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.
The unit was announced one day after after a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand left 49 people dead and dozens injured.
“Together, we must continue the fight against racism, hate, intolerance and religious persecution in all forms, including Islamophobia,” said Premier Rachel Notley.
“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.”
WATCH: 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.
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.