Carleton Hosts Warren Kinsella Talk on Hate Crimes and Rise of Far Right

By Lucy Juneau
Photos by Chris Roussakis

Hate crimes swarm the news daily; in fact, it’s hard to keep up.

Carleton alumnus Warren Kinsella discussed the implications for political communications with the flood of racist sentiments in western democracies at Carleton University on Nov. 30, 2017.

During the lecture, Rise of the Far Right in the Trump/Brexit Era: Lessons for Political Communication in Canada, the political insider provided recommendations for media and individuals to combat hate messages worldwide and locally.

“Do we live in dark times? Do we live in dangerous times? We do. The beast is awake I sometimes say and the beast is roaming the land,” said Kinsella, a lawyer, journalist, author who was a special assistant to former prime minister Jean Chrétien.

By displaying posters from across Canada promoting white supremacy websites or racist groups, he showed how they’ve been growing here, not just Britain, the United States or elsewhere.

“Literally hundreds of immigrant and Muslim-hating extremists marching in public  . . .  A holocaust-denying, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic newspaper being published and distributed by the government. Anti-racists being targeted,” said Kinsella. “All of those things happened here. In Canada.”

Earlier this year, the editor and publisher of the Toronto-based newspaper, Your Ward News, were charged with willful promotion of hatred against women and Jews, ironically in the nation’s most diverse city.

Kinsella referenced what the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization tracking hate groups in the United States, calls an “outbreak of hate” in places of worship, schools or the streets – from burning black churches to gunning Muslims down during prayer.

The issue in Canada is a lack of statistics. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, the number of police-reported hate crimes against Muslims increased by 60 per cent.

“The problem with our statistics . . .  is this is just the tip of the iceberg. We are missing a whole bunch of stuff that is going on,” said Kinsella. “We have a problem.”

Kinsella provides 10 recommendations for those wishing to combat white supremacy and hate, notably highlighting the need for grassroots movements.

“In the Internet era (people are) spewing hatred at women, at Jews, at immigrants and Muslims, or anybody that isn’t like them. You need to do one thing above all – show up,” said Kinsella. “A tweet is not enough. A Facebook link is not enough. You need to show up.”

Kinsella had been working on this topic even before the Trump era. In 2012, he wrote, Fight the Right, a guide on opposing organized racism in conservative politics.

You can follow Kinsella on his website, originally developed to counter attacks on him by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

“I don’t want people to give up, to despair or to lose hope,” said Kinsella. “There are things we can do. That we should do.”