Image: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

An open letter to:

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration

Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety


Canadians watch aghast as intolerance, misogyny and xenophobia sweep the United States, and creep into Canada. 

Six innocent men were murdered, many others grievously wounded and families harmed in Québec City on January 29. This atrocity occurred at a place of worship during prayer.

It is not a coincidence that a similar crime was committed in a African American Church in Charleston, South Carolina less than two years ago. Extreme right wing groups fomenting violence are now in Canada with connections to larger American counterparts. 

In light of this, what steps can the Canadian government use to combat hate crimes?

A properly funded free press could do a better job investigating those who promote hatred and fear.

CRTC regulations prohibit fake news on Canadian television and radio. Could we legislate a similar prohibition for online and printed journals in Canada?

Could we ban groups advocating hate from entering Canada under our immigration laws?

Alt-right is an extreme right wing American movement influenced by the National Policy Institute (NPI). NPI denies being white supremacist, arguing that that being for the rights of white men, who in their view are superior to and persecuted by non-whites, Muslims, Jews, women and members of the LGBTQ community, is not the same as being white supremacist. The Ku Klux Klan also denies being white supremacist using exactly the same argument. 

In the past, Canadian hate laws have barred individuals from entering Canada. In 1992, Holocaust denier David Irving was denied entry. Anti-Semite Dieudonne M’bala M’bala was banned in 2016.

The leaders of NPI and the KKK, Richard Spencer and David Duke respectively, should absolutely be denied entry into Canada. We should also ban certain members of President Trump’s inner circle.

Jeff Sessions, former attorney general of Alabama and Trump pick for U.S. attorney general, is well known for racial bias in his rulings, racial slurs and having once endorsed a madcap scheme to bring back chain gangs. 

If we agree that reproductive rights for women are human rights, then Vice President Mike Pence could be said to advocate against human rights, which is a hate crime in Canada. 

Trump’s choice for national security advisor, retired General Michael Flynn, is connected to alt-right. He has tweeted and re-tweeted false news about, and racial slurs against, Muslims. 

Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior advisor, is the former executive chair of Breitbart, an alt-right online newspaper. Under Bannon, Breitbart became increasingly biased and to this day, spreads false news. Bannon is very skilled at manipulating the Trump base through ignorance, intolerance and fear. He is alleged to have penned Trump’s Holocaust Day speech, which failed to mention Jews, and the wording of the recent ban on refugees and immigration. 

If you could ban only one of the miscreants mentioned above, Steve Bannon would be your guy. He is by far the most dangerous.

While President Trump is the worst of the lot when it comes to spreading false news and hatred, I understand that we cannot ban him from entering Canada. Where would it stop with so many scoundrels leading countries worldwide? But I believe that a ban on the poison peddlers surrounding Mr. Trump would discourage hate groups within Canada and keep foreign hatemongers out.


Linda Leon

PS: If you need to reassure your American counterparts you could just say that it is temporary until you can figure out what the hell is going on!

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Image: Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

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Linda Leon

Linda Leon is an artist and writer living in Whitehorse.