Earlier today, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center wrapped up our successful two-day virtual conference, attended by some 1,100 law enforcement personnel from across the country - making it one of the largest police conferences on hate crime ever held in Canada. The conference, "Building a Case Against Hate: Challenges and Best Practices in Confronting Hate-Motivated Crime," featured an array of speakers and experts sharing their experiences in handling hate crime and extremism and providing insights and tools to help police better handle such cases.
Members of 50 different police services participated, with the largest delegations coming from the OPP, RCMP, Toronto Police, Vancouver Police, Canadian Armed Forces Police and York Regional Police.
The following are just some of the speakers who shared their experiences and insights during the conference:
- Special Agent Bradley Orsini, who was on the ground during the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, spoke about the lessons police can learn from this tragedy – with respect to preventative measures, critical security protocols which need to be in place in synagogues and other places of worship, and critical tactical/response lessons.
- Professor Barbara Perry, the foremost expert on white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, profiled the groups operating in Canada today.
- Detective Superintendent David Lynch, who led the investigation on the massacre that took place at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, spoke about the lessons that police can learn from this terrible event, focusing on police response and tactics used when facing a lone shooter in a crowded place of worship.
- Mark Freiman, former Deputy Attorney General and former President of the Canadian Jewish Congress, spoke about his experiences prosecuting Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel.
Little did we know when we began planning this conference a few months ago that it would have such an incredible reach, from coast to coast to coast. We look forward to continuing to work with law enforcement across the country and with other organizations as we continue the important work of fighting the growing scourge of hate and extremism in Canada.