Posted on January 18, 2006

Gun Violence is Opening up Racial Divide, Jan. 18, 2006

Canada’s gangsters are giving ammunition to racists at home and south of the border. Every gang shooting provides new fodder for white supremacists, new “examples” to help advance their cause, new reasons to keep people of certain colours out of this country, and the U.S.

When the innocent are caught in the crossfire, as recently happened in Toronto and Vancouver, the racist, anti-immigrant venom spews forth with a self-righteous tone. For hate groups, gang violence in Canada proves multiculturalism doesn’t work.

“Hasn’t Canada learned anything from the United States?” bleated one outraged white man on the website for the U.S. racist group American Renaissance.

“If you take a white population and infuse it with non-whites from violent cultures, guess what? You destroy the nation.”

He was responding to news of a shooting and series of stabbings among rival youths of Vietnamese and Filipino descents in the Vancouver region last year.

Then “Margaret” chimed in, gloating.

“For how many years have the Canadians sneered and felt oh so superior to the US because of our own racial problems?

“Canada is getting exactly what it deserves.”

It’s not just gang violence in Vancouver. It’s gang violence in Winnipeg, in Toronto, that has thrown fuel on the fires of hate.

Ontario construction worker Brad Love received a jail sentence in 2003, and again in 2005 for sending hate-filled letters to prominent citizens. He was put away again in November after allegedly breaching his probation by writing letters to an Etobicoke, Ont. community newspaper. With help from prominent Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm, Love overcame his incarceration in Maplehurst Detention Centre in Milton, Ont., and reached out to media by e-mail in early January.

“Toronto has 56 murders per year,” Love wrote. “Jamaica has 1,450. Thus, do not let such violent people come here . . . it’s all mathematics.”

“I’m not a genius,” Love noted, in what ranks as one of the world’s greatest understatements.

In Winnipeg, the October gang-crossfire death of Philippe Haiart, 17, drew prompt response from American Renaissance supporters.

“Canada is a great racial petri dish for study,” said one would-be bio-political scientist. “Not having had slavery and historically having only small pockets of minorities, the Great ‘White’ North should be studied for it’s [sic] increasing failure to make multiCULTuralism work.”

In Toronto, Jane Creba, 15, was killed by a gang-banger’s stray bullet on Boxing Day. Fans of the rabidly racist U.S. website New Nation News jumped all over the shooting, throwing around the N word and making reference to Planet of the Apes.

In Vancouver, some 100 young Indo-Canadian men have died since 1990 in gang — and drug-related violence. The bloody warfare spilled over in October, when suburban Vancouverite Laurie Tinga, 40, took a gangster’s ricochet bullet in the head while she was watching TV at home. She suffered serious brain damage. Her shooting spawned a storm of racist vitriol on the normally tame Discover Vancouver forum.

“Canada belongs to the white race, so why are white people allowing these east indians to come here?” queried Mr. Truth.

Sadly, the media has played into the white supremacists’ hands. In general, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio broadcasters don’t mention race in connection with crime. It’s accepted practice, to avoid harming ethnic communities and fueling racism. The media has broken that rule, judging that there’s a bigger story than a series of gang shootings and stabbings — it’s a community problem, and solutions will have to come, in part, from the community. It has become accepted practice to identify a suspect by ethnic origin, when it appears the violence is gang-related.

The media spotlight has provoked some positive response from families, community leaders and government. But making available that particular information, the colour of the gunman’s skin, comes at a cost, and opens up Canada’s cherished cultural mosaic to attack.