
PROPOSED SOLUTIONS, THERE IS THE
BILL C-36, WHICH WILL CLARIFY THE
DEFINITION OF ONLINE HATE SPEECH
AS A FORM OF DISCRIMINATION.
A LOT OF ADVOCATES ARE CALLING
FOR THAT BECAUSE PEOPLE SAY THAT
A LOT OF THIS -- YOU KNOW, LIKE
MISINFORMATION OR DISINFORMATION
THAT PROPELS HATE CRIMES STARTS
FROM ONLINE.
THEY ARE CALLING FOR THAT.
A LOT ARE CALLING FOR A STAND
ALONE DEFINITION IN THE CRIMINAL
CODE. SO CURRENTLY
THE CRIMINAL CODE RECOGNIZES
PUBLIC INCITEMENTS OF HATRED
AGAINST AN IDENTIFIABLE GROUP OR
WILLFUL INCITEMENTS OF HATRED.
SO WILLFUL, THAT KIND OF MAKES IT
A LITTLE BIT MORE OF A HIGHER
BURDEN TO PROVE. WHAT PEOPLE
ARE CALLING FOR IS REALLY A STAND
ALONE SECTION OF THE CRIMINAL
CODE THAT WILL DEFINE WHAT A
HATE CRIME IS, WHICH WILL THEN IN
TURN, HELP PEOPLE COLLECTING
DATA ABOUT HATE CRIME AND THEN
WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY INFORM
HOW POLICE DEPARTMENTS RESPOND
TO HATE CRIMES.

Jeyan adds,
I HAVE A COUPLE SECONDS LEFT.
OF COURSE, WE'RE IN AN ELECTION
RIGHT NOW. ARE WE HEARING
ANYTHING ON THE ELECTION
CAMPAIGN?

Ashley replies,
YOU KNOW, TVO.org, WE ACTUALLY
REACHED OUT TO A NUMBER OF THE
PARTIES JUST LOOKING FOR COMMENT
AND TO CLARIFY WHETHER THEY HAD
TAKEN IT INTO CONSIDERATION THIS
IDEA OF CREATING A STANDALONE
HATE CRIME DEFINITION IN THE
CRIMINAL CODE.
A REPRESENTATIVE FOR NDP
ACTUALLY RESPONDED AND SAID THAT
THE PARTY COMMITS TO
ESTABLISHING A NATIONAL STANDARD
FOR IDENTIFYING AND RECORDING
ALL HATE INCIDENTS, AND THE HOPE
IS THAT THIS WOULD CREATE A MORE
FAIR AND STANDARDIZED DEFINITION
OF WHAT CONSTITUTES A HATE
CRIME. SOME OF THE PARTIES
HAVEN'T RESPONDED, BUT
GOING THROUGH THEIR PLANS THERE
IS MENTION OF HATE CRIMES.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY AIMS TO
DOUBLE FUNDING FOR A PROGRAM
CALLED THE SECURITY
INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM AND
SIMPLIFY THE APPLICATION SO GROUPS
WILL BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR FUNDING
TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.
THE GREEN PARTY SAYS IT WILL
PROVIDE FUNDING FOR DATA
COLLECTION AND IT WILL SUPPORT
RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
ORGANIZATIONS LOOKING TO ADDRESS
ONLINE HATE AND OFFLINE HATE,
AND THE LIBERAL PARTY MENTIONED
THAT IT WILL PRESENT A NATIONAL
ACTION PLAN ON COMBATING HATE.
IT WILL INTRODUCE LEGISLATION
WITHIN ITS FIRST 100 DAYS AND
ALSO CREATE A SUPPORT FUND FOR
SURVIVORS OF HATE CRIMES.

Jeyan says,
SOMETHING WE WILL
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR.
THANK YOU SO MUCH, ASHLEY.

Ashley responds,
THANK YOU SO MUCH, JEYAN.

Text reads, “Defining Hate Crimes in Ontario. Produced by: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta”.

Text continues, “Ontario Hubs are made possible by: The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust & Goldie Feldman”.

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