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March 08, 2003


O, Canada! Must you emulate Europe?
Friday, March 7, 2003

Toronto, March 6, 2003 - The League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada has just released the 2002 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, its annual study of patterns of prejudice in this country. The Audit indicates that antisemitic activity in Canada is on the rise, with a 60.48% increase country-wide compared to 2001. In total, 459 incidents were reported which is the highest number in the twenty-year history of the Audit. In the past five years alone, the number of incidents has more than doubled. In 2002, 282 (62%) of these incidents were classed as harassment, 148 (32%) as vandalism and 29 (6%) as violence. While incidents were reported across the country, the most significant statistics were collected in Quebec and Ontario, areas of residence for the majority of Canadian Jews. In Ontario asa whole there were 329 incidents, 217 of which took place in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In Quebec there were 89 incidents, of which 87 took place in Greater Montreal.

Rochelle Wilner, National President of B'nai Brith Canada, commented: "The findings of the 2002 Audit are alarming. In addition to the marked rise in incidents, there is a disquieting trend towards violence. 29 cases of physical assault is 29 cases too many. We want to know why the anti-racist community in Canada remains so silent about antisemitism."

Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President, noted: "The first important step is to understand the reality and not to sink into a denial mode. The Jewishcommunity must call on its friends to ensure that antisemitic remarks and actions are simply not tolerated in any segment of Canadian society, be itin parliament, the media , academia or on the streets. In order to
effectively fight all forms of antisemitism, community members should come forward to report all incidents by calling B'nai Brith's confidential Anti-Hate Hotline at 1-800-892-BNAI (2624)."

In regional Ontario outside the GTA and Ottawa, there were 69 cases compared to 46 in 2001. This represents a 50% increase in antisemitic incidents These incidents included serious acts of harassment, distribution of that propaganda, acts of vandalism and physical assaults. There were 217 incidents in the GTA, including death threats, bomb threats, physical assaults, anthrax scares with a hate/bias orientation, serious acts of vandalism and cemetery desecrations. This marked a 87% increase in reported antisemitic incidents in the GTA over the 2001 figure of 116. There were 43 reported antisemitic incidents in Ottawa, including graffiti, vandalism and threatening e-mails and two cases of physical assault. This represents an increase of 79% compared to the 2001 figures. The League received reports of 87 antisemitic incidents in Greater Montreal, which represents an increase of 11.5% over the 2001 figures. Although the percentage increase is less marked than in other areas of the country, 14% of the total incidents in the Montreal area were violent acts, compared to 6% for all of Canada. An additional 2 incidents were reported in regional Quebec in 2002, including the firebombing of Quebec City's only synagogue, representing an increase of 7.2%. In Winnipeg, 23 incidents were reported compared to 6 in 2001. 5 incidents were reported in British Columbia, 4 in Vancouver and 1 in Victoria. This is the same level of activity as in 2001. There were 6 incidents reported in Alberta and 4 in Saskatchewan, whereas in 2001 there were 5 reports antisemitic incidents in 2001 for both provinces combined. There were 3 reported antisemitic incidents in the Maritimes in 2002, compared to just 1 in the previous year. One involved Right wing activities
in Prince Edward Island, the others took place in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.