Anti-Semitic incidents up in Quebec, B.C., remain stable in rest of Canada

WATCH ABOVE: Anti-Semitic incidents have gone up across Canada.

MONTREAL – Anti-Semitic incidents are still of great concern in Canada, according to an annual audit by B’nai Brith Canada.

The numbers have remained mostly stable over the last five years, with less than 1,350 reported hate crimes.

However, in 2014, anti-Semitic incidents were up, at 1,627.

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“[With] an active conflict between Israel and terror group Hamas, antisemitism continues to be an issue of concern in Canada,” the organization said in a statement.

B’nai Brith Canada found harassment targeting Jewish individuals has grown mostly on social media.

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“B’nai Brith has received reports of between 1,000 and 1,200 verified anti-Semitic incidents in Canada every year for the past 10 years,” said Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel of the organization.

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“This is not a problem that’s going away.”

In 2015, the Jewish organization recorded 1,277 anti-Semitic incidents in Canada, a normal average overall in the last ten years.

B'nai Brith

Ontario led the country in the number of reported incidents, with a total of 914, or 71 per cent of the total.

“[This] is not surprising since the overwhelming majority of Canada’s Jewish population live in this region,” states the audit, adding that most of the crimes were in the Greater Toronto area.

Quebec and Atlantic Canada had the second highest rate of incidents at 265, or 21 per cent of the national total.

This is a proportional increase over 2014, when the region represented 16 per cent.

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“Incidents in Quebec often paralleled the larger provincial debate in recent years over the proposed Values Charter,” states the audit.

“With many incidents having to do with harassment of visibly Jewish individuals for wearing religious accouterments.”

There was also an increase of vandalism in Quebec, sitting at 27 per cent.

British Columbia experienced a surge, with a total of 64 incidents, in comparison to 15 in 2014.

There were 15 incidents in Alberta, a decrease from the previous year, and 11 incidents in the Prairies.

However, B’nai Brith believes this may be due to a lack of reporting, and not an actual decrease in crime.

“If there are only one or two Jewish families in a small town, when word gets out of a report of anti-Semitism, it would be easy to determine who made such a report,” states the audit.

“These individuals then become targeted for retribution or ostracism.”

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B’nai Brith estimates only about 10 per cent of hate crimes are reported to police.