Overwhelming majority of people want tougher action against online hate, among other measures.
A majority of Canadians believe that their government can and should be doing more to combat hate online and in person, according to a newly released poll on race relations.
Conducted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Nanos Research, the study found that 72 percent of Canadians support having hate crime units as part of local police forces, while nearly 80 percent support introducing legislation to combat serious forms of harmful online content.
The study results dovetail with what Jewish organizations are finding on the ground, according to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the advocacy arm of the Jewish Federations across Canada.
“According to Statistics Canada, Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority in the country, a fact exacerbated by the pandemic and by the conflict between the terror group Hamas and Israel in May when we witnessed a new, continuous, and dangerous surge in antisemitism,” said Richard Marceau, vice president of external relations and general counsel at CIJA.
“This poll confirms what Jewish Canadian—and many others—know from firsthand experience: Canadians need and want swift action to remove hate from our online communities,” he said.
Marceau urged the Canadian government to step up and “create a national strategy to combat online hate, which should include clear direction to social-media companies active in Canada that they must clean up their platforms.”
“Jewish Canadians are not alone,” he said. “Hate impacts us all. If we aspire to build a society where everyone truly belongs, then there is no time to lose.”
According to the B’nai Brith Audit of Antisemitic Incidents 2020, more than 2,600 attacks took place in the country. While statistics for 2021 are not yet available, there is an indication that the numbers will remain high given the extensive number of antisemitic incidents in cities across Canada in May alone.