Vancouver and Hamilton, Ont., reported the highest rate of hate crimes of any major Canadian city in 2008, according to a Statistics Canada study released yesterday.
Researchers also found that hate crimes related to sexual orientation increased at a faster rate than those based on race and religion.
“It’s really sad. We all need to find a way to live together,” said Vancouver resident David Holtzman. He was home yesterday recovering from a savage beating suffered Saturday night by two men who used gay slurs during the attack.
“And the city (of Vancouver) really needs to get its act together in terms of police response (by bringing the perpetrators to justice).”
In all, 34 hate crimes due to sexual orientation were reported by Vancouver police in 2008 — that’s 6.3 per 100,000 people. By comparison, Toronto had 43 (5.4 per 100,000) and Montreal eight (one per 100,000).
Holtzman and his partner Peter Regier were beaten after confronting two men urinating outside their downtown townhouse. Both suffered concussions and various other injuries.
“My sympathies and deep concern go out to the two gentlemen who were injured as they approached their home,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson yesterday. “We cannot tolerate aggression of any kind against members of the (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning) community. It is completely unacceptable.”
“Even one hate crime is too many,” said B.C. NDP Solicitor General critic Mike Farnworth.
“Hate-based violence is a serious issue for B.C., and one that demands action from government.”
Holtzman said he hopes he won’t have to change his habits to protect himself from future attacks.
“I don’t want to live in fear,” he said.