The leader of the Canadian New Democratic Party has outlined a plan to tackle Islamophobia in a special meeting with the Muslim community hosted by the National Canadian Council of Muslims, Global News reported.
“One [of our commitments] is to be very clear around calling out and denouncing Islamophobia. That has already been done, and people do it regularly, so we need to go beyond that,” Singh told 200 attendants at the event.
Wednesday’s event is the first in a series of election-related town halls hosted by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), which advocates for Muslim communities across the country.
Singh discussed his party’s plans to address racism and discrimination. Those plans include beefing up police resources to investigate hate crimes and imposing a federal ban on carding.
When asked by NCCM executive Mustafa Farooq whether increasing funding for hate crimes units would address broader issues around racism, especially for Muslim communities, Singh responded that policing is “never going to be the solution on its own.”
“It is really difficult for Muslims right now,” Singh said. “It is very clear that Muslims are being targeted, it is very scary.”
In June, the Liberal government released its first anti-racism strategy that pledged $45 million over three years to tackle systemic discrimination through education and other community programs and to boost data collection on race and ethnicity.
The strategy, called “Building a Foundation for Change,” will also create an office to oversee the initiative.
The most recent national crime data by Statistics Canada from 2018 shows that reported hate crimes were down for the first time in five years.
Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.
Earlier this week, Gurratan Singh, the brother of the NDE leader who represents the Ontario district of Brampton East, won praise on social media for his surprising response to a racist attack at Sunday’s MuslimFest in Mississauga.