The latest numbers released by Statistics Canada show that, from more than 2,000 in 2017, hate crimes went down to almost 1,800 last year.
Toronto had the most number of hate crimes, followed by Montreal, Vancouver, and Canada’s capital, Ottawa.
Despite the slight drop in hate crime, candidates from the conservative and green parties insisted the numbers are still disturbing.
“Hate crimes are on the rise in a city like Vancouver and anti-Semitic incidents in a city like Vancouver are record-breaking and we’ve gotta get more education out there so people understand what the issues are,” said Zach Segal, a Conservative Party Candidate from Vancouver-Granville.
“It’s on the rise and I think that’s something we see in Western democracies generally and I don’t think Canada’s immune so that’s some, that definitely we have to be cognizant of and guarding against,” said Lawrence Taylor, Green Party Candidate, Vancouver Kingsway.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau wants a ban on all military-style assault rifles — including the semi-automatic AR-15, which was used in mass shootings in the United States.
New Democratic Party candidate Don Davies said they have long advocated for tougher gun control.
“There’s no place on Canadian streets for automatic weapons, assault weapons that are designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible or for handguns that are easily concealed.”
The Green Party is pushing for a confidental gun amnesty so owners can bring their guns back — while the Conservative Party wants to beef up Canada’s borders to stop the smuggling of guns.
But defense minister Harjit Sajjan said there should be a multi-pronged approach to gun control.
“There’s no need to have military-style weapons in our society. This is one of the reasons we’re moving to ban those, and also making sure that we put the resources In the right spot, so that our police agency can actually do the enforcement. But let’s not forget, enforcement is important but we also need to prevent our children from getting into crime, into organized crime.”
The town hall meeting with the candidates was hosted by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and the immigrant services group S.U.C.C.E.S.S. to help voters in choosing the best candidates to push forth the community’s causes.