On Sunday, June 6th, 2021, a Muslim family of Pakistani origin was brutally run down by a man driving a pick-up truck in London, Ontario. Three adults and one teenager were killed, and a nine-year old boy was seriously injured. The 20-year-old truck driver is facing four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in what the police has confirmed to be a premeditated, Islamophobic attack.
Incidents of hate crimes and terror against Muslims are not uncommon in Canada. According to a 2019 Statistics Canada report, the number of police-reported hate crimes targeting Muslims in Canada have increased over the past few years. In 2017, the House of Commons in response to the murder of 6 people in the Quebec City Mosque passed motion M-103 recognizing the “need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (and) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” In 2019, an updated national anti-racism strategy also listed Islamophobia as a form of discrimination. However, the gravity and brutality of recent events exposes an urgent need to address and eliminate all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.
The Commission stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and the community of London, Ontario at this difficult time. It should be noted this tragedy comes scarcely a week after the horrific discovery of 215 children at a residential school in Kamloops. The Commission calls upon all levels of government to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle racism, prejudice and xenophobia in all its forms. While we acknowledge statements of sorrow, regret and mourning on the part of various governments and public officials, our communities require and deserve substantive and swift action. The Commission calls upon all levels of government to take the following steps:
- Use accurate and consistent language when discussing difficult issues. It is vital to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and to use terms such as Islamophobia or genocide when they are applicable;
- Take concrete measures to address and tackle online hate; and
- Strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations in communities across Canada who are on the front lines of tackling these issues.
It is an explicit objective of the Yukon Human Rights Act to further the proposition that all people are equal in dignity and rights. The Commission would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm this commitment and to call upon all Yukoners and Canadians to commit similarly.