Candidates in Ontario municipal elections face ‘organized hatred’

As in the Quebec elections, several candidates in the Ontario municipal elections, which will take place on Monday, have faced threats and hate messages.

For example, Kojo Damptey, who is trying his luck in a Hamilton neighborhood, saw a « white people first » sticker on one of his posters.

“Running for city council, I knew this would happen. And so it happened, he says. We weren’t surprised. »

Hamilton Police are investigating three hate incidents related to the municipal elections.

Candidates from diversity and women seem to be the most targeted by these messages. Some had to devote time and energy to identifying these threats. Other candidates have questioned their decision to enter politics.

Nili Kaplan-Myrth is running for the Ottawa-Carleton School Board for the first time. This family doctor was already known to the population for his positions on vaccination and public health measures during the pandemic.

His campaign has been targeted by evildoers. They stole posters from him. She received anti-Semitic messages and threats.

« I was bombarded with messages, » she says. It is organized hatred. »

Ottawa Police say they have received 41 complaints, including one for a hate crime, related to vandalized election signs.

The number of complaints is not unusual compared to past elections, said Acting Superintendent Heather Lachine. However, the police force is “more proactive” in 2022 by informing candidates earlier of the complaint process for a hate crime.

In Hamilton, Mr. Damptey says his organization had to take a new approach to its security, which took him away from the themes he wanted to develop during the campaign. He needs to react quickly to “I don’t like the woke” comments made to him by constituents upon seeing him in order to de-escalate a potential conflict, but that prevents him from talking about the policies he advocates.

Mr. Damptey and Ms. Kaplan-Myrth have no regrets. The former says the supremacist sticker on one of his posters gives him the opportunity to openly discuss racism during the campaign.

He recognizes that facing intolerance is a burden.

“We really need to pay attention and discuss ways to reduce the harm experienced by racialized people when they come forward to serve their community,” said Damptey.

Melanee Thomas, a political scientist from the University of Calgary, expresses concern over the rise in rhetoric against politicians and candidates. Harassment against women and people of diversity aims to prevent them from getting involved in politics, she says. This stems from groups that themselves feel threatened by diversity.

“Those people who believe that God has given them the privilege to be above others because of their race and gender have become very angry and want to resist change,” she adds.

Canada must assess the role of white supremacists in political institutions if it is to move forward. « The problem could get worse before things get better, » fears Professor Thomas.

Political scientist Angelia Wagner of the University of Alberta has previously conducted research on political harassment. She found that the women she interviewed knew about the issue, but that didn’t stop them from applying.

“It’s not seen as a barrier, but as a problem,” she explains. But it could become a barrier one day, a very difficult barrier to cross. »

To see in video

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = ""; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));


Back to top button