Last week’s act of terror in London and the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of Indigenous children at a Kamloops Residential School provided a sobering reminder of the need for unity in the face of incredible adversity and hate.
“As we tragically witnessed [last] week, religious and ethnic minorities in Canada remain at risk of being targeted with a hate-motivated crime,” said Alberta premier Jason Kenney. “These cowardly acts of bigotry have no place in our province.
“Alberta’s government stands shoulder to shoulder with these communities and is proud to deliver on our election commitment to help keep them safe,” he said.
“Empowered communities are safe communities,” said Justice Minister Kaycee Madu. “Complex problems such as hate crimes and racism place an incredible burden on vulnerable Albertans.”
On June 11, Alberta’s government announced support for at-risk communities, including religious and ethnic organizations and Indigenous groups to protect them against hate-inspired violence and vandalism.
The Alberta Security Infrastructure Program addresses a range of protective measures, such as security planning, education and training. A total of $500,000 will be available, beginning in the fall, with applicants eligible for up to $10,000 to assist with training and security assessments, as well as up to $90,000 for security infrastructure.
Funding for upgrades to facility infrastructure includes security and monitoring systems, which the province contends will protect individuals and property further from vandalism and other criminal acts, hate-related or otherwise.
Mickey Amery, the United Conservative MLA for Calgary-Cross, says the program is vital to the safety and security of all Albertans. “Racism and hate-motivated crimes impact us all and this program demonstrates our government’s commitment to protecting all Albertans.”
In light of seven incidents of hate-motivated assaults since December 2020 towards Muslims in Edmonton and Calgary, Amery expressed grave concerns alongside several UCP caucus members on June 12 to Calgary’s Muslim community at the “Walk Against Hate Crime”.
“To our hijabi sisters who were attacked in hate-motivated crimes [in Edmonton and Calgary], the province is taking steps to do better,” he said.
Amery also acknowledged the creation of a new hate-crime unit and the appointment of a community liaison by the province to address racism and hate crimes towards ethnic and religious minorities in Alberta.
“Over the past several weeks, we’ve been through a tremendous amount of turmoil in this country, and we continue to struggle. I look around and see people of all backgrounds, of all faiths, and colours, and yet we stand here united despite our differences.”
In remembrance of the Afzaal family in London, he said the province stands in solidarity with the country’s Muslim community and unequivocally condemns hate in all its forms.
In the spirit of reconciliation and furthering relations with Alberta’s Indigenous communities, he also pledged to do “everything he can to advocate for our children, and Indigenous brothers and sisters,” condemning the persecution they faced for hundreds of years.