While Montreal brands itself as a safe haven and one of the most inclusive cities not just in Canada, but the world, a new report from Maclean's casts doubt on that assertion.
Using data from Statistics Canada, Maclean's compiled a list of "Canada's top 10 cities for hate crimes." The ranking compares the number of hate crimes per 100,000 residents in Canadian municipalities.
TL;DR Montreal has been ranked the 5th worst municipality and #1 worst major city for hate crimes in Canada according to Maclean's and data from Statistics Canada.
With a hate crime rate of 12.6 in 2017, Montreal comes behind Thunder Bay, Sarnia, and Hamilton Ontario. Québec City, too, has a slightly higher hate crime rate than Montreal: 13.1.
But Montreal is the first major Canadian city to enter the shameful ranking. Vancouver is the next most populous metropolis on the list, taking ninth place with a hate crime rate of 11.5.
Moreover, the 2017 hate crime rate in Montreal is almost double that for 2016, when there were on average 6.9 reported incidents per 100,000 people.
While this increase follows a troubling worldwide trend, neither Maclean's nor Statistics Canada, in its own report, speculate as to possible reasons.
But the concurrence of this alarming jump in hate crimes and the political rise of Trumpian politics is hardly surprising. Religious and racial exclusion are implicit components of the Trump agenda.
The promise to "Make America Great Again" also carries moral implications that could foster resentment toward queer people, another frequent target of hate crimes.
While Trump's rhetoric is, of course, most consequential in American society, similar far-right sentiments have also made progress in Canada since 2016.
Extremist arguments about immigration only fuel the kind of appalling beliefs that motivate hate crimes.
Discussions about immigration and minorities at the top echelon of Quebec politics have been more tempered. But proposals from the current centre-right provincial government to ban civil servants from wearing religious symbols and reduce immigration to the province have spurred arguments about nationalism and inclusion.
It will take more than simply recognizing the increase in hate crimes in Montreal to work toward reducing them. A city and province-wide conversation is in order.
Montrealers should also be critical of any political movements that benefit, either explicitly or implicitly, from racist attitudes. We should also always call out hatred when we see it.
City residents can report hate incidents to the Montreal police through their website here.