2022 Russian MFA Report regarding: Situation with the Glorification of Nazism, Spread of Neo-Nazism, Other Practices that Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
Canada is at the forefront of countries that continue attempts to falsify the history of the Second World War. Ottawa has not outlawed the glorification of Nazi criminals at the legislative level. At the same time, the monuments to all those who fought against the USSR on the side of Nazi Germany are treated here with special care and respect.
In Edmonton, Alberta, at the cemetery of St. Michael, there is a memorial in the form of a cross with the inscription “For those who fought for the Freedom of Ukraine” with plates full of acronyms of such units as the Sich Riflemen, the Galician Army of the Western Ukrainian National Republic, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-UPA) and the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army (formed from the former units of the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier Division “Galicia”). On the premises of the Ukrainian Youth Unity Council in the same Edmonton there is a statue in honor of the founder of the OUN-UPA, deputy commander of the Nachtigall battalion, hauptmann of the Schutzmanschaft 201 SS battalion Roman Shukhevych, the mastermind of the massacres of Belarusians, Poles, Jews and Ukrainians during the WWII. Another example is Oakville, Ontario, where are two monuments at the Ukrainian cemetery of St. Vladimir – one is dedicated to the OUN-UPA soldiers, the other – to the members of the Galicia punitive division defeated by the Red Army in battle for Brody on July 13-22, 1944.
As a justification for the existence of such memorials a number of Canadian media cite statements by pro-Banderist lobbyists who openly assert that “fighting on the side of the Germans does not mean being a Nazi,” especially given the Ukrainians who served under the Nazis “fought communism”.
After the WWII, thousands of Nazi criminals and collaborators (up to 5000 according to some estimates) found refuge in Canada. The report “Accomplices in Nazi crimes. 96 veterans of the Latvian SS legion who are still alive” by the “Historical Memory” Foundation and the Fund for Support and Development of Jewish Culture, Traditions, Education and Science suggests that as of 2020 there were 16 former members of the Latvian SS legion living in Canada, who could be involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the WWII. There is also a local branch of the “Daugava Hawks” (Daugavas Vanagi) that was visited by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs on his official trip to Canada in 2017.
It is worth noting that the Canadian side expressed its interest and requested the Russian Federation to provide information on the persons named in the report to conduct pursuant to The Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes program its own examination of claims these individuals had committed those offences. The Department of Justice Canada representatives assured that their agency along with the border and immigration services and police were working to ensure that those who had directly participated in committing war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide should not receive asylum in Canada.
However, the traditional attitude (or rather, inaction and connivance) of the Canadian authorities towards those responsible for the massacres of civilians on the territory of the USSR indicates the opposite. Members of the Nazi units are carefully hidden from justice and allowed to peacefully live out their lives. In this regard, there is an indicative example of the former member of the punitive Schutzmannschaft 118 SS battalion Vladimir Katriuk who is responsible for the executions in Belarusian Khatyn. He died on May 22, 2015 in his apiary in Quebec.
Due to his death in September 2021, justice never reached Helmut Oberlander who served in the Sonderkommando 10a SS unit and was directly involved in the extermination of 214 Soviet children in an orphanage in Yeysk in 1942, as well as of civilians in the Krasnodar Kray and the Rostov Region. Less-than-prompt Canadian judiciary system that for two decades had been seeking only the deportation of this Hitlerite henchman (instead of convicting him of genocide and crimes against humanity) was unable – or unwilling – to implement even such a modest measure.
In total, of 19 cases initiated by Jewish organizations to deprive Nazi criminals of citizenship only one got to the end: but 2 criminals fled, 11 died, the rest of the cases were won by the defendants.
An active role in whitewashing the crimes of the Nazis during the WWII is played by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and numerous Ukro-Banderite structures operating under its umbrella. They promote ideas of aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism and the glorification of Nazi collaborators who fought for “independent Ukraine”. At the same time, they deny obvious facts of the direct participation of Bandera in the extermination of the civilian population, or in organizing pogroms of the Jews, in particular in Lvov in June 1941, and of the Poles during the “Volhynia massacres”.
