No hate crime charges in Immigration Watch Canada flyer case in Brampton

HEADLINES HATE POSTERONTARIO’S Peel Regional Police announced on Thursday that after a thorough investigation and following consultation with the Peel Crown Attorney’s Office and the Ontario Crown Law Office, they have determined that the content of the flyers distributed in Brampton by members of an organization called Immigration Watch Canada do not meet the Criminal Code of Canada’s requirements regarding hate crime.

Police said: “While the flyers may be considered racist and offensive, they do not cross the legal line into hate crime as determined by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC vs. Keegstra). As such, there are no reasonable grounds to warrant criminal charges in this case.”

However, police assured residents that they “along with the community we serve, do not tolerate hate crime within the Region of Peel.”

They added: “We understand the deep hurt and harm incidents such as this cause our community, and we are committed to taking immediate action through investigation, prosecution and support for the communities impacted.”

They said: “Peel Regional Police deeply values the cultural diversity of our community and are proud that this diversity makes Peel Region a highly desirable place in which to live, work and visit. We are steadfast in our commitment to all members of our community to be transparent, to promote the value of diversity in our community and police service, and to provide a safe and enjoyable place for all our residents.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada had condemned racist flyers distributed by the group “Immigration Watch Canada” targeting the Sikh community in Brampton a couple of weeks ago.

The flyer titled “The Changing Face of Brampton” laments the decreasing proportion of “Mainstream Canadians” in Brampton and contrasts an older picture of a largely Caucasian group with a recent picture of a group of Sikh men and women.

Brampton is home to a large Sikh population. According to the 2011 Census results, approximately 19 per cent of the Brampton population reported their religion as Sikh.

WSO Ontario President and Brampton resident Prabhmeet Singh Sarkaria called the flyers “the work of an isolated fringe group and don’t reflect the view of the vast majority of Bramptonians or Canadians.”

WSO President Dr. Amritpal Singh Shergill called the flyers “an example of ignorance and fear-mongering.” He added: “Despite Immigration Watch Canada’s claims, Sikhs are proudly “mainstream” Canadians. We have been in Canada for well over 100 years and Sikhs are an integral part of their communities in Brampton and across Canada. We are Canadians. Period.”