Hate crime stats skewed until women protected
By Andrea DeMeer
June 20, 2011
Do not believe what you read about hate crimes in Canada.
Especially, disregard the Statistics Canada report that identifies 1,473 hate-motivated crimes in the most recent study year, 2009.
That number is meaningless because protection under hate crime legislation in this country is denied to the largest identifiable group of victims of hate. It is denied to women.
The Criminal Code prohibits the public incitement of hatred against "any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation."
Repeated efforts to have the word "gender" or "sex" inserted in the law -- the last one was made just prior to the May 2011 election -- have failed, and always at the hands of federal Conservatives.
So, if you paint hateful messages on the side of a mosque, you are guilty of a hate crime. If you paint them on the side of a girls' school, you are guilty of graffiti and otherwise you are exercising your freedom of expression.
So much for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees all Canadians equal protection under the law.
Women and girls are vulnerable to harassment and violence. Western culture is rife with propaganda that starts with the most mainstream of television, movies and advertisements and escalates to violent rap lyrics and images of sexual degradation through pornographic magazines, videos and websites.
There is ample evidence linking these messages to murder, rape, assault, and other crimes.
In the past 20 years, numerous groups have advocated the protection of women under Canada's hate propaganda legislation, including the Ontario Provincial Police, the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and a lengthy list of teacher and school associations.
Educators see the impact of hate against women in its cruellest form; the abuse of girls and the effects of that abuse on both safety and self-esteem.
Ridiculously, those who oppose offering women legal protection from hatred often claim that such a move would so inflate the crime statistics that those numbers would become, effectively, meaningless.
That's right. Lawmakers do not want to count hate crimes against women because ...well ... they just don't want to count that high.