As mentioned earlier, one of the effects of hate propaganda and hate crimes is to isolate the victim and their community. It may be a cliché to say that „an attack on you is an attack on all of us,“ but that`s exactly the answer that`s needed. Community action and coalition building can draw attention to problems and strengthen the cause. It not only raises community awareness, but also community cooperation increases vigilance, reduces fear and promotes security and solidarity in the fight against racism and hatred. When people from different backgrounds work together, they also learn more about each other, breaking down prejudices and stereotypes and fostering understanding, unity and social cohesion. The Criminal Code is a federal law passed by the Parliament of Canada that has exclusive constitutional jurisdiction over criminal law in Canada.  There are three different hate-related offences: section 318 (genocide advocacy), section 319(1) (public incitement to hatred that may lead to a breach of the peace) and section 319(2) (deliberate promotion of hate).  In addition to the three offences, there are provisions empowering courts to order the seizure of hate propaganda, either in physical form (section 320) or in electronic form (section 320.1).  British data from the British Crime Survey (and published by the Home Office) give a good indication of the scale of the problem.
A recent report based on a victimisation survey (and not just reports recorded by police) suggests that more than 100,000 racially motivated crimes occur in the UK each year. This does not apply to hate crimes directed against gays or lesbians, or to incidents of anti-Semitism. If these other forms of hate crimes were added, the total would be much higher. Section 320.1 allows a judge to make similar orders regarding the forfeiture of electronically stored hate propaganda and to order the removal of hate propaganda made available to the public electronically.  Assuming that racial or ethnic hatred is a priori the same in both urban centres, one would expect a much higher number of hate crimes in Toronto. Toronto has about five times as many Criminal Code violations as Ottawa.  It would therefore be reasonable to expect that the frequency of hate crimes reported in Toronto would be approximately five times higher than in Ottawa. In fact, a higher proportion of racial and ethnic minorities in Toronto compared to Ottawa would result in an even higher rate of hate crimes expected in Canada`s largest city, as these minority communities are a prime target for hate crimes.
The expectation of a much higher number of hate crimes in Toronto is also supported by B`nai Brith data from the same year (1993). B`nai Brith records nearly half of all incidents of anti-Semitism in Canada in Toronto, with only 16 per cent of all incidents occurring in Ottawa. Hate crime statistics have been systematically collected in the United States since 1990, when Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which requires states to collect this data and submit it to the federal government. In the last year for which data are available, nearly 9,000 incidents of hate crimes were recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This total clearly represents only a small fraction of the hate crimes actually committed. The most common crime was threat, followed by vandalism and assault. Ethnic minorities were the most frequent target of hate crimes, accounting for almost two-thirds of recorded incidents. The second most common target group was religious groups. Almost all incidents in this category were anti-Semitic in nature. There was a clear correlation between the nature of the offence and the nature of the objective. Hate crimes directed against people on the basis of race or ethnicity were more likely to be violent crimes, while anti-Semitic incidents were more likely to be property crimes. In a 5-0 decision, the Court ruled that Canada`s human rights laws against hate speech constitute a constitutional restriction on freedom of expression.
The Supreme Court upheld the definition of hate first developed by the Supreme Court in 1991 and ruled that the hate speech section of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code addresses an urgent and important issue and is proportionate to its objective of „addressing the causes of discriminatory activities in order to reduce the harmful effects and social costs of discrimination.“ In doing so, the court upheld the legal concept of speech, which is „likely to expose certain groups to hatred.“ In the reasons for the decision, Rothstein J. noted that the law „adequately balances the fundamental values underlying freedom of expression with competing Charter rights and other values essential to a free and democratic society, in this case a commitment to equality and respect for the group identity and inherent dignity of all human beings.“ The judges reinstated Whatcott`s conviction by a court for hate speech in the case of two anti-gay leaflets he distributed, but overturned them in the case of two others. Disputes over appropriate ways to maintain a balance between what some call competing rights have reached the level of the Supreme Court of Canada. In a number of important cases, the Court found that the hate propaganda sections of the Criminal Code were constitutionally valid. In Keegstra (1990), Chief Justice Brian Dickson noted that definitions of hate crimes vary from state to state. The following examples are representative of this: in R v. Presseault in 2007, a Montreal neo-Nazi, Jean-Sébastien Presseault, pleaded guilty to deliberately encouraging hatred against blacks and Jews on his website, in violation of Section 319,2. The Quebec court sentenced him to six months in prison and rejected the defensive position that the sentence should be served in the community.
The judge called Presseault`s remarks „despicable, diabolical and disgusting.“ The judge also referred to Pressault`s more than 20 tattoos, including several Ku Klux Klan and Nazi symbols covering the defendant`s upper body, in his decision to impose prison sentences: „The damage he caused to his own body to leave a lasting impression of his beliefs clearly shows that he has unresolved problems and is full of racist feelings and hatred.“ The judge also cited Presseault`s criminal record for violent offences to conclude that public safety would be at risk if he could serve his sentence in the community.   The BCS estimate of the number of racially motivated incidents [in England and Wales] is much higher than that of the police. In England and Wales, 7,882 incidents were classified as racist by police in 1991. This contrasts with the BCS`s „best“ estimate of 130,000 racially motivated crimes and threats over the same period (Maung and Mirrlees-Black, 1994:20-21). Comparing the definition of a hate crime in the sentencing reform bill with the definitions used by different police services reveals several inconsistencies. The definition in the penal code is much broader than some police definitions. For example, the physical disability of the victim is a reason to increase the penalty for a crime as a hate crime in the penal code, but plays no role in the definition of the Winnipeg Police Service or the Edmonton Police Service. These inconsistencies need to be corrected. And since the definition in the Convictions Act has received parliamentary approval, there is a strong argument that police definitions should fit the definition in the Convictions Act and not the other way around.