2nd Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 152, Issue 39

Thursday, May 6, 2021
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Public Safety

Anti-Asian Racism

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Leader, an unprecedented report entitled A Year of Racist Attacks: Anti-Asian Racism Across Canada One Year Into the COVID-19 Pandemic was released by several advocacy groups, including the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. The report spotlighted the realities of racism endured by Asian people in Canada over the past year of the pandemic. In total, the report looked at more than 1,150 incidents of racism. The findings were heartbreaking.

My question to the leader is the following: What is the government doing? What exact message are they sending out to the communities to indicate that they are standing with the communities and that they will not accept this racism? Leader, I come from Vancouver, and I have not heard any of these messages from our government.

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Dear colleague, thank you for your question. The acts of racism against Asian Canadians — indeed, against any Canadians — are unacceptable. This government has been clear in its condemnation of all forms of racism, harassment and violence toward communities, and it continues to do so.

The tools the federal government has at its disposal, including its codes and the Charter, are present for all victims. This government also works in collaboration with provinces and territories, which work in turn with their municipalities, to ensure that these acts are investigated and prosecuted where appropriate.

Senator Jaffer: I have a supplementary question.

Leader, I’m glad you talked about prosecution. Is it possible to get from the Minister of Justice an understanding of exactly how many of those charges have been dealt with under the hate crime legislation?

Senator Gold: Senator, I will certainly make inquiries to determine what kind of information the minister has at his disposal. As you well know, prosecutions are typically handled by the attorneys general of the provinces, but I will make inquiries as to the degree to which that information is aggregated. I will certainly be happy to report back to the chamber.