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Diaspora (Canada) | May 1, 2004

Combating racism and hate crimes in Canada

Ghanaian News Canada

At a recent multicultural reception held at the Queen's Park by the Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty in honour of the Ethnic Press of Canada, the Premier lamented the recent rash of hate crimes in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. He stressed that racism and the spread of hate will not be tolerated in his province. We of the Ghanaian News could not but agree with the Premier the more.

We are witnesses to the vandals' crime spree, which hit the Greater Toronto Area in the recent past that prompted the Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin to promise action. In that vandalism over two-dozen Jewish gravestones were toppled in a North York cemetery. Elsewhere in the Province of Quebec, a firebomb destroyed a Jewish School library in Montreal. The Ghanaian News join the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister of Canada in decrying such cowardly acts as despicable to the multicultural society of Canada. We are also grateful to both the provincial and federal governments for acting promptly to protect the victims of such hate crimes and at the same time working hard to bringing the criminals to book.

Hate crimes are violent forms of racism which if not properly dealt with would tear our otherwise peaceful Canadian society apart. Whatever be the reason for such vandalism by humanity against humanity cannot be justified and we condemn it without any reservation.

No one living in Ontario or elsewhere in the world should be discriminated against, humiliated, marginalized or vandalized because of his/her religion, faith or race. This brings to mind the challenges that face our community that subtly breed grounds for racism. They include racial-profiling, poverty, not inclusive education system and discriminatory hiring policy armoured in what is described as the “Canadian experience”.

The government must stamp out the overt act of racial-profiling by our law enforcement agencies against the visible minorities in our community. All must co-operate in this wise.

There is also the problem of poverty in the midst of plenty among our community. There are people who find it very difficult to put food on the table day in and day out. It is obvious that there is suburban poverty in our cities. For example, Toronto is creating a new breed of ghettoes, as the poor and immigrants become increasingly concentrated in high-poverty pockets in the suburbs. It is on record that little affordable housing has been built in the Greater Toronto Area since 1979. Rents are skyrocketing while jobs are diminishing. We therefore call on McGuinty and Martin governments to invest more money in helping immigrants integrate into the community and find jobs.

Our exclusive education system unfortunately makes many an immigrant student feel marginalized. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. For, many marginalized kids find themselves on the streets doing drugs and, engaged in violence.

We also urge the authorities to speed up their action on resolving the bottlenecks in the Canadian hiring policy, which discriminate against immigrant professionals.

In the words of wisdom, “a community is as good as we work to make it.” Let's work collectively to combat racism and hate crimes in our society to making Canada the peaceful mosaic of cultures that it professes to be.

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