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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hate Crime Presentation Sparks Community Conversation in Owen Sound

Owen Sound | by Cody Misner  

The idea for the talk came due to a rise in hate motivated incidents in the Owen Sound area over the past few months.

The Harmony Centre filled a presentation room Tuesday night as residents of the Owen Sound area gathered for a presentation on hate crimes and extremism with in Canada.  

The presentation put on by The United Way of Bruce Grey, Waterloo Regional Police's Hate Crime & Extremism Investigative Team, Crime Stoppers and the Owen Sound Police gave an overview of the current hate atmosphere in Canada, North America and on a global scale. 

Kristen Little of the Hate Crime Investigative Team spoke about the importance of community engagements on this topic.

"New connections are made between people, we saw some experiences shared here tonight," Little says "hopefully it gets more people reporting as well."

The idea for the talk came due to a rise in hate motivated incidents in the Owen Sound area over the past few months.  

In July, a mosque on Owen Sound's east side was vandalized on two consecutive nights before an arrest was made.  

Stickers have been found throughout the city as well displaying hateful ideologies and white supremacist motivations.  

The Owen Sound Police are still investigating the origins of the stickers.

Owen Sound Police Chief Craig Ambrose was also in attendance he says officers received a similar presentation earlier on Tuesday to familiarize themselves with the hate based extremism of today.

He says communication between the community and the police will be vital in keeping these acts under control, "Something that may seem insignificant could have more to it," The Chief says, "maybe there is something there to be investigated."

The event also raised more tense questions like where the line between hate speech and free speech is, a question that couldn't be given a definitive answer by those in attendance.

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