Maritimes - Nova Scotia, PEI, New Bruswick, Newfoundland

Antisemitism
An Overview

Background

The Maritimes are Canada’s eastern provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Nova Scotia has long coastlines and an artsy capital. New Brunswick encompasses river valleys and the Appalachian Mountains. Between them lies the Bay of Fundy, known for its extreme tides. Prince Edward Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, has beaches, red sandstone cliffs and a renowned culinary scene. Newfoundland and Labrador form the most easterly province of Canada. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Norse archaeological site L'Anse aux Meadows is the reputed settlement of Viking explorer Leif Erikson. Gros Morne National Park, on the Gulf of St Lawrence, has cliffs, waterfalls and glacial fjords. Southeastern capital city St. John’s is known for the 17th-century Signal Hill citadel, with a hillside walking trail.

According to Statistics Canada's Police-reported hate crimes, 2017 report, a total of 46 hate crimes occurred in the Atlantic regions in 2017 - 22 in New Brunswick, 21 in Nova Scotia, 1 in Prince Edward Island and 2 in Newfoundland. Sexual orientation was the most common motivation.

FSWC Commissioned Study on Holocaust and Antisemitism

2018 study commissioned by FSWC reveals that more than 92% of people in Atlantic Canada believe that it's important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, while 3.5% said that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust. 

The same study revealed that more than 8% believe Jewish people in Canada have too much influence in the business world (more than 46% said Jews have "the right amount of influence and 41% said they're unsure about the level of influence); 7.5% said Jewish people have too much influence in international financial markets (more than 44% said "right amount of influence" and more than 46% said "unsure").

When it comes to the Canadian government, almost 10% of people in Atlantic Canada said Jewish people have too much influence, while 43% said there's the "right amount of influence" and more than 43% said they're unsure.

In regards to global media and global affairs, more than 10% said Jews have too much influence in media and 12% said Jews have too much influence in global affairs.

Hate Speech

In an update to a Canada Day incident in which a group of people identifying themselves as “Proud Boys” disrupted an Indigenous ceremony in Halifax (see paragraph below), the Canadian Armed forces have confirmed that five members of the military were involved, and apologized for their actions. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, both condemned the actions of the men. Administrative action was initiated, and the men have since been placed on paid leave. Rear Admiral John Newton had also said the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was investigating.

Indigenous activists in Halifax were confronted on Canada Day by a group of men who claimed to be members of a "Western chauvinist" organization called the Proud Boys. The Facebook page of the Proud Boys Canadian Chapters says it is "a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world." The group was started last year by Gavin McInnes, the Canadian co-founder of the media outlet Vice turned right-wing commentator. In the past, McInnes has admitted he is "becoming anti-Semitic".  The Proud Boys’ mottos include “West is best” and “I won’t apologize for creating the modern world.”

Graffiti

On Sunday, September 9, residents woke up to discover swastikas and hateful messages spray painted in a city park, on a Catholic church and at a private school in Darmouth, Nova Scotia. City workers began covering up the graffiti that day, while police launched an investigation.  

Swastika on Halifax sidewalk

A Halifax street that is home to one of Atlantic Canada’s busiest shopping districts displayed a piece of discriminatory graffiti on Tuesday night, September 29th, 2017. Halifax Regional Police have confirmed that they received a report of swastika graffiti on Spring Garden Road shortly after 9 p.m. Naomi Rosenfeld, the executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council says that she was shocked and offended to find out that a swastika had appeared. “My initial reaction, as much as I was shocked and offended by it, was that I know that Canadians widely reject anti-semitism and all forms of hate and I know that this sort of action is not reflective of the Haligonian community at large,” she said.

On September 26, 2017, Halifax Regional Police received a report of swastika graffiti on a sidewalk on Spring Garden Road - home to a busy shopping district. FSWC learned that the graffiti was removed.

Swastika graffiti in Cape Breton

A local Cape Breton High School rivalry went one step too far. For years, students from Sydney Academy and Riverview High School have painted a train trestle that borders Sydney River and Coxheath, tagging it with their school colours and painting over the other school's name.  Cape Breton Regional Police were called to the trestle at 2:15 a.m. Saturday after getting a reports teenagers were spray painting it. This time the graffiti escalated and included two swastikas. Staff Sgt. Phillip Ross said when officers arrived the group of teens dispersed and some returned later to continue spray painting. He said police did regular patrols to prevent this from happening. Police made no arrests, but Ross said they will be working with school officials on Monday in hopes of identifying the students involved.

A Sydney woman discovered hateful graffiti at a local ballpark on August 18, 2017. City parks and grounds were notified but by the time they arrived to remove the graffiti it had already been painted over.

Defaced campaign signs in Nova Scotia

The June 4, 2017 provincial election in Nova Scotia ended on a dark note after campaign signs in a historically African-Canadian community in the province were defaced with racist and antisemitic graffiti. The defaced campaign signs – one from each of the three major provincial political parties – appeared to have been spray painted with a swastika, the phrase “Sieg Heil”, and the number ‘1488’, which is a popular term within neo-Nazi and White Supremacist groups. One of the candidates, the NDP’s Shelley Fashan, told CBC that the graffiti “does have racial overtones. That's just ignorance; that's just people being hateful and ignorant. It's not going to deter what I am doing. It shouldn't deter anybody.”

In Halifax, on May 16, 2017 - antisemitic graffiti was scrawled on the CBC building. The hate crime features the phrase "CBC=Juden" and the Star of David with a cross through it. Halifax Regional Police advised that the investigation is ongoing.

Swastika on stick-on tattoo found in surprise bag

On Prince Edward Island, on February 27, 2017 - a father was shocked after finding a picture of a swastika in his child's surprise bag from a local convenience store. "Its just not acceptable to me and a lot of other people," said the father. The distributor recalled the bags and said it was "appalled that this item was found in a product that we distribute".

Campus

In New Brunswick, a swastika was carved into the snow on Mount Allison University's Alumni Field on January 22, 2017. The small university with a population of 2,500 was strongly impacted by this hate crime. One student said that she won't be telling her grandparents – all Holocaust survivors – that someone carved a swastika in the snow, stating, "They would be so upset."

< Back to full province list