Opinion: Racism Still Exists in Canada, And It Sucks

Racism in Canada

City of Vancouver Archives

Canada is seen as a beacon of multicultural tolerance in the eyes of the world but it doesn’t mean much. Our neighbour to the south is under a protectionist government that recently rolled out a Muslim travel ban. Understandably, it can be easy for us Canadians to rest on our laurels. 55% of Canadians are satisfied we have overcome racial discrimination. One thing is clear – we are drinking our own Kool-Aid.

Yes, our Prime Minister is still Justin Trudeau. He has not only formally apologized for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident but proclaims himself a feminist. It doesn’t cancel out the threat of right-wing extremism in our nation. From an anti-Muslim rally that broke out in Toronto last Friday to racist graffiti scrawled across the walls of Gladstone Elementary this week, Canadian racists are making themselves heard.

At least 100 ring-wing extremist groups operate in Canada and there have been reported KKK recruitment efforts in Abbotsford and Richmond, as recently as Martin Luther King Jr Day. Although the KKK has been in Canada since the 1920s, it never became successful although other white supremacist groups such as World Church and Heritage Front emerged. Canada seems like a nice country from the outside but racism is still alive and kicking.

With this in mind, Canadians should closely watch the upcoming May 27th election of the Conservative leadership. Controversial politicians like Kellie Leitch and Kevin O’Leary have thrown their hats in the ring. Leitch is infamous for believing we should screen immigrants for “Canadian values” and O’Leary is a fame-hungry businessman. Ring a bell? Although these racist acts seem isolated and disconnected from everyday interactions, can you imagine the number of hate crimes that’ll hit the roof if any of them are elected to the Conservative Party?

As comedian Aziz Ansari noted, casual white supremacy or lowercase KKK is so much more comfortable being out in the open now after Trump’s win. Let’s not let the same be said of Canada.

 

What are your thoughts about racism in our nation? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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Irene Lo

Irene Lo is the Lifestyle Editor at 604 Now. After graduating in English Literature & Classical Studies at UBC, Irene studied Public Relations at SFU's Continuing Studies Program. She's dedicated on sharing the best cultural happenings in and around Metro Vancouver.