Recently, a number of racist encounters have been caught on video in B.C. and gained notoriety online. The internet has been banding together to speak out against racist behaviour and share the footage on social media. The B.C. government could soon be joining the effort by cracking down on hate and racism. One of British Columbia’s MLAs is pushing the provincial government to take a serious look at imposing consequences for racist behaviour. The MLA wants to see fines for racism in B.C.
According to Global News, Delta North NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon sent a letter to Mike Farnworth, Public Safety Minister, asking that the province work to take action against “racist and hateful behaviour.”
The letter explained that other jurisdictions have measures in place “such as ticketing” to discourage racist and hurtful behaviour. Kahlon went on to request that B.C. look into implementing something of this nature.
The Government of British Columbia’s website outlines the province’s current views and procedures surrounding multiculturalism and anti-racism.
As of now, racist behaviour in B.C. falls under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “It is illegal to advocate genocide, publicly incite hatred or wilfully promote hatred based on national or ethnic origin, race, religion, skin colour and sexual orientation,” the website explains.
Though, it continues to state that “depending on the situation, the use of racist slurs may not be illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada.”
Currently, there are procedures that people are advised to follow if they witness or experience racism in B.C. The steps include connecting with an agency in the community to get support if you are a victim, documenting incidents in full detail, speaking to your supervisor if it happens at work, or filing a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
According to Global News, Kahlon’s letter to Farnworth explained that “People are afraid in their communities. They know that these hate groups are organizing in communities.”
This comment was in reference to groups like Soldiers of Odin and the Yellow Vest movement that have been gaining traction in British Columbia recently.
Kahlon wants to ensure that B.C. is doing everything in its power to prevent the growth of racist groups and deter residents from hate speech.