Canada and its multicultural society
There are 1.6 million non-resident Indians and persons of Indian descent living in Canada. A diverse society, including numerous social, cultural, linguistic, and religious groups, exists in Canada. Despite the multiculturalism present in Canada, there has been an increase in rates of Hate Crime.
In 2021, Canada received a record 401,000 new permanent residents, and Ottawa has set a lofty goal for this year of 432,000 new arrivals. According to Statistics Canada, immigrants made up 84 percent of the increase in the labour force in the 2010s, making migration a critical component of the Canadian economy’s growth.
Hate crimes in Canada
Generally speaking, “hate crime” refers to criminal acts that are believed to have been spurred on by prejudice against one or more of the aforementioned social groups or their offshoots. Physical assault, homicide, property damage, harassment, verbal abuse (including slurs), insults, mate crime, and offensive graffiti or letters are some examples of incidents (hate mail).
The Criminal Code of Canada
The Criminal Code of Canada does not recognise the concept of a hate crime. The Hate-Propaganda section of the Code contains just three offenses that expressly deal with hatred. They are as follows:
Section 318 – Hate Propaganda
Section 319 (1) – Public Incitement of Hatred.
Section 319 (2) – Willful promotion of Hatred
Shri Bhagavad Gita Park
In ward 6 of the Brampton city, the Brampton City Municipal Corporation renamed a park as Shri Bhagvad Gita Park to honour the Hindu community and its contributions to the city. It was opened in Brampton, Canada on September 28. The park used to be known as Troyers.
The 3.75-acre park will have sculptures of various Hindu deities as well as Lord Krishna and Arjuna riding a chariot. Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of Haryana, praised the initiative and said that the park would help promote the Bhagavad Gita’s timeless message of peace, love, and harmony among all people. The park is most likely the only one outside of India to be named after the Bhagavad Gita, according to a statement issued by the state administration.
The park was allegedly vandalised by a group of miscreants, and somebody reported seeing a vandalised park sign at the newly unveiled park in Brampton.
India condemns the hate crime
The Indian High Commission in Ottawa tweeted condemning the hate crime that occurred at Brampton’s Shri Bhagvad Gita Park. They called on Peel Police and Canadian authorities to look into the incident and act quickly against the offenders.
For further inquiry, Peel Regional Police have been contacted, and it has been added that the Parks department is attempting to address and fix the sign as quickly as possible.
Indian authorities have brought up the issue with their Canadian colleagues, according to a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
According to the MEA, Hate Crimes, sectarian violence, and anti-Indian activities have all dramatically increased in Canada. The Ministry of External Affairs as well as High Commission and General Consulates in Canada have brought up these occurrences with the Canadian authorities and asked them to look into the alleged crimes and take the necessary legal measures.
“Result of increasingly outspoken…anti-Hindu groups in Canada”
The act, according to Indian-origin MP Chandra Arya of Canada, is a continuation of the hate crimes on Hindu temples and is a result of increasingly outspoken and organized anti-India and anti-Hindu groups in Canada,
Maninder Sidhu, the MP for Brampton East, denounced the “heinous conduct” declaring that such vandalism has “no place in our community.”
Indians in Canada warned.
The vandalism prompted the Indian government to issue an advisory for Indian citizens and students studying there.
On September 23, the Indian government issued a warning for Indian citizens and students studying in Canada due to a dramatic rise in cases of hate crimes, sectarian violence, and anti-Indian activities.
The Khalistan referendum
This warning comes a day after India referred to the purported Khalistan referendum as a “farcical exercise.” Earlier on September 19, more than 100,000 Canadian Sikhs participated in the Khalistan Referendum organised by the pro-Khalistani organisation Sikhs for Justice in Brampton, Ontario (SFJ).
It went on to encourage Indian nationals, Indian students studying in Canada, and anybody travelling to or enrolling in school in Canada to use prudence and exercise caution.
According to the Ministry, Indian nationals and students studying in Canada may also register via the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, Indian Consulates General in Toronto and Vancouver, or the MADAD portal at madad.gov.in. In the event of a need or emergency, registration will make it easier for the High Commission and Consulates General to get in touch with Indian people living in Canada.
Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
According to the president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, the council has asked the federal government to enact an Anti-Racism Act so that it can gather detailed data on the offenders, the location of the crime, and the circumstances surrounding it in order to hold those involved accountable.
Canada being a cosmopolitan country, the sharp rise in the number of hate crimes since the month of September, is definitely startling.