Alberta hate crime unit, government liaison to help combat racism

EDMONTON — Alberta has announced two new programs it hopes will help address hate-motivated crimes and racism in Alberta.

A new provincial community liaison program and Hate Crimes Coordination Unit were announced in a press release sent on Thursday afternoon.

A community liaison is to provide the provincial government with a range of perspectives and expertise by connecting it with ethnic, religious and sexual minority groups most targeted.

And a specially tasked unit will work with law enforcement on hate crime investigations, and improving hate crime mitigation efforts and training.

Both are in the early stages of development and were announced by the government on Thursday as a “fresh approach” to working with affected communities.

“Hate-motivated crimes and racism are unacceptable – full stop,” Kaycee Madu, justice minister, said in a statement.

“In light of the recent attacks on Canadians simply because of their chosen faith, I hope the new community liaison and Hate Crimes Coordination Unit show Albertans our province is fully committed to protecting those being targeted.”

He and Premier Jason Kenney are expected to speak more about the initiatives on Friday at 9 a.m.

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Leela Aheer, minister of culture, multiculturalism, and the status of women, called the two programs a “critical step” in addressing racism in Alberta.

“From Black Muslim women in Edmonton and Calgary attacked for wearing hijab to the recent rise in anti-Semitism and anti-Asian hate, these incidents have had a significant impact on Albertans from diverse backgrounds.”

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