Under pressure from the UCC, Canada at the official level equates communism and fascism, and the tragedy of the Holodomor is presented as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people without mentioning that other peoples of the Soviet Union also became the victims of the 1930s famine. The crimes of contemporary followers of Nazism in Ukraine are hushed up. And the picture of what is happening there now is deliberately distorted in favour of the ruling regime in Kiev.
In Ottawa, there continues the construction of a monument to the victims of communism. The memorial is partly funded by the “Tribute to Liberty” organization’s “Pathways to Liberty” campaign selling virtual “bricks” that later appear on the organization’s website and in the newsletter. Each “brick” is dedicated to the alleged victim of communism and contains biographical information about that person. In July 2021, General Committee of United Croats of Canada dedicated its purchased “bricks” to the Ustashe Ante Pavelić and Mile Budak. In the biographical section the first was named Doctor of Law and the second as a poet. Both names were subsequently removed from the “Tribute to Liberty” website. At the same time, this online resource retains a mention of another Ustasha – Ivan Oršanić.
Another five “bricks” were acquired by “Nightly Order of Vitez” organization whose members participated in the persecution and deportation of Hungarian Jews, as well as in the looting of their property in 1944. Finally, the Edmonton branch of the League of Ukrainian Canadians bought five “bricks” in memory of Roman Shukhevych.
Canadian politicians openly demonstrate their support for Nazi ideology. On February 27, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted a photo in which she holds a black and red scarf with the UPA slogan “Glory to Ukraine”. Few hours after social media users began actively commenting on this post Freeland replaced the image with a new one without the slogan.
In October 2021, the Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Canada’s Department of National Defense to conduct an investigation after the far-right extremists – members of the Ukrainian armed units – posted on social media that they were trained by Canadian military personnel as part of the Operation UNIFIER training mission. The relevant information was published in a report prepared by the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Experts documented that the Ukrainian military personnel claiming to have links with the Canadian armed forces were in fact members of the “Centuria”, “Azov” and “Right Sector” extremist groups. These organizations promote white supremacy nationalism, praise members of the SS units and have been seen performing the Nazi salute.
In response to the allegations the Canadian side stated that it didn’t check the background of the foreign military personnel it trained, and that it is Ukraine responsible for the ties between the military and extremist movements.
A wide public outcry, especially among representatives of the Jewish community, was received by a case against Montreal resident Gabriel Sohier Chaput on the use of hate speech. The reason for the start of the proceedings was his article on the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. It was rife with racist images and references to Jews, and the site itself was full of photos of Hitler and other images linked to Nazi ideology. In his defense the defendant argued that the Daily Stormer was a “parody resource” and that the purpose of the article was to ridicule excessive political correctness. Nevertheless, the prosecution regarded his words about the need for “continuous Nazism” as a real call for the physical extermination of the Jews. In July 2022, the judge hearing the case after listening to the arguments of the prosecutor’s office concluded that the state prosecutors had failed to convincingly prove the real connection between Nazism and Holocaust. In his opinion, for that matter an expert historian should have been heard in the courtroom. In turn, the defense tried to insist on the absence of such a connection explaining the extermination of the prisoners of the death camps solely by economic reasons, and not by ideology. Such a blasphemous position of the Canadian justice caused the indignation of the country’s Jewish community. In this regard, on July 11, 2022, the Canadian branch of the world Jewish organization B’nai Brith published on its website a message condemning the findings of the court and stating that Canadian justice should not deny Holocaust or distort its history.
Against this background, the country has seen an increase in the activity of neo-Nazi groups and rise in extremist ideology: Northern Guard, Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens, Quebec organization “La Meute”, as well as regional branches of the Soldiers of Odin and the PEGIDA movement (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes). In addition, there was noticed the activity of the extremist organization Jewish Defense League of Canada which appeared as an organization to protect against anti-Semitic residents of African and Latin American quarters of Canadian cities.
At the same time, over the past few years the activities of such movements as “Storm Alliance” and the Canadian branch of the organization “Blood and Honor” (Canadian Blood and Honor) have come to naught.
