Alberta creating provincial unit to fight hate crimes and extremism

Alberta moving forward with plan to create Provincial Hate Crimes Unit
WATCH ABOVE: Premier Rachel Notley says her government is working on creating a hate crimes unit to help police forces coordinate responses to any group promoting hate or extremism.

The Alberta government is putting together a team of police and law enforcement officials, including Crown prosecutors, to specifically fight hate crimes and extremism.

The Provincial Hate Crimes Unit will include specialists from various police forces. Its mandate will be to focus exclusively on “investigating the proliferation of hate groups and hate crimes in Alberta,” the government said in a Friday news release.

READ MORE: Edmonton police patrolling local mosques during Friday prayers: Alberta Muslim council

The unit was announced one day after after a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand left 49 people dead and dozens injured.

READ MORE: Christchurch shooting: 49 killed at 2 mosques, 1 man charged with murder

“Together, we must continue the fight against racism, hate, intolerance and religious persecution in all forms, including Islamophobia,” said Premier Rachel Notley.

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“Two years ago, our government stood in solidarity with all Muslim Canadians in grieving the shooting at a mosque in Quebec. Today, we stand in solidarity with Muslims in Alberta, in Canada and all across the world. And we recommit ourselves to end this hate wherever it is found.”

READ MORE: Islamophobia in Canada isn’t new. Experts say it’s time we face the problem

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New Zealand shooting: World leaders react to Christchurch mosque attacks
New Zealand shooting: World leaders react to Christchurch mosque attacks

The province estimates a hate crime is reported to police once every three days in Alberta.

This unit was a recommendation of the government’s June 2018 Taking Action Against Racism report. It stemmed from the education minister’s meetings with 100 community groups, who suggested ways the province could support diversity and inclusion.

READ MORE: Alberta and Edmonton see highest rise in reported hate crimes in Canada

After the report was released, the Anti-Racism Advisory Council was created — to ensure people affected by racism were shaping the government’s approach — and a Community Anti-Racism Grants program was created to help fund these initiatives.

WATCH (Feb. 15, 2017): The Alberta Hate Crime Committee has launched a website in order to document hate-related incidents across the province by type, time and location. Emily Mertz has the details.

#StopHateAB website tracks hate-related incidents in Alberta
#StopHateAB website tracks hate-related incidents in Alberta