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Police Investigating Swastika Incident in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Swastika drawn in the snow on the author’s front yard (Photo Credit: Sara McCleary)

By Marty York
Chief Media Officer
B’nai Brith Canada

The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has launched an investigation to determine who drew a swastika and sexist slur in the snow on the front lawn of B’nai Brith Canada columnist Sara McCleary.

In her weekly B’nai Brith column Monday, McCleary described the myriad of emotions she experienced after finding a swastika and sexist slur drawn in the snow on her front yard in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

“The more I thought about it – and after seeking advice from a B’nai Brith professional who deals with hate crimes – the more I came to think that it was targeted at me,” she wrote. “I’ve said before in previous posts that I live in a small city with a tiny Jewish population. What are the odds that it would just so happen to be in my front yard, when my name and face is on the website of Canada’s foremost Jewish advocacy organization every week?”

A spokesperson for the police force in Sault Ste. Marie confirmed in a media statement Tuesday that an investigation into the incident had begun.

“I can confirm that we do have an active investigation into this incident,” Const. Sonny Spina said in an emailed statement to B’nai Brith. “An officer from the Criminal Investigations Division is assigned and he will be following up with the complainant and people in the area.

“There are no suspects,” Const. Spina continued. “However, anyone in the community that may have information is encouraged to come forward and speak to police. At this time, it is not clear if this particular incident was directed at a particular person or group in our community, but that is being explored.”

McCleary wrote in her Monday column that she was worried about how to protect her children.

“My main concern in all of this has been to protect my children and shield them from such actions,” she wrote. “Fortunately, they’re young enough that they aren’t aware of what’s happened, but one day they’ll be old enough to understand, and how do you explain to a child that people hate you just because of who your grandparents were or because of what you believe in and do behind closed doors?

“And the more I contemplate this question, the more I think of how many people have to have these conversations with their kids nowadays, and it breaks my heart. But it also, sadly, fills with me rage. The more I thought about what took place that night, the angrier I got. How dare these people come to my home to spread their hatred and bigotry, and bring it to my children?”