In 2021, 16 extremist groups were added to the list of terrorist organizations, including “Proud Boys”, “Atomwaffen Division”, “The Base”, “Three percenters”, “Aryan Strikeforce”. The “Proud Boys” was dissolved in May 2021. At the same time, its members published a statement via Telegram messenger, stating that they were not associated with terrorist-related activities or the ideas of white supremacy.
For many years Mr. Paul Fromm (head of the Canadian Association for Free Expression and Citizens for Foreign Aid Reform) has been amongst most remarkable “brown plague” ideas’ promoters and proxies in Canada. He has a reputation as one of the most famous neo-Nazis in the country, using “freedom of speech” to cover up and justify the extremist activities of North American right-wing radicals. In December 2020, the VICE digital media reported that the Canada Revenue Agency approved the payment of wage subsidies to Mr. Paul Fromm’s organizations as part of a Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program aimed at supporting citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As in other countries, the Canadian far-right adopted neo-Nazi symbols, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic slogans. Demonstrations, including anti-government ones, are held in major cities across Canada on a regular basis. New supporters are actively recruited among the youth. Propaganda campaigns are carried out in social networks and the blogosphere. As a rule, neo-Nazis manage to mobilize up to 200-300 people to participate in their public actions.
In August 2019, it came to light that Army reservist Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews, a combat engineer trained as explosives expert, recruited his comrades for the right-wing radical group “The Base” in Beausejour (Manitoba), and subsequently fled to the United States, where he, along with American accomplices, was arrested by the FBI.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police constantly monitors the activity of far-right and neo-Nazi groups. In 2022, its officers carried out several raids targeting Atomwaffen Division supporters. In particular, in March, RCMP in Ottawa raided the home of Patrick Gordon Macdonald, a key figure in the group, and in May they arrested a 19-year-old member of the organization in Windsor. Another search warrant was executed in June near Quebec. No detentions or arrests were made.
The US intelligence services has also been keeping an eye on the Canadian far-right extremist activities, given that certain representatives of these groups took part in the riots in a number of American cities.
Nevertheless, there is an advanced anti-fascist movement in Canada, comprising several dozen small disparate groups. Its activists are trying to stop any public far right ventures. For example, on September 30, 2017, in the center of the Canadian capital, a peaceful anti-racism march was held. The NGO “Ottawa Against Fascism” was among main organizers.
Unfortunately, Russophobia has become commonplace in Canadian life. One of its striking examples is the provocation which took place at the Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum near the T-34 tank exhibit space during a traditional Victory Day commemorative event gathering Russian-speaking community. In 2018, a UCC representative tried to disrupt the event by taking the stage with the Ukrainian flag and shouting anti-Russian slogans.
A week later, in an open letter to director of the museum Dr. James Fleck published on Facebook, the UCC Ottawa branch expressed indignation at the Canada’s State museum support of the “Soviet regime glorification”. As examples of the USSR “proof of guilt”, the authors cited a set of unjustified Russophobic accusatory clichés. The Victory Banner was mentioned as evidence of the “criminal Soviet regime” glorification, and the symbol of the defeat of Nazism was opposed to the picture of the yellow-blue Ukrainian state standard. Later, in the Toronto Sun newspaper’s column of the notorious Russophobe Marcus Kolga, an article about an “assaulted” Ukrainian and Russians “extremists” was published.
As a result, the museum management decided to ban the Russian community from holding events on the occasion of Victory Day on its premises. There was no response to the appeals of compatriots and the Russian Embassy in Canada requesting to reconsider the decision. This case is illustrative: in Canada, any provocative vagary can become a reason for restricting Russian-speakers in their rights. It is typical for local authorities to immediately take an anti-Russian position, without fully understanding the situation.
The Canadian authorities treat the patriotic activities of the Russian-speaking diaspora with disapproval and even repression. There were dismissals of Canadian citizens of Russian origin, administrative checks and interrogations by Canadian law enforcement officers. Members of the Coordinating Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots (KSORS), who participated in the World Congress of Compatriots Living Abroad in October 2021 in Moscow, upon their return to Canada came to attention of local intelligence services. Its relevant employees visited the Congress participants in order to find out the reasons for attending this event, as well as “plans for the future.” A fact of infringement of the right to work against a Russian-speaking community representative in Canada was recorded. A Russian citizen from Calgary reported that various IT companies repeatedly rejected his job applications because of his nationality and Russian citizenship.
