- The Ontario NDP is deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism seen in Ontario, Canada and elsewhere, including an increasing number of violent incidents targeting Jewish Canadians. In response to rising hate, the Ontario NDP recently tabled a bill that would establish a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario and dismantle white supremacist and alt-right extremist groups. An Ontario NDP government would also designate safe zones around houses of worship, like synagogues, and provide additional funding to assist with security costs, like the hiring of security guards. To reduce hate crimes, there is also a need to prevent them from happening in the first place, which is reflected in our commitments to fight antisemitism in schools and post-secondary, as well as other measures such as expanding and fully funding the Anti-Racism Directorate.
- In stark contrast to Doug Ford’s cuts to the Anti-Racism Directorate, an NDP government would appoint a minister responsible for anti-racism and fully fund the Anti-Racism Directorate into a full secretariat that prioritizes addressing antisemitism.
- The Ontario Anti-racism strategic plan and anti-racism efforts in this province have been significantly impacted by underfunding and cuts to anti-racism work by the Conservative government. The Ontario Anti-racism strategic plan must be improved to adequately address the reality of antisemitism. This includes establishing the Anti-Racism Directorate as a fully funded secretariat and the creation of a permanent Anti-Racism Advisory and Advocacy Council with representation from the Jewish community and other communities impacted by racism. This is in addition to our commitments to expand a dedicated anti-racism strategy into schools and post-secondary to address antisemitism and ensure that students learn the history of the Holocaust in school.
- An Ontario NDP government will strengthen police oversight that was left to erode under Liberal and Conservative governments. It is also important that Ontarians have access to accurate data. To that end, the Ontario NDP recently tabled a bill that would establish a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario while also designating safe zones around houses of worship. This in addition to our commitment to introduce mandatory anti-oppression and anti-bias training for all public employees to promote sensitivity and awareness to the communities they serve.
The rise in hate crimes targeted at the Jewish community is alarming. That’s why we continue to make investments, like an additional $8.1 million to help rid Ontario of racism and hate. This included doubling the Anti-Racism Anti-Hate Grant program to $3.2 million and ensuring free speech is protect on campuses. Our government is committed to ensuring equitable opportunities, meaningful experiences, and successful outcomes for every student in Ontario.
There has been an alarming rise in hate crimes and violent attacks against members of the Jewish community. Hate and intolerance have no place in Ontario. Hence, we’ll strengthen ways to respond to hate crimes and human rights violations including antisemitism, led by a stand-alone anti-racism Minister.
We’ll improve the investigation of hate crimes with enhanced Crown Attorney units dedicated to advising police and prosecuting hate crimes. We’ll also extend the limitation period for putting forward human rights complaints from one to five years.
An Ontario Liberal government will also introduce new laws to protect faith institutions, including synagogues, from violence and intimidation. We will make it a punishable offense to engage in intimidation within 50 metres of religious institutions. We’ll also invest in their safety and security.
We take great pride in saying that the former Ontario Liberal government demonstrated leadership and acted decisively to advance inclusion, and social harmony and stop racism by launching the Antiracism Directorate. Over the last four years, however, it experienced considerable funding cuts that disrupted its regular operations.
We will strengthen the Ontario Anti-Racism Directorate and reverse Ford Conservatives’ cuts to it so that they can act more effectively to prevent all forms of racism and discrimination including antisemitism, limit the spread of hatred and division, and inclusion and harmony. We’ll also provide new supports for students and all Ontarians to learn about the painful truth of the Holocaust and prevent the harmful spread of its denial.
An Ontario Liberal government will refresh Ontario’s anti-racism strategic plan upon broad consultations with stakeholders including the Jewish community. We envision a strategy that reflects the expectations of and addresses the concerns shared by the marginalized communities that often are victims of various forms of racism and deiscrimination.
We acknowledge that there is room for the provincial government and the police services to do more to assure people of all faith backgrounds, particularly the Jewish community that their places of worship are safe, that they won’t be victims of hate crimes and that in the unfortunate event that they do become victims of such attacks there will be swift actions to restore order and confidence back.
Having a dedicated unit in police services that collects and publicly reports data on hate crimes can help the government plan better and develop sound policies. Such data will allow us to identify the impacts of our effort, areas of strength and weaknesses and concentrate our effort where improvements are needed. Moreover, they can help citizens hold their government accountable.