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WIN! Hamilton city council votes to explore how to curb hate groups using public spaces

Hamilton City Hall

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter and allies made deputations to their City Council on March 21 – the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – to ask that the City not rent or lease any city facilities to hate groups as well as to conduct a broad community consultation on how best to deal with the unwelcome appearance of hate groups in the community.

The Hamilton Spectator reports, “Councillors unanimously passed a motion to explore ‘ways and means to mitigate the use of city parks and public places’ by hate groups.”

That article further explains, “[There has been] a spike in hate crimes investigated by Hamilton police last year as well protests by groups espousing anti-immigration or anti-Islam views. In the past year, such groups – including the Sons of Odin – have stirred up controversy by protesting at Hamilton City Hall and patrolling local parks. Anti-fascist protesters are gearing up to oppose a ‘Patriot March’ advertised online and apparently planned by far-right groups on Locke Street [on March 25].”

CBC adds, “Last year, the Canadian Three Percenters group did security detail at city hall as the Canadian Combat Coalition rallied against federal anti-Islamophobia Motion 103. That inspired Coun. Matthew Green of Ward 3 to look at banning groups from hiring unlicensed security for events on public property.”

That article also notes, “City council’s general issues committee ordered a staff report [on March 21] about how to draw up such a ban… Every councillor was in favour of the motion, which city council has to ratify on March 28.”

That article adds, “Ken Stone from the Community Coalition Against Racism told councillors a hate group is any group that targets protected groups under the Ontario Human Rights Code. That includes discrimination based on age, race, ethnic origin, disability, gender identity or expression and sexual orientation.”

And Hamilton News notes, “Councillors, in a unanimous motion, supported staff consulting with the many community organizations in an effort to create a form of policy around hate groups using public facilities to meet.”

It is hoped that a bylaw will be developed following this public consultation and a consultation with City lawyers.

The Council of Canadians supports diversity and inclusion, and rejects hate, misogyny, racism and Islamophobia. Numerous Council of Canadians chapters across the country have taken part in rallies and counter-protests against hate and Islamophobia.