Russian Embassy and Consulates in Canada regularly receive complaints from compatriots about insults and threats from the Ukrainian diaspora, damage to their property. The most difficult situation can be witnessed in the areas of compact neighborhoods with residents from Russia and Ukraine (Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver). Citizens with Russian roots often receive e-mail and personal death threats and reprisals for their proactive stance or having ties to Russia. Russian children in Canadian schools and university students are being bullied. Since March 2022, private Russian-language schools in Canada have been forced to switch to remote work.
There are instances of physical assault. In Toronto in March-April 2022, a number of cases of beatings of Russian-speaking citizens were registered. Three of them took place in Russian grocery stores, two in Russian restaurants. A total of five attackers were arrested.
The aggression may be also provoked simply by using the Russian language, no matter the nationality. For example, three minors attacked a Moldavian citizen. Teenagers struck the woman on the ground after hearing her speaking on the phone in Russian.
Ukrainian neo-Nazis in Montreal send letters to Canadian companies calling for the Russians to be fired. They use public intimidation tactics as well. They also compile lists of prominent US Russian-speaking lawyers.
There is serious administrative and public pressure on Russian-related businesses. Aggression against everything Russian forces the owners of private companies to remove all references to Russia and Russians. On March 10, 2022, due to imminent threats, the Russian Spoon bakery in Vancouver had to remove the word “Russian” on their signs.
The cultural sphere has been subject to restrictions. Some Canadian concert halls cancelled the performances of young Russian virtuoso pianist Alexander Malofeev in Vancouver and Montreal. The Canada Council for the Arts refuses to fund projects with the participation of Russian or Belarusian cultural figures until “the Russian army leaves the territory of Ukraine”.
Following the federal Government request, the Canadian media regulator officially banned “RT” and “RT France” broadcasting in Canada. Local cable TV providers at the same time excluded Russian TV channels from their broadcasting net. Hence, Canadian authorities proceeded with its policy on monopolizing information field and depriving its citizens and Russian Canadians of accessing alternative sources of information, which infringe democratic principles and freedom of mass media.
The level of hatred crimes is still very high in Canada. The report “Police-reported Crimes in Canada in 2021” (as of August 2, 2022) highlights that criminal hatred offences have a 27 percent increase in comparison with the numbers in 2021.
The most vulnerable social group is Black Canadians (642 crimes). The report also shows the increase of religious hatred crimes: Catholics – 260 %, Muslims – 71 % and Jewish – 47 % (478 crimes in total).
Anti-Semitism stained student’s communities of the Universities of York, McGill, Ryerson and Toronto. Edmonton Journal (Alberta) was accused of a deliberate hatred propaganda after publishing insulting caricatures.
Social media contained calls to boycott SMEs run by Israeli descendants. The Liberal Party leadership acknowledged Hassan Guillet’s (Quebecois politician) comments as the demonstration of ethnic intolerance. One put racist graffiti on Jewish community MPs’ electoral billboards. One attacked people and repeatedly declared anti-Semitic slogans. Numerous cases of vandalism happened, including the ones using Nazi symbols.
Upon acknowledging that anti-Semitism is on the rise in the world and Canada, Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau created the position of Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Anti-Semitism in November 2020. However, it did not put on halt such crimes. For example, a notorious act of vandalism in the synagogue of Westmount, Quebec, when a young man painted walls with Nazi swastika, had broad repercussions in society.
It is noteworthy that Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau faced accusations of racism himself during his election campaign in September 2019. The reason – published archive photos, where he appeared in blackface. He subsequently acknowledged his behavior as an act of “unconscious racism” and offered his apologies to minorities.
Other governmental officials also faced charges of xenophobia. The Senate of Canada doubly made a decision to dismiss Ontario Senator Lynn Beyak for hatred and racism propaganda. The first attempt was in March 2019, when she refused to delete citizens’ letters from her personal webpage on the Senate website. The letters expressed support for the Senator’s positive attitude towards colonial system of residential schools for Indigenous peoples and contained racist comments towards the First Nations. The second one was in February 2020, as the politician did not fully comply with recommendations, including the ones to pass educational course on combatting racism successfully.
