Andrew Scheer Shouldn't Give Racists a Pass - 2019-05-14
With fifty Muslims dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and California, white-supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the rise of populist, xenophobic parties across the West, the world seems to be settling into a dark pattern—one in which extremists vie for death-toll glory as political rhetoric grows more poisonous and divisive.
Canada is not immune to this kind of violence. In 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire on a Quebec City mosque; he later pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and said that his act of terrorism was triggered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to welcome more refugees in the wake of Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban. Bissonnette feared more refugees would pose a threat to him and his family. "I was, like, sure that they were going to come and kill my parents also and my family," he said during a video interrogation. According to Statistics Canada, police report that hate crimes have increased dramatically in recent years. In 2017, the number rose by 47 percent over the previous year; that increase was attributed to a growth in crimes motivated by religion, race, or ethnicity. More of these crimes are targeting Black, Arab, and West Asian communities: reported hate crimes targeting Muslims grew by 151 percent; targeting Jewish people, 63 percent.
Against this backdrop, many Canadians, especially those who identify as progressive, see cause for alarm, fearing that conservative parties and politicians here are parroting the rhetoric of far-right parties elsewhere.