Winnipeg police dispute new data released by Statistics Canada saying the city was among the top three metropolitan areas in Canada to see large increases of hate crimes in 2015.
New data from Statistics Canada shows that 51 hate crimes were reported in the region in 2015 – an 82 per cent increase over 2014, and almost triple the number seen in 2013.
The increase was most pronounced in Alberta, where police reported 193 hate crimes compared with 139 the year before, a rise driven by a higher number of crimes motivated by hatred against the Muslim population, Arab or West Asian populations, black populations and the Jewish population.
Police spokesperson Cst. Tammy Skrabek said hate crimes dealt with by police in 2015 were 21 as opposed to 25, up 17% from 2014, not 39%.
Khalid Elgazzar, board vice chairman of the National Council of Canadian Muslims and an Ottawa-based lawyer, termed 2015 as a “difficult year”.
“Today’s numbers capture only a fraction of what is happening in our neighbourhoods, in our workplaces, in our schools, and at our places of worship”, Elgazzar said. The increase in female victims of religious hate crimes is attributed to an increase in female victims for Jewish and Muslim hate crimes from 2014 to 2015.
For the year, police reported 1,362 criminal incidents that were motivated by hate in Canada, 67 more than the previous year.
The NCCM has called for police services to publish annual reports on hate crimes and bias incidents every year, boost funding for hate crimes units, and be more transparent in how they determine whether incidents will be investigated as hate crimes. “We stand in solidarity with other faith communities and people of colour and Indigenous Canadians who suffer from hate crimes as well”. We encourage everyone who experiences a hate crime to report it to the police.
Statistics Canada notes that about 10 per cent of Canada’s population were members of a non-Christian religion in 2016.
Massa said the organization keeps its own tally of hate incidents against Muslims.
At the time, Canada was in the midst of a federal election campaign that saw the then-ruling Conservative Party vow it would bar women who completely cover their faces (with a niqab) from participating in citizenship ceremonies.
A media relations representative for Statistics Canada said they are working to fix the issue and will send an amended statement to press as soon as possible.
Females were more likely to be victims in incidents targeting a religion, and the presence of female victims in violent crimes motivated by hatred of a religion increased in 2015. But he said many instances simply go unreported to police.
Jews remained the most targeted religious group with 178 incidents across Canada, down from 213.