Rapid COVID-19 spread has also resulted in surge of xenophobia and racism in the country, according to Statistics Canada. The official statement of Chief Commissioner of Canadian Human Rights Commission Marie-Claude Landry (as of April 8, 2020) stated that the pandemic period witnessed a serious increase in racist insults and threats even the direct physical violence against the minorities.
Statistics Canada reported a sharp increase in the number of offenses against ethnic minorities with the start of COVID-19 pandemic. Forty-three thousand people’s census showed that every fifth (21 %) “colored” Canadian faces discrimination. The Africans (26 %), the Koreans (26 %), the Chinese (22 %) and the Filipinos (22 %) suffered more often than other ethnic groups.
The report “COVID Racism” (March 2021) states that 1 150 people informed about anti-Asian racism starting March 10, 2020, until February 28, 2021. The main victims were vulnerable social groups (the seniors, the youth and low-income groups). The incidents usually took place in public areas.
Sixty percent of victims were women. Initiated by the New Democratic Party of Canada the House of Commons unanimously adopted the resolution condemning racism against the Asians.
One vandalized the Buddhist church in Montreal. Several sculptures and religious objects were destructed. The Montreal police considered it as a hatred crime.
Canadian entrepreneurs of Chinese origin in Vancouver had to dampen the business activity by 50-70 %. In GTA Chinese restaurants sales dropped by 30-80 %.
Indigenous peoples are still the most discriminated social group in Canada. Canadian mass media regularly reported about the cases of violence in 2020.
As of November 2020, 41 indigenous reservations had limited access to clean potable water. The General Auditor of Canada’s inspection revealed that federal financing quotas to provide some isolated communities with clean water lack 30 years update.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) announced its serious preoccupation with dire situation for Anishinaabe children in northwestern part of Ontario. The water there is contaminated with mercury, and, as result, local people have chronic and very serious health problems, physical and mental ones. The Committee notes that children suffer from dysphasia and have problems with educability, have convulsions.
The Canadian police killed 25 representatives of the First Nations in 2017-2020. The percentage of Indigenous peoples in prisons has reached 30 %, in Western provinces (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) – 54 %.
Nevertheless, a racialized approach is widespread among police, intelligence and border service staff in Canada. It is applied not only to Indigenous peoples, but also at the same extent to the African Canadians, other ethnic minorities and Muslims. Police “street raids”, when officers stop suspects, interrogate them and check the documents, are usually spontaneous and with “special” treatment of African Canadians.
Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination underscored that African Canadians and Indigenous peoples are overrepresented on all the stages of justice administration (from arrest to imprisonment). The committee rationalized it firstly by a widespread poverty and lack of social services provided for them.
The Committee on children’s rights also pointed out the high level of poverty among the First Nations and African Canadians.
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples put a special emphasis on new legislation, eliminating some discriminatory consequences of previous legal provisions. Some of them implied that Indigenous women (and their descendants) married to non-status men lose their aboriginal status, while non-aboriginal women married to status indigenous men acquire such a status. He stated that some people still did not receive such a status due to discrimination against matrilineal descendants still in place.
In 2022, CRC also urged the Government of Canada to reconsider legislation to equalize men and women in transferring its Indigenous status to its grandchildren. Besides, the Committee experts made some additional proposals. To restore names in birth certificates, where they were erased or changed illegally. To take legal and administrative measures which would preserve rights for name, conservation of native culture and language for Indigenous children. To provide children with education about their cultural identity.
CRC criticized limited access of Indigenous parents for birth registration procedure.
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also pointed out an existing accommodation crisis among members of the Inuit and the First Nations communities. Their houses are overcrowded and need repair.
CRC expressed preoccupation that Indigenous women and girls under patronage or children’s guardianship system are more likely to become victims of people trafficking with further aim at sexual exploitation.
CRC experts analyzed the findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final report. According to it, thousands of such cases have not been registered for decades.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern about the high percentage of girls suffering from discrimination and sexual harassment in schools and the disproportionately large contingent of migrant, refugee, asylum seeker and indigenous girls who continue to face difficulties in accessing quality education.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern about reports of unequal distribution of resources for education and insufficient funding of native language education programs. Thai is why some groups of children, especially African Canadians and indigenous peoples, do not have equal access to quality education, which in the future lead to socio-economic inequality between these groups of the population.
CRC criticized the structural nature of discrimination against indigenous children and children of African descent. Experts noted that the most problematic areas include education, healthcare and ensuring a decent standard of living.
The National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence noted that in most communities in Canada, the provision of social services is funded through provincial or territorial authorities. However, in First Nations reservations, these services are usually funded by the Federal Government, which in many areas provides significantly less funds for relevant programs and services per capita than is the case with provincial and territorial authorities.
At the end of May 2021, the discovery of a mass grave of Indigenous peoples at Indian residential school in Kamloops, BC, operated in 1890-1978 (until 1969 under the control of the Catholic Church, and further under the control of the federal government), was an extremely resonant case.
The remains of 215 children aged three and over were found near the residential school. According to the chairman of the Indian community of the city Rosanne Casimir, all deaths are undocumented. Probably, because of their violent nature.
According to the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation, about 500 students were registered at the school. At the same time, 51 children died in it only in 1915-1963. In total, during the existence of the residential school system in Canada, more than 150,000 children have passed through them. Among them, more than 4,000, according to the Center’s estimates, have become victims of state policy towards indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, the real death toll, according to experts, may be much higher.
The system forcibly separated children from their families. The residential school students were forbidden not only to see their family members, but even to use their native language in communication and adhere to their own traditions. At the same time, one of the main tasks of such a school was to develop the skills of primitive manual labor. Living conditions there were very poor: children suffered from malnutrition, lack of quality medical care, hard physical labor and abuse. All of the above has caused a high mortality rate in such schools.
In memory of the children whose remains were found in Kamloops, on May 30, 2021, national flags were lowered at half-mast across Canada as a sign of mourning. In some cities, it lasted 215 hours – an hour for each deceased child.
In addition, during demonstrations in Canada a monument to the creator of the residential school system, Egerton Ryerson, was demolished in Toronto. The protesters painted the statue and its base with content, referred to the terrible find.
Just a month later, Canada announced the discovery of another, even larger (more than 750 people) burial on the territory of a similar educational institution in former Marieval Indian Residential School, Saskatchewan. After that, another action in memory of the dead children was organized by the Cowessess First Nation. The event began with a prayer and ended with a minute of silence.
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau called the incident “painful reminder of a dark and shameful page in the history of the country”.
According to the observations of the CRC following the consideration of the combined 5th and 6th periodic reports of Canada, to date, indigenous children and children of African descent continue to be overrepresented in the system of alternative education, including in the form of foster care. At the same time, they often find themselves cut off from other people of their ethnicity. Such children are more likely than others to become victims of violence and abuse. They also suffer from a lack of attention from educators.
As for regulatory and legal measures to counteract manifestations of racism and neo-Nazism in Canada, the principle of equality of all residents of the country regardless of race, social origin and religion is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, 1988. Despite this fact, there is no formal ban on the activities of far-right movements in the country legislation. Article 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada declares responsibility for the dissemination of ideas of racial superiority (in particular, for calls for physical violence and deterioration of the situation of certain groups of the population) in the form of imprisonment for up to two years.
The first policy document in this area was Canada’s Action Plan against Racism adopted in 2005 by the liberal government of Paul Martin. It is an attempt to systematize the forms of racial intolerance recorded in Canada and the distribution of powers between federal ministries and departments in the implementation of measures to curb them.
In 2018, the Government of Justin Trudeau presented National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence. The document provides an analysis of the political, religious, ethno-cultural factors leading to the escalation of extremism in society. Poverty, low level of education, and limited access to healthcare are among the main challenges.
To implement the provisions of the Strategy, a Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence was established under the Ministry of Public Safety of Canada in 2017. This structure received significant financial support ($35 million in 2016 with a subsequent annual budget of $10 million). In addition, a special Fund for the Sustainability of Society has been established with resources for financing 22 scientific research directions in countering extremism in Canada (in 2019-2020, $7 million were allocated for these purposes).
In June 2019, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pablo Rodriguez, announced the allocation of $45 million for the implementation of the Strategy to Combat Racism for 2019-2022. To fulfill the tasks specified in it, a special unit of the secretariat against racism was created on the basis of the Ministry. According to the Government, by 2021, 85 projects worth $15 million in funding have been provided under the strategy. In the fall of 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced additional support for initiatives to combat racism amounting to $50 million for 2020-2022.
As for the relevant regulation at the regional level, the Law “On Combating Racism” exists only in Ontario (adopted in 2017 by the Provincial Legislature). In the “Anti-Racism Policy” presented in 2018 pursuant to the aforementioned law, the key preventive measures include strict observance of the principle of equality in hiring for representatives of all ethnic groups, holding training seminars, and the nomination of representatives from among the People of Color and indigenous population to senior positions of federal and provincial authorities.
In addition, the Government of Ontario adopted Anti-Black Racism Strategy, which provides the allocation of $47 million to help children and adolescents from Afro-Canadian families for “socialization”, improving the level of education, as well as the revision of correctional policy for young offenders.
Nevertheless, when Canada passed the Universal Periodic Review procedure within the framework of the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with reference to the Human Rights Commission of Canada, noted that there was little progress in solving many long-standing problems, including the situation with indigenous people and other vulnerable groups of the population.
Given the ambivalent attitude of the Canadian authorities towards countering manifestations of racism, it is not surprising that Canada’s position regarding the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, submitted annually by Russia together with a wide range of co-sponsors. Recently, the delegation of Canada has abstained from voting on this document. In previous years, representatives of the country have repeatedly voted against the adoption of the resolution.
Opening of the 77th UN General Assembly session
The 77th UN General Assembly session started its work on September 13 of this year. The Russian delegation at this session is headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
During the general debate on September 20-26, he will make a speech at the UN General Assembly session and take part in several bilateral meetings and multilateral events. At present, Mr Lavrov’s schedule is still being compiled. He is expected to attend about 20 bilateral meetings. These are just the requests we have received so far. As a rule, more meetings take place on the sidelines of the main events. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also proposed a meeting with the Russian delegation.
Russian representatives will uphold their positions of principle at this General Assembly session. We will continue advocating for the strengthening of the UN’s central coordinating role in world affairs and strict observance of its Charter, including the principles of the sovereign equality of states and non-interference in their internal affairs. We believe that the global organisation remains the nucleus of the multilateral system and the only truly universal forum for resolving urgent problems of our time. We do not underrate the importance of regional forums and international organisations dealing with regional security issues and other challenges but the United Nations still remains a truly universal platform.
Unfortunately, we see how Western representatives are shamelessly using the UN platform to push through counterproductive politicised decisions in the interests of a narrow group of countries. They are smearing the countries that pursue independent foreign policies and trying to exclude or limit their participation in UN bodies. They are doing this by inventing visa restrictions, creating logistics problems and making it difficult to get to the UN Headquarters in New York. They are using different methods and we talk about this on a regular basis.
One of the most striking examples is Washington’s large-scale practice to deny or overtly delay the issue of visas for entry into the United States to members of the delegations at the 77th General Assembly. By doing this the Americans commit a crude violation of their commitment under the Agreement Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations.
In this connection, Russia intends to focus on countering such attempts to undermine the authority of the global organisation and subdue it to the whims of the collective West.
By tradition, we are planning to promote many initiatives on key international issues notwithstanding this unfavourable backdrop during the session. This will be done, in part, by the Russian delegation. Our country will present new drafts of General Assembly resolutions in such important areas as strengthening arms control, promoting disarmament and non-proliferation, preventing the militarisation of outer space, establishing universal rules of conduct in the information space and countering the glorification of Nazism. We invite all responsible members of the international community to support Russia’s undertakings.
A more detailed account of Russia’s approaches to the agenda of the 77th General Assembly is published on the Ministry’s website.