What is a hate crime? Lawyers across Canada define the term

DM

With an increase of racist attacks aimed at Asian Canadians during the pandemic many are left to wonder what recourse there is when it comes to Canada’s justice system. “If someone happens to make a racial slur or tells an off-colour joke it would be hard to say that they’re trying to promote to the world this hatred against another race,” said Calgary defence lawyer Balfour Der. Der, a former prosecutor who has also represented clients in some of Canada’s most high profile criminal cases said while the public may think some crimes should be considered ‘hate crimes’ they’re often not prosecuted that way. “The section requires that the conduct that promotes this racial hatred has to be willful, intentional and you have to deliberately do it for this purpose,” he said. The Criminal Code of Canada has three sections which set out specific “hate crimes.” They include hate propaganda advocating genocide, public incitement or promotion of hatred and mischief related to certain property.

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