New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian is once again taking aim at hate symbols.
Julian, the federal NDP house leader, has tabled Bill C-229, a private member’s bill that would prevent anyone from selling and displaying symbols that promote hatred and violence. Symbols that would be banned include swastikas and other Nazi emblems, Ku Klux Klan symbols and Confederate flags.
According to Julian, Bill C-229 is a tool designed to address the growing violence and hatred in Canadian communities.
“Everyone has the right to feel welcomed, secure and respected in their community. Allowing these symbols of hatred to be sold in stores or publicly displayed is re-traumatizing for people who have been, and continue to be, targets of violence and oppression,” he said in a news release. “Symbols that have been used to incite violence against people have no place in our society. I hope the federal government will support this bill and work with us to ensure symbols of hate aren’t normalized or tolerated in any way and to make our communities better for everyone.”
Bill C-229, which had first reading on Feb. 3, would amend the Criminal Code to ban symbols of hate.
Nazi flags have been among those seen at the truckers convoy or “freedom convoy” in the streets of Ottawa in recent days, where protesters are calling for an end to COVID-19 public health mandates.
“During this week’s protest in Ottawa, Canadians witnessed vile and hateful displays of Nazi swastikas and the flying of Confederate flags at the very centre of Canadian democracy,” said Julian’s news release. “But, long before the protest, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed deep socio-economic inequalities experienced by the most vulnerable populations in Canada. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and misogyny continue to be a problem in our society. Hateful and violent crimes against Indigenous people, Black, Asian and other racially marginalized communities rose, and the number of hate groups in Canada increased during the pandemic. Yet, symbols of hate are freely displayed and sold across our country.”
In June 2021, Julian tabled Bill C-313 – an act to amend the Criminal Code (banning symbols of hate) in the House of Commons, which would broaden provisions in the Criminal Code relating to hate propaganda, by making it an offence to publicly display visual representations that promote or incite hatred or violence against an identifiable group. At that time, Julian told the Record that he’d heard from a number of New West residents expressing horror that these kinds of symbols are available in the community and in Canada.
“Canadians are tired of symbolic gestures. The time for rhetoric is over: the government needs to act. Banning symbols of hatred like swastikas or Ku Klux Klan insignia is more important now than ever for all Canadians to feel safe,” Julian said. “It is up to all of us to stop the spread of hate in our communities. And this bill is a step in the right direction.”