Canada has long prided itself on being a multicultural nation that values inclusion, opening its borders to refugees and immigrants, no matter their ethnicity or religion.
But has U.S. President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border and months of pre-election anti-immigrant rhetoric led to a rise in racial intolerance in this country?
Or has such discrimination been bubbling below the surface within some segments of Canadian society, and Trump’s world view and policies have merely validated such sentiments, granting like-minded people tacit permission to voice racist comments and perform hateful acts, where they might not have before?
“I think absolutely the boundaries are porous, the borders are porous, so anything that happens in the U.S. obviously affects us,” said sociologist Barbara Perry, a global hate crime expert at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Ont.
“We get the same Twitter feeds, we hear the same sound bites on television and radio and in the print media as well. Clearly the messages are crossing the border.”
And those messages do seem to be resonating with some Canadians, said Perry, pointing to a flurry of anti-Muslim postings on social media that followed last month’s Quebec City mosque shooting.
“I’m not a big user of social media, but even someone like me who’s at arm’s length can see the freedom people are feeling to express some pretty vicious and violent sentim