|Subject: Liars use hate crime stats to advance anti-democratic
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 10:58:29 -0400
From: "Timothy Bloedow" <email@example.com>
Next City magazine Fall, 1998
Planners From Hell
Inflating hate crime
EVERY YEAR, USUALLY IN THE SPRINGTIME, the Toronto Police Intelligence squad releases
what has come to be known as its annual "hate crime" report. Unbeknownst to the
public, however, the statistics in these reports have serious problems, including being
wrong by a factor of over a hundred. In February for example, the Globe and Mail wrote:
"A total of 187 hate crimes were reported in Toronto last year, a seven per cent
increase." In reality, no one has been tried for a hate crime in Toronto in over 10
years. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the entire country has had
but four hate crimes in the past 25 years, an incidence so low as to be statistically
insignificant. How did we get from statistical insignificance to 187 hate crimes in a
single city in one year?
The answer lies in the police's invention of a criminal offence. For the record, the
Parliament of Canada not your local police department decides what
constitutes a crime in this country. According to the Toronto Police Services Board, an
official watchdog agency, these statistics do not represent hate crimes at all but far
more common offences, such as assault, that, under the Criminal Code's Section 718.2,
allows a judge to impose an increased penalty if hatred motivated an offence. Despite
their apparent similarity, a hate crime and a hate-motivated crime bear no legal relation
to each other. The former is an extremely serious criminal offence with constitutional
implications involving rights to free expression, while the latter is a mere sentencing
provision for other crimes.
Curiously enough, all the groups that originally asked the Toronto police to begin
recording potential hate-motivated crimes including the former Metropolitan
Toronto's Anti-Racism Access and Equity Committee and the former City of Toronto's Mayor's
Committee on Community and Race Relations share a common political goal. They are
working to repeal a Criminal Code provision requiring the Attorney General's permission to
lay hate crime charges. This provision, designed to prevent vexatious or frivolous
charges, prevents anyone from using the Criminal Code to silence political opponents. To
justify their demands, these antiracism groups point to the massive increase in the number
of reported "hate crimes," an increase that just happens to coincide with the
very year (1993) that Toronto police began keeping records at their urging.
The groups characterize their request as nothing more than "tightening up"
the existing hate crime law. But should they succeed, they would be able to initiate their
own hate crime proceedings, effectively converting police "hate crime" units
into a form of "speech police" who ferret out and silence incorrect political
opinion. Editorial cartoonists, radio talk show hosts, religious leaders, and theatre
producers would all find themselves facing the threat of arrest.
K. Alan Fenton
Being a shepherd
is not a crime,
shepherd bashing is.