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Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau

After the liberal government came to power in 2015, the rhetoric of power has changed significantly. Analysis of the documents of executive authorities (such as the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service - CSIS, Public Safety Canada-PSE) for the period 2018-20 shows that the discourse on securitization has changed dramatically since 2015. In its 2019 annual report, Canada's Security and Intelligence Services (CSIS) divided internal threats into three categories that do not contain verbal references to Islam or Muslim communities. These categories are threats, including both online and offline: Religiously motivated violent extremism, ideologically motivated violent extremism, and politically motivated violent extremism. At the same time, the government, at least publicly, avoids accusing representatives of any ethnic groups, races or religions of supporting terrorism.

Moreover, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regularly makes public speeches condemning racism. In particular, on March 21, 2022, speaking in Ottawa on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, he stated that “more work needs to be done to create a just, equal and inclusive society. The COVID-19 pandemic has created and exacerbated the social and economic exclusion and disparity for Indigenous peoples, Black Canadians and other racial and religious minorities.This is why the Government of Canada has supported and continues to support these groups during the pandemic with a robust COVID-19 Economic Response Plan." He also stressed that the government will do what is necessary to "root racism in the workplace, as well as in education, health and social care systems, by demonstrating leadership, empowering communities, raising awareness and changing attitudes. Be it anti-Aboriginal, anti-African American or anti-Asian racism." , anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, we all have a role to play in exposing racism and discrimination wherever and whenever we see it," he said. As part of Canada's anti-racism strategy and with the support of the Federal discrimination, hatred and systemic inequalities in Canada and work to develop better laws, policies, programs and services that benefit all Canadians."

In February 2018, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage elaborated a report entitled “Taking Action Against Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination Including Islamophobia”. The recommendations the report suggested included:

  1. That the Government of Canada establish uniform pan-Canadian guidelines and standards for the collection and handling of hate crime data and hate incident data; this would include efforts to standardize the definition and the interpretation, by law enforcement, of hate crimes.
  2. That the Government of Canada create a national database to retain and analyze hate crime and hate incident data.
  3. That the Government of Canada mandate relevant departments and encourage partners at the provincial and municipal levels and within civil society to create additional reporting options for victims of hate crimes and hate incidents, in addition to reporting to law enforcement.
  4. That the Government of Canada develop an anti-racism impact assessment framework to help anticipate and remove unconscious bias in proposed policies, programs, and decisions.
  5. That the Government of Canada increase multiculturalism funding dedicated to eradicating systemic racism and religious discrimination and to promote greater intercultural understanding and awareness. In particular funding should be dedicated to groups whose statistics demonstrate are the most acutely affected by systemic racism and religious discrimination.
  6. That the Government of Canada work with the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs to incorporate racial and cultural sensitivity training as well as specific training for the handling of hate crime cases for officers and other members of law enforcement.
  7. That the Government of Canada increase funding for law enforcement and security agencies to investigate hate speech on the Internet and to enforce existing laws.

On June 1, 2019, the Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly responded to these recommendations by saying that “The Government affirms its commitment to advance on these important issues in the pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive Canada.” Around the same time, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada was joining the Christchurch Call to Action to help prevent the spread of terrorist and violent extremist content online. Through the Christchurch Call, governments and online services providers committed to building more inclusive, resilient communities to counter violent radicalization; enforcing laws that stop the production and dissemination of terrorist and extremist content online; and encouraging media to apply ethnical rules when reporting on terrorist events to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content. Many of the Christchurch commitments match the priorities of the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence, which the Government of Canada launched in December 2018. Through the National Strategy and the Christchurch Call, the Government of Canada aims to provide international leadership on countering radicalization to violence and eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online.

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