Hamilton queer activist talks about hate in her city and politicians who just don't get it

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Image: Lyla Miklos

Hamilton, Ontario. Factory city, crime-ridden downtown, mafia stronghold. At least that's what people used to think of Hamilton.

That's been changing in recent years as people from "away" have been discovering the good things about the city as they've moved to escape high real estate in Toronto. They've been discovering what longtime residents have known all along -- that it's a city full of people with good hearts and pride in their city.

Yet there is still a dark underbelly in the Hammer. 

Hamilton has just earned the dubious distinction of being community No. 1 in police-reported hate crimes in Canada, according to a July 2019 report by Statistics Canada. According to the report, the rate was 17.1 people out of 100,000. As a comparison, the national rate was 4.9, while Toronto was 6.4.

Judging by recent events, it's not getting better. Over the past few months there have been visible demonstrations of hatred. In June, Hamilton Pride was targeted by far-right hate groups. Yellow Vesters have been showing up at city hall every Saturday morning for several months to demonstrate. There are a few more elements in this toxic stew, which today's guest explores.

Lyla Miklos is the former chair of Pride Hamilton and the LGBTQ advisory committee for the City of Hamilton. A resident of Hamilton since 1982, she is an engaged citizen who thinks the local city council and mayor's actions are inadequate to address the problem of hate in her city. She also thinks that the problem didn't rise up out of nowhere.

Her conversation with rabble podcast executive producer Victoria Fenner begins with a recap from Miklos about recent happenings related to hate in the city, and then moves into what other communities can learn from what's going on in Hamilton.

Victoria Fenner is executive producer of rabble's podcast network.

Image: Lyla Miklos

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