FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2019
Press Release: CIJA Commends Bill to Prevent Promotion of Hatred at Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON – Today, York Centre MPP Roman Baber introduced a bill to prevent demonstrations from taking place at Queen’s Park that, in the opinion of the Speaker, are likely to promote hatred against any identifiable group.
In response, Barbara Bank, Chair, CIJA Toronto, issued the following:
“Those who dehumanize and demonize others pave the way for the promotion of violence and have no place in our public spaces. I hope MPPs from all parties will unite to support Mr. Baber’s bill. The issue of hate promotion requires urgent attention as extremists are becoming more confident about pushing their odious agendas, often converting online activism into in-person gatherings which significantly increase the risk of disturbing the peace.
“The use of Queen’s Park grounds to promote hate is not hypothetical. For years, the annual Quds Day rally, inspired by the Islamic Republic of Iran, featured speakers that spread antisemitic conspiracy theories thinly veiled as criticism of Israel. Mr. Baber’s bill will ensure that those who seek to promote hatred do not benefit from using the legislature as a backdrop – whether they are promoting the noxious rhetoric of Quds Day or the horrific white supremacist ideology that led to the devastating attack on Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand.
“There is legitimate debate about the bounds of freedom of expression, a central tenet of Canadian democracy. But surely those who purposely spread hate and glorify violence against entire communities should not be able to use Queen’s Park as a platform.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.
- According to Statistics Canada, hate crimes against the Jewish community rose by more than 60 percent between 2016 and 2017.
- While the Jewish community remained the most frequently targeted group (in both absolute and per capita terms), hate crimes against the Muslim, Black, Arab or West Asian, and LGBTQ+ communities